Plan 20Thirty to revitalize Oshawa’s downtown

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Published August 6, 2021 at 6:20 pm

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The City of Oshawa has a plan to revitalize its downtown – again – and is hoping the third time’s a charm in bringing new life to its oft-beleaguered urban core.

City Council is working on a downtown action plan called Plan20Thirty with a goal of improving and promoting the area as “a unique experience for working, living, going to school, shopping, dining and entertainment.”

The City has gone down the ‘action plan’ route a couple of times before with mixed results.

In 2005, a Downtown Oshawa Action Plan was created, which led to several significant developments such as the General Motors Centre (now the Tribute Communities Centre), the Durham Region Consolidated Courthouse and a downtown campus for Ontario Tech University.

But the next plan, dubbed Plan20Twenty, didn’t result in much, save the reborn Genosh Hotel (now 70 King) and a couple of downtown high-rise condos.

Plan 20Thirty will reflect downtown Oshawa’s current needs, while acknowledging the affects the pandemic has had on local business.

In the Plan20Thirty report to Council, staff noted the pandemic has created both “threats” and “opportunities” for downtown businesses while highlighting the need for a “refresh” to the old plan.

“These challenges and opportunities warrant a revised direction for downtown Oshawa,” the report stated. “From the pandemic to the recent dissolution of the Downtown Oshawa Business Improvement Association, a new action plan will guide the next decade of revitalization in downtown Oshawa.”

Key objectives

  • Acknowledging the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and developing actions to mitigate its impacts;
  • Identifying the primary role(s) and current state of the downtown;
  • Examining current challenges and future opportunities;
  • Building consensus on strategic directions and activities;
  • Informing potential revisions to downtown zoning;
  • Generating short- and longer-term investment leads and opportunities;
  • Meeting Oshawa’s job growth targets mandated by Places to Grow legislation;
  • Enhancing a better economic foundation for future growth;
  • Enhancing, leveraging, and marketing the downtown’s strengths and assets;
  • Enhancing, leveraging, and marketing the retail, personal service, culinary, arts, culture, and entertainment sectors;
  • Strengthening partnerships with organizations such as the universities and Durham College, the Spark Centre, Business Advisory Centre of Durham, and social agencies

A stakeholder steering committee will include representation from business, retail, culinary, cultural, professional services, and personal services, as well Economic Development Chair Hailey Wright.

The timeline for approval of the new action plan is expected to be the second 2nd quarter of 2022.

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