I had a lovely conversation with an Oshawa-area reporter last month. He wanted an update on the FarmTech ethanol project. This is the proposed ethanol plant that would sit on Gifford Hill, the last greenspace in the Oshawa port area.
I haven’t heard anything about FarmTech’s proposal since the company published a notice of tender in 2014. Even then, the project seemed on shaky ground. Ontario had backed away from its plans to increase the amount of ethanol in fuel. The federal government cancelled the subsidy program that would have helped develop the project. FarmTech pulled its applications for provincial approval.
The silence got me thinking: I don’t remember the last time we had a conversation about what people do want to see on the Oshawa waterfront. For years, the ethanol plant cast a shadow over every conversation. It limited every other option we were willing to consider.
FarmTech may revisit the project. If the company does, Waterkeeper will just “un-close” the case.
In the meantime, it’s exciting to think about what the Oshawa waterfront could look like, if the city is finally able to create the mixed-use, swim/drink/fish-friendly vision that residents have long supported.