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Clarington wants to fast-track Waverley Road interchange improvements to increase safety, accessibility and pave the way for new economic investment

Clarington February 9, 2017/- Clarington Council is asking the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to fast-track planned improvements to the Waverley Road and Highway 401 interchange. The Municipality of Clarington is requesting that MTO includes the interchange improvements in its five-year plan, fourteen years ahead of schedule. Clarington is also willing to invest approximately $2.5 million to expedite these improvements. Council approved sending the Ministry of Transportation a letter in support of the interchange upgrades Monday night.

The letter is based on a staff report that outlines a comprehensive economic case in favour of these changes. The report states: “Improving the 401/Waverley Road interchange is a long standing priority for the community. It serves as a key artery into Bowmanville, the Municipality’s largest urban centre, a centre that is experiencing and will experience tremendous growth.” Reconstructing the interchange will also enhance public safety, ease traffic management and offer a congestion-free way to access Bowmanville. The improvements will also serve as a catalyst for future economic benefits and investment as outlined in a study undertaken by the Municipality.

This large infrastructure improvement will open the door for more business investment in Clarington. The Municipality is becoming one of the most accessible communities with its proximity to Highway 401; the Highway 407 extension to Highway 35/115; and ongoing investments in GO Transit extension in the area. This access to infrastructure makes Clarington an attractive community for more business investment. In fact, the Municipality has already been approached by a large Canadian real estate company, SmartREIT, who is looking to build an outlet mall at the site of the vacant RONA property, just west of the Waverley Road interchange. Two other large projects will benefit from the interchange upgrades, a Comfort Inn Hotel currently under construction, as well as a Suncor-Petro Canada Service Station planned for the former location of the Fifth Wheel. These investments will result in approximately 1,500 new jobs.

The Municipality of Clarington needs to make its case and send the letter to the Ministry of Transportation quickly to be included in MTO’s five-year budget plan. The MTO scheduled these improvements in its long-range forecast for 2031.

“Clarington is an active partner. We are willing to come to a cost-sharing arrangement to fast-track these improvements, which will benefit our entire community,” said Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster. “We propose to split the cost three-ways with the Region of Durham, a Canadian real estate company who is looking to invest in our community, with MTO funding the remainder of the project,” said Mayor Foster.

“We need to make these interchange improvements to help accommodate Clarington’s unprecedented growth,” said Mayor Foster. “We are home to three of Canada’s top 100 infrastructure projects. According to newly released numbers by the Region of Durham, 30 per cent of the total residential build within the Region is right here in Clarington, that’s the largest share in the area. Our infrastructure needs improvement to keep pace with our current rate of success,” added Mayor Foster.

The funding for Clarington’s portion of the interchange project would come from the Municipality’s Strategic Capital Reserve Funds and would not have a direct impact on taxpayers. The interchange improvements will help further Council’s goals as outlined in its Strategic Plan, specifically to “enable safe, efficient traffic flow” and “facilitate the creation of jobs, attraction of new business and expansion of existing business.”

Clarington contracted a consulting firm to assist in analyzing the impact of the interchange improvements and the proposed outlet mall development. The analysis shows that these projects will serve as a catalyst for increased growth. According to the analysis the proposed outlet mall will be a tourism draw attracting visitors from across a wide geographic area to Clarington. These projects will also create jobs and optimize the use and investment in infrastructure, particularly highways and transit.

“It is important to note that this letter is just an expression of interest and not a binding agreement to expedite the interchange improvements,” explains Mayor Foster. “This letter will notify the MTO and the private sector of Clarington’s willingness to be an active participant and make improvements that will benefit our entire community for many years to come,” added Mayor Foster.

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Basia Radomski
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905-623-3379 ext. 2214

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