Regional Chambers and Boards of Trade talk transportation at OPG

PICKERING, Ont., April 10, 2019 – On Friday, April 5, local leaders came to the table to talk transportation at the OPG Information Centre in Pickering. Hosted by the Durham Region Joint Chambers and Boards of Trade, this summit gave stakeholders the opportunity to discuss challenges, propose solutions and contribute to the Durham Transportation Issues and Priorities platform being prepared by the Joint Chambers and Boards of Trade for distribution to the business community, general public and media. Setting the tone for the day was keynote speaker, the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Ontario Minister of Transportation.

“Our communities depend on a reliable transportation network so we will continue to build and work together,” said Minister Yurek. “I am really excited about where we are going with public transit and infrastructure over the next four years.”

Tackling the movement of goods first, panellists Doug Allingham, Former Executive Vice President, AECOM; Zac Cohoon, Chair, Durham Agricultural Advisory Committee; John G. Smith, Editor, Today’s Trucking; and Johan van’t Hof, CEO, Mitigokaa Development Corp and Tonbridge Corporation took to the stage.

“We have some unique opportunities here in the Durham Region,” said Cohoon. “We have the ability right now to have an operator put in a terminal at the deep-water port in Oshawa. This is huge business for Durham Region and the transportation of agricultural commodities as transportation via ship is the most efficient way to move the products.”

Allingham identified the opportunity for more thought leadership around how to deliver and fund infrastructure to solve for some of the goods movement issues, including the development of a regional transportation agency to deal with planning.

Getting people places they need to be is key for building a successful region. Panellists; Martin Gray, Manager of Public Policy and Government Relations, Uber; Don Lovisa, President, Durham College; Dave Ryan, Mayor of the City of Pickering; and Vincent Patterson, General Manager, Durham Region Transit took on this challenging discussion during the last portion of the summit.

“The reality is, a private car is exceptionally convenient and generally the quickest way to get somewhere,” explained Gray. “What we’re trying to do is get to a position where people can access more efficient modes of transport, whether it be transit, a car, a bike, a shuttle bus, when and where it’s appropriate. If you can access it all on demand and in real time, you may no longer need a private car, or one less private car. I think it’s important to know that you don’t need to solve the whole problem in order to have a big impact.”

Building on this, Lovisa suggested putting a focus on north and south arteries, including a combination of public transit, ride share and other alternative forms of transportation.

While representing their individual municipalities, all eight Chambers and Boards of Trade in the region are committed to advocating on behalf of their members and recognize that the voice of business on topics that affect all citizens is sometimes louder and more impactful together.

“We’ve been able to successfully present resolutions at the Canadian and Ontario Chambers of Commerce AGMs, maintain a consistent voice regarding issues, and together move forward Durham-focussed agendas,” said Natalie Prychitko, CEO of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce and moderator on the Movement of People panel. “This annual transportation event demonstrates our commitment to working on behalf of our business community across this growing region.”

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The Whitby Chamber of Commerce (WCC) is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1928 to unite local professionals with the purpose of advocating for their rights, compiling resources and doing business together. By connecting local businesses, the WCC fosters a thriving business community through connection, learning and leadership. Hosting more than 80 events throughout the year, the WCC provides its membership and the business community with the opportunity to celebrate local business, establish solid relationships, develop business leads, or simply unwind after hours.

For more information please contact:

Heather Bulman
Marketing & Communications Manager
Whitby Chamber of Commerce
905-668-4506 ext. 230
heather@whitbychamber.org

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