Harper government names Independent Advisor on the economic development of the Pickering Lands

PICKERING, ON, July 31, 2015 /CNW/ - Corneliu Chisu, Member of Parliament for Pickering—Scarborough East, on behalf of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today announced that Dr. Gary Polonsky has been named as the Independent Advisor on the economic development of the Pickering Lands.  

Dr. Polonsky is well-known in the Durham region. He retired in 2006 as both the President of Durham College (since 1988) and the founding President of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, after more than 40 years in education and colleges. He was also President of two businesses, both wholly owned subsidiaries of Durham College, serves as Board Chair for several organizations and is a dedicated volunteer in his community.

On July 13, Minister Raitt announced that an Independent Advisor would be retained by Transport Canada to conduct market sounding by engaging with targeted stakeholders on the potential future development of the Pickering Lands. Within 12 months, Dr. Polonsky will provide a final detailed report summarizing what was heard and offering views on how to move forward with economic development.

In 2013, the government announced a balanced approach for the development of the federally owned Pickering Lands, which involved setting aside a portion of land for a potential future airport and transferring nearly 5,000 acres to Parks Canada for the creation of Rouge National Urban Park. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Harper announced the transfer of an additional 5,200 acres of the Pickering Lands for the expansion of Rouge National Urban Park.

Transport Canada is retaining approximately 9,600 acres in the southeast sector of the Pickering Lands for economic development, including a potential future airport.


Quick Facts

  • The Pickering Lands, located 56 kilometres northeast of downtown Toronto, have been owned by the Government of Canada since 1972.
  • Dr. Polonsky will gauge stakeholder views on the level of private and public sector interest and/or desired involvement in the economic development of the lands, including a potential airport, and seek feedback from stakeholders with regard to the timing and type of airport and how it would be developed and operated.



"Any decisions on the future of the Pickering Lands will have major implications for the people of the Greater Toronto Area and in fact the entire country. That's why it's so important that we get the consultation process right. An independent advisor will ensure that stakeholder views are heard as we move forward with the Pickering Lands."

Corneliu Chisu
Member of Parliament for Pickering—Scarborough East

Associated Links


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SOURCE Transport Canada

For further information: Zach Segal, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, Ottawa, 613-991-0700; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, 613-993-0055

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