Ward One & City of Pickering News & Updates

Durham Live Project Gets the Green Light

Pickering, ON, November 4, 2020


“Durham Region’s economy, and in particular the City of Pickering, have been hard hit in recent years. Not only are we now battling the ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis, but also the wind down of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and the regional impact of the GM closures. And an additional 2,500 local jobs have been put on hold at Durham Live, because of the pandemic. It is in response to these economic and social challenges that the City of Pickering, with the support of the Region of Durham, requested a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) to accelerate the Durham Live project.


The City of Pickering is pleased to support a project that will bring 10,000+ full-time, well-paying jobs to the region. And while we focus on local jobs and the economy, that focus does not come at the expense of the environment.

The City of Pickering’s commitment to sustainable placemaking has been clearly demonstrated and we believe our considerations about the environment have been unfairly characterized.


Our intentions to request the MZO were publicly stated at a City Council meeting on May 13, 2020: https://corporate.pickering.ca/weblink/1/edoc/229469/May%2013,%202020%20-%20Special.pdf.


Contrary to images that are being circulated online, the City of Pickering has absolutely no intention of disturbing the Lower Duffins Creek valley and the wetlands near the coast.


The lands that have been earmarked for this investment are on the western edge of the Durham Live site and are functionally disconnected from the Lower Duffins Creek valley. Duffins Creek does not run through these lands and there are no established hiking trails.

A recent ecological study on these lands indicate that these wetlands generally provide limited ecological functions for flora, fish, and wildlife. This area is bordered by Highway 401 and Bayly Street, and is surrounded by industrial and commercial uses that combined with the presence of invasive plant life have contributed to an ongoing decline in the wetland.

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the developer signed an agreement where every acre of these wetlands will be replaced on a 1:1 basis and $3.5 million dollars will be further invested to strengthen another area of wetlands where it makes sense to expand, enhance, and strengthen. The developer, the City, the Region of Durham, and TRCA are in the process of pulling that plan together, and this project cannot, and will not, move forward without satisfying the requirements put forward by the TRCA.


We’re proud of the support that we were able to secure in order to bring 10,000+ new jobs to our region, while ensuring we improve the quality of our wetlands and our roadways.


We’re also pleased that the developer worked with the City of Pickering and the Region to ensure we improve the flow of traffic in the area. As a result of the agreement, the developer will conduct traffic studies, as well as complete the relevant intersection improvements in 2021 and the Notion Road overpass by 2024 at their cost.


We will continue to work with the Region of Durham, Province of Ontario, and the developer to create more than 10,000+ new jobs, protect our watersheds, and help our region on our path to recovery.”



Mayor Dave Ryan




As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet. An award-winning municipality, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here. Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.


Ontario Helps Boost Economy and Create Jobs in Durham Region

Province speeds up development of tourism and entertainment centre at the request of the City of Pickering

October 30, 2020

Municipal Affairs and Housing

PICKERING ― The Ontario government is helping to promote economic growth and create more than 10,000 jobs by speeding up the development of Durham Live - a major tourist and entertainment destination located in Durham Region. Today, a Minister's Zoning Order was made at the request of the City of Pickering, and with the support of the Regional Municipality of Durham, to expedite construction of the project.

"Our government has been clear that we are going to bring shovel-ready projects online faster, to start us down the road to economic recovery during this very difficult period," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "We are proud that this project - which will create more than 10,000 jobs - has the support of the City of Pickering and the Regional Government in Durham."

The 240-acre development will include a casino, performing arts centre, film studio, hotels, restaurants, convention centre, mixed employment zone and a warehousing and logistics zone.

"This is a game changer for residents of Pickering and Durham Region. This decision will help produce high quality, well-paying jobs including, once fully built out, the largest film studio in Canada," said Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge. "I will continue to advocate for economic opportunities across Pickering and Durham Region in a responsible manner when the community needs it the most."

Through a development agreement, the City of Pickering, the Region of Durham and the proponent have rectified concerns related to traffic congestion and overpass issues. As a result, the proponent will undertake traffic studies and complete the required intersections and the Notion Road overpass.

"The Minister's decision to support the Durham Live development will be a great economic driver for Durham Region. Durham Live is expected to bring 10,000 jobs in total once completed. Intersection improvements, traffic studies and affordable housing components are just some of the other benefits of this development. We are excited to see this development come to fruition, with support from the Province," said John Henry, CEO & Regional Chair of Durham Region.

"The City of Pickering, Members of Council, and residents thank the Government of Ontario for its continued support of the Durham Live project.  Now that the outstanding traffic and environmental concerns have been satisfactorily addressed, we are eager to move forward on this transformational project, which will become one of the province's most significant drivers of tourism, entertainment, economic development, and job creation," said Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan.

"Durham Live is a project that has created over 2500 jobs to date. Additionally, there will be 1500 new jobs be at Tribro Studios. This MZO lays the foundation for thousands of more jobs. Thank you to our Durham Regional partners and the Provincial government for providing the runway for us to create these opportunities to stimulate the economy," said Steve Apostolopoulos, Managing Partner for Triple Group of Companies.

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the proponent have also signed an agreement for compensation that, pending the outcome of an assessment, would lead to the creation of ecological benefits that meet or exceed any loss to the natural system, with priority given to lands within the Frenchman's Bay and the Duffins Creek watershed.

Quick Facts

  • The required intersections are on track to be completed by Fall 2021, and the Notion Road Overpass is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

  • The Planning Act authorizes the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to make zoning orders for regulating the use of land and the location, use, height, size and spacing of buildings and structures. This zoning order was requested by the City of Pickering and with the support of the Regional Municipality of Durham.

KPMG Aviation Sector Analysis shows future need for Pickering airport


News Release

For Immediate Release

KPMG Aviation Sector Analysis shows future need for Pickering airport


Pickering, ON, March 5, 2020 - The regions of Durham and York, in addition to the City of Pickering, are encouraged by the projected need for an airport in Pickering by 2036, as noted in the KPMG Aviation Sector Analysis released by the Transport Canada.

“We’re excited by what we’ve read in this report—the need for an airport by 2036. A 21st century airport will attract companies in aviation, aerospace and related services and industries,” said John Henry, Durham Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “It also aligns with our economic development plans; providing jobs and prosperity across the Greater Toronto Area. That’s why it’s important to get this right. With only 16 years to prepare for such an important and complex infrastructure project, we need to start planning now.”

The KPMG Aviation Sector Analysis report looked at five options for the federally owned Pickering Airport lands, which were set aside more than 46 years ago (in 1972) for airport development.

“First, the question was ‘if’ an airport was needed. That question has been answered—there will be a need for an airport. Then the question was ‘when’. That has been answered today—we need to get ready for 2036,” said Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan. “Now, it’s up to the people of Durham, York and Pickering to determine ‘how’, which is great news for all of us. We have a responsibility to come together and plan to build something truly amazing.”

The 8,700-acre site, also known as the Pickering Airport Lands, offers a rare opportunity to create a major employment zone adjacent to a new airport. These lands are ready for oversized infrastructure; designated for a major employment cluster, close to where people live. It also provides a chance to support one of Durham Region’s largest and most valuable economic drivers: agriculture.

“Similar to other global examples, this site has the potential to connect modern farming and aviation,” continued Henry. “We’re focused on sustainable airport operations that have the smallest possible carbon footprint and the biggest possible impact on our economy and quality of life.”

The City of Pickering, and the regions of York and Durham, have been working together to plan for the future use of the federally owned Pickering Lands, which have been set aside for decades for airport use. These municipal partners will continue to meet to best determine how to engage the community and support the federal government in the planning process.


- 30 -

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Tania Laverty – Manager, Communications (Corporate)
905-668-7711 ext. 3813


City of Pickering:
Mark Guinto - Manager, Public Affairs & Corporate Communications
Office of the Mayor
905.420.4660 ext. 2013

If you require this information in an accessible format, please call 1-800-372-1102 ext. 2036.

2017 Report Card (A-)

We’ve criticized Coun. Ashe for his expenses in the past, and although he is the biggest spender, his expenses remain around the same as last year. He is usually one to ask questions of staff regarding motions brought forward by other members of council. He puts a lot of thought into his questions and the way in which he votes. He addresses many issues from a financial perspective, such as the time he argued that Shaheen Butt replace the vacant council seat left empty by the sudden death of Rick Johnson. Although the move did receive some criticism from the public, it saved taxpayers thousands of dollars, and he pointed out voter turnout is generally low in winter byelections. He was also vocal about his belief that tolls on Highway 412 should be dropped, mostly because the tolls have been negatively impacting alternate roads in Pickering.

2016 Report Card (A-)

Coun. Ashe's grade improves this year for two reasons: he was appointed by his colleagues as being competent enough to fill outgoing councillor Jennifer O’Connell’s seat at the Region of Durham - and he’s been doing a good job - and because he was able to cut down on his City expenses.


In fact, he’s no longer the biggest spender. He brings forward motions, including one to give $5,000 to the Fort McMurray relief fund. He speaks up on many issues at council and asks questions of staff and delegations.

2015 Report Card (B+)

Ward 1 City Councillor Kevin Ashe is interested in issues in his constituency as well as the community as a whole, and prefers real solutions rather than Band-Aids to fix problems. For example, when he supported a resolution to officially oppose Canada Post’s decision to halt home delivery service, he acknowledged it’s a bigger issue and there needs to be more discussion about efficiencies to help solve the problem. He doesn’t speak as much as most of his council colleagues, but when he does, it’s thoughtful, and he asks questions to members of the public. During budget discussions, he commented that with a City surplus running between $1.9 million to $2.25 million, residents were overtaxed in 2014. His expenses are the highest on council, aside from the mayor, so we’d like to see him curb his spending habits, for that his grade drops slightly.

2014 Report Card (A-)

Councillor Kevin Ashe is a cordial presence on council, debating respectfully and asking thoughtful questions.


He takes a keen interest in how issues impact residents in Ward 1 and is knowledgeable when it comes to his constituency, although he doesn’t speak up as much as his council colleagues.


He makes good use of social media to keep the public updated and gauge feedback on hot topics, such as a proposed casino. Councillor Ashe is accessible to residents and this year worked with police to host a seniors’ seminar on the danger of scams.


His civility and willingness to break with council’s 4-3 voting pattern are helpful.


Pickering Harbour Company - Details 


The Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP Pickering-Uxbridge 

Letter in Support of Pickering Airport


Toronto East Aerotropolis - Toronto Board of Trade Presentation 


2018 Election Results

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