Municipalities are helping developers develop farmland

By Staff, StittsvilleCentral, December 4, 2018

While working with the city of Ottawa last year on their proposed Site Alteration By-law, staff insisted that it was important to protect agricultural land from development. The Carleton Landowners Association (CLA) voiced their skepticism that any bylaw would stop the development of farmland because the municipality allows that development. They may not be in favour of it, but they may be unintentionally putting farmland in harms way by allowing it to be designated and therefore not useable.

One of the ways in which this happens is that viable farmland (and other properties) are zoned as provincially significant wetlands (PSWs), which reduces the value of the land and restricts usage. This often results in the sale of the land to, you guessed it, a developer who somehow manages to get the PSW designation lifted and proceeds to build houses, condos, shopping centres or whatever will return a profit.

Goulbourn, a former township in the City of Ottawa, seems to be a prime target for PSW designations. Starting in 2000 (right after amalgamation), the former councillor representing Goulbourn, Janet Stavinga, and the city began working with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) to assess private property as wetlands.

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Auditor slams City of Ottawa officials over handling of Barrhaven housing development

By Randy Boswell, Ottawa Citizen, November 24, 2023

The City of Ottawa’s auditor general has slammed municipal officials for mishandling a major housing development in Barrhaven that involved extensive alterations of the Jock River floodplain to accommodate a sprawling new subdivision with nearly 1,000 new homes.

Auditor General Nathalie Gougeon has released a scathing, 14-page report detailing her team’s investigation into the project after allegations of mismanagement were made through the city’s fraud and waste hotline. The report has been tabled for discussion at the city’s audit committee meeting on Monday.

...The plan involved cutting away more than 100,000 cubic metres of soil along the north shore of the Jock and depositing more than 400,000 cubic metres of soil on adjacent land immediately to the north so houses could be safely built there, beyond any flood risk.

Find the whole article here.

Ottawa city council asks province to reinstate nine-storey building heights on minor corridors

By Blair Crawford, Ottawa Citizen, November 25, 2023

In a head-spinning move that has angered some community groups, Ottawa is asking the province to reverse its decision to override the city’s official plan on building heights.

A motion, approved by council this week in a 19-2 vote, instructs city officials to ask Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra to reinstate rules allowing higher buildings heights along minor road corridors. It’s something the city’s planning committee rejected two years ago, when it approved Ottawa’s new official plan.

At the time, city staff had recommended higher buildings, but council bowed to pressure and limited buildings along minor corridor roads to four storeys.

Pellerin: Speak up for the glorious, badly under-used, Rideau Canal

By Brigitte Pellerin, Ottawa Citizen Op-Ed, November 24, 2023

The City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission and Parks Canada are launching a consultation on the Rideau Canal, and they want our opinions.

What they hope we do is complete a survey, attend a virtual meeting, visit a pop-up kiosk at Landsowne Christmas Market on Nov. 25 and send our comments. I’m going to skip right to the last step.

...Around here, we only think of roads for commuting. Everything else — even a lovely gem like the Canal — is for recreational purposes. It’s a failure of imagination that deprives everyone, residents and visitors alike, of truly magnificent public spaces in the nation’s capital.

Find the whole article here.

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