Denley: Why wait decades to shape a better Ottawa?

By Randall Denley, Ottawa Citizen, April 2, 2019

I don’t envy city councillors and staff trying to interest the public in the city’s latest Official Plan process. Any pitch that inevitably includes the words “official,” “plan” and “process” is a tough sell.

As part of the exercise, staff and their consultants have attempted to divine what forces will shape the city in the future. That’s the subject of a 54-page report called Ottawa Next, Beyond 2036. Should that constitute insufficient reading, there are an additional nine reports on different aspects of the challenges growth brings.

(...)The city’s Official Plan will be the first full and fresh look at our growth ambitions in more than 20 years. Previous plans have largely been tweaks. What better time to ask ourselves if some of our widely held assumptions still make sense?

For example, rather than push suburban development out toward the horizon, are we willing to contemplate developing part of the Greenbelt to make our city more efficient, compact and urban? In the same vein, should the Central Experimental Farm remain sacrosanct? With all due respect to soil research, this is the logical location for the sort of major botanical garden that graces many other cities.

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