Xue: Ottawa Council should reject sprawl, for the sake of the climate

By Nancy Xue, Ottawa Citizen, May 5, 2020

Ottawa Council will shape the city’s growth for decades to come when it votes on expanding its suburbs in the near future. City staff recently released a report that recommended adding up to 1,650 hectares to the urban boundary. This leads to a scenario where nearly half of new housing built by 2046 is on currently undeveloped land. However, if council was serious when it declared a climate emergency last year, it must reject the expansion and embrace a denser Ottawa, because urban sprawl is a catastrophe for the climate.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be a priority for city staff. Their report acknowledged council’s climate goals and desires to accommodate most growth through increased density, but still recommended expanding the suburbs. For context, their massive proposal is seven times larger than what council approved when it last considered the issue in 2009.

(...)The hopeful thing is people are starting to get it. Ecology Ottawa has a petition with more than 3,000 signatures calling on council to hold the urban boundary where it is. And fortunately, there are endless ways to accommodate growth without sprawl.


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