Pellerin: Ottawa should boldly go where the Official Plan actually suggests

By Brigitte Pellerin, Ottawa Citizen, May 10, 2020

Challenges and setbacks do not build character, it’s often said. They reveal it. And I’m sorry to say the current pandemic is making it hard to deny that our municipal government is controlled by Timidity World Champions.

You know who’s bold? The French government, which agreed to a significant bailout of Air France, badly hurt by COVID-19, on the condition that the airline cancel domestic flights between cities where rail service is available.

Here, by sorry contrast, we’re still debating whether to open up more than a few short bits of roadway so pedestrians and cyclists can have safe areas to be outside and exercise while practising physical distancing. Even Toronto is taking action on this, for crying out loud.

And don’t get me started on the expansion of the urban boundary. It’s obvious we need more housing to accommodate the growth in population everybody expects in the next decade or two. But does it have to mean more sprawl — again — just because that’s the path of least resistance?

Sprawl is terrible for the planet, and it’s not great for humans either. Low-density, car-dependent neighbourhoods are perfectly designed to make people unhealthy and stressed out. Going with more of what we know doesn’t work is not leadership.

Connect with us