Councillors aim to take farmland off table in boundary debate

By Kate Porter, CBC News Ottawa, May 11, 2020

A highly anticipated city meeting about whether to expand Ottawa's urban boundary kicked off Monday morning with a move to take all prime farmland off the table.

The two committees responsible for planning issues will meet for hours, if not days, to discuss the city's second attempt at urban expansion since amalgamation nearly two decades ago.

City staff have asked councillors to approve adding 1,281 hectares of rural land to the urban area to meet a population that's expected to grow to 1.4 million people by 2046. Those 400,000 additional citizens will require an estimated 195,000 new homes.

Additional land could be assigned to future warehouses, industrial parks and logistics centres near 400-series highway interchanges.

Agriculture and rural affairs committee chair Eli El-Chantiry tabled a motion to exclude all prime farmland from those calculations.

"By being explicit about this, we offer more certainty for our farmers and for food security in Ottawa," said El-Chantiry, who pointed out provincial laws require the city to protect farmland.

Connect with us