Council approves urban boundary expansion, big intensification goal

By Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen, May 28, 2020

The City of Ottawa will grow out, and continue to grow up, over the next 26 years.

More than 1,000 hectares of homebuilding land will be added to the outer edges of Ottawa’s suburbs and high-density developments will be encouraged in existing neighbourhoods now that city council has endorsed a growth plan to accommodate 402,000 more residents.

Council voted 15-6 on Wednesday to add between 1,350 and 1,650 hectares of development land inside the urban boundary and to set a residential intensification goal of 51 per cent between July 2018 and July 2046. That means the city will attempt to establish more than half of all new homes in established communities, with the intensification goal climbing to 60 per cent between 2041 and 2046.

The residential land added inside the urban boundary would make up 1,281 hectares and the rest would be for employment land, with the exact amount of employment land determined after a staff study.

(...)On the other side of the vote, Coun. Rawlson King said the city needs a “clean break” from past planning practices and concentrate more on intensification, especially since there’s no city data informing council how much it will cost taxpayers to expand the suburbs.

Adding expanses of land for development on the fringes of the suburbs would usually draw demonstrations at city hall, particularly from environmentalists. But the COVID-19 era has thwarted any mass protests, except for internet rallies, social media posts and a petition with 3,720 names of people demanding council freeze the urban boundary.

(...)Several public delegates criticized the city for backing an expansion of the urban boundary, fearing urban sprawl will damage the environment, increase car dependence and fuel property tax increases.

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