Draft report recommends creating a "Gold Belt" to limit sprawl

By Joanne Laucius, Ottawa Citizen, January 16, 2021

Two city council committees — planning and agriculture and rural affairs — are to meet on Jan. 25 to considerwhich lands should be inside Ottawa’s urban boundary.

It has been a contentious matter. Ottawa’s population is expected to grow to 1.4 million people in the next 25 years and to reach two million people by 2100, and the city has endorsed ambitious intensification goals.

In May, council voted 15-6 in favour of a growth plan that would add between 1,350 and 1,650 hectares of development land inside the urban boundary and set a residential intensification goal of 51 per cent between July 2018 and July 2046, increasing to 60 per cent between 2041 and 2046.

In a draft report released Friday, city planners used a scoring system to recommend approving 1,011 hectares of category 1 lands fornew neighbourhoods, encouraging growth near existing commercial areas and existing or planned transit hubs.

(...)The report recommends adding 140 hectares near Highway 417 at Carp Road and near Highway 416 at Barnsdale Road to Ottawa’s supply of vacant lands to accommodate industrial-related jobs.

It also recommends creating a “Gold Belt” similar to the Greenbelt created in the 1950s, consisting of agricultural land, natural areas and key mineral aggregate resource areas.

The Gold Belt would effectively create “ultimate boundaries” for the suburbs of Barrhaven, Riverside South, Stittsville and Orléans, limiting new urban expansion between the Greenbelt and the Gold Belt.  

“The intent of the inner boundary of the Gold Belt in the new official plan would be to contain, until the end of the century, all future urban expansions and any new communities,” the report said.

“This would also assist in preserving the unique identities of the city’s villages and ensure they are not overtaken by future urban expansions. Leapfrogging of the Gold Belt for new urban land would be prohibited in new official plan policy.”


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