Developers urged city to consider their lands in urban boundary expansion

By Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen, January 16, 2021

The city received nearly 50 submissions from developers or their consultants making cases for including their lands inside an expanded urban boundary as municipal planners decided the best candidates for joining the growing suburbs.

Now that council has decided how much more land should be brought inside the urban boundary, it needs to figure out which lands will receive the honour of becoming part of suburban Ottawa.

(...)The city is using criteria and scoring system to determine which lands should be included in the urban boundary. In general, the properties should be in close proximity to public transit and have existing or planned municipal infrastructure, such as water services, wastewater services and roads.

The city has found 1,011 hectares of land that should be brought inside the urban boundary, but the council-approved direction calls for 1,281 hectares to be added to the urban area.

(...)The staff also report 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 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.”

On Saturday, Ecology Ottawa expressed criticism of the city’s intention to limit future urban expansions, saying that, without stronger policies, it was just a “mirage.”

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