Rural landowners ask city for right to develop properties

By Kate Porter, CBC News Ottawa, January 25, 2021

Property owners and developers whose lands didn't make the City of Ottawa's cut for being included inside a new urban boundary tried to make the case Monday for why they should be let in.

City staff released a map of which 1,011 hectares should be urbanized to meet the needs of a growing population, and nearly 50 people weighed in during a joint meeting of the planning and agricultural affairs committees.

(...)The Algonquins of Ontario were the first to address councillors, and argued they should be allowed to develop a vast parcel of some 2,000 hectares in the rural south-east now, instead of waiting years longer.

They have been working with developers Taggart on a sustainable community of up to 45,000 residents they call Tewin, and have held several meetings with the city.

(...)Coun. Eli El-Chantiry praised the idea as a way to protect food production and keep urban areas from encroaching on rural villages through to the end of the century.

But many delegations said the "Gold Belt" came as a surprise that could cause home owners to move beyond Ottawa's city limits.

"Are we setting ourselves up for leapfrogging yet again? Are Carleton Place and Rockland going to send us a thank you card because now they can have that many more residents interested in coming?" asked Kevin Yemm, vice-president of land development for Richcraft.

Others welcomed the idea, but worried the Gold Belt left large gaps where tens of thousands more homes could be built. 

"It's more like a very loosely fitted sash. This worries me," said Daniel Buckles of A People's Official Plan for Ottawa's Climate Emergency.

Councillors will reconvene Tuesday to ask questions of staff and vote on recommendations.

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