Algonquins come out sudden winners in urban boundary vote

By Kate Porter, CBC News Ottawa, January 27, 2021

One day after it appeared the Algonquins of Ontario would be left out entirely from the City of Ottawa's plans to expand its urban areas, city councillors voted to allot 445 hectares to the group.

The move would effectively launch a whole new outlying community of 45,000 near the Amazon warehouse, which the Algonquin and their developer partner, Taggart Group of Companies, call "Tewin."

City staff had determined the parcel was far away and scored so poorly it shouldn't even be considered for bringing inside the urban boundary. Staff had produced a map that would grow the city by way of small parcels at the fringes of existing suburbs and services.

Councillors on the planning and agricultural affairs committees were attracted to the idea of creating an entirely new, sustainable community from scratch — an area twice the size of Blackburn Hamlet, to start.

Even more important, they said, was to show their commitment to reconciliation with the Algonquin.

(...)Several councillors expressed concerns about the site, and Catherine McKenney didn't see how councillors had the information they needed to make such a big decision.

Staff had advised marine clay soil conditions might prevent building anything higher than four storeys, which could make construction at Tewin costly and could prevent dense neighbourhoods the city wants.

Tewin received a score of zero for servicing because no water pipes are nearby.

(...)In a separate decision, city councillors also approved letting in a large farm parcel near Riverside South, despite having voted last May to not allow future development on any agricultural land.

The area's councillor, Carol Anne Meehan, succeeded in swapping a piece of land further south for the Urbandale property north of Rideau River Road.

Not developing that Urbandale property would leave a big field between two new O-Train stations where the city wants people living close to transit, she argued.

Coun. Scott Moffatt countered that transit should not trump agriculture, and nothing in the area had changed since council gave its word last spring to protect farmland.

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