Ottawa’s New Official Plan Has Finally Been Approved


Under provincial law, the provincial decision on the official plan is final and without appeal, and is now effective as amended.

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The City of Ottawa’s new Official Plan has been approved by the provincial Minister of Housing — with some major changes imposed.

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These include further widening of Ottawa’s urban boundaries to the east, west and south of the city; higher height provisions for buildings along minor corridors; and the removal of policies aimed at protecting existing rental units.

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The city’s urban boundaries define the area in which urban development – complete with major roads, public transit, and sewer and running water service – is permitted, and its expansion is a high-stakes decision for residents. developers and landowners.

The new official plan will guide the city’s development through 2046. It was approved by city council in a 21-2 vote more than a year ago and submitted to the province for final approval shortly time after.

A total of 30 changes were made to the plan before Housing and Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark approved it on Friday, with the decision statement noting that steps have been taken “to address issues related to protection provincial highways, protecting wetlands, housing monitoring and increasing the supply of housing.

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A 175-hectare parcel in Kanata’s north-south walking area, which was removed from the city boundary expansion proposed by staff by councilors in 2021 to make way for the controversial community of Tewin, has been added. Tewin remains, despite some speculation that he will be rejected by the province.

The other new expansion lands are in the areas of Stittsville (31 hectares), Riverside South (106 hectares), Findlay Creek (200 hectares) and North Orleans (37 hectares).

In a statement released Friday, the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association (GOHBA) said the decision to extend the urban boundaries by an additional 550 hectares and the extension of height clearances along minor corridors were « necessary and welcome steps to increase the supply of housing in Ottawa.

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A 2020 council decision to expand the urban boundary by 1,281 hectares of residential land was in dispute, so this provincial choice to push it back even further is likely to draw a lot of criticism from those worried about the economic and environmental costs of sprawl.

There is, however, no formal way for critics to do anything about it.

Under provincial law, the Minister’s decision on the Official Plan is final and without appeal, and is now in effect as amended.

GOHBA President David Renfroe called the City of Ottawa’s population growth projection of 400,000 people within the 25-year time frame of the new official plan « too low. » Between the closing of the gap between the city’s and the province’s population projections through 2046 and a new housing target the province announced for Ottawa (and 28 other municipalities) last week, further expansion of urban boundaries was a « natural result, » Renfroe said.

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With respect to more generous height allowances along so-called « minor corridors », the amended official plan allows up to nine storeys in the downtown area and six in the inner and outer urban area of ​​the city. Greenbelt.

Among other changes written into the plan by Clark is the deletion of an entire section devoted to setting conditions on the destruction of rental housing, including space for the city to adopt a framework requiring the replacement of these units when they are demolished, which the council is considering and which Toronto has had in place for years.

The province is currently consulting on options to “standardize and clarify” municipal powers to regulate tenant demolition and conversion,to ensure consistency and rationalize the construction and revitalization of the supply of new housing.

It’s part of a larger package of controversial legislative and regulatory changes, unveiled by the provincial government last week, to address what Clark described as a « housing supply crisis » in Ontario.

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