WEST CARLETON – While the city proposed Gold Belt had a short lifespan and little actual change to current agricultural land policy, the Carleton Landowners Association (CLA) is happy to say good riddance.

The Gold Belt idea popped up during a joint committee meeting between the city’s Planning and Agriculture and Rural Affairs (ARAC) committees early in January while councillors discussed which lands would be added to the city’s urban boundary. It was a way to, as the city said, protect agricultural lands from development for the foreseeable future.

The idea went over like a lead balloon with the rural community according to ARAC chair Coun. Eli El-Chantiry based on the feedback he received, and was promptly scrapped by council last week.

CLA President Tim Mount is happy to see it go.

“Those of you who live or have land in the rural part of the City of Ottawa are probably aware staff had introduced the concept of a Gold Belt covering many hectares of land,” Mount released in a statement today (Feb. 18). “This concept was introduced with no public consultation and very little notice to developers and residents. We are happy to report opposition from the CLA and other organizations and rural residents resulted in council unanimously voting to drop the concept.”

Mount says it was the cumulative work of CLA members and other stakeholders that made the scrapping possible.

“I want to express my congratulations and thanks to our CLA members for working very effectively together in our efforts to call and write to our mayor and councillors regarding the Gold Belt proposal,” Mount said. “Thankfully, council decided to abandon the Gold Belt concept at (the Feb. 10 council meeting). Together we made a difference. We can accomplish great things by staying informed, sharing what we’ve learned with each other, and raising our voices effectively in the virtual City Halls, on social and mainstream media platforms, and by word of mouth with our family, friends and neighbours. Just think, we accomplished this without having to stand in the cold to protest.”