CITY HALL – As council continues to work in the City of Ottawa’s updated Official Plan, city staff are seeking input from the residents that pay the bills.
“The City of Ottawa is seeking your input as we develop a New Official Plan that will guide the physical development of Ottawa until 2046,” city staff released in a statement today (Nov. 23).
A draft of the new Official Plan is now available for review and comment at ottawa.ca/newop.
“On the city’s website you will find a series of short surveys, arranged by theme, to help guide your feedback depending on your areas of interest,” staff said. “You’re welcome to offer feedback on any or all surveys. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Some of the themes of the survey include:
- Intensification vs. Regeneration: Moving away from the term intensification, which narrowly describes development based on density, the New Official Plan introduces the term regeneration to better consider how neighbourhoods evolve in terms of housing options, design, tree protection, commercial development, roads and transit, and access to community facilities.
- Urban boundary expansion: Within the 26-year timeframe of the new Official Plan, Ottawa will need about 195,000 new dwelling units to house more than 400,000 new residents, based on population projections, and we’ll need to add more land to our urban area to accommodate that growth.
- Climate emergency: The new Official Plan will be key to helping Ottawa reduce emissions and prepare for future climate conditions. Policies will encourage opportunities to develop local energy supplies, buildings that require less energy, communities that minimize the need to travel and systems that reduce reliance on personal vehicles.
- Affordable housing: With housing challenges affecting more people than ever, the new Official Plan will need to support diverse needs – from emergency shelters to rental apartments to houses – and encourage approaches that produce the kinds of housing most needed in a neighborhood.
- Infrastructure: As Ottawa grows, the new Official Plan will ensure there’s enough infrastructure capacity in the right areas and at the right time to accommodate development.
- Hubs and corridors: New area designations in the new Official Plan will consider the context of how people live in and use them, and how they will evolve. Located across the city, hubs are the most densely developed areas of town, linking to other hubs and downtown via rapid transit and corridors. Corridors are more developed than neighbourhood streets nearby, and provide a variety of services, jobs and housing, while feeding into hubs and rapid transit.
- Greenspace: As an essential component of liveable neighbourhoods, the New Official Plan will protect and improve public greenspaces and keep them accessible to all urban residents. It also encourages a connected network of natural areas in rural Ottawa to support biodiversity and resiliency to climate change, reduce flood risks, protect drinking water and support the rural economy.
“This is an exciting opportunity to reimagine Ottawa – with a focus on building a city for those who come after us,” Mayor Jim Watson said. “I believe with your input we can make Ottawa a resilient place to call home and build a city that serves residents for decades to come.”
The city will collect feedback on the draft New Official Plan until Wednesday, Feb. 17, incorporating input into an updated version of the draft that will be presented in the spring of 2021 for discussion at a joint meeting of the city’s Planning committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee. After that, city council will consider the new Official Plan in the fall of 2021 and, once approved, it will go to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for final provincial approval.
Coun. Eli El-Chantiry says the rural residents of the city will play an important role in the design of the Official Plan.
“Given its size, rural Ottawa plays an incredibly important role in the success of this city, which is part of the reason why our rural residents are so engaged and have such a strong vision for the future of their communities,” El-Chantiry said. “As chair of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee and a councillor for a rural ward, I encourage Ottawa’s rural residents to take this opportunity to have your say in this New Official Plan.”