Committees approve policy directions for new Official Plan

OTTAWA – In a joint meeting today (Dec. 9), the city’s Planning committee and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee (ARAC) approved growth projections and preliminary policy directions that will be the basis for a draft new Official Plan.

“The new Official Plan will ensure Ottawa continues to adapt to current and emerging needs, opportunities and challenges,” city staff released in a statement. “A draft of the plan, to be tabled in October 2020, will rely on the newly approved growth projections, which outline Ottawa’s expected population, household and employment figures.”

By 2046, the population is expected to grow to 1.4 million, an increase from 2018 of 40 per cent, or 402,000 people. The number of private households is estimated to increase by 195,000 units for a total of 590,000 – a 48 per cent increase over 2018, and employment is projected to increase by almost 31 per cent over the same time period, adding 169,000 jobs for a total of 827,000.

The approved preliminary policy directions address six key themes:

  • Growth management – policies would encourage more growth through intensification than through expansion into new or undeveloped areas, promote growth around transit, encourage sustainable village expansion and consider housing and transportation affordability.
  • Energy and climate mitigation – policies would ensure climate change and energy conservation considerations are integrated into city planning guidelines, promote local energy generation, set new energy standards for buildings and reduce emissions through transportation and infrastructure.
  • Climate resiliency – policies would align with the Climate Change Master Plan to reduce the urban heat island effect, further reduce the risk and impact of flooding and encourage more resilient homes, buildings, communities and infrastructure.
  • Transportation and mobility – policies would aim to see more than half of all trips made by sustainable transportation. The City would pursue related policies as part of the coming Transportation Master Plan update.
  • Neighbourhood context – policies would establish a framework of six areas, including the downtown core, inner urban area, outer urban area, suburban area, rural area and Greenbelt, and policies would be tailored to each so that growth can better address neighbourhood context.
  • Economic development – policies would direct major employment to established hubs and corridors, support economic development in rural and village areas and establish a new economic zone centred on the airport.

Further public consultations are planned, including in early 2021 after the draft Official Plan is tabled. A final Official Plan would be adopted by council in mid-2021, with approval by the province before the end of that year.

City Council will consider the preliminary policy directions and growth projections on Wednesday, Dec. 11.