Committees approve lands for new neighbourhoods

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Ottawa’s Planning Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee have approved extending Ottawa’s urban boundary – the line that divides suburban and rural Ottawa – to include 836 hectares of land for new neighbourhoods.

The committees also recommended adding 140 hectares of industrial lands. Using council-approved evaluation criteria, city planning staff scored blocks of land to accommodate new neighbourhoods, prioritizing those next to existing communities. The committees approved the selected lands, which would encourage growth near existing commercial areas and existing or planned transit hubs.

The committees also provided direction about how to select additional lands needed to meet the 1,281 hectares for expansion that council approved in May 2020. Staff presented several options and the Committees directed them to do a focussed analysis of a new satellite community east of Leitrim and west of Carlsbad Springs, with Algonquin land interests, referred to as Tewin – the Algonquin word for home.

The committees also approved further protecting agricultural lands by establishing a Gold Belt outside the urban boundary, which would protect more than 53,000 hectares from development, making it 3.5 times bigger than even the Greenbelt. Named to reflect harvest colours, the proposed Gold Belt includes agricultural resource lands, natural areas and mineral aggregate resource areas. Together, they create an additional boundary for communities like Barrhaven, Riverside South, Stittsville and Orléans.

This Gold Belt would be an additional policy tool to limit outward growth in Ottawa for the rest of the century. Leapfrogging over the Gold Belt would be prohibited. Existing lands between the Greenbelt and the Gold Belt meet Ottawa’s immediate growth needs.

Recommendations by the committee will rise to council on February 10.

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