The City is rewriting its Official Plan. That is the strategic document which describes how the city will grow over time, where we will place major infrastructure, and what policies will be in place to support economic growth. It is also a guide to the development and evolution of our communities. Your FHACA board was recently invited for a preliminary introduction by city staff.
The purpose of this review is to position Ottawa to be flexible, resilient, and, above all, a city where people want to live, work, and play. This new plan will take us to the year 2046, but it also seeks to set the stage for the City and Region to reach a population of two to three million people. That is 2 to 3 times as many people as we have now.
5 Big Moves
The city wants to focus on five major statements, called the ‘5 Big Moves’. The city released a high level document with contributions from many city planners. It doesn’t mean that all those plans are implemented though, it is an overview what we could do to accommodate the growth in a responsible way. We are currently in a stage where the city does an inventory of what other cities do and what our residents want. In this document you can read about best practices in other cities in the world which our city could implement too.
What are those five big moves?
Growth: More growth inside the city rather than using valuable agricultural land for food production. Currently 50% of the housing is built through intensification, rather than building in green pastures. That is a very good number already. The city has changed zoning in order to build much higher near LRT stations for example.
Mobility: Make it easier for people to walk, bicycle and use public transport or a combination of these means of transportation, called ‘multi modal’. The city would like to see more than 50% of the trips done by these means of transportation in order to keep our motorized traffic flowing too.
Urban Design: better community design, respecting the village feel of the rural villages and building near transit stations. We can also consider more mixing of living and working.
Resiliency: Embed public health, environmental, climate and energy resiliency into the framework of our planning policies. One can think of places to temporarily store rainwater and add solar panels to large buildings. Also think of communities where nothing is further than a 15 minute walk and more tree canopies to provide shade.
Economy: Embed economic development into the framework of our planning policies such as further developing the airport.
Many best practice ideas
At this time, the plan is still very abstract with lots of ideas. It contains many best practices from other places in the world. City council will eventually vote on the actual plan, no doubt with lots of pushing and pulling by many stakeholders. If you want to read more, we recommend you read the 24 pages PDF file, which you can find here. Alternatively, you could go to a talk at the Ottawa Public Library Main Library downtown on October 8 at 7:30 pm. Here is more information on the talk by Alain Miquelez.