An unprecedented video-linked joint session of Planning and Agricultural and Rural Affairs committees on the proposed expansion of the urban boundary took place this week. Public delegations were included on zoom, a first for City of Ottawa meetings. Many other residents followed via live-stream.
The incredible 11 hour long hearing on Monday, May 11th, followed by a nearly 8 hour long session the next day, included a City staff report and over 100 delegations.
The City staff presentation recommends a "balanced scenario". In this scenario, 51% of future to 2046 growth will occur through infill, the rest through an expansion of the existing urban boundary. The other possibilities were maintaining the status quo, with a lower intensification rate, or not expanding the urban boundary at all and accommodating all growth within the current boundary.
Over 100 speakers then had five minutes each to express their views after which they answered councillors' questions. A wide array of opinions left councillors on the two committees with much to think about. Councillor Jeff Leiper is the only urban ward councillor on Planning Committee. Our own councillor, Shawn Menard, while not a member of Planning Committee or of ARAC, sat through the two marathon sessions of the hearing and asked many questions as did Councillor Catherine McKenney.
OSCA sent a letter to the joint committees expressing opposition to the expansion of the urban boundary and seeking greater community input in the processes leading to the policies that will form the new Official Plan.
Please see the attachment to read the OSCA letter.