The new Official Plan must be Ottawa’s climate emergency plan. Hold the Line is a necessary city-wide initiative to adequately respond to the Climate Emergency. 

Future development needs to reach a 64% share of intensification in order to hold the urban boundary line where it is today. The city’s Official Plan proposal only reaches a 51% share of intensification and 49% greenfield development.

Timeline

Spring 2019 – Ottawa City Council declares a climate emergency

A historic moment for Ottawa which represents a shift towards a better future for the city.

March 2019 – Ottawa launches the new Official Plan review

This becomes recognized as one of the most important policy decisions to pass through City Council this term, and likely in many years.

The Official Plan document is the city’s core policy used to determine how Ottawa will grow and develop over the next 26 years (until 2046). Within the document is a review of the city’s urban boundary line.

Summer 2019 – Ecology Ottawa launches the Hold the Line Campaign

The new Official Plan document houses some of the most environmentally significant policies for the city of Ottawa. If the city hopes to meet its climate change goals and reduce pollution, the urban boundary has to stay where it is. Urban sprawl, caused by the expansion of a city’s urban core has serious impacts on air pollution, biodiversity, and community health.

Winter 2019 – Ecology Ottawa begins meeting with councillors.

Over the course of several months, Ecology Ottawa met with many councillors including, Laura Dudas, Theresa Kavanagh, Rawlson King, Catherine McKenney, Jeff Leiper, Jan Harder, Allan Hubley, Glen Gower, and Scott Moffatt.

May 8th, 2020 – Ecology Ottawa host a virtual Hold the Line Rally

Just days before the vote, Ecology Ottawa hosted an online rally with over 500 attendees. This event marked the official hand-over of the Hold the Line Petition which contained more than 4000 signatures.

 

May 11th – The Joint ARAC and Planning committee meeting begins its three-day session

Over the course of two full days of delegations, Ottawa showed how much the issue mattered. The majority of the delegations supported a no-expansion scenario. Speakers included Ecology Ottawa’s very own Executive Director Robb Barnes.

The week before the Vote

In the week leading up to the vote, Ecology Ottawa hit the ground running. In partnership with many other organizations across the city, we hosted 2 webinars, picked up the phones and made hundreds of calls, ran ads, and published an op-ed to spread the word.

May 27th – City Council Votes to Expand

Despite Months of effort, the motion for no-expansion was rejected in an 8-13 vote. The decision to expand meant the addition of 1650 hectares of land to the urban boundary (A space larger than the size of Somerset and Capital Wards combined).

A once-in-a-generation opportunity

The new Official Plan must be Ottawa’s climate emergency plan. Hold the Line is a necessary city-wide initiative to adequately respond to the Climate Emergency. 

Future development needs to reach a 64% share of intensification in order to hold the urban boundary line where it is today. The city’s Official Plan proposal only reaches a 51% share of intensification and 49% greenfield development.

The new Official Plan is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the city to hold the line on sprawl by embedding strong intensification targets and ensuring that the urban boundary is not expanded. This will protect vast swaths of greenfield land – vital natural areas and farmland – for generations to come. 

Urban sprawl will promote car-centric development moving Ottawa further away from a sustainable future. Intensification will allow to improve current infrastructure and public transportation and will help build healthy foundation for future greener development.

Besides the obvious environmental consequences, city expansion has economic, social and health implications for the residents.

The Fight isn’t Over

While the vote to implement a smart intensification target failed, there is still much work to be done! Ecology Ottawa will continue to push for smart growth that will result in a better and greener future for Ottawa.

Keep your eye out for upcoming events, meetings, and initiatives from us. There will be plenty of opportunity to continue to get involved for those of you who want to help make Ottawa the green capital of Canada.

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