With amalgamation, we were promised thriving and prosperous villages in the rural area, but with so many restrictions, we were limited and could not see the growth we expected and looked forward to. It has become clear to the city that one size does not fit all, especially with the urban, suburban and rural areas across Ottawa.
Over the past 5 years I have been listening to your feedback and working with staff daily to fulfill these needs. This has been my commitment and drive, to open the doors of opportunity for our villages and general rural area to expand forward into the future, while retaining the beauty and uniqueness that our ward has to offer. I am very thankful for the input and consistent commitment and feedback contributed by Osgoode Ward Business Association (OWBA), Osgoode Ward Advisory Committee (OWAC), Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and other stakeholders. Endless hours were spent in public consultations and in round table discussions to get us to where we are today.
I am proud to announce the brand New Official Plan, that finally delivers new opportunities in livelihood and business ventures, previously restricted or not allowed.
I would like to highlight a few of the new policies for General Rural, Agriculture and Rural Natural Features that I have been working on.
General Rural, Agriculture and Rural Natural Features
- The city will be more flexible to permit wineries, breweries & distilleries, and associated activities as of right in General Rural and in Agriculture Resource areas – modeled on policies currently in use in Southern Ontario and Prince Edward County.
- The General Rural Area will permit more professional services and small-scale commercial activities provided they do not create a nuisance to surrounding properties. Although these uses have traditionally been encouraged to locate to in villages, the city recognizes that there is a need to provide convenient services to those living outside of a village including the traveling public.
- The city will consider expanded permissions for home occupations throughout the rural countryside and its villages that include a broader range of professional services and small-scale commercial activities. Home occupations would be subject to the use proposed such as the Ontario Building Code and Ottawa Public Health and must not create a nuisance to surrounding properties.
- Agriculture Resource Area policies will permit farmers to earn a second income, provided there is no adverse effect on the use of land for crops, which implements the Provincial guidelines on permitted uses in prime agricultural areas, setting the stage for quick implementation in the zoning by-law.
- The City will reassess its Rural Natural Areas land acquisitions program to identify opportunities to secure vulnerable habitat areas in public ownership, and opportunities for new major tree plantations. The city will work in collaboration with the Province of Ontario, Conservation Authorities and land trust organizers.
- The City will examine through the OP review the establishment of criteria, one of which will include no financial obligation to the municipality, for the extension of public services. The criteria may also consider being scoped geographically (e.g. city-wide vs. area-specific) or be context-specific (e.g. non-residential uses for an economic development opportunity).
- The City will examine through the OP review the extension of public services, through the Township of Russel, for the lands in the City designated General Rural at the Hwy 417 and Rockdale interchange. While the city may agree to the extension of services, their provision will be undertaken in conjunction with Township and solely at the cost of the benefitting landowners. The appropriate designation will be determined will be determined pending the discussion with the Township of Russell on the timing of services, the landowners on their desire to pay for the services, and a review on whether these lands are better suited for distribution, freight, logistics and warehousing.
Rural Economic Development
- The City will introduce, as part of the New Official Plan, revised or new policies to address rural design for Villages and rural roads which will seek to maintain and reinforce the uniqueness of rural place identity. These policies may, over time, extend into direction provided to right-of-way design.
- The city will explore the use of rural-focused CIPs to make use of grants and tax incentives to:
- Jumpstart business development and investment;
- Assist with place-making efforts in the city;s villages and hamlets;
- Advance agribusiness opportunities in the city’s agricultural areas (e.g. the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings, and former institutional properties);
- Incentivize on-farm diversification and value-added operations.
- The City will explore investment attraction opportunities for rural Ottawa, including rural employment lands, and develop appropriate promotional materials to market these lands.
- The City will, through urban expansion criteria, establish buffers around existing villages and hamlets in proximity to the urban area to ensure that the villages remain distinct over time.
- The city will conduct a Secondary Plan exercise after the adoption of the Official Plan to assess lands within the village boundaries of Greely and Vars and assess whether some lands with no potential for development should be removed and lands added to the boundary to make up for those lands taken out.
This brand New Official Plan is based on a 25-year planning horizon, which encompasses many areas of growth across the city and includes resident feedback we have received through engagements. I am very pleased to have seen the greatest engagement come from Rural residents as well as the City core.
Public Health is aiming to build communities where people can thrive – and help make the healthy choice the easy choice. These include; inclusive all ages communities, supporting development of sustainable and green communities, and developing walkable, 15-minute neighbourhoods.
Over 25 years, the population projections for 2045 is expected to be 1.4 million in the City of Ottawa and 2 million inn the greater Ottawa/Gatineau area.
Our growth management strategy is to achieve a majority of new residential units by intensification, to grow the city around the higher-order transit network, to embed housing and transport affordability in growth strategy, and to make the recommendation in March 2020 on the extent of anticipated urban expansion.
The strategy includes:
- Affordability – More choice with types of housing, locations, and transportation)
- Mobility – Transit, walking, cycling, carpooling. (More information in the Transportation Master Plan)
- Enhancement of small-scale economic opportunities
- Big moves for rural employment areas (see rural highlights)
- Improve stewardship of agriculture and environment
- New opportunities for villages as rural, walkable 15-minute neighbourhoods
Our Economic Development includes a new rural strategy, which offers more flexibility to provide services and support new business opportunities. Farmers can have a secondary income provided it does not impact current farming operations.
Official Plan Implementation
- Master Plans
- Provincial statement
- Project timelines
- Engagement details
Draft New Official Plan tabled October 2020
Adoption of New Official Plan by council June 2021
Approval by Municipal Government November 2021