On May 27th 2020, the mayor and a majority on Ottawa City Council voted to dramatically worsen urban sprawl. Council’s vote marks a major setback for every one of Ecology Ottawa’s priority areas – from climate action, to biodiversity and greenspace protection, to the viability of transit and active transportation in our city. Fighting sprawl was the most important thing Ottawa city council could have done to take action on the climate crisis.
“75% of new housing in Canada over the past decade has been built as sprawl”Declaration for Resilience
That said, changing how we plan our city has the potential to transform our transportation system (responsible for 44% of Ottawa’s emissions) as well as the types of building we use (responsible for 45% of Ottawa’s emissions).
Even with the major setback of the city’s proposed urban boundary expansion, an ambitious uptake of policies that build walkable, 15-minute neighbourhoods will combat urban sprawl while making our city more livable. Building complete communities also protects greenspace and farmland, makes transit and active transportation more viable, and can dramatically improve quality of life for all residents of our city!
“Our current urban form has detrimental effects on new Canadians, Indigenous people, racialized populations, and lower-income workers—groups that have disproportionately suffered from the effects of homelessness and gentrification, growing racial- and class-based segregation of neighbourhoods within cities, and disproportionate rates of working poverty in Canadian cities.”Declaration for Resilience
Over the next two years, the city has a massive opportunity to embed ambitious 15-minute neighbourhood elements within major new policy documents and processes, including the Official Plan, the Transportation Master Plan and the Zoning By-law review.
The People’s Official Plan group (see below) is hoping to work with multiple different neighbourhoods across the city to help determine where the City can plan to adapt, change, and build new or improved communities. We need your input!
Need to know more? What is a 15-minute neighbourhood? What 15-minute neighbourhoods do we have in Ottawa? What does this mean for my neighbourhood? What does this mean for my property value? What does this mean for my local greenspace and parks?
Want to volunteer? Email email@example.com
The People’s Official Plan is a group of community-based organizations have come together (face-to-face and online) to influence the shape of Ottawa’s new Official Plan and related City Council decisions. We have two common concerns. First, that the new Official Plan is not moving far enough and fast enough on the climate emergency. Second, that the City’s consultation process is missing the opportunity to co-create this important public policy with people rather than for people.
Head to ottawaclimatesolutions.net to read more about what we’ve been doing and learning from the communities across Ottawa since Spring 2019.