Report to/Rapport au :

Planning and Environment Committee

Comité de l'urbanisme et de l'environnement

and Council / et au Conseil

27 March 2006 / le 27 mars 2006

Submitted by/Soumis par : Councillor/Conseiller Georges Bédard
Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier / Quartier 12 Rideau-Vanier

Contact Person/Personne ressource : Councillor/Conseiler Georges Bédard
(613) 580-2482,

Rideau -Vanier(12)

Ref N°: ACS2006-CCS-PEC-0005



cash-in-lieu of parkland exemption






That the Planning and Environment Committee recommend Council approve that the portions of Sandy Hill and Lowertown other than those within the Central Area no longer be included in the area that is exempted from residential cash in lieu of parkland.


Que le Comité de l’urbanisme et de l’environnement recommande au Conseil municipal que les sections de la Côte-de-Sable et de la Basse-Ville qui ne font pas partie de l’aire centrale ne soient plus comprises dans la zone admissible au mécanisme de règlement financier des frais relatifs aux terrains à vocation de parc pour l’aménagement de lotissements résidentiels.


Downtown Action Plan Exemptions


On May 17th 2000 the old City of Ottawa adopted a Downtown Revitalization Action Plan.  This plan included a number of targeted measures including exemption from building permit and application fees, exemption from development charges in cooperation with the region, and exemption from the 5% parkland levies for residential developments of 50 units or less.  The limits of “downtown” for the purpose of most of these measures corresponded roughly to what was then Somerset Ward, bounded on the east by the Rideau Canal, with the exception of LeBreton Flats for the parkland exemption.


On January 9th 2002, the new City of Ottawa extended the exemptions from residential and commercial building permit and planning application fees and the residential cash-in-lieu of parkland levy to that portion of Ward 12-Rideau-Vanier between the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River.


Subsequently, by-law 2002-67 (sometime incorrectly referred to as 2001-67) implemented the cash-in-lieu exemption by amending the old by-law 255-2000


Subsequent Policy Changes


Most of the development charge and fee exemptions associated with the Downtown Action Plan have since been restored.  The cash-in-lieu of Parkland exemption, however, has not been amended.


The Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy (DOUDS), an initiative recommended in the Downtown Action Plan, later went into considerably more detail in describing an approach to the downtown area.


On April 27th 2005, as part of a comprehensive Official Plan Amendment to implement the Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy, policy 2c in Section 3.6.6  was changed from


Supporting the Mayor's Downtown Task Force and the Downtown Action Plan, which aim to promote a common vision, vitality and development in the downtown;


Implementing the Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy (DOUDS) to promote the liveability of the downtown, as described in policy 5 below;


At the same time, section 5.6 (Urban Design) was also modified to consider an undertaking for a public open space acquisition program.  The creation of new parks and open space is a major aspect of DOUDS.


Another policy change since the passage of the cash-in-lieu of Parkland exemption regards the use of the cash within the same community within which it is collected


On April 28th 2004 Ottawa City Council passed a motion saying:

That Council approve that a policy be developed to:

1. Provide direction and criteria for the negotiation of cash-in-lieu of parkland so that the park and recreation needs of the community in question are adequately addressed; and

2. Ensure that the funds raised from cash-in-lieu transactions are primarily earmarked for parkland acquisition and development in the area in which they were raised.


The city has had success in encouraging new residential development both in downtown and in adjacent neighborhoods, and the temporary exemption from various fees and development charges for a few years has had a role to play in the process.  Now that most of these fees have returned, exemption from cash-in-lieu of parkland alone does not make sense.  The next phase of the revitalization strategy is based on good urban design, not on general financial incentives.

Part of this new downtown urban design strategy requires the acquisition and improvement of open spaces to make the make the residential areas round downtown more liveable and to improve the quality of life for employees working downtown.

At the time that the parkland exemption was implemented, there was no policy governing which community would benefit from the money in the fund.  It was presumed that parkland and recreation facilities projects in these exempt neighborhoods would be paid for with monies collected from development projects in other neighborhoods.

With the new policy that will ensure that monies in the fund are spent in the same community as they are collected, this cross-subsidy between residential neighborhoods may no longer be possible.  If the exemption is maintained, the alternative would be to pay into the fund every year an amount equivalent to revenues foregone from the exemption, to be used for the benefit of Sandy Hill and Lower Town.

Cash-in-lieu of parkland and conveyance of land for parkland are important parts of the development approval process and are important mechanisms under the Planning Act for implementing the city’s urban design guidelines for infill housing.  The two mechanisms provide the city with tools to plan and negotiate improvements to public space and recreation when new development is proposed.

The Official Plan and the Human Services Plan (as well as the draft Greenspace Master Plan) recognize the importance of conveyance of land and cash-in-lieu of parkland to improve the recreational opportunities in the immediate area of new development and intensification.

In Sandy Hill and Lower Town, the total amount of private outdoor amenity space per person has been steadily declining and will continue to do so as a result of infill and other forms of intensification.  New publicly accessible open spaces, partly in the form of pocket parks, and recreation facilities are required to make these areas more liveable.

The proposed exemption is not intended to affect waiver of cash-in-lieu of parkland for non-profit housing under the city’s affordable housing policy, or for other specific classes of development such as brownfield redevelopment and colleges or universities.

With the coming of the new policy of spending cash-in-lieu of parkland in the community where it is collected, Sandy Hill and Lower Town will be at a disadvantage relative to other communities.  While it may be possible to trace the money accumulated in the appropriate reserve fund to individual neighborhoods, Sandy Hill and Lower Town have not contributed in 3 years, with the understanding that this would not affect the ability to withdraw from the fund.



Consultation is not required.




5% levy in reserve fund




Document 1   Map of the area




Staff will prepare an amendment to By-law 255-2000.