Ottawa has changed dramatically since it was incorporated in 1855, when it was a small lumber town of 16,000 people. This year, the City of Ottawa will reach one million people and the Ottawa-Gatineau Metropolitan region will reach 1.5 million people.
And the pace of change accelerating. What will Ottawa look like as it grows over the next century? How do we make sure that we can keep pace and adapt to change in a way that makes Ottawa an inclusive, liveable and globally competitive city?
We have an opportunity to prepare for the future with a brand new Official Plan: the strategic document that guides our city’s growth and development. The plan impacts how and where the city will grow around us, now and for years to come. It establishes a policy framework that will inform the shape of the communities where you live, work and play. The scope of the plan may reach as far as the middle of this century and will affect generations to come.
Planning for the future
We want Ottawa to grow to be the most liveable mid-sized city in North America. Our Official Plan can help us seize future opportunities and be resilient in the face of unexpected challenges.
To lay the foundation for the new Official Plan, we have worked with stakeholders to identify the economic, environmental, technological and social forces that will influence the city over the coming decades. The resulting report, Ottawa Next: Beyond 2036 [7.1 MB PDF] explores scenarios describing the plausible impacts these forces may have on how Ottawa grows and changes in the future.
We need to consider these scenarios as we develop the new Official Plan, to ensure that Ottawa will be more adaptable, resilient and innovative as it prepares for the future. This city will evolve because of the decisions we make now, and that will help us be prepared for whatever the future brings.
The Official Plan review process
The review of the Official Plan will be done as required by the Planning Act and Provincial Policy Statement, 2014, and will run in coordination with the reviews of the Infrastructure Master Plan, Transportation Master Plan and the Development Charges By-law. All aspects of the Official Plan will be reviewed and updated, including secondary plans for urban neighbourhoods and rural Villages.
The review will take place over the course of three years, as follows:
We are beginning with extensive public consultation in 2019, collecting feedback from across the entire city. In the first half of the year, we will seek residents’ input on discussion papers about important issues facing the City.
Building on the outcome of the public consultations, staff will present draft policy directions for the Official Plan at a special meeting of Planning Committee, with a request that the committee direct staff to prepare a draft Official Plan. A draft Official Plan will be tabled at Planning Committee and Council late in 2020.
There will be more opportunities for public consultation on the draft Plan through 2021. The Official Plan is scheduled to be adopted by City Council late in 2021.
Following adoption by Council, the Plan will be sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Ministry would then take up to six months to review and approve the Official Plan. Approval by the Ministry is expected by mid-2022.