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Part A: The Land Use Plan

The Vision for Constance Bay

1.1 Introduction

The Community Plan implements the policies in the Ottawa Official Plan, which sets high-level direction for the entire City. The Community Plan indicates how these policies will be applied at the local level and provides sufficient detail for daily decisions and other matters. This Plan replaces the Official Plan that was adopted by the former Township of West Carleton in 1992.

1.2 The Community’s Vision for Constance Bay

The residents of Constance Bay are proud of their community. At the Visioning Workshop held in September 2004, participants indicated that they want a plan where Constance Bay will be recognized as a:

the Ottawa River and the Torbolton Forest

  • Residential community – not a tourist destination
  • Rural community with a small village flavour
  • Great place to live
  • Safe and healthy community
  • Riverfront community built around wonderful natural resources – the Ottawa River and the Torbolton Forest

1.3 Plan Objectives

The objectives for the Plan for Constance Bay were developed with the community at the Visioning Workshop. They are to:

  • Recognize that Constance Bay is a rural community with a small village flavour– not a tourist destination
  • Maintain the riverfront character of the community
  • Enhance the appearance of Constance Bay
  • Improve road, bicycle, pedestrian connections both inside and outside of the village
  • Provide better community services in the village
  • Provide additional recreational facilities and programs needed in the community
  • Preserve the Torbolton Forest and update its management plan
  • Protect the groundwater, the source of drinking water in the community
  • Develop a strategy to address the weed problem along the beach/in the Ottawa River
  • Establish a community protocol for use of the beach
  • Develop a management strategy for the water access points that are owned by the City
  • Ensure the safety of the residents through the development of an emergency measures plan
  • Create a plan that is practical and affordable

1.4 Achieving the Vision

This Community Plan is a plan of action that contains the strategies to achieve the objectives that have been articulated by all residents of Constance Bay - property owners, permanent residents and seasonal residents. The Community Plan provides direction and vision as to what the village will be like in the future. It contains the strategies required to turn objectives and values into achievable results. The Plan also recognizes that the City does not have the resources or expertise to implement all recommendations in this Plan. The success of the Plan will depend on partnerships with other departments, services, and agencies.

This Plan has two parts:

Part A – The Land Use Plan

  1. The Vision for Constance Bay
  2. Growth Management
  3. Land Use
  4. Linkages Inside and Outside the Village

Part B – Community Development Strategy

  1. Community Facilities and Recreational Facilities Needs
  2. Torbolton Forest
  3. Water Quality (Groundwater and Ottawa River)
  4. Water Access and Management of the Road Allowances
  5. The Beach at Constance Bay
  6. Implementation

A Community Plan provides a comprehensive set of measures and actions to direct decisions in the future. Much of the Plan relates to land use; however, other processes will be required to implement the Community Plan. Section 10 summarizes the actions required to implement the Plan.

Growth Management

The City of Ottawa Official Plan states that growth in the rural area will be directed to villages to enhance their vitality. Constance Bay is one of the designated villages in the Official Plan. Focusing growth in villages provides residents with better access to community facilities and services. Potential for growth (new development) exists in Constance Bay where there is vacant land within the village and where seasonal residences could be converted to permanent dwellings in the future. The village boundary is being amended to provide a better road connection from Allbirch Street to the Kilmaurs side road. This road, to be built through the subdivision process, would provide a second access into the Village in case of an emergency. Currently, Constance Bay Road provides the only access in and out of the village. The road alignment shown in the former West Carleton Official Plan is not feasible due to physical constraints (gulleys) and potential conflicts with a residence on Kilmaurs side road. The expansion of the village boundary to the west provides sufficient space to avoid the physical constraints and enables the road to be located so it will have less impact on the nearby residence.

2.1 Village Character

Village Character

The residents of Constance Bay want the Plan to respect the small community (village) atmosphere. They envision a residential community – not a tourist destination. They want a more complete community that offers more community and commercial services and better coordination of zoning to ensure that land uses are properly located.

Constance Bay is a unique community. Its defining elements are the views of the river and a streetscape that is dominated by large oak trees with houses and cottages set far back from the road. The large trees and thick shrubbery screen the houses from view.

Historically, the pattern and size of residential lots in Constance Bay were established by the cottage development that started in 1927. The older parts of the village were developed by plan of subdivision. Smaller lots (some less that 0.1 ha in size) characterize these older areas, located on both sides of Bayview Drive and Baillie Ave area. The new development that has occurred over the last 15 years has been developed on larger lots, most being in the 0.4 ha range. The defining characteristic of the residential development in Constance Bay, common to both old and new developments, has been the preservation of mature trees. Constance Bay is a community built in the forest, making it unique as a village community. The forest cover and the views of the Ottawa River from Bayview Drive are the defining features of the community. One of the objectives of this plan is to ensure that new development proceeds in a manner that is compatible with the existing village character.

There are limited development opportunities in Constance Bay. The Ottawa River and the Constance Bay Sand Hills Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) border the community on three sides. The ANSI, located in the centre of the peninsula, is designated by the Province to be protected in the long term. As a result of these features, the development area is limited to the ribbon of land between the Ottawa River and the Constance Bay Sand Hills ANSI.

Future development will occur in two ways:

  • In the existing developed area where existing cottages will be replaced by new homes
  • On undeveloped land in the village which will develop by plan of subdivision

The challenge is to ensure that new development is compatible and complementary with existing development.


  1. New development and redevelopment in Constance Bay should be compatible with existing development and the unique character of Constance Bay should be maintained.

2.2.Growth Potential

Growth Potential

According to the 2001 Census, the population of Constance Bay is 2,619. With limited potential for growth, the village will grow slowly over the next 20 years in two ways:

  • New development - the undeveloped land in the village will develop by plan of subdivision
  • Conversion of cottages to permanent homes - in the existing developed areas

Seasonal dwellings will continue to be converted into permanent residences and the existing vacant land within the village will be developed. There are 873 year-round dwelling units in Constance Bay. An additional 206 cottages may be converted to year-round dwellings in the future.


Seasonal Dwellings


Year-Round Dwellings


Total Dwellings

























There are 90 ha of undeveloped land in the village, which can accommodate new development. The undeveloped land and existing vacant lots in the village if, fully developed, have a potential for an additional 190 dwelling units, assuming one dwelling per lot.

Land requirements beyond this time frame should be considered as part of the overall development strategy for the City, which will take place as part of the review of the Official Plan. The City is required to review the growth management targets in the Official Plan every five years. The review of the targets in the Official Plan will be initiated in 2008.

The potential number of dwelling units that could be accommodated under build out is 1,270. At the current 3 persons per household, a total maximum population is projected to be 3,800.


  1. The land requirements for the Village of Constance Bay will be reviewed as part of the Official Plan Review process in 2008.

2.3 Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection

The community is built around two natural resources, the Ottawa River and the Torbolton Forest. The Plan contains policies to ensure that these resources are protected.

The undeveloped land within the village consists of both open non-forested land and forested natural areas. . Any new plans of subdivision will be supported by a tree preservation and planting plan and a landscaping plan to ensure that as much existing tree cover as possible is preserved.

The City will prepare an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to support the development provided for in the Community Plan. The EMP will provide guidance for how the undeveloped area shown as New Residential Development Area on Schedule A will proceed.

The EMP should identify the potential impacts of the future growth of Constance Bay on the natural environment and suggest mitigative measures to preserve significant natural features. The EMP will also recommend stormwater management and suggest measures to mitigate the impacts of new development on the receiving watercourses..


  1. An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) will be prepared for the new development area in Village of Constance Bay to:
    1. Recommend stormwater management options to mitigate the impacts of the new development on receiving watercourses;
    2. Recommend mitigative measures to protect significant natural features

Land Use

The City of Ottawa Official Plan was prepared within the broader context of the Ottawa 20/20 initiative to prepare the City to better manage growth and change over the next 20 years. The purpose of this Section of the Community Plan is to provide additional details for how the policies in the Official Plan will be interpreted or implemented in the Village of Constance Bay.

This Land Use Plan serves as a guide for the future development of all of the lands in the Village and updates and replaces the 1992 former Township of West Carleton land use plan. The land use policy areas are shown on Schedule A on page 36.

3.1 Village Commercial

At the Visioning Workshop, participants indicated that they felt that Constance Bay should be a more complete community that offered more community and commercial services. It was also suggested that there needed to be a better coordination of zoning to ensure that land uses are appropriately located. Over the years, there has been limited commercial development scattered in various locations in the village. There needs to be more focus for future development. There are two locations where more commercial development would be a benefit in the community. The commercial site on Constance Bay Drive at Willand Lane, which is located at the entrance to the village, provides the best location for a new village shopping area. The other site, which has limited potential for expansion, is in the core area of the village where a restaurant, gas bar, and general store are located.

Village Shopping Area

3.1.1 Village Shopping Area

The Village Shopping Area is intended to provide a location for new commercial development as well as providing space for community facilities such as a medical centre and day care.


  1. The zoning by-law will permit a shopping area, containing a shopping centre or one or more freestanding buildings with commercial and service uses to serve the village and surrounding community. Residential and large-scale highway commercial uses (such as automobile dealerships, building supply stores) will not be not permitted.
  2. Site plan agreements for any development will require trees (preferably oak trees where feasible) to be planted on Constance Bay Drive. The intent is to make Constance Bay Road a tree lined road.
  3. Parking lots should be located at the side or rear of buildings (where practical) so that as much of the building as possible fronts on Constance Bay Road.

3.1.2 Village Mainstreet

Village Mainstreet

Over time, development of commercial and community facilities in Constance Bay has been scattered throughout various locations in the village. There is one location near the entrance to the village where there is a small congregation of businesses, a restaurant (recently closed), gas bar, and store/liquor store that serve the needs of the village. This area, on Constance Bay Road at McConnell Lane, is one of the focal points of the village. The intent of this designation is to build on this focal point to allow it to gradually develop into an area that has a mainstreet atmosphere, similar to other villages in the City. The properties in this location are very small which means that the scale of development anticipated will be quite limited (small scale).


  1. The zoning by-law will permit a range of uses in the village mainstreet including commercial, institutional, and residential uses. Existing residences will continue to be a permitted use.
  2. The range of mainstreet uses will be appropriate to the scale and character of the village.
  3. The type and intensity of uses will be determined by a hydrological evaluation as part of the development review process.
  4. New development will be consistent with the village’s character, and will specifically:
    a) orient buildings to face Constance Bay Drive
    b) ensure windows and entries form the majority of the first floor façade.
  5. Parking requirements may be reduced in consideration of the small size of existing lots. On-street or shared parking will be considered to meet parking requirements.
  6. New commercial development should be located in such a way as to be pedestrian accessible, to encourage local residents to walk or ride bicycles to facilities.

3.1.3 Village Commercial

Village Commercial

The intent of this designation is to recognize existing commercial establishments in Constance Bay – the Lighthouse and the Point Restaurant, which should be recognized in the zoning by-law.


  1. Areas designated as Village Commercial will be zoned for commercial uses in the zoning by-law to recognize existing uses.

3.2 Institutional


The intent of this designation is to recognize existing institutional uses in Constance Bay. The Royal Canadian Legion is an important meeting place that is the centre for a number of community activities such as BBQs, suppers, darts, cards, bingo, etc. The other site is Saint-Gabriel Church, the only church in the community. The intent of this designation is to have these uses recognized in the zoning by-law.


  1. Areas designated as Institutional will be zoned for institutional uses in the zoning by-law.
  2. New institutional uses may be established by amendment to the zoning by-law provided:
    a) the property is on a collector road
    b) the site is suitable for private individual services (well and septic system) for the proposed use
    c) conflicts with adjacent residential uses can be mitigated (noise, traffic, buffering etc.).

3.3 Residential Areas

3.3.1 General

The residents want it to be known that Constance Bay is a great place to live. One of the objectives of this plan is to strengthen residential neighbourhoods and maintain village character. In addition to residential uses, uses that support and provide services to the neighbourhood are also permitted in residential areas. Commercial uses will not be permitted; they will be directed to the specific locations within the village.

Secondary dwellings, group homes, rooming houses, shelter accommodation, retirement homes, care facilities, garden suites, home-based businesses, public utilities, and wireless communication facilities will be permitted in the zoning by-law as per Section 3.1 of the Ottawa Official Plan which permits these uses in all residential areas (in villages and the urban area).

Historically, Constance Bay was developed as a seasonal community on small lots. Over time, seasonal cottages have been replaced by larger permanent homes. The lot coverage for a new dwelling should provide adequate space on the lot for servicing, landscaping and setbacks to both the street and the water.


  1. The use of lands designated Residential Area will be residential, predominantly detached dwellings. Appropriate institutional uses that support the residential area such as day nurseries, home-based businesses and parks will also be permitted. Commercial uses will not be not permitted.
  2. The zoning by-law will require lot coverage to reflect the low building-to-lot relationship to ensure that there is sufficient space on the lot to provide for servicing, landscaping and setbacks from the street and the water.

3.3.2 New Residential Development Area

New Residential Development Area

Constance Bay is a community built in the forest, making it unique as a village community. The forest cover and the views of the Ottawa River from Bayview Drive are the defining features of the community. One of the objectives of this plan is to ensure that new development proceeds in a manner that is compatible with the existing village character. Trees will be preserved wherever possible and where there is no tree cover, trees (preferably oak trees) will be planted. The part of Constance Bay Road that is within the village should be developed as a tree lined street. This can be achieved by requiring new development to preserve a vegetation buffer along Constance Bay Road in existing treed areas and by requiring trees to be planted along the road where no trees currently exist.


  1. Development will proceed on the basis of an Environmental Management Plan as described in Section 2.3 of this Plan
  2. New development will be supported by a tree preservation and protection plan as required by the Official Plan. As much natural vegetation as possible should be retained. For the treed areas along Constance Bay Road, a buffer of mature trees should be maintained.
  3. In areas where there is no tree cover (at the entrance to Constance Bay) on Constance Bay Road, tree planting with native species (preferably oak trees where feasible) will be required as a condition of approval. The intent is to make the part of Constance Bay Road that is within the village, a tree lined street.
  4. In order to protect groundwater resources in the village, new development will be supported by a hydrological study as described in Section 7.1 of this Plan.
  5. Zoning and subdivision plans should maintain large building setbacks from the street to allow a buffer of vegetation between the road and the dwellings.

3.4 Natural Environment Area

The Torbolton peninsula was formed 12,000 years ago from the sands carried in the enormous volumes of glacial meltwater flowing through the Ottawa Valley. As the meltwater entered the Champlain Sea a delta formed from the sands deposited from the weakened currents. The peninsula soon emerged as the volume of meltwater receded, exposing the sands to the forces of wind that shaped the dunes and hills. Small plants and animals that could colonize and tolerate the dry sandy and infertile soils began the process of natural succession. Over thousands of years, a forest environment developed that was as unique as the formation of the peninsula itself. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has identified the forest and the sand dunes as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI. The area is known as the Constance Bay Sand Hills ANSI. An ANSI is defined in the Provincial Policy Statement as “areas of land and water containing natural landscapes or features that have been identified as having life science or earth science values related to protection, scientific study, or education”.

Natural Environment Area

The ANSI is designated as a Natural Environment Area in the City of Ottawa Official Plan. This designation identifies sensitive areas where development could unduly stress ecological functions and where careful management, restoration, and enhancement are required. Development is not generally permitted in Natural Environment Areas although owners can build a house on an existing lot that fronts on a public road. While the majority of the Natural Environment Area is owned by the City of Ottawa (203 hectares), the designation extends beyond the publicly owned Torbolton Forest to land that is privately owned (60 hectares). Where the property is in private ownership, the City will consider land acquisition at the request of the landowner and a price will be negotiated based on an independent market value assessment as set out in Section 3.2.2 in the Official Plan.


  1. The Natural Environment Area is shown on Schedule A. Permitted uses include uses which do not adversely affect the natural characteristics of the area, such as open-air recreation; scientific, educational, or conservation uses associated with the features of the environmental area; existing agriculture operations; or forestry as defined by the Forestry Act.
  2. The part of the Natural Environment Area that is owned by the City, the Torbolton Forest, will be managed in a manner consistent with the objectives in the resource management plan as outlined in Section 6.1 of this Plan.
  3. Where the area designated as Natural Environment Area is in private ownership, the City will consider acquisition in accordance with the policies in the Official Plan.

3.5 Community Park

The community park area was first developed in the 1940s by Fred Baldwin as “The Casino”. The Constance and Buckham’s Bay Property Owners Association ran the Casino as a dance hall and centre for community social events. The Casino was demolished when the new community centre was built. Over the years, a wide range of community facilities have been added to the site and it is the main focal point for the whole community. The park now includes a community centre, library, softball and soccer fields, outdoor skating rink, skateboard park and playground. The area is extensively used and is the main meeting place in the community.

Community Park

The Community Park is bounded by the Natural Environment Area designated in the City of Ottawa Official Plan. The designation is based on the provincially significant Constance Bay Sand Hills ANSI as mapped by the Ministry of Natural Resources. The purpose of the Community Park designation is to recognize the existing use of the property and provide guidance for how the site should develop in the future.

Constance and Buckham’s Bay Community Association (CBBCA) has raised concerns about boundary of the Community Park and the Natural Environment Area. The CBBCA feels that additional land is required for the community park to provide for the future recreation needs of the community. The Natural Environment Area designation/ANSI limits the ability for the community park to be expanded in the future. The CBBCA has requested that the Community Plan be revised to provide for a process to review the land requirements of the community park and the possibility of expanding the existing facility.


  1. The Community Park will be developed as a passive and active park with recreational and sport facilities serving the needs of the Constance and Buckham’s Bay community in a manner that harmonizes with the natural setting.
  2. The precise boundary of the Community Park will be defined in the zoning by-law based on a review of the Natural Environment Area/ANSI boundary. The City will undertake an evaluation of the site in consultation with the MNR to determine the precise boundary of the ANSI and the Community Park which will be shown in the new zoning by-law
  3. The 5% parkland dedication for development within the New Development Area will be used to provide land for a new community park identified on Schedule A.

3.6 Flood Plain

The flood plain of the Ottawa River is at an elevation of 60.9 metres. The extent of the flood plain in Constance Bay is shown on Schedule A. The Plan contains policies to minimize the threat of injury, loss of life, property damage, and economic and social disruptions caused by flooding. The policies permit safe, compatible development in the reduced-risk parts of the flood plain, provided there are no adverse environmental impacts and the Mississippi Valley Conservation approves the proposal.

Flood Plain

The Mississippi Valley Conservation (MVC) has defined the flood plain in Constance Bay as two distinct zones, the “floodway” and the “flood fringe”. The “floodway” is defined as the area where development would not be permitted due to depths and velocities of floodwaters. The “flood fringe” is defined as the area where depths and velocities of floodwater may be safely overcome. An elevation of 60.9 m is used to differentiate between the floodway and flood fringe. Land below 60.9 m is in the floodway; land above 60.9 m is in the flood fringe. Development on existing lots of record may be considered in the flood fringe provided the building is adequately flood-proofed, subject to review and approval by the City and the MVC. The policies listed below indicate how the flood plain policies in the City of Ottawa Official Plan will be applied in Constance Bay.


  1. The policies for the Floodway and the Flood Fringe will apply to those areas shown on Schedule A.
  2. The extent of the flood hazards, for the purpose of implementing these policies, will be determined by consulting flood plain maps prepared by the Conservation Authority and, in conjunction with the MVC, considering other pertinent information such as land surveys and engineering drawings. In addition, the applicant may be required to provide sufficient information to establish whether the policies of this subsection are met.
  3. The City will not permit any building, structure or septic system in a Floodway, regardless of the underlying designation, except:
    a) Works and facilities related to flood and erosion control authorized under the environmental Assessment Act;
    b) Repairs and minor additions to buildings and accessory buildings may be permitted subject to approval of the MVC.
  4. The zoning by-law may permit repairs, minor additions, and new construction, in the Flood Fringe provided that:
    a) The zoning by-law has been prepared in consultation with the MVC and consideration is given to the need to issue a permit under the Fill, Construction and Alteration to Waterways regulations prior to the issuance of a building permit.
    b) The proposed development is permitted on Schedule A of this Plan.
  5. All new development and infrastructure in the Flood Fringe will be subject to the approval of the MVC.
  6. The following uses will not be permitted in the Flood Fringe and the Flood Way:
    a) Uses associated with substances of a chemical, hazardous or toxic nature in the flood plain, which could pose a threat to public health and safety if damaged as a result of flooding or the failure of flood-proofing measures.
    b) Institutional uses such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and childcare facilities that would pose a significant threat to the safety of the inhabitants (e.g., the sick, the elderly, the disabled or the young) if involved in an emergency evacuation situation as a result of flooding or failure of flood proofing measures.
    c) Uses associated with essential services, such as police, fire or ambulance stations that must continue to function during a flood emergency, if delivery of such services would be compromised.

Linkages Inside and Outside the Village

4.1 Emergency Access

At the Visioning Workshop, participants indicated that a second access into Constance Bay was needed in case of an emergency. This has been an issue in the community for a long time. There are two concerns with the current situation where there is only one access in and out of the village:

  • Difficulty achieving evacuation during a major forest fire or flood
  • Emergency vehicles being blocked due to major accident

The community has suggested various alternatives to provide a second access into Constance Bay. Two of these alternatives involve the construction of a new access road on the existing road allowances at either Buckham’s Bay (extension of Bishop Davis Drive), or Constance Creek (extension of Torbolton Road) to provide an additional access to the Village. Neither of these alternatives is recommended as both would be expensive and the City would be required to provide 100% of the funding. The most practical alternative is to require the remaining vacant land north of Constance Bay Road to be developed in a manner that would provide road links from Allbirch to Kilmaurs Road. The road could be built through the subdivision process at the developer’s expense.

The community has indicated that the development of an Emergency Measures Plan, addressing the special needs of Constance Bay, should be a priority. An Emergency Measures Plan would address emergency preparedness and the risk of a forest fire in the community.


  1. The Community and Protective Services Department will coordinate the development of an Emergency Measures Plan to address emergency preparedness and the risk of forest fire and flooding in the community.
  2. The location of a second access is shown on Schedule A. Construction should be reviewed in conjunction with the development of the lands within the New Residential Development Area leading to the extension of Kilmaurs Side Road. New plans of subdivision for these lands shall be designed to provide this necessary link to the road network.
  3. The requirements for the new road connecting to Kilmaurs Side Road described in policy 2 above the intersection at Dunrobin Road will be investigated through a traffic impact study that will be required to support the subdivision applications for the New Residential Development Area.

4.2. Road Network and Right-of-Way Protection

The collector roads in Constance Bay provide access to various destinations within the village. The collector roads include Constance Bay Road, Bayview Drive, Allbirch and Torbolton Roads. The existing right-of-way (ROW) is generally 20 metres and this width is protected in the City of Ottawa Official Plan.

Local streets carry less traffic and provide direct access to the neighbourhoods.


Collector Roads

  1. The collector roads will have protected rights-of-way of 20 metres as per Annex 1 of the City of Ottawa Official Plan.
  2. Streets
  3. The local street pattern should follow a grid or modified grid pattern where possible. Dead-end streets, long looping streets, and cul-de-sacs should be discouraged.
  4. A second access connecting Allbirch Street and Kilmaurs Side Road will be built through the subdivision process as shown on Schedule A of this Plan.

4.3 Pedestrian and Cycling Links

Pedestrian and Cycling Links

The community has indicated that it would like pedestrian and cycling links to be developed or improved in the community.

There are no sidewalks in the community. Paving the shoulder along the mainstreet in the community, Bayview Drive, would serve a dual function and be used by both cyclists and pedestrians.

Constance Bay is linked to the Major Recreational Pathway system that is shown on Schedule J of the City of Ottawa Official Plan. New development should be integrated into the existing pathway system in the Torbolton Forest and along Bayview Drive.


  1. When undertaking any roadwork or resurfacing of Bayview Drive and Constance Bay Road, the shoulder of the road should be paved and marked to provide for pedestrians and cyclists.
  2. When approving new developments, the City will seek opportunities to provide connections to the existing pathway system.