The environment is the collection of support systems that makes the lives of humans and other species possible. It is the air we breathe, the ground beneath our feet, the water we drink, and the energy that heats our homes and powers our society. The environment is not only the tangible elements of earth, air, water and energy, but also the processes that maintain these elements and the interactions that occur among them. These processes and interactions can be local or global in nature. The challenge in planning for the environment is to anticipate how these processes and interactions are affected by human activity and to act so that their integrity can be preserved under changing conditions.
Typically, change occurs through small steps, each one of which may have little impact on the environment but that – taken together – may have large and unplanned cumulative effects. Thus environmentally-sensitive planning occurs at two levels: policies that govern land development can anticipate and address effects at the individual site level, while large-scale plans covering whole ecosystems (such as watershed plans) can assess cumulative impacts and overall ecological health. This Plan contains both types of planning.
Natural features, groundwater and surface water systems cross municipal boundaries. The City will undertake environmental studies in partnership with the Conservation Authorities and neighbouring municipalities, recognizing that the municipalities share the same natural systems, and impacts on those systems. Arising from their historic and continuing use and knowledge of the rivers within the city, the Algonquins of Ontario have a fundamental interest in matters relating to the protection and utilization of historic waterways (e.g. Ottawa River, Rideau River, Mississippi River, Jock River, and Carp River) throughout the City of Ottawa. Hence, the City will engage the Algonquins in discussions concerning the preparation of environmental studies affecting natural features, groundwater and surface water associated with these waterways. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, July 21, 2011]
The Official Plan is one of several municipal plans that contribute to environmental quality within the city:
- The Transportation Master Plan, with its mandate to support walking, cycling and transit, has a pivotal role in reducing the city’s energy consumption, improving air quality, and minimizing the overall demand for land and other resources.
- The Infrastructure Master Plan, with its mandate to support growth through the provision of safe and sustainable water, wastewater and stormwater services, plays an important role in the protection of the city’s rivers and streams.
- The City’s Corporate Plan guides the actions the City can take as a corporation to support environmental sustainability.
- The Environmental Strategy sets a broad framework for the environment, including energy use; air, soil and water quality; climate change; land use and management; biodiversity; and waste generation and management.
The Official Plan protects and enhances the quality of the environment in the city by:
- Improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
- Identifying and protecting natural features and prime agriculture land and ensuring mineral resources are used carefully;
- Planning on the basis of the natural systems defined by watersheds;
- Managing groundwater resources;
- Planning for forests and other greenspaces.
The City also adopts policies outside these plans to support human health and the health of the environment. In 2004 the City adopted a corporate policy prohibiting the cosmetic use of chemical pesticides on City outdoor property. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, July 21, 2011]
2.4.1 – Air Quality and Climate Change
Good air quality is critical to maintaining environmental and human health. Air quality concerns in Ottawa relate primarily to particulate matter, resulting largely from transportation sector emissions.
Air quality and climate change are related issues, in that they share some common causes and solutions in the context of land-use planning. Climate change is one of the critical environmental challenges facing the world and measures to both reduce GHG emissions (mitigation) and prepare for the impacts of climate change (adaptation) need to be incorporated into all levels of City decision-making including the Official Plan and related Master Plans.
The City has made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both corporate operations and at the community level. Emissions are monitored and targets set and revised through the Environmental Strategy and the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan.
The Official Plan makes a significant contribution to reducing emissions and adapting to climate change through its support for sustainable growth management and transportation policies, support for measures such as renewable energy which reduce the impact of the built environment, and support for energy efficient and green design measures.
[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, July 21, 2011]
1. The City will reduce GHG emissions in the development and building sector by:
a. Promoting compact urban form and an energy efficient pattern and mix of land uses through the strategic direction for managing growth and related intensification targets and community design plans.
b. Encouraging energy efficient and sustainable site and building design through subdivision and site plan approval.
c. Facilitating and encouraging use of renewable sources in development, and allowing for appropriate renewable energy utility and accessory use installations.
[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, July 21, 2011]
2. The City will reduce air emissions and GHG emissions resulting from the transportation sector by:
a. Providing opportunities for the use of energy efficient transportation modes in order to minimize individual motor vehicle travel in favour of walking, cycling and transit.
b. Establishing aggressive modal split targets and a transportation demand management program through the Transportation Master Plan and related policies.
c. Supporting the rapid transit Network within the Official Plan through targets and policies for intensification of Mixed-Use Centres at rapid transit stations.
[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, July 21, 2011]
3. The City will take measures to adapt to the effects of climate change by:
a. Completing a climate change adaptation strategy
b. Considering the potential impact of climate change and adaptation strategies when completing environmental management and sub-watershed plans
c. Ensuring that development avoids potential natural hazards resulting from extreme weather events such as flooding and slope failure
d. Reducing the urban heat island effect through landscaping, tree planting, and encouragement of courtyards and innovative green spaces with permeable surfaces and trees and of green building measures such as the use of green roofs, living walls and light coloured building materials
[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, Ministerial Modification # 10, July 21, 2011]
2.4.2 – Natural Features and Functions
The policies in this Plan address both natural features as well as natural functions. Natural features are defined here as physically tangible elements of the environment, including wetlands, forests, ravines, and rivers and valleylands, and associated wildlife habitat areas along the edge of, or which support significant ecological functions within, the natural feature. All natural features perform an array of natural functions, resulting from natural processes, products or services such as groundwater recharge, provision of wildlife habitat, temperature moderation, natural cleansing and filtration of surface water, and carbon sequestration (carbon sinks). These natural functions occur within a natural system, such as air or water, or as a result of the interactions between natural systems. While the visible natural feature can be identified and protected, the long-term health and viability of the natural functions is more difficult to assess. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
The province and municipalities have examined natural features in the past, on the basis of their size, species diversity, and other characteristics, to determine those that are the most significant and warrant protection through public ownership or through regulations concerning their development. In Ottawa, most of these significant woodlands and wildlife habitat are designated as Natural Environment Areas and Rural Natural Features and include wetlands that, while not provincially-significant, maintain the natural function of the area. These features, in addition to provincially-significant wetlands, comprise a natural heritage system linked by watercourses and valleylands that extends throughout the urban and rural area and into adjacent municipalities. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
The natural heritage system in Ottawa is identified and protected by watershed and other environmental plans, land-use designations, in Schedules A and B, the Natural Heritage System Overlay (Schedules L1, L2 and L3) and policies that govern how land is used to ensure that development does not result in negative impacts on natural features or their functions. In this regard, the diversity and connectivity of natural features and the long-term ecological function and biodiversity of the City's natural heritage systems shall be maintained, restored, or where possible, improved, recognizing linkages between and among natural heritage features and areas, surface water features and ground water features [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, Ministerial Modification # 11. April 26, 2012] [Amendment #109, November 29, 2012]
- The natural heritage system in Ottawa comprises the following significant features and the natural functions they perform:
- Provincially significant wetlands as identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources
- Significant habitat for endangered and threatened species, as approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources;
- Significant woodlands defined as the following:
- Any treed area meeting the definition of woodlands in the Forestry Act, R.S.O.1990. c F.26 or forest in the Ecological Land Classification for Southern Ontario; and
- In the Rural Area, meeting any one of the criteria in the Natural Heritage Reference Manual, as assessed in a subwatershed planning context and applied in accordance with Council- approved guidelines, where such guidelines exist; or
- In the urban area, any area 0.8 hectares in size or larger, supporting woodland 60 Years of age and older at the time of evaluation; [Amendment #179 LPAT, September 5, 2019]
- Wetlands found in association with significant woodlands;
- Significant valleylands defined as valleylands with slopes greater than 15% and a length of more than 50 m, with water present for some period of the year, excluding man-made features such as pits and quarries;
- Significant wildlife habitat found on escarpments with slopes exceeding 75% and heights greater than 3 m; or within significant woodlands, wetlands, and valleylands; or that may be identified through subwatershed studies or site investigation;
- Life Science Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest as identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources;
- Earth Science Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest as identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources designated on Schedule K;
- Urban Natural Features, consisting of remnant woodlands, wetlands and ravines within the urban area;
- Forest remnants and natural corridors such as floodplains that are identified through planning or environmental studies such as watershed or subwatershed plans, environmental management plans, community design plans, environmental impact statements or tree conservation reports as linkages between the significant features defined above, but may not meet the criteria for significance in their own right,
- Groundwater features, defined as water-related features in the earth’s subsurface, including recharge/discharge areas, water tables, aquifers and unsaturated zones that can be defined by surface and subsurface hydrogeologic investigations;
- Surface water features, defined as water-related features on the earth’s surface, including headwaters, rivers, stream channels, drains, inland lakes, seepage areas, recharge/discharge areas, springs, and associated riparian lands that can be defined by their soil moisture, soil type, vegetation or topographic characteristics, including fish habitat.
[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
2. The natural heritage system, as defined in policy 1, is protected by:
a. Establishing watershed and subwatershed plans as the basis for land-use planning in Ottawa through policies in Section 2 of this Plan.
b. Protecting the quality and quantity of groundwater through policies in Section 2;
c. Designating most significant features as Significant Wetlands, Natural Environment Areas, Urban Natural Features and Rural Natural Features on schedules within the Plan and setting policies in Section 3 to ensure they are preserved; [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]
d. Illustrating as much of the natural heritage system as can be accurately reflected at the scale of the Natural Heritage System Overlay depicted on Schedules L1, L2 and L3 in order to assist in identifying the requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement for development proposed in or adjacent to features described in Policy 1. [Amendment #109, November 29, 2012]
e. Ensuring that land is developed in a manner that is environmentally-sensitive through the development review process in keeping with policies in Section 4 regarding such matters as design with nature, erosion protection and protection of surface water, protection of significant habitat for endangered and threatened species and requirements for Environmental Impact Statements. [Amendment #109, November 29, 2012]
[Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
3. Regardless of whether the features are designated in this Plan, an Environmental Impact Statement is required for development proposed within or adjacent to features described in policy 1 above, with the exception of surface and groundwater features. Development and site alteration within or adjacent to these features will not be permitted unless it is demonstrated through an Environmental Impact Statement that there will be no negative impact on the feature or its ecological functions. Where the proposed development or alteration is for the establishment or expansion of mineral aggregate operations within or adjacent to a significant woodland, the demonstration of no negative impact may take into consideration final rehabilitation of the mineral aggregate operation, including any on- or off-site compensation. Rehabilitation of the mineral aggregate operation would need to be planned to occur as soon as possible and be suited to the local natural environment. The policies regarding Environmental Impact Statements and the definition of terms are contained in Section 4.7.8. [Amendments #150 and #179, LPAT, September 5, 2019]
2.4.3 – Watershed and Subwatershed Plans
Watershed planning is an integrated, ecosystem approach to land-use planning based on the boundaries of a watershed. A watershed, also known as a catchment or basin, is the land drained by a river and its tributaries. It is separated from adjacent watersheds by a land ridge or divide. A subwatershed is usually a smaller area of land draining to a single tributary of a larger river. Watershed and subwatershed plans attempt to balance environmental protection, conservation and restoration with development and land-use practices to ensure the long-term health of the watershed. The relationship between Watershed plan and land use plans is demonstrated in Figure 2.6. Drawing on fieldwork and scientific analysis, these plans identify stressors on natural systems and propose measures to mitigate these stressors and enhance natural systems. Watershed and subwatershed plans address such matters as setbacks from water bodies, stormwater management requirements, protection of significant natural features and habitat linkages, and opportunities to rehabilitate degraded areas or otherwise enhance the environment. They are as important in the urban area as they are in the rural area. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
Watershed and subwatershed plans investigate the natural features and functions of the watershed, such as the river and stream system, groundwater resources and recharge areas, and woodland and wetland habitats in order to:
- Document the existing condition of the natural heritage system within the watershed; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
- Identify the significant woodlands, wetlands, wildlife habitat and other significant features and linkages within the watershed that need to be protected, along with surface and groundwater features; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, Ministerial Modification # 12, April 26, 2012]
- Assess the potential impacts of existing and future land-use activities; including cumulative impacts, and recommend measures to avoid or mitigate these; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
- Identify opportunities to restore and enhance the natural system and promote compatible uses.
These plans are usually undertaken cooperatively by the City, the Conservation Authorities and other interested parties. Responsibility for implementing these plans is shared.
- The City, in consultation with Conservation Authorities in the Ottawa area, will prioritize areas for watershed planning, based on such factors as the environmental condition of the natural system, development pressure, changing land-use activities and community support.
- The City will request that the Conservation Authorities coordinate the preparation of watershed plans in accordance with the priorities established in policy 1. The plans will be prepared jointly by the Conservation Authorities and the City, with participation from other agencies, including the Ontario Ministries of Natural Resources, Environment, and Agriculture and Food; the National Capital Commission; Parks Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; and other private and public interests as may be required by the circumstances within a specific watershed. Where a watershed boundary extends beyond the jurisdiction of the City, adjacent municipalities will be invited to participate. [Ministerial Modification 3, November 10, 2003]
- As a general guide, a watershed plan will contain the following components:
- Identification and assessment of the natural heritage system within the watershed including headwater area and other surface water and groundwater features; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
- Recommendations on management strategies, implementation and monitoring to address the preservation, enhancement and rehabilitation of those features, including direction on public access where appropriate;
- Definition of the boundaries of component subwatersheds and the identification of priorities for more detailed planning of subwatersheds;
- The general terms of reference for subwatershed plans.
- Once a watershed plan is approved by City Council, the City will implement the recommendations of the plan where it has the ability to do so through existing programs, the development review process, subwatershed plans, environmental management plans, and other mechanisms and will encourage other parties to do the same. Areas where watershed or subwatershed studies have been approved are shown in Annex 2. [Amendment 13, September 8, 2004]
5. The City will define the limits of subwatersheds through the watershed plan or, if there is no watershed plan available at the time the subwatershed study is scheduled to begin, in consultation with the appropriate Conservation Authority.
6. The City will coordinate the preparation of subwatershed plans unless all interested parties agree that coordination would best take place through another agency. In all cases, the subwatershed plans will be prepared in consultation with the appropriate Conservation Authority.
7. A subwatershed plan will be undertaken:
a. If a watershed plan indicates it is a priority;
b. If the environmental health and condition of the subwatershed area is degraded or at risk of degrading;
c. As a basis for City Council consideration of a community design plan or an application to amend the Official Plan which provides for new development areas or redevelopment areas, or applications to subdivide land in locations that are largely undeveloped. A subwatershed plan shall guide development patterns and therefore should be the first step in planning for land uses. It may proceed in concert with the land use plan. As a priority, the subwatershed plan will identify the natural heritage system areas that are worthy of protection and establish mechanisms to secure these areas and to ensure development has no negative impact on the system. Where the proposed development is deemed to be of limited extent and impact, based on consultation with the appropriate Conservation Authority and other relevant bodies, City Council may waive the requirement for the subwatershed plan. Where the requirement for the subwatershed plan is waived, the natural heritage system will be identified in keeping with the policies of this Plan along with measures to ensure development has no negative impact on the system. Natural areas that are worthy of protection will be identified and mechanisms to secure these lands will be established. [OMB decision #1582, June 17, 2005] [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, Ministerial Modification # 13, April 26, 2012]
8. The general terms of reference for a subwatershed plan will be defined in the appropriate watershed plan and will be reviewed at study initiation. Where no watershed plan exists, the detailed terms of reference will be determined based on subwatershed requirements but will generally address:
a. The natural features and their functions that comprise the natural heritage system as described in Section 2.4.2; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, Ministerial Modification # 14, April 26, 2012]
b. Subwatershed objectives and recommendations regarding areas for development and preservation, protection of headwater areas, surface water and groundwater features, public access, and implementation; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
c. Guidelines for development, including stormwater management requirements;
d. The provision, operation and maintenance of stormwater management facilities;
e. Monitoring of all aspects of the plan.
9. Once a subwatershed plan is approved by City Council as a statement of City Council policy, the City will implement plan recommendations where it has the ability to do so, such as through existing programs, development review and approvals, environmental management plans, and other mechanisms. The City will encourage other parties to undertake whatever actions are within their jurisdiction to implement subwatershed plans.
Environmental Management Plan
10. Where implementation of a subwatershed plan requires further detail or coordination of environmental planning and stormwater management among several sites, the City will coordinate the preparation of an environmental management plan, in consultation with the Conservation Authorities.
11. An environmental management plan will address such matters as:
a. Delineation of setbacks from surface water features; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
b. Specific mitigation measures to protect significant features, identified for preservation at the subwatershed level; [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, April 26, 2012]
c. Conceptual and functional design of stormwater management facilities and creek corridor restoration and enhancement.
12. Recommendations from environmental management plans will be implemented largely through development approval conditions and stormwater site management plans.
2.4.4 – Groundwater Management
Protecting, improving and restoring the quality and quantity of groundwater is an environmental and public health issue. Groundwater contributes to the base flows of streams as well as to the quantity and quality of potable water drawn from wells. As more is learned about the groundwater system in Ottawa, use of the resource can be managed better to ensure that flows within natural systems are maintained and that new development can be accommodated within the system without affecting supplies available to other users.
Groundwater management is a shared responsibility in Ontario. Groundwater is considered a resource by the Province and there are a number of Ministries with interest and responsibilities including: the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The local Conservation Authorities are concerned about groundwater as a resource within their watershed areas and they are leading the development of Source Water Protection Plans under the Clean Water Act. Source Water Protection Plan will address: groundwater recharge areas; wellhead protection areas and other vulnerable sources of groundwater such as wetlands. Ministerial approval of these Plans is expected in 2013-14 with implementation to follow. [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]
The City is responsible for the regulation of land use and development that impacts groundwater resources; the operation of public drinking water systems including public communal wells and the delivery of public health programs and educational materials. The City is also responsible for helping to find a remedy when groundwater-based drinking water sources are contaminated. Therefore the City has a major responsibility and interest in the protection of groundwater and surface water from contamination.
The protection of groundwater quality and quantity, and surface water quality and quantity as it relates to groundwater, is a priority to Council in recognition of the dependence of the rural population on these resources for drinking water and food production
In 2003, the City adopted a Groundwater Management Strategy with a two-phased approach to safeguard the integrity of our groundwater resources. In Phase One, the City has been concentrating on the development and preparation of groundwater characterization studies and public education programs. In Phase Two, the City will develop a framework in which to more clearly identify, prioritize, and complete the groundwater management activities outlined in its Groundwater Management Strategy.
[Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]
- Where monitoring and characterization of the groundwater resource has indicated degradation of the resource function, the zoning by-law will restrict uses to prevent further impacts on that function.
- Where monitoring and characterization of the groundwater resource has indicated that a significant resource function exists, the zoning by-law will restrict uses to protect that function.
3. The City will:
- Investigate, identify, record and analyse the extent and characteristics of the groundwater resources;
- Identify and evaluate potential sources of groundwater contamination which arise from a variety of land-use practices and industrial activities;
- Develop and maintain a database, which will provide ready access to, and manipulation of, groundwater data, including geological, hydro-geological, and water quality information and make database information available to the public;
- Ensure that there are current best management practices, protection policies and regulations to guide development so that reliable use and functions of groundwater resources can be maintained;
- Use the information gained through investigation and analysis when reviewing development and building applications under the Planning Act;
- Ensure that programs to inform the community about best practices related to groundwater resource issues are developed and that the community is involved in collective decision-making regarding the protection, preservation and stewardship of groundwater resources and in making wise individual decisions regarding private well and septic matters.
[Amendment #76, August 04, 2010]
2.4.5 – Greenspaces
Ottawa’s greenspaces assume many forms: sensitive wetlands and forests in urban and rural areas, playing fields and playgrounds, landscaped parkways, and the casually tended grass around stormwater management ponds. Greenspace is defined here to include the natural features designated in the Plan in the urban and rural area, as well as the large park and leisure areas designated as Major Open Space or the smaller areas zoned for park and leisure but not shown in the Plan. Greenspaces such as the Rideau Canal, Beechwood Cemetery, the Central Experimental Farm and other cultural heritage landscapes are also included, as well as the creek and river corridors and recreational pathways that connect greenspaces. Many of the islands and greenspaces in an adjacent to the major waterways have high potential as archaeological sites.
The values ascribed to different areas within a greenspace system range along a continuum as shown in Figure 2.7 [Amendment #76, Ministerial Modification #15, August 18, 2011]. Large forests and wetlands in the rural area have been identified as the most significant in the city in terms of maintaining natural functions and diversity in plant and animal communities. While greenspaces and woodlands in Villages and in the urban area may serve natural functions, they are also valued for serving more human needs: a green retreat, a living classroom and laboratory, and a place for outdoor recreation. Greenspaces and woodlands in urban areas and Villages also help create a sense of place and provide physical boundaries, features and buffers within and between communities. They moderate climate and provide a place to grow food in community gardens. As historical settings, cultural heritage landscapes provide information about the past.
The Ottawa forest grows throughout the city’s greenspaces, as individual trees in downtown neighbourhoods, as protected woodlots in new communities, and as forests in the rural area. Trees improve the quality of the air and water around them, provide shelter for humans and wildlife, and give pleasure to those who view them. In the urban area, large mature trees are especially valued: trees that large will not grow again along urban roads or in other areas until the presence of road salt and other pollutants is reduced. Altogether, about 28 per cent of the city is forested.
Ottawa residents value their greenspaces and recognize the contribution greenspace makes to the high quality of living here. As the population of the city grows to 2031, the challenge will be to maintain these high standards as new communities are added and existing neighbourhoods accommodate infill and redevelopment. Through amalgamation in 2001, the city has never been better positioned to meet this challenge, with a single level of government now in place to provide leadership and pursue a single vision for all forms of greenspace in partnership with other levels of government, the private sector and the community. [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]
Council has adopted the Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces to express Council’s objectives for urban greenspace: an adequate supply of greenspace, readily accessible to residents as a connected network of high-quality spaces planned and maintained on a sustainable basis. A major accomplishment of the Plan is the mapping and evaluation of all greenspaces within the urban area, the legacy of former municipal governments, the National Capital Commission, and others. The backbone of the master plan is an Urban Greenspace Network, a continuum of natural lands and open space and leisure lands that in time could connect every neighbourhood in Ottawa to a larger network that connects to the Greenbelt and spans the city. Planning greenspaces in relationship to a network: [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]
- Increases accessibility to greenspace throughout the city;
- Helps identify priorities for filling gaps and extending the network;
- Creates a context for planning neighbourhoods and larger communities that include connections to the network;
- Supports sustainability of natural lands within the network.
Lands off the Urban Greenspace Network are also important, particularly the remaining natural lands within the urban boundary on Schedule A. In 2006, an evaluation of the remaining natural areas, both on and off the urban network, was completed through the Council-approved Urban Natural Areas Environmental Evaluation Study (March 2005) and Addendum Report (March 2006). Priority lands to secure for their environmental value through acquisition or other means were identified in the Urban Natural Areas Features Strategy, approved by Council in May 2007.
The Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces includes various strategies to achieve Council’s greenspace objectives, including a commitment to extend the multi-use, city-wide pathway system, the preparation of plans needed to fill gaps in the network, and development of design guidelines for “Green Streets” and parks. In addition to specific strategies, the master plan will also be implemented through the day-to-day conduct of municipal business. Through its planning and development review responsibilities, through public works and through management of its own lands, the City can realize its greenspace vision. The Master Plan is implemented in part through actions outside the Official Plan, and in part through policies in this and other sections. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006] [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011] [Amendment #150 December 21, 2017]
- The City has adopted a Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces to express Council’s objectives for greenspace within the urban area and will implement this Plan through the following measures:
- Designating greenspaces, including municipal parks or groupings of municipal parks of 7.0 ha or more, in the Official Plan in a manner that reflects their function and ensuring that their boundaries are accurately presented in the zoning by-law;
- Encouraging a high quality of urban design, consistent with the objectives and principles of Section 2.5.1, where natural lands and open space and leisure areas are used as integral elements in the design;
- Pursuing greenspace opportunities when undertaking public works, for example by enhancing vegetation and natural functions or providing open space and leisure areas as an integral part of plans for new public works;
- Considering the greenspace function of any municipal lands considered surplus before any decision on disposal is made. The City will consult with the community before considering disposal of any public park and where a park is sold, the proceeds will be only be used for park acquisition or improvement. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
- The City will acquire land in the urban area where public ownership is required to secure land for greenspace purposes, in keeping with the acquisition policies in Section 5.2.1. In addition, community design plans for Developing Communities may refine priorities for the acquisition of land for specific greenspace purposes. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
- The City will seek opportunities to build the Urban Greenspace Network through:
- The review of development applications, to seek opportunities at various scales to fill gaps in the network, provide connections to the Urban Greenspace Network, and extend it to new urban communities wherever possible;
- The design of transportation corridors, infrastructure and other municipal facilities to fill in gaps in the network and extend its reach in new and established urban communities;
- Implementing priority sections of the city-wide multi-use pathway system;
- Partnerships with public and private partners to provide access to greenspaces. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]-
- Privately-owned open spaces such as marinas, campgrounds and golf courses contribute to greenspaces in Ottawa. When reviewing an application to amend a zoning by-law in these locations, the City will consider opportunities to maintain the Greenspace Network through the area and otherwise reduce the impact of the loss and may consider acquisition of the land in accordance with Section 5.2.1 policy 6 of this Plan. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
- Council will pursue the target for total greenspace, in the form of open space and leisure lands, across large areas of the urban area, to fulfill objectives expressed in the Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces. A target of 4.0 hectares per 1000 population, or approximately 16 per cent to 20 per cent of gross land area, will be pursued. These open space and leisure lands are land that is in public ownership and is generally accessible to the public, such as: parks, major recreational pathways, land designated as Urban Natural Features or Major Open Space, flood plains and other hazard lands, and stormwater management facilities. Open space and leisure land where access is restricted, such as school grounds, private golf courses or other facilities, and land that is temporarily available for open space, such as land reserved for major transportation corridors and infrastructure will not be included in the target. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
- Greenspaces identified in this Plan are major assets that enhance the quality of life in the community and the environmental integrity of the city. Development on land adjacent to lands designated Major Open Space, Urban Natural Features or land within the National Capital Greenbelt, can benefit from and have a significant impact on the quality of these greenspaces. It is the City’s objective to ensure, to the extent possible, that the design and character of private development and public works adjacent to these greenspaces enhances the visibility and accessibility of these public lands and contributes to their connection to the Urban Greenspace Network. This policy does not imply that public access through the private property or even private access from private property to the greenspace is required or permitted. In addition, where these public lands are in federal ownership access will be subject to federal review and approval. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
- Pending completion of a Forest Strategy, the City will maintain a target for forest cover for the entire city of 30 per cent. The City will increase forest cover in urban and rural areas through the planning and development review process by:
- Identifying and protecting environmental areas designated in the Plan, including provisions for environmental assessments for adjacent lands;
- Emphasizing tree preservation and planting in the requirements for private development and public works, including road corridors, parks and municipal buildings;
- Developing guidelines for tree preservation and planting in the development review process, including a policy on compensation for loss of forest as a result of development. This policy, to be developed in consultation with the development industry and the community, will consider various forms of compensation, including planting on other sites owned by the applicant or the City. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
- Through the Greenspace Master Plan - Strategies for Ottawa’s Urban Greenspaces, Council supports a target of providing the open space and leisure land that is referred to in policy 5, within 400 metres of all homes in primarily residential areas in the urban area. This target is to ensure that greenspace is readily accessible to all residents. More specific targets for accessibility may be developed in community design plans and other plans, where appropriate. For example, targets for a reduced distance between residences and greenspace may be appropriate where residential densities are higher and less private greenspace is provided, such as in Mixed Use Centres, or in residential neighbourhoods where seniors or young children would benefit from a shorter distance. [Amendment 45, September 27, 2006]
- The City will work with Conservation Authorities, rural landowners, community groups, organizations working with urban forestry or private land forestry, and other interested parties on a strategy to manage and protect forests in the rural and urban area. This work will include:
- Developing a by-law under the Municipal Act to regulate tree-cutting and preserve woodlands;
- Developing current management plans for forests owned by the City;
- Implementing best management practices for City-owned street trees and forests and taking a leadership role in urban forestry programs nationwide;
- Continuing to naturalize City-owned greenspaces.
- The City will work with the Conservation Authorities and other interested stakeholders to develop a by-law under the Municipal Act to regulate the removal of top soil, grade alteration, and placement of fill. [Amendment #76, OMB File #PL100206, August 18, 2011]
- In cooperation with the Conservation Authorities, the City will support the stewardship of private lands through such means as:
- Developing incentives such as the rural clean water program and rural reforestation program;
- Encouraging publicly-funded programs to focus on actions that enhance natural environment systems, such as increasing vegetative cover on steep slopes or adjacent to watercourses or improving connections between wildlife habitat areas;
- Providing information to rural landowners on land stewardship.