April 8, 2020
Ottawa’s Mission Critical -- The New Official Plan and Affordable Housing
The City of Ottawa’s planning staff have a fantastic mission and responsibility right now. They are to create a master blueprint for the next 25 years to guide smart growth of the National Capital Region that best utilizes our land, our environment, and our financial resources.
We all need to pay attention to this important task if we ever hope to manage housing affordability, availability and choice. Never has the future relied on opening our eyes to what Ottawa can become, our unique potential -- right here, now -- or we run the risk of never realizing it.
It may be a stroke of luck that Ottawa finds itself in the middle of an extraordinary corridor between Toronto and Montreal. There is nowhere else in this country with a city as great as Ottawa, lying in wait for the next generation.
Four hundred thousand new people will become Ottawa residents in the next 25 years, and they will need 195,000 homes, of some kind, to live in. These homes will require an Official Plan that provides choice, and choice requires a good balance of urban expansion and intensification.
In today’s world, a new Official Plan takes in much more than land boundaries and housing. We must plan for a city that moves its people along public transit, houses them in diverse, eco-friendly units, in healthy, sustainable communities, teaches its students in diverse schools, and feeds one and all from local resources.
New homes are 50 per cent more energy-efficient than those built before 1990. Parks, trees and green spaces are key features of new communities that improve air quality, promote recreation and contribute to positive mental health. New communities can be built to protect wetlands, woodlots, and to help prevent flooding and erosion with lot-level absorption and stormwater ponds.
With the new Official Plan, our opportunity now is to take a holistic approach to this kind of sustainability, to visualize how we should live by building healthier communities, amenities and businesses – beyond carbon emissions, land fill and recycling.
With Ottawa’s landmass of 2800 square kilometres – which could fit the five largest cities in Canada - Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton within the city limits -- we must be able to create a city for all to live, where they choose -- downtown, in the suburbs, in the country -- while sharing sensibly in the earth’s resources, wildlife and wilderness.
We should keep the Greenbelt intact, an environmental reserve that’s worth protecting, if we create a conservation plan that integrates contemporary approaches to smart growth and housing affordability.
We need a bold Official Plan to accommodate our exciting growth in population and economic prosperity – with the promise of affordable, available and accessible housing—for all ages, especially young adults, early in their careers.
This new Official Plan must be Ottawa’s most rigorous and exact. It must predict the best features of the future; the remarkable opportunities and principle needs of our citizens over the next twenty-five years.
The City can continue to intensify its urban core, re-purposing older areas as vibrant, safe and inclusive neighbourhoods where everything you need is within walking distance, including jobs, services, shopping, schools, greenspace, and recreational opportunities.
Throughout the city we need to provide for affordable, accessible and convenient public transit, safe cycling and walking paths to encourage reduced reliance on the car, good-quality job opportunities, and natural environments with lots of greenspace. New communities can provide this as well as revitalized older ones.
So, we look to the experts in the City’s Planning department to bring their best insight forward, without political pressure, to this brave, new world to the Nation’s Capital. A balanced, contemporary Official Plan is fundamental to our prosperity and viability as a thriving Capital city.
Most people in Ottawa could not afford to buy the home they are in at today’s prices. Let’s ensure that our generation supports the next, so they can too afford a home when the time comes.
We count on our City Council to reflect on the new Official Plan as a composite of municipal needs, not just an individual ward -- and to re-shape the urban boundary and draw the right lines for Ottawa’s future and its citizens.
March 27, 2020
Joint Statement by the Unionized Building & Construction Trades Council and the Ottawa Construction Association –
Majority of Ottawa Construction Sites are Safe, but Message to Minority: ‘Comply or Say Goodbye’
The Government of Ontario, in its identification of essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, deemed construction an essential component of the economy. Although the industry remains open, it is important that everyone do their part to protect workers, contractors, suppliers, our customers and their families from the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to Ontario Public Health rules and enhancing the health and safety conditions on our active job sites.
Our construction workers, and our families standing behind them, deserve the highest standards of protection from COVID-19. Sensibly, most Ottawa construction sites have been making the necessary health and safety adjustments to quickly adapt to our new reality.
For the few contractors of our industry not wishing to safely proceed with work, we insist it is time to comply or say goodbye. You are in the minority and risking the lives of workers and their families, while unfairly dragging the industry into disrepute.
“Like all work sites during the pandemic, general contractors and employers need to protect their workers, and the families of these workers, from viral transmission,” said John Bourke, president, Unionized Building & Construction Trades Council, representing over 35,000 members. “That means contractors need to immediately implement necessary job site protocols such as strict job site access screening, daily health reviews, additional protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of equipment and surfaces, social distancing, and most importantly elevating the standard of toilet and washing facilities.”
“We have many exemplary construction sites and companies in Ottawa who prioritize the health and safety of their workers by implementing safe job site protocols,” said John DeVries, president and general manager, of the Ottawa Construction Association representing over 1,100 member firms. “We are witnessing a significant evolution on the job sites in response to COVID-19 with one positive outcome being the heightened awareness and understanding of personal hygiene, and proper toilet and wash-up facilities. The days of the porta-potty are hopefully over.”
Both the Ottawa Construction Association and the Unionized Building and Construction Trades Council support construction projects staying open, but only if the projects have the appropriate safety measures to protect our workers against the spread of C0VID-19. This is a new world order and like all businesses, the building and construction industry can and will adapt.
Richard Hayter, Unionized Building and Construction Trades Council,
(613) 558-6575, email@example.com
John DeVries, Ottawa Construction Association, (613) 720-7755, firstname.lastname@example.orgMarch
March 10, 2020
To the Capital 2020 Task Force,
I was involved for many years with Action Sandy Hill back when the city really tried to pull itself towards the new millennium. In 1990 there was a vigorous city plan process with active community involvement (with actual funding from the city), that sadly became a victim of Ottawa developers and the destructive OMB.
The year 2000 was probably the most exciting time with the Smart Growth plan being developed. At that time, I was successful in convincing the city to bring in two architect-planners from Helsinki (Finland does not recognize “urban planning” as a profession) who provided workshops for city staff as well as the public.
Again, the development sector and OMB, abetted by suburban councillors, gutted the progressive plan that had emerged. Soon after, the very progressive head of City Planning was purged along with many staff. Since then, the city planning process has largely been visionless incrementalism and most recently, Jan Harder ironically lamented the seeming lack of public interest in the 2019 plan process.
As indicated above, I generally agree with your argument, well summarized by your following sentence: “We must plan for a city that moves its people along public transit, houses them in diverse, eco-friendly units in healthy, sustainable communities, teaches its students in diverse schools, and feeds one and all from local resources.”
My concern, however, is that like so much of the commentary on the city, it suggests this is some sort of emerging challenge that Ottawa must now grasp and master. Rather, I would argue that Ottawa is a city so mired in the 1980s that the need is to try to find out how we can somehow catch up to progressive cities already advancing boldly through the third decade of the 21st century.
The city you envisage in your quote already exists and continues to zip along as a millennium leader. That city is Helsinki. I frequently reference Finland’s capital because it shares so many basic traits with Ottawa: a National Capital with high family incomes that is similar in size, age (yes, it is not an “old” European city), economy (government, tourism, technology and hinterland resources), challenging weather, dramatic landscape and even personal character as well as existing precariously on the edge of empire.
Yet there the similarities end. Its public transit system is one of the best in the world (only 48% of families bother to own cars) and the city is committed to being carless over the next ten years. In addition to a Metro (1982), LRTs, BRTs, trams, buses (moving to 30% electric by 2015), commuter trains, over 400 rental bike stations and even electric scooters, its WHIM travel app is state-of-the-art. WHIM allows one to completely plan out and pay for all elements of a public transit trip through a smart phone.
The city has also has begun a process of introducing Gacha (pronounced Got-ya), a 16 person autonomous shuttle bus (self-driving technology developed by local start-up Sensible4 and tested under artic conditions) to solve the difficult problem of the “first and last mile.”
The city rejected a freeway through the core in 1969 and is now converting 3 of 7 freeways that come to the edge of downtown into boulevards with mixed-use social housing, shops, businesses and public transit (the other four will follow). The Metro is being expanded at both east and west ends while a full new tram line with quite spectacular bridges is underway. The existing Jokeri, one of two BRT lines that by-passes the downtown while connecting the east and the west, is currently (just about finished) being converted to an LRT.
Helsinki has been and continues to be developed largely as a series of brown field and semi green field urban villages of between 6K and 25K residents each. This includes a massive redevelopment of different sections of the old port, including Jatkasaari next to architecturally striking, large hi-tech office clusters. The commercial container (but not cruise ship) port was moved in the last century to the far east of the city at the end of the Metro.
Next door, the community of Vuosaari was created along the picturesque sea coast. These communities/neighbourhoods are often focused on specific emerging economies like bio-technology and eco-building (Viikki, 5500 residents which includes the science campus for the University of Helsinki). Arabianranka (8,000 residents focused around the old Arabia Pottery factory) has a focus on arts and digital media while the current under development harbour neighbourhood of Kalasatama has a Smart City focus. (There are many, many more such communities, existing, under-development or planned).
Like Calgary’s East Village development, the city holds a competition for a new neighbourhood’s urban plan and then individual competitions for specific elements and buildings that are then realized by the private sector. (ZIBI is probably Ottawa’s closest example and may be - my hope – a tipping point.)
With the exception of the expansion planned for the Pasila neighbourhood, four kilometres north of the central train station and served by trams and commuter rail, heights are restricted primarily to seven storeys although the city’s physical area is considerably less than Ottawa.
I could go on but the sad point is the failure of vision in Ottawa over the last 50 years has left the city so far behind. There will be no short term fix; but, at the very least we need a Mayor, a council and a Planning department with real visions...and this we lack, even by Canadian standards such as we are now seeing in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal and Quebec City.
Perhaps the inspiration from which we need to take is that of Copenhagen. In 1980 it was hollowed out like many American cities, its harbour was toxic and the city was near bankruptcy.
The city collectively sat back and said “this is not what a modern capital should be” and within 30 years reinvented itself to become one of the world’s most livable and greenest cities in the world (titles that sea-saw back and forth with Helsinki!)
Come on Ottawa: Give Lansdowne Park the Appropriate Opportunity to Grow
Over the past few years, millions of people from both sides of the Ottawa River have enjoyed the transformation of Lansdowne Park. Under the partnership between the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), TD Place attracts a diverse cross-section of Ottawa and Gatineau visitors.
The Lansdowne experience is about a historic, scenic place with engaging community activities such as the Farmer’s Market, concerts, family movie nights -- and of course, our cheering on the Ottawa 67’s, Ottawa Fury FC and the Ottawa Redblacks teams – all of which makes Lansdowne Park a pre-eminent community hub.
The Capital Task Force 2020 is a group of local leaders who see the value of the rejuvenated Lansdowne space in its support of local businesses as well as the ability to have quality time with family and friends.
Capital 2020 believes this revitalization has not only benefited our economy by bolstering the retail sector and creating jobs, but it has strengthened our community.
Capital 2020 supports the initiative to allow OSEG to expand its capacity to attract events, activities and community engagement opportunities that put people first, a proven tribute of OSEG as a tried and tested champion of the National Capital Region.
OSEG’s commitment is clear – it will invest $250K in infrastructure improvements to add winter and summer outdoor events at TD Place such as this year’s new Christmas Market. In addition, OSEG’s focus to help grow the Farmers’ Market and the popular 613 Flea Market in the Aberdeen Pavilion will foster more participation by surrounding neighbourhoods to enjoy this vital community space.
OSEG’s objective to engage more of our community is supported by the Capital 2020 Task Force. We look forward to working with OSEG and its partners in bringing more people and investment to Lansdowne Park with an expanded range of activities.
November 4, 2019
Ottawa/Gatineau desperately needs another inter-provincial bridge. The infrastructure is already in place at the Prince of Wales Bridge. The Capital 2020 Task Force asks: why are we not using the Prince of Wales Bridge?
The National Capital Region shares a unique relationship with the Government of Canada residing in its backyard. Surely, as the Nation's Capital, we deserve unique attention on issues related to infrastructure repairs, affordable housing, public transit, and an inter-provincial bridge, among many others.
Citizen and National Post Columnist Randall Denley poses excellent questions to residents of Ottawa and Gatineau, and issues a call to action to all who care about the future of the national capital region:
" ... voters need to know where federal candidates of all parties stand on issues that are vital to our future. Chief among them are transit; the location of federal jobs; inter-provincial connections; and the performance of the National Capital Commission, particularly in regard to LeBreton Flats."
For Immediate Release
May 29, 2019
Ottawa East Deserves a Federal Employment Campus
OTTAWA -- Shawn Hamilton, Managing Director of CBRE, called on the federal government today to shift a portion of its office space into Orléans, closer to where a significant portion of its workforce lives. Hamilton was addressing a group of business leaders at the annual CBRE Real Estate Market Outlook event in Ottawa.
Every workday, the Orléans community exports most of its workforce. During peak hours, in the morning, Orléans sees a surging outflux of their residents -- an estimated 80 per cent exiting versus 20 per cent entering Orléans -- to travel to work. The opposite holds true in the evening hours.
“Ottawa’s east end is home to a significant number of federal government employees who are required to commute to their jobs in other areas of the city,” said Laura Dudas, City Councillor for Innes Ward and Deputy Mayor, City of Ottawa. “The City of Ottawa’s substantial investment in extending light rail transit (LRT)to Trim Road must be used as the catalyst for bringing federal jobs east, reducing commute times, easing traffic congestion, and providing environmentally sustainable transportation options. Now is the time for the Federal Government to take note of this opportunity and establish a workspace in the east.”
The statements were applauded by the Capital 2020 Task Force, a group of volunteer business leaders on both sides of the Ottawa river, who are promoting strong economic development in the National Capital Region, and a federal employment campus in Orléans.
“We need to capitalize on our bilingual, highly-educated workforce in Orléans,” said Doug Feltmate, Sub-committee Chair of Orléans Employment on the Capital 2020 Task Force. “With Ottawa surpassing one million people on June 1st this year, it’s time for the federal government to do the right thing and support an employment hub in Orléans.”
The Capital 2020 Task Force has prioritized the issue, citing the fact that every area in the National Capital Region has sustained growth in population, employment and diversity -- except for the east end communities of Ottawa.
The Capital 2020 Task Force, local business owners and private sector employees, have raised serious concerns that the new light rail transit scheduled for completion in 2025, will be empty coming in to Orléans except at rush hour in the early evening.
“Orléans is ready to be the home of a Government of Canada collaborative workspace,” agreed Mathew Luloff, City Councillor for Orléans and Deputy Mayor of Ottawa. “Thousands of our residents spend precious hours away from their families sitting on the highway in traffic, forced to cross the Greenbelt twice a day. Together, we can change that. With five LRT stops coming, a new Community Improvement Plan in the works and significant attention being paid to economic development, the table is set for public servants to have a productive, inclusive and collaborative work environment close to home.”
Please contact: Kathy Hendrick, 416-277-6281, email@example.com, Capital2020.ca
For Immediate Release
April 25, 2019
Balance Out Federal Employment in Orléans --
Collège La Cité Ensures Training for Workforce
Lise Bourgeois, president and CEO of Collège La Cité, today called on the federal government to establish a thriving employment sector in Orléans, the only community in the National Capital Region without a federal employment campus. Ms. Bourgeois was the keynote speaker at the Ottawa Board of Trade and Ottawa Business Journal Local Breakfast Series event held in Orléans.
The move was applauded by the Capital 2020 Task Force, a group of volunteer business leaders on both sides of the Ottawa river, who are pushing for strong economic development in the National Capital Region, and a federal employment campus in Orléans.
“Our college supports the development of an Orléans federal employment campus and will ensure our training and education opportunities build the bilingual workforce who will design, build, maintain, support and work in these modern offices of the future,” said Ms. Bourgeois. “A federal employment campus is a significant catalyst for complementary development, job creation, economic growth, and the ability for Eastern Ottawa residents to live and work in their own community.”
The Capital 2020 Task Force has prioritized the issue, citing the fact that every area in the National Capital Region has sustained growth in population, employment and diversity -- except for the East end community of Orléans.
Every work day, the Orléans community exports most of its workforce. During peak hours, Orléans sees a surging outflux of their residents -- an estimated 80 per cent exiting versus 20 per cent entering Orléans -- to travel to work.
The Capital 2020 Task Force, local business owners and private sector employees, have raised serious concerns that the new light rail transit scheduled for completion in 2022, will be empty coming in to Orléans except at rush hour in the early evening.
“I fully support the establishment of a federal employment campus in Orléans,” agreed Mathew Luloff, Councilor, Ward 1 Orléans. “Thousands of our residents spend precious hours away from their families, sitting on the highway in traffic as they are forced to cross the Greenbelt twice a day. We need to take advantage of our bilingual, highly-educated workforce here in Orléans. With Ottawa surpassing one million people on June 1st this year, and the LRT coming to Trim in 2025, it’s time for the federal government to do the right thing and support an employment hub in Orléans. This will ensure the long-term viability of the LRT, increase the work-life balance of our workforce and reduce GHG emissions by removing thousands of cars from our highways.”
Doug Feltmate, Sub-committee Chair of Orléans Employment on the Capital 2020 Task Force said the federal government is planning for new office space in the East end of Ottawa but only as far as Tremblay Road. “It makes no sense to build in an industrial area when there is the highest concentration of educated, bilingual workers in Canada living three LRT stops further.”
For Immediate Release
April 12, 2019
Capital 2020 Calls for Action on Ottawa-Gatineau LRT
OTTAWA – The Capital 2020 Task Force members today reacted to the decision by the Federal Government to rescind the Canadian Transportation Agency’s ruling, ordering the City to repair the Prince of Wales Bridge.
“Without this decision and, in the absence of the City repairing the bridge within 12 months, the CTA ruling would have obliged it to discontinue the rail line and bridge, putting at risk its future use as an LRT link between Ottawa and Gatineau,” stated Ali Torabi, Chair of the Task Force’s LRT Subcommittee, Architect and Director at Ed Brunet and Associates.
Maintaining the future viability of utilizing the Prince of Wales Bridge is critical. While the Task Force would have preferred to see the Ottawa-Gatineau LRT project included in the approved plan for Stage 2 LRT, the volunteer body of local business and community leaders is calling for the planning and construction of this important initiative to be undertaken urgently as a stand-alone project.
The funding announcements in Federal Budget 2019 for the rehabilitation of the Chaudiére and MacDonald-Cartier bridges, the replacement of the Alexandria bridge and the commitment to address the need for an additional interprovincial crossing is a recognition that the current infrastructure is inadequate to carry close to 150,000 vehicles and 9,000 pedestrians and cyclists each day and clearly action must be taken.
“The fact is that an LRT link between Gatineau and Ottawa is a very different project than those that make up the three stages of the Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit,” stated Capital 2020 Task Force Chair Doug McLarty, Partner at MNP, LLP. “This is a project that involves 2 cities, 2 provincial governments, as well as the federal government and therefore the funding, planning and construction of this important and environmentally sustainable transportation link needs to commence independently and on a priority basis,” added McLarty.
The Capital 2020 Task Force is focused on successful ‘city-building’ and aims to be a leader and catalyst that promotes a favorable business climate, improves the quality of life, and supports the orderly growth, development and revitalization of the National Capital Region, including on both sides of the Ottawa River.
Capital 2020 Task Force Editorial in the Ottawa Citizen
Keep LeBreton Flats a Large Scale Development
March 12, 2019
February 27, 2019
Business Leaders Urge NCC to Keep the LeBreton Flats Vision Alive with Willing Partners
OTTAWA -- The National Capital Commission (NCC) and the City of Ottawa should continue working with the willing parties of the RendezVous LeBreton Group to see their exceptional vision realized at LeBreton Flats, proposed the Capital 2020 Task Force, a volunteer body of local business and community leaders focused on successful ‘city-building’ in the National Capital Region, on both sides of the Ottawa River.
On behalf of the Capital 2020 Task Force, the following is a joint statement by Doug McLarty, Chair of the Capital 2020 Task Force, and Partner MNP, Ottawa; and by Shawn Hamilton, Capital 2020 Sub-committee Chair of the LeBreton Flats Development, and CBRE, Senior Vice-President:
“We believe the RendezVous LeBreton Group has done everything and anything they can to see this partnership and the mediation work.
After five years of planning and preparation with the NCC and the City, it is our hope that the NCC and the City will continue to focus on the wonderful vision proposed by the RendezVous LeBreton Group.
We all know how determined the consortium of over 35 partners, in particular Trinity Development Group and GBA Project Management and Development, has worked to create a vision for the exceptional site and the potential experiences LeBreton Flats could offer. The commitment to this vision has never faltered by these partners.
At the end of the day, the good faith we hoped had been there appears to have fallen short. We urge the NCC to keep the big dream alive in building up the Nation’s Capital, with a major event centre when the time is right. As a City we have to recognize the value of this land in the revitalization of the Nation’s Capital.
The facts remain unchanged: Ottawa is in a growth phase with the new LRT set to open, and where we are finally at a point where our scale can support a development of the size of LeBreton Flats.”
Orléans Calls for Fair Distribution of Federal Government Jobs
ORLÉANS –The Capital 2020 Task Force wants to see a federal government campus located in the eastern Ottawa suburb of Orléans. Over the last decade, every part of the National Capital Region has sustained growth in population, employment and diversity except for the east end community of Orléans.
“While Orléans has the highest concentration of bilingual and educated citizens in Ottawa, there are less than 50 federal jobs here compared to 13,100 in Kanata,” said Doug Feltmate, sub-committee chair of the Capital 2020 Task Forcee, and member of the Heart of Orléans Business Improvement Area. “Orleans is virtually absent on the map of federal employment campuses in Ottawa and Gatineau.”
There are 134,000 federal government jobs in Ottawa and Gatineau, the largest employer in the region, all located in central and west Ottawa. In Kanata and Bayshore alone, the western communities comparable to Orléans, there are approximately 13,110 federal jobs.
The Capital 2020 Task Force, local business owners and private sector employees, are concerned that the new light rail transit scheduled for completion in 2022 will be empty coming in to Orléans except at rush hour in the early evening. Currently, Orléans exports most of its workforce. During peak hours, Orléans sees a surging outflux of their residents, an estimated 80 per cent exiting versus 20 per cent entering Orléans, to travel to work.
“As a long time, community builder, I have seen Orléans excluded from every federal government growth plan in the City’s history,” added Doug Feltmate, “The time has come for the Government of Canada to act now and resolve the disparity of economic development in its Capital city.”
“A federal employment node is viewed by the Task Force as a significant catalyst for complementary development, job creation, economic growth, and the ability for Orléans residents to work and live in their own community,” he added. “There is good feasibility for retail, office and residential development with potential growth of the La Cite campus, a hotel and conference centre, designated park land, and Petrie’s Landing – if the federal government ends the seeming bias against Orléans as a campus location.”
“Over the last several years, Orléans has been overlooked as a federal employment node which brings complementary development in the area to support the public service,” said Pascale Bazinet, Manager, Desjardins Caisse Populaire Trillium. “The community of Orléans, however, has one of the highest numbers of federal employees as residents. The Balance Orléans Task Force wants to work on changing this discrimination so that federal employees from Orleans can work, live and play closer to their own community.”