Home Ministry of affairs Province Approves Ottawa Official Plan with Taller Buildings and Wider Urban Boundaries

Province Approves Ottawa Official Plan with Taller Buildings and Wider Urban Boundaries


The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing finally approved Ottawa’s new Official Plan, with changes that would expand the city’s urban limits and allow for taller structures downtown.

The amended plan – meant to chart a course for development in Ottawa to 2046 – was released on Friday, a little over a year after being initially approved by the city council.

It designates additional areas for urban expansion, such as Findlay Creek and the South March area north of Kanata.

In January 2021, the city council voted against adding 175 hectares to the South March area, excluding it to make room for the highly debated Tewin communitywhich also remains in the plan.

The 30 modifications to the plan are meant to respond to “provincial policy direction and government priorities” related to “long-term protection of provincial highways, protection of wetlands, monitoring of affordable housing and increasing housing supply”, according to the province’s notice of decision.

The amended plan is not subject to appeal, with city staff saying in a memo on Saturday that they are reviewing the changes and will let council know what they mean soon.

Onboard Home Builders Association

The formal signing of the plan by Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark was delayed for months by provincial housing legislation.

The changes expand the urban boundary by 550 hectares, according to the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association, which said in a press release that it welcomes the changes.

The amendments address the crisis in local housing affordability and supply, the association said.

Another change by the province would allow nine-story buildings to be built in “minor corridors” in the city center, up from the four-story buildings approved by city council in 2021.

In the inner and outer urban areas outside the city centre, the plan now calls for six storeys, also higher than the previously agreed four-storey building council.

The home builders’ association had criticized the city council’s decision to limit the height of these buildings.