Neighbourhoods Matter – Let’s Do Density Responsibly

Neighbourhoods Matter – Let’s Do Density Responsibly
Posted on May 10, 2020 | Federation of Citizens' Associations of Ottawa | Written on May 10, 2020

Re: Ottawa’s New Official Plan - Growth Management Strategy ACS2020-PIE-EDP-0012

Dear Mayor Watson and City Councillors,

The purpose of this letter is to provide comment to the proposed Growth Management Strategy for the future of the City of Ottawa.

Representatives of The Federation of Citizens Associations of Ottawa are pleased to be active participants in the discussions. We are grateful to the City Staff for their passion and amazing outreach to many. As residents in this growing city, we are volunteer FCA members, leading community associations and partner organizations with a huge stake in the decision making and evolvement of the future of Ottawa. City Councillors have the onerous task of voting and determining what is right for this city, living with their decision and its future implications for this next generation of citizens.

We are pleased that Council has recognized Ottawa’s Climate Emergency and our Housing Affordability Crisis. Extensive outreach during our current and deeply troubling COVID Health Epidemic leads us all to the need for improved planning for the future. The challenge is many long-term unknowns, tough economic and fiscal challenges ahead and personal choices that will impact current city planning and business operations of the future.

Three Growth Strategy Options have been presented by Staff. 

Our Comments: 

  • Status Quo is not a viable option
  • No Boundary Expansion best satisfies the objectives of our Provincial Policy Statement (PPS)
  • No Boundary Expansion has long been favoured by the FCA and we reaffirm this position
  • Intensification is acceptable and density done right is welcome
  • Ambitious intensification is acceptable providing Planners and Developers get it right

Our Recommendations

  1. No Urban Expansion - we have plenty of land within the existing boundary of Ottawa
  2. Distributed Density that includes complete 15 Minute Neighbourhoods:
  • Identify Nodes and Corridors for infill, mixed use development and affordable housing
  • Provide Density Data and Mapping of all neighbourhoods
  • Enforce Environmental regulations and Urban Tree Management
  • Update and Identify Infrastructure capacity for all proposed development
  • Develop Secondary plans, zoning, and site plan expectations for all new builds
  • Identify amenities necessary for complete neighbourhoods
  • Enforce the bylaws 

      3. Engagement:

  • Proactive planning for the implementation of the Official Plan
  • Identify all stakeholders
  • Work collaboratively to attain complete 15-minute neighbourhoods
  • Holistic planning for the long term and transition
  • Nurture successful neighbourhoods

The goal must be to create a more liveable Ottawa. The Federation of Citizens' Associations (FCA) favours No Boundary Expansion but regardless of what option councillors choose, the goal should be:

  1. Good intensification with amenities, everywhere in the City, and
  2. 15-Minute Neighbourhoods, Neighbourhood-by-Neighbourhood in every Neighbourhood 

Questions to City Councillors and staff to consider:

  • How do we make it happen?
  • How will it be funded?


  • Decide on Metrics of Success
  • Track and report progress annually
  • Engage all stakeholders 
  • Create new zoning rules that deliver intensification done right 

The FCA's role going forward:

  1. Workshop Measurable Metrics of Success
  2. Community Association and Neighbourhood Engagement
  3. Neighbourhood-by-Neighbourhood gap analysis
  4. Work with City staff on Zoning Bylaw Review


The FCA appreciates a positive working relationship with City planning staff and members of the industry.  FCA members look forward to City Council support for no urban expansion, for density that is done responsibly and right and for engagement of the community. Community members across Ottawa expect intensification targets to be equitable and fair. City planners and developers must do density right in every Ottawa community and neighbourhood. Otherwise, Ottawa’s New Official Plan will fail us and failure is not an option.


Yours truly,

Sheila Perry, President

Federation of Citizens Associations of Ottawa 


cc: FCA Committee Members; Planning Committee Chair: Councillor J. Harder; Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Chair: Councillor E. El-Chantiry; Planning Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Vice-Chair: Councillor G. Gower; Planning Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Members: Councillors R. Brockington, R. Chiarelli, G. Darouze, L. Dudas, A. Hubley, J. Leiper, C. A. Meehan, S. Moffatt, T. Tierney


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The Federation of Citizens’ Associations of Ottawa (FCA) is a city wide association and forum for community associations and citizens groups in Ottawa. The FCA is comprised of urban, suburban and rural community... More