Employment Lands Study (2)

A draft report (8.3 MB) became available on May 3, 2016.

The final report (9.2 MB) became available on September 7 and was the subject of a staff presentation (43 slides, 3.1 MB) at Planning Committee on September 13.  It does not appear to vary much from the draft report.  (The staff report is here.)

The key finding remains that Ottawa has enough Employment Lands (read: Business Parks) to meet its needs until 2041 — in fact by then there is projected to still be a surplus of 103 to 310 hectares.

Key recommendations are:

+ to abandon the 1.3 jobs-per-household target for each suburban community and aim for a city-wide target instead.  This is premised on a much improved transit system;

+ do away with Enterprise Designations (which allow a mix of residential and business) — it hasn’t worked;

+ granular changes to parts of four Employment Areas, generally from EA to General Urban — see Document 4;

+ granular changes to six Enterprise Areas, mostly to EA or GU — see Document 5;

+ five areas near highways are to be evaluated for their potential — see Document 6.  High-level water and wastewater options are provided in a separate Appendix.

Appendix A (1.8 MB) is a version of the Official Plan’s Schedule B that shows where all the proposed changes are located.

Planning Committee accepted the Report and accepted staff’s recommendation to direct it to prepare an Official Plan Amendment based on the consultants’ report.  Headed for Council endorsement on 28 September.

Context: Completion of the Employment Lands review is one of the conditions the OMB imposed on the City before proceeding with appeals of OPA 150, the Comprehensive Official Plan amendment passed by Council in December 2013.  The amendments to implement the consultants’ recommendations will be rolled in with possible other amendments stemming from the LEAR review.  The OMB advised the City to extend the planning horizon from 2031 to 2036 as well.

Next: The City is holding an Open House with staff presentation on Thursday, September 29 at the Festival Board Room, City Hall.  Doors open at 6:30, presentation at 7:00, close at 8:00.

Comment: Having seen the writing on the wall, Walton Ontario Land Limited Partnership is seeking to offload its holdings of agricultural land in the southwest of Ottawa (ref. Business Wire, August 26, 2016).(*)

 

UPDATE – 30 September 2016

Following an information meeting attended by about 15 people, now made available are:

+ a Highlights sheet

+ the slides (2.8 MB) used at the information meeting

The City’s web page on this project is:

http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/public-consultations/planning-and-infrastructure/overview-and-timelines

 

(*) On April 28, 2017, several dozen Walton companies filed for bankruptcy protection in Alberta (Globe and Mail ; CBC).  While Walton Ontario LLP1 is not directly affected, there are indirect knock-on effects as LLP1 depends for management services on one of the entities now under bankruptcy protection, according to an Ernst & Young analysis.  The partnership has put a 300-acre parcel up for sale (images).  The 3,000 acres (mostly acquired by “Walton Europe Ottawa 3” in 2009) are said to be worth $25,750,000 as agricultural land (Dec 2015).  Here is LLP1’s latest news release, dated May 1, 2017.  It continues to put up a brave face:

“Management and the Partnership continue to share the view that the Ottawa Property has excellent attributes to accommodate a future employment and mixed-used development opportunity and is well suited for an urban boundary expansion.”

That opportunity will not arise before 2022, if then — too long a wait for these investors.

 

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