Preparing for a New Official Plan: Beyond 2036

The Greenspace Alliance was invited to sit as a member of the Sounding Board for the City planning exercise Beyond 2036. The goal of this planning project was to set the scene and context for the next review of the Official Plan. Through its participation at meetings and workshops organized by city planners over several months, the GA contributed to the production and review of the planning reports listed on this page.

Beyond 2036 Sounding Board

Canada’s Resilient Capital (December 2017 report)

Ottawa Next draft Final Report (Jan 2019) and Workplan (pages 17-19 of the Staff report to Planning Committee, 14 Feb 2019)

February 14, 2019

The City of Ottawa’s Planning Committee received the Ottawa Next Beyond 2036 report and staff recommendations for the development of a new Official Plan for the City of Ottawa. The new official plan will not be a modification of the existing OP, which was adopted in 2003 and modified at five year intervals since, but a total re-write, simplifying and integrating strategic directions and modernizing OP policies. It was confirmed that the new Official Plan will include a new Greenspace Masterplan, one of our key proposals.

The Greenspace Alliance made a brief presentation, emphasizing that this Official Plan must include a decisive and effective City response to the climate change emergency we are facing right now, not in some ill defined future. Founding member and long time Chair of the GA, Erwin Dreessen, also made a presentation, passing on to the new membership of the Planning Committee the accumulated wisdom of his long experience with Ottawa’s Official Plan. Other presentations were made by GA member David McNicoll (here), the Federation of Citizens’ Associations (here) and Alex Cullen, chair of the Transportation Committee of the FCA (here).

See media coverage of our intervention by Global News here.

May 15, 2019

After the launch of the new Official Plan process, the City issued nine discussion papers regarding various aspects of the plan and invited comments from the public.  The idea of producing a consolidated response started circulating around a number of local environmental organizations. As the formal consultation streams set up by the City, a policy stream and a equity and inclusion stream, did not explicitly address environmental, and in particular climate change concerns, four lead organizations decided to self organize around making climate change a central focus of the new Official Plan. These were the Federation of Citizens’ Associations, Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability, Ecology Ottawa and the Greenspace Alliance.  They together produced a joint response to all nine discussion papers, which illustrated  how all could be organized around climate action as a unifying theme for the new Official Plan.      

To garner additional support for this position, the group extended an invitation to other individuals and organizations to consider adding their voices towards ensuring that effective climate action is taken through the new Official Plan. The first meeting of this broader group, which came to be known as the People’s Official Plan, was held on May 15, 2019.  A plan of action  was agreed among the participants and a Joint Declaration on the Climate Emergency and the Official Plan was issued.