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Affordability – the forgotten issue in the argument over Ottawa's new official plan

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City councillor Shawn Menard is right when he says the city should have provided costs for the three long-term development expansion scenarios that councillors are considering. Any rational decision should be based on a comparison of costs and benefits, but the city says it didn’t have the time or money to update a 2013 report.

Pity, because a fact-based analysis might have slowed the geyser of criticism from growth critics. Prominent among those critics is Menard himself, who colourfully claimed on Twitter that “Developer lobbyists want your rent costs and property taxes to go up so they can build ‘affordable’ single family homes in empty fields with no transit, schools, roads or water pipes. What a waste of money.”

Well, put that way, suburban development would not only be a waste of money, but downright crazy. Good thing that reality has little to do with the councillor’s executive summary.

The capital cost of suburban growth, or sprawl as its opponents routinely call it, is largely, although........

© Ottawa Citizen