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Denley: Champions of a denser Ottawa need to persuade homebuyers and neighbours

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The outcome of Ottawa’s Official Plan debate seems pre-determined. The mayor and his supporters will approve a staff plan for growth that is described as balanced and middle of the road. Advocates for a denser, greener, more urban city will face yet another defeat from the champions of city-destroying sprawl.

That’s a popular perception, but it’s dead wrong. Intensification enthusiasts have already won a big victory, and they won it last December when city councillors decided that intensification would deliver the majority of housing needs over the next 25 years.

The promise that intensification would provide just over half of future housing sounds like a grudging concession, a perception reinforced by the city’s “balanced” expansion scenario, which projects a 51-per-cent intensification share over the life of the Official Plan.

Look at the detailed numbers, though, and you will see that the three alternatives described by city staff are cleverly labelled, but potentially misleading. Under........

© Ottawa Citizen