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Denley: Ottawa's growth plan has bigger issues than expanding the urban boundary

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It really will be too bad if the discussion of Ottawa’s growth plan for the next 25 years devolves into a misguided battle over a minuscule addition to the city’s urban area. The far bigger question is how the city’s already-built areas will be able to handle the aggressive intensification city staff like to call “the balanced scenario.”

The city’s new official plan must offer a plausible way to house the additional 400,000 people who will live in Ottawa by 2046. Under provincial regulations, the plan has to include a mix of housing types, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments. The issue is to what extent that growth can be handled without expanding the urban boundary.

City planners have offered three possible solutions, all of which involve considerable intensification. The scenario with the least intensification still expects 45 per cent of future housing to be squeezed into built-up areas. If the boundary is not expanded, that number could rise to 64 per cent over the life of the plan, but by 2041,........

© Ottawa Citizen