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Province questions including Tewin lands in Ottawa's growth plans

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The Ontario government wants the City of Ottawa to double-check whether creating the new Tewin suburb is the best choice for expanding the city, and whether it meets both the province's and the city's own planning policies.

The draft official plan was released last November, and in February council voted to include a whole new suburb in the rural southeast. The controversial Tewin project, proposed by the Algonquins of Ontario and Taggart Group, infuriated chiefs of Quebec First Nations after a joint committee backed by Mayor Jim Watson pointed to reconciliation as a reason to allow the new suburb.

Some councillors also questioned whether the lands, which the city's planning staff scored poorly, met planning policies and the city's growth goals.

Provincial officials appear to have similar concerns. Last week, Ontario's Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing sent the city 33 comments on the draft official plan, the 25-year blueprint for how the city should grow.

Tewin doesn't meet city's goals: province The final comment was a reminder to the city that any property that is included in the expanded urban area must meet the province's planning guidelines, known as the Provincial Policy Statement, and that any new development can be supported by the city's own infrastructure system. The province specifically references Tewin as a project that may not meet existing planning policies. Elder Claudette Commanda, from Kitigan Zibi First Nation, says the Tewin development is not reconciliation because that process must take place between two nations, not between a municipal government and an organization or company. 0:54 "For instance, the location of the 'Tewin Lands' does not appear to align with the City's goal of a 15-minute community or being within 2.5 linear kilometre distance (1.9 km radius) of any rapid transit," according to the ministry's feedback to the city. "It is noted that these lands are distant from any LRT stations invested by the City and Province. Additionally, due to the proximity of the 'Tewin Lands' to Highway 417, future pressures on the highway (including for new interchanges) may result to accommodate the growth projected in the area." The province goes on to say that the city needs to be sure that expanding the city to include Tewin is an "efficient" and "cost-effective" use of planning infrastructure.

The province has not recommended that that city remove Tewin from the draft official plan, but reminds the city to make sure it is "satisfied that the most suitable lands have been selected" to be added to the urban area. The city is set to release its updated version of the official plan late next month, in advance of a scheduled three-day planning meeting in mid-September to consider the massive new policy.


  • A previous story erroneously stated that council approved the draft official plan last November. Instead, council is set to give final approval to the official plan later this fall. Jul 22, 2021 8:16 AM ET

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