Often when I speak with people about the Home Builders’ Association, they picture in their mind new subdivisions – single family homes, semi-detached and townhouses mostly.
And while subdivisions are an important part of new homes in Ottawa, GOHBA home builders also build every other type of home you can think of: condos, both in the tower and townhome variety; rental apartment buildings; and, new infill homes (including duplexes and triplexes) in existing neighbourhoods.
As well, renovator members create new accessory suites and enhance and expand the livable space of older homes.
Essentially, if you live in it, it’s likely that a GOHBA member built it.
GOHBA members know and understand the production of housing and all of the costs that go into it, and they are dedicated to providing affordability, quality and choice in housing for the citizens of Ottawa.
That’s why they work so diligently on issues that affect housing supply, like the availability of land.
The most significant part of ensuring that there are enough homes (and a variety of them) available across Ottawa is the management of land.
Land for new subdivisions. Land around the City’s Light Rail Transit and Bus Rapid Transit stations. Land for condos and rentals. Land in older neighbourhoods. Land on both sides of the greenbelt that may be underutilized by its current use or zoning.
If Ottawa is going to grow (which it will), and we need to think about how we will house 2 million people, or 3 million people (as the City is projecting in its Official Plan review which recently launched), then we need to abandon the idea that building in only certain areas of the city or only certain types of homes is the way forward.
Instead, we need to embrace an Ottawa that will see homes grow up, in and out.
The Official Plan will lay out where new homes for our growing city can go, and how densely they can be constructed. This is done by applying a policy lens to land use.
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating – ensuring sufficient supply and having a mix of housing available to Ottawa residents is crucial to protecting affordability, especially in a growing city.
That means having the right experts at the table to help identify and quantify the City’s land needs.
The members of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association have the expertise needed and look forward to working with City Planning Staff to ensure that high-rises become part of the neighbourhood fabric, that infills contribute to the rejuvenation of older neighbourhoods, and that new communities offer a complete living experience.
I invite you to take advantage by accessing the Official Plan working papers at www.ottawa.ca/NewOP and participating in the process.
Jason Burggraaf, Executive Director