Looking towards Ottawa’s housing future and the Official Plan

When I first started this job at the beginning of June, I met with the majority of city council to introduce myself. In these meet and greets I said two things – at the beginning of each meeting I said that I didn’t have a set agenda or list of things that I wanted to discuss, and at the end I promised that I wouldn’t be a stranger.

Other than that these discussions flowed over a range of topics – housing stock, growth, economic development opportunity and demographics in each ward, new subdivisions and infills, traffic and transit, and sometimes the internal workings of the Association.

Now that a new Council is in place, I hope to visit each Councillor again (or for the first time) over the next couple of months. But this time I’ll have a list of topics I want to bring up – issues that are going to be front and centre for residential construction in Ottawa over the next few years, including: Affordability, Intensification, Inclusionary Zoning, High Performance Housing and 6-storey wood frame buildings.

But what’s going to be the number one subject for the home building community is the review of the Official Plan, which will launch sometime in the early new year.

The Official Plan provides a guide for future development in Ottawa, and articulates a vision of the City in the future. The upcoming review will look out to 2036 (the current planning horizon), and in the realm of housing it’ll consider where new homes for our growing city can go (how many in the core, how many outside the greenbelt), what types of homes will be available, and how dense neighbourhoods will be.

GOHBA members are proud to build homes for the people of Ottawa and their families, and they are proud of the new communities they create and the existing ones they enhance. This gives more people the chance to live in the diversity of neighbourhoods that make up our City.

When we meet with Councillors next, we’ll be asking them to balance the accessibility of homeownership, the ability to live in your desired neighbourhood, and the lifestyle different types of housing offer with the other interests that will be expressed through the Official Plan review process.

It is critical that Ottawa provide a range of housing and lifestyle options for residents if it wants to attract and retain talented people, businesses and economic development opportunities.

GOHBA members are proud to be good civic partners, and they make meaningful changes in the communities they live in by implementing sound municipal policies. In the upcoming Official Plan discussions, we’ll be the voice promoting affordability, quality and choice for the citizens of Ottawa.

Jason Burggraaf, Executive Director

Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association

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