Developers lose land debate at committee

Mark Brownlee
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Ottawa has a sufficient supply of land available for new office parks and other employment-related development, Ottawa city councillors affirmed Tuesday.

Ottawa City Hall

The motion passed by the city’s planning committee came despite requests from developers to hold off on making a decision until more studies could be conducted on whether that land is suitable for commercial developments.

Representatives of Walton International, a company that owns thousands of hectares of land in southwest Ottawa, were just one of the development firms to oppose the motion when it came up for debate.

Too many parcels of land currently designated for employment have little or no value because they are in the wrong location or are inadequately serviced with water, sewer or road connections, said Jean Lachance, Walton’s general manager in Ottawa.

“You cannot come to that conclusion until you have assessed the quality of the land to know whether or not you have an appropriate mix," said Mr. Lachance.

The city is taking a big risk that companies who want to relocate to Ottawa won't be able to because they can't find good enough land to meet their needs, he said.

Representatives from the Building Owners and Managers Association and the Carp Road Corridor Business Improvement Area also expressed concerns about the quality of land on offer.

None of those arguments were enough to sway city councillors, who apparently felt comfortable with the current process of revisiting the quality of land later in the process.

The city is currently examining employment land as part of its review of the municipality’s official plan review, which is the document that decides what sorts of buildings should go where.

Councillors are required to review it every five years to ensure the city has enough land available for various forms of development to meet provincial legislation.

Organizations: Walton International

Geographic location: Ottawa, Carp Road, Corridor Business Improvement Area

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