City looks to protect agricultural lands by establishing a Gold Belt outside the urban boundary

The Hobbs family farm at Lot 12, Concession 6, Goulbourn Township, Carleton County -- now known as Mansfield Road just outside of Stittsville. The Hobbs have been farming there since 1860.

(The Hobbs family farm in the former Goulbourn Township — now known as Mansfield Road just outside of Stittsville. The Hobbs have been working their farm since 1860. Photo: Hobbs family)

The City’s Planning Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee will meet jointly on Monday, January 25 to consider which lands should be brought inside Ottawa’s urban boundary, in line with the growth management strategy that Council adopted in May 2020. Residents interested in providing feedback to the Committees are encouraged to review the draft report, which recommends not only lands to accommodate new neighbourhoods but also industrial lands to accommodate employment projections.

The report recommends approving 1,011 hectares of category 1 lands – those deemed to best meet evaluation criteria. The report lays out several options to identify an additional 270 hectares from parcels initially rated category 2 or 3, although such lands would need to meet certain conditions before they could be brought within the urban boundary in the future.

The report also recommends adding to Ottawa’s supply of vacant lands to accommodate industrial-related jobs. Staff recommend adding 140 hectares near Highway 417 at Carp Road and near Highway 416 at Barnsdale Road.

The Gold Belt is really important for Stittsville because it will contain Ottawa’s future suburban growth and lead to healthier development. Last spring, City Council agreed not to allow future development on prime agricultural lands. This Gold Belt goes even further by including a ring of protected farmland, natural areas, and mineral aggregate resource areas that will define a boundary for any future residential growth. It will mean we can’t just keep building Ottawa suburbs further and further out in every direction,” Councillor Gower told Stittsville Central.

The Committees will discuss further protecting agricultural lands by establishing a Gold Belt outside the urban boundary – similar to Ottawa’s cherished Greenbelt. Named to reflect harvest colours, the proposed Gold Belt includes agricultural resource lands, natural areas and mineral aggregate resource areas. Together, they create an additional boundary for communities like Barrhaven, Riverside South, Stittsville and Orléans.

With more robust intensification goals and rules requiring minimum densities, this Gold Belt would be an additional policy tool to limit outward growth in Ottawa for the rest of the century. Leapfrogging over the Gold Belt would be prohibited. Existing lands between the Greenbelt and the Gold Belt meet Ottawa’s immediate growth needs. If approved, the Gold Belt would be established in the new Official Plan to help contain future urban expansions until the end of the century.

Members of the public can provide written submissions through Melody Duffenais the Committee coordinator and can also speak for up to five minutes at the Monday, January 25 meeting. Those interested in speaking during the meeting should refer to the process outlined as Annex A of the agenda.


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