Ottawa’s Urban Growth Plan: A Brief from The COA
The Council on Aging of Ottawa wishes to add its voice to others who are resisting enlarging the City’s urban boundary. There are several reasons for this which we would like to emphasize.
We have been working with the City for some time on the development of policies for an Age-Friendly Ottawa. A critical aspect of our city being age-friendly is that we have an appropriate built environment, including the housing stock. We are disappointed with the very short time available to digest and develop our comments on this important decision on boundaries. It is already apparent to us, however, that expanding the urban boundary is very unlikely to enhance the age-friendliness of our city.
Any increase in lower density housing, especially outside the current urban boundary, is detrimental for seniors in at least two important ways.
- With the projected substantial aging of Ottawa’s population, there will be an increasing number of seniors who will no longer be driving automobiles and will be stuck in locations where basic services and amenities are inaccessible.
- As these individuals are increasingly in need of home care services, it will be much more expensive for their personal support workers to attend to many spread out locations. To the extent that there are more clustered dwelling options available, all located close to services and amenities – what the staff report refers to as “15-minute communities” – both problems would be mitigated. Further, the rapidly growing needs for nursing homes could, to some degree, be offset if home care could be more efficiently delivered.
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