The National Capital Commission may back off its plan to expand the Greenbelt to include private property outside the current boundary after east-end residents voiced strong opposition Tuesday.
The Greenbelt designation, already applied to a more than 200 square kilometre crescent within Ottawa, provides environmental protection while restricting development.
The NCC wants to apply the Greenbelt designation to private lands in Shirleys Bay, Mer Bleue, the Ottawa airport and Carlsbad Springs, with the aim of strengthening environmental protections in the region.
But at both a consultation meeting Tuesday in Carlsbad Springs and one last week in Kanata, residents came out in force to voice their opposition.
Bob Desjardins was at Tuesday night's meeting in Carlsbad Springs, about 20 km southeast of Ottawa's downtown core. He said the NCC should pay full market price for land it wants to add to the Greenbelt.
Concern over property values
"Once you put that on private property, the value immediately goes down. And some of us — that's our retirement," said Desjardins.
Some people at Tuesday's meeting, however, said they supported the idea.
"North of my property will be protected now by the NCC, so I'm all for it. It's a good thing," said area resident Mike Miskell.
Lori Thornton, the NCC’s acting chief of planning and transportation, said the NCC expects to make a decision on the proposal in the next week.
But she said if the reaction of the public was any indication, the plan likely wouldn't go through as is.
"I think we're receiving a pretty strong 'no' from most people here tonight," said Thornton. "Certainly if we get a very clear 'no' from the private owners here, I can't see that we would advance the proposal."