More coverage of Ontario Votes 2011
CBC Ottawa

Watson stands his ground

It looks like Jim Watson has passed yet another leadership test. On Tuesday he emerged from an in-camera meeting with members of the city's Planning Committee and lawyers advising them. His message to developers was clear: The urban boundary won't budge a centimetre from the 230-hectare expansion approved by council in 2009.

That vote two years ago was a tight one. It was pointed out yesterday that of the 12 councillors who voted for the 230-hectare restriction, only three survived last fall's election. Ten of the 11 councillors who voted against the move are still around. Many of those councillors voted to re-open the debate last year (that attempt failed.) Add to the mix a new crop of suburban and rural councillors (Moffatt, Blais, Hubley), and it looked like the city could have veered back toward that 851-hectare expansion favoured by staff. Indeed, the Planning Committee heard yesterday that while such a move wouldn't erase the prospect of a trip to the OMB, it might lighten the burden.

Somehow, Watson has them all on the same page, vowing to "vigorously" defend the boundary, as he promised during the election campaign.

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