Mayor maintains support for Tewin expansion

Mayor Jim Watson says the City of Ottawa should still expand to create a whole new community called Tewin, even if that land is mostly owned by a local developer and not Algonquins of Ontario.

Lands are not primarily owned by the Algonquins of Ontario, CBC News reported

CBC News analyzed property records in the Tewin area and found the Taggart family owns ten of the land parcels involved in Ottawa's urban boundary expansion, under two corporate names. The Algonquins of Ontario own four, plus portions of a larger fifth parcel. (CBC)

Mayor Jim Watson says the City of Ottawa should still create a whole new community called Tewin, even if most of that land in the rural southeast is now known to be privately held rather than owned by the Algonquins of Ontario group.

City council decided last winter that hundreds of hectares should be allowed inside the city's urban boundary so the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) could pursue a major development — a vision of a sustainable, compact suburb. The treaty-negotiating organization's lands didn't originally make the cut, compared to other rural properties, because city staff had scored them poorly for being far from transit and other infrastructure.

At the time, council members and the mayor said they made the decision in the name of reconciliation and economic development for Indigenous people.

Earlier this week, CBC News reported that the Algonquins of Ontario Realty Corporation owns less than a third of the expansion lands that have now been mapped, while their development partner, the Taggart Group, owns nearly half.

Asked on Wednesday if he still felt the Tewin lands should be brought within the urban boundary, when the official plan is voted on Oct. 27, Watson said he did.

"Lots of projects around the city are developed with more than one proponent, and it's not always a fifty-fifty split," answered Watson.

"My understanding, from discussions I've had and questions I've asked, is that there's profit-sharing for the Algonquins."

The AOO and Taggart Group had told CBC News in an email theirs was a "true partnership" based in reconciliation and profits would be shared over all lands at Tewin, so the AOO would directly benefit from lands Taggart as well.

This map in the proposed new official plan captures the areas that will be added within Ottawa's urban boundary. The area in orange forms the new Tewin suburb. (City of Ottawa)

Algonquin community leaders and chiefs, however, have questioned how individual Algonquin people will benefit from the project. They still strongly oppose the project and council's decision, because they do not recognize the AOO or many of its members as "legitimate" Algonquins.

Watson said he expects the city to have a "fulsome discussion" on Ottawa's new official plan, and its Tewin lands, at an important joint meeting of the planning committee and the agricultural and rural affairs committee that begins Thursday morning.

That meeting is expected to last a few days, and the mayor said more than 80 people have signed up to give public delegations.

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