City lays out how Tewin suburb would be paid for

City of Ottawa staff have outlined how to pay for infrastructure when it expands its urban boundary for new housing, including at a whole future suburb called Tewin.

Documents for new official plan posted ahead of public open house and council vote

New homes are shown from above in various levels of construction in Ottawa's western Kanata neighbourhood in May 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

City of Ottawa staff have outlined how to pay for infrastructure when it expands its urban boundary for new housing, including at a whole future suburb called Tewin.

A sweeping set of documents released ahead of an important October vote on a new official plan includes not just that major city-building blueprint, but also outstanding business from an important council meeting last winter.

In February, council voted to bring 1,011 rural hectares inside Ottawa's urban boundary for future development and create an entirely new suburb in the rural southeast not originally proposed by city staff, calling it an act of reconciliation with Algonquin people.

Staff have now come back with the 445 hectares to be added for that suburb, Tewin, a development the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) proposed with their partner Taggart.

The development company also helped the AOO with financing to buy land in the area from the Ontario government. 

Proposed agreement for Tewin

Amid concerns about a fourth suburb located far beyond existing homes, pipes and transit, the Algonquins of Ontario and Taggart had promised that "Tewin would pay for Tewin."

Over the past eight months, city staff have worked hard to resolve council's concerns about Tewin's soil conditions and financial implications, said planning committee co-chair Coun. Scott Moffatt.

"[It's] a whole brand-new community in an area that doesn't have hardly any development today. That's a big decision," he said.

Staff have now drawn up wording that could be used in an agreement between the landowners and the City of Ottawa. 

The owners say they'll cover the city's share of any new train or Transitway infrastructure with a development charge specific to new development in that area.

That fee, on top of typical development charges, could also pay for roads and pipes. Tewin will also cover OC Transpo operating costs for things like staff, fuel, new buses and the installation of charging stations.

"The risk-to-the-city part... was the most important piece, and I feel that's really covered in that [memorandum of understanding]," said Moffatt.

The landowners will also be responsible for a number of necessary studies related to such things as water, transportation, and soils.

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, while areas in purple would be future neighbourhoods that can't be built if they're too far from transit and money doesn't exist for new infrastructure. New industrial and logistics areas are in blue. (City of Ottawa)

Public meeting Sept. 29

It's not just Tewin that councillors have been worried about, however.

In February, councillors expressed frustration with Ottawa's booming suburbs, where homes are built but roads, transit and other infrastructure lag far behind.

The new official plan addresses certain new areas to be brought inside the urban boundary that might be too far from an existing rapid transit station. Those areas won't be able to develop until money is found for transit, water pipes, sidewalks, and roads, it says.

Moffatt also hopes council colleagues will reconsider land they brought into the urban boundary near Riverside South, after staff couldn't corroborate the developer's study that the land is no longer agricultural.

All of this fine-tuning of council's urban boundary decision is just part of the larger official plan, however, which sets out what can be built in Ottawa through 2046 — and where.

Residents have pored over its hundreds of pages , which were gradually released over the past couple of months, knowing that each map or policy could bring great change to neighbourhoods.

They can take part in a virtual open house on Sept. 29.

A joint meeting of the planning and rural affairs committee is then set for Oct. 14, and the interest is so great that it's scheduled to last three days.


Kate Porter


Kate Porter covers municipal affairs for CBC Ottawa. Over the past two decades, she has also produced in-depth reports for radio, web and TV, regularly presented the radio news, and covered the arts beat.