Gower, Sutcliffe Pull Fast One On Building Heights


Eagle-eyed community activist John Langstone noticed this on the important and controversial issue of building heights:

Stittsville Councillor Glen Gower and Mayor Mark Sutcliffe have a motion before city council next week to change the Official Plan approved by council in October 2021. This is a quick move which bypasses planning committee and public consultation.

It flows from the return of Official Plans that had been modified by the province. So Ottawa got it’s Official Plan back essentially as municipally proposed.

The heights approved for minor corridors by the city two years ago in 2021 after extensive public consultation were four storeys maximum. Minor corridors in the Official Plan are streets like Gladstone, Sunnyside and Kilborn avenues. 

The province approved our Official Plan in November 2022 with height increases as in Table 1. 


Table 1 Height Limits for Minor Corridors

Minor CorridorApproved Official Plan 2021Changed by Provincial Government 2022
Downtown 4 storeys9 storeys
Inner Urban 4 storeys6 storeys
Outer Urban4 storeys 6 storeys
Suburban4 storeys7 storeys


The motion by Gower and Sutcliffe proposes to retain the provincial heights. The motion effectively changes Ottawa’s approved Official Plan without consultation.  

The process calls into question whether we effectively have an Official Plan.

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Recently we had a development approved on Carling Avenue by the Central Experimental Farm that had to be returned to planning committee because it was initially approved without required public consultation.  

Lansdowne 2.1 involved an Official Plan change which flew under the radar with all the discussion of the egregious financials. Even if the stadium and arena are never built, the park is now zoned for high density development. That’s what the partnership between planning department and developers resulted in.

Now, the Official Plan gets changed again by a slick motion without public consultation.

Do we see a pattern developing here?



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3 Responses

  1. Bruce says:

    My question is: Who crafted the motion? Gower who has little or nothing to gain as he is an “urban Rep” now holding a trump card given by the Mayor OR Sutcliffe who as mayor and person at the head of the snake which is Ottawa council and where many are indebted to the developer regime?
    Once AGAIN Consultation and respect for Ottawa taxpayers is not only LOST but FICTITIOUS as is any semblance to an Official Plan or CDP!

  2. Ron Benn says:

    I trust that Mssrs Gower and Sutcliffe are aware of the dangers of being on the lower end of the puppet strings.

  3. John Langstone says:

    My understanding is that Provincial Bill 150 provides a clear legislative scheme for the reversal of provincial changes to various Official Plans, including Ottawa’s Official Plan, and the Gower motion was introduced before Bill 150 was tabled. Section 3 of the new proposed Official Plan Adjustments Act, 2023 specifies the process to follow to amend Ottawa’s Official Plan, deemed approved on November 4, 2022. Has anyone at City Hall reviewed the Gower motion to ascertain consistency with the proposed new Act?

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