Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Urban Sprawl is no joke

Did you hear the one about the councillors and mayor who thought about reconsidering their motion?

They actually claimed that potential lawsuits over a major Official Plan amendment was 'new information'!

(If anything, it would be news if there weren't OMB appeals on an OP amendment!)

There's another "Hold The Line" rally at City Hall (Lisgar entrance) tomorrow at noon. Let's try to get council not to flip-flop on these big decisions just because developers want to make even more money building far-flung developments that cost taxpayers an arm and a leg to service!

- RG>


Chris B said...

Why care RG? I mean, seriously... why care? There are exactly 12 non-developers in Canada who know that endless sprawl is bad. Unfortunately they all sit on Ottawa Council.
If we are incapable of learning from Barrhaven to Kanata/Orleans to Stittsville to Riverside South... If we want to spend 2.2 billion on a LRT and then, bafflingly, not want to follow that with nodes of development on the line... Don't we deserve what we get? But at least Minto can build cheap homes on curvy roads.

Anonymous said...

People think I'm crazy when I say the number one reason I don't like living in Ottawa is the sprawl. Even though I live within more or less in the downtown area, the sprawl negatively impacts almost every aspect of my life.

MG said...

The problem with sprawl is not the developers. It's the customers... If people wanted to live in tiny houses close to downtown, developers would be more than happy to build them.

XUP, I'm curious how sprawl negatively impacts your life?

Chris B said...

MG - in my opinion, people DO want to live in tiny houses close to downtown. Which costs more - a 1200 sq. ft. semidetached in the Glebe or 2500 sq ft. in Riverside South?

The problem is that we do not properly price housing. The roads that get built out to the suburbs, the extra cost of servicing, the extra transit costs (to subsidize busses to low density developments). All of these are paid for by the broad tax base and thus are not reflected in teh true cost of the suburbs.

MG said...

Chris B - Actually they want to live in big houses with back yards and lawns, that are close to downtown. But you're right, they can't afford what they want in the Glebe so they move out.

I won't argue with you that transit is an expensive disaster in the suburbs, but as far as services. The cost of new roads and sewers are at the developers expense. And you forget that Kanata and Nepean were running surpluses before Ottawa amalgamated.

New homes now are also being built on increasingly smaller lots with let room between them. A 35' lot is pretty much the standard in Kanata I'd say that's approaching the density of the Glebe.

I would love to see a study on costs of servicing homes relative to location.

Chris B said...

@MG - the City did a report on average costs of services provided relative to home location and it found that the urban were shortchanged, suburbs broke even (or thereabouts - they received a little more than the average property tax revenue) and rural came out ahead.

The reason Nepean and Kanata had surpluses was that they acted as free riders on the services provided by Ottawa. And because they were new they were racking up DCC's. It is the same story with Missisauga or Surrey. Suburbs can always do better financially because they do not have the burden of the inner city (especially the socaial services)

Unknown said...

I think it's true that people don't like sprawl. It's also true that not everyone wants to live packed into a downtown core where it's no longer possible to have things like a back yard.

The costs of services to the outlying suburbs is especially high in Ottawa because in order to reach these communities they have to be pumped/wired/driven through the sacrosanct greenbelt. There's a solution here, but it requires the slaughter of a sacred cow.

RealGrouchy said...

darrell - which sacred cow? You mean building suburban townhouses in new developments instead of giant suburban houses on giant suburban lots?

- RG>