Report to/Rapport au :


Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

Comité de l'agriculture et des questions rurales


and Council / et au Conseil


1 March 2006 / le 1 mars 2006


Submitted by/Soumis par : Ned Lathrop,

Deputy City Manager/Directeur municipal adjoint,

Planning and Growth Management/Urbanisme et Gestion de la croissance 


Contact Person/Personne ressource : Dennis Jacobs, Director / Directeur,

Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Policy /

Politiques d’urbanisme, d’environnement et d’infrastructure

(613) 580-2424 x25521,


Wards 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 19, 20, 21

Ref N°: ACS2006-PGM-POL-0017













That the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee recommend Council endorse the attached workplan for City staff to work with a Wetland Stakeholder Group, as defined in this report, to resolve rural community concerns regarding wetlands.





Que le Comité de l’agriculture et des questions rurales recommande au Conseil d’appuyer le plan de travail ci-joint afin que le personnel collabore avec un groupe de parties prenantes sur les zones humides, tel que défini dans le présent rapport, en vue de dissiper toute inquiétude de la communauté rurale quant aux zones humides.





As part of the review process for consideration of a subdivision application at 6851 Flewellyn Road, work was conducted on behalf of the City of Ottawa and the Ministry of Natural Resources in 2004 to identify potential new wetland areas in the vicinity of this address, located within Goulbourn Township.  In 2005, the City began an Official Plan Amendment process to designate the potential new wetland areas for protection in its Official Plan. 


Many of the 60 affected landowners, and others, raised a number of concerns regarding this process that included impact upon property values, existing drainage problems, the wetland evaluation process and outcome, and the need for wetland designation.  Given the strength of the concerns raised, the City stopped the designation process in early November 2005 with a promise to resolve these community concerns.


To respond to a number of rural concerns, including wetlands, the City of Ottawa sponsored a Rural Summit in November 2005.  This event was organized by rural residents to identify their priority issues, potential solutions and a program for the City and its residents to continue to work together to implement workable solutions. Rural communities in Ottawa, as well as across the country, have experienced significant pressures in the last several years.  Given evolving concerns within local rural communities that government agencies are delivering inadequate services, increasing their controls on land uses as well as changes experienced through municipal amalgamation, the City of Ottawa has committed to collaboratively work with the community to find appropriate solutions.  This commitment fits with the responsibility of all levels of government for ongoing refinement of their service delivery approaches to adequately respond to changing conditions and still balance the needs of the whole community without unduly impacting upon any one segment. 


The City's recent Rural Summit concluded that a number of specific actions and processes must be implemented to correct the growing negative impact being experienced within our rural community.  Resolution of landowner and community concerns in regard to wetland identification and designation is one of the key areas that the City committed to address as part of the 2006 work program arising from the Rural Summit.  This report presents the proposed workplan for approval by the Agricultural & Rural Affairs Committee and Council.  Input to and endorsement of this workplan was sought from the Rural Task Force, prior to Committee consideration of this item.




Under the planning authorities delegated to municipalities within Ontario, the City of Ottawa is responsible to deliver land use planning and management services that guide our community's land use and development to achieve protection of:

            resources of provincial interest,

            public health and safety, and

            the quality of the environment,

as outlined in the Provincial Policy Statement (2005).  To achieve the directions within the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and other requirements under the Planning Act, the City of Ottawa's Official Plan (2003) is one of the main tools available to manage our growth and land use.  The integrated policies within our Plan aim to "manage our growth in ways that reinforce the qualities of the City most valued by its residents:  its distinctly liveable communities, its green and open character, and its unique characteristics that distinguish Ottawa from all other places".


Provincially Significant Wetlands are one of the resources of provincial interest that municipalities are required to "protect for the long term".  Section 2.1.3 of the PPS directs that development and site alteration shall not be permitted within (provincially) significant wetlands. 

Within the City of Ottawa, as well as other municipalities across Ontario, the standard approach to fulfill protection of significant wetlands is to designate them in Official Plans with relevant land use restrictions.  Although this is the standard approach for Ontario municipalities, other methods to protect significant environmental lands are known to be employed in Ontario, other Provinces and the United States.


Through 2005, in discussions prior to, at and following the City's Rural Summit, many questions and concerns have arisen in regard to the processes used to identify and protect wetlands.  City staff have developed a workplan (see Document 1) for resolving the priority wetland items within the Policy section of the December 6, 2005 Rural Summit Task Force Report as well as respond to related items raised by Goulbourn landowners:

            share information with and petition the Province, as appropriate, to understand and input to the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System, parts of which (such as complexing critieria) are scheduled for review in early 2006;

            develop relevant policies and procedures that recognize and plan for the potential effects of City actions on owners' use of their lands, including consideration of an approach with terms similar to expropriation and a compensation policy for designated wetlands;

            evaluate the need for designation of wetlands within the Official Plan in comparison to other conservation methods (e.g. purchase of development rights, stewardship agreements, compensation, conservation easements, etc.); consider a process that requires landowner consent for changes in land use designation or zoning;

            ensure that cumulative effects of development and water taking are adequately considered by relevant agencies (the City, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of the Environment, Conservation Authorities); and

            resolution of existing drainage questions and issues within Goulbourn ward.


This workplan will be completed by working closely with a stakeholder group that is proposed to include representation from the following:

Rural Task Force;

Goulbourn Landowners Group;

Ottawa-Carleton Rural Council;

Environmental Advisory Committee/Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee;

local Conservation Authorities;

Ministry of Natural Resources;

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing;

Councillor Stavinga's office.




Jurisdictions world-wide restrict land uses within wetlands because of the ecological functions that wetlands serve and the potential for significant loss of function that can result from human activities.  The ecological functions or services provided by wetlands include capture and storage of precipitation and surface water, removal of contaminants (if present) from waters flowing through wetlands, regulated release of stored water to replenish watercourses (at cooler temperatures) and aquifers and provision of habitat for a diverse range of species.  Resolution of this workplan aims to achieve a balance that both protects the City's remaining significant wetlands as well as respects landowners' ability to use their properties.




The completion of this workplan will fulfill recommendations from the Rural Summit for resolution of policy items related to identification and conservation of wetlands and related City services within the rural area of the City of Ottawa.  The resulting policy principles and directions from this workplan will also be reviewed for the potential to apply their context to other City land use policies within both the rural and urban areas of the City.




Consultation and discussion with community stakeholders and relevant government agencies at key workplan stages, as outlined in the attached document, will occur with input from the Rural Issues Advisory Committee, once constituted.




This workplan will be completed through the use of existing staff resources, primarily from the Environmental Sustainability Division within the Planning and Growth Management Department.  As the work proceeds, should additional assistance be required to complete some of the research or analysis tasks (likely needed in the area of property value impact analysis), the relatively small amount of financial resources expected (<$10,000) can be obtained from the Division's Watershed/Subwatershed Planning budget, capital account #902042.




Document 1      Proposed Work Program for Resolution of Wetlands Concerns




Staff within the Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Policy Branch will work closely with a Wetlands Stakeholder Group to coordinate completion of the attached workplan with other City and agency staff.  The completion of this workplan will result in submission of a recommended approach to wetlands policy, including compensation considerations, for review by a joint Committee meeting of Agricultural and Rural Affairs and Planning and Environment, projected to occur in June 2006.


PROPOSED WORK PROGRAM FOR RESOLUTION OF WETLAND CONCERNS                                                                                                                                                                              Document 1


Proposed Work Program for Resolution of Wetlands Concerns –

Landowner rights & community environmental needs                                                                                                        February 2006



Definition of Wetlands / Methodology for their identification and evaluation (including complexing)

Current Status:  The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is undertaking a review of the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System; the review’s timing and scope are expected to be finalized in late January.




Clarify understanding of proposed MNR Review of the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System and submit relevant City issues for consideration in the review

Meeting in early March

City, MNR

Discuss likely direction and timing of MNR review with stakeholders

After initial meeting with MNR

City, Wetland Stakeholder Group

Explore broad range of options for wetland conservation and identify alternatives to Official Plan designation; alternatives include range of approaches to land conservation and landowner compensation

Conduct research in Feb./Mar. 2006;

Discuss preliminary findings with stakeholder group by end of March

Finalize options with stakeholder input by May 15th

Natural Systems staff (in Planning, Environment & Infrastructure Policy (PEIP) Branch, MNR, Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing (MMAH),

Community, Conservation Authorities


Municipal Drainage Issues

Current Status:  Redirected drainage water has been confirmed to occur in the Conley Road area due to beaver activity upstream; City staff have engaged a trapper to remove the beavers and the dam.  The work has not yet been completed due to landowner reluctance to allow property access.




Complete beaver and dam removal to restore natural drainage movement of water

As soon as feasible, practical for removal of beavers

Public Works & Services staff / contractor

Confirm that development over the last 10-20 years in the area to the north of the potential wetlands in the Flewellyn Road area of Goulbourn ward has not resulted in increased water to the Conley Road vicinity

Complete assessment by early April

Natural Systems / Planning & Infrastructure Approvals (PIA), Public Works (Drainage), Ministry of the Environment (MOE ) re:  Permits to Take Water, MNR

Explanation of known aspects of wetland development, progress on wetlands research and MNR review

Discuss with stakeholder group in late March

Wetland Evaluator, City, Landowners, MNR, Stakeholder group

Develop approach for evaluation of cumulative effects from development and water-taking

2006/7; timing depends upon finalization of Provincial Clean Water Act and associated regulations for source water protection legislation

PEIP, MOE, Conservation Authorities (CA’s), PIA


Wetlands within Rural Context




Prepare materials that outline benefits of wetlands to groundwater and surface water quality and quantity (also emerged as concern at Rural Summit)

By April 2006


Communicate likely impact of Clean Water Act, source water protection planning, to rural community, and rest of the City

Public notification and committee meetings - Planning & Environment (Jan. 24) and Agriculture & Rural Affairs (Jan. 26) to discuss City comments on draft legislation; ~ four sets of associated regulations expected for circulation in first six months of 2006


Ensure integrated communication and consultation efforts with rural community on related current planning initiatives – rural aspects of Greenspace Master Plan, Forest Strategy, Good Forestry Practices By-Law, City response to new Provincial Policy Statement

Advertisements through community newspapers, e-mail lists, as appropriate

Specific meetings within the rural community on these subjects, as they arise; Most of these are likely to occur in 2007 with some discussion on the new Provincial Policy Statement (2005) by June 2006





Impact of Wetland Designation (and other more restrictive designations) on property value




Compile/Summarize results of Legal Services’ review of the approach of other jurisdictions in the area of wetlands protection and application of the Provincial Policy Statement

By end of March

Natural Systems, Legal Services

Conduct research on impacts of environmental designations on property value; identify options for mitigation; build into environmental areas acquisition policy or other policies, as appropriate

Research complete by mid April

Review findings and options with Wetland Stakeholder Group, in April/May


Natural Systems, support from Real Property & Asset Management, property appraiser, Legal

Develop overall policy for wetland protection, including options for landowner compensation and assessment of how this policy’s context might apply to within urban area and to other Official Plan environmental designations

Finalize recommended approach in May/June and consult with relevant stakeholders

Policy approval at joint Committee meeting of Agricultural & Rural Affairs and Planning & Environment in June

City, Rural Task Force, MNR, Conservation Authorities, community, Wetland Stakeholder Group


City staff will regularly communicate with Agricultural & Rural Affairs Committee and the Rural Issues Advisory Committee, as appropriate, regarding progress and input on this item.  Completion of this workplan proposes approximate biweekly meetings of the Wetland Stakeholder Group.