City to make planning information and consultations clearer, more transparent

For immediate release:
June 23, 2014

City to make planning information and consultations clearer, more transparent

Ottawa – Better development signage, the use of plain language, easier-to-use development reports, and a pilot project to improve community engagement were the four new initiatives unveiled today by Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Peter Hume, Chair of the City’s Planning Committee.

The goal of the initiatives is to make City planning information and consultations clearer, easier to understand, and more transparent.


“At our Planning Summit in 2012, we made a commitment to improve the flow of information,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Councillor Hume and City Planning and Growth Management staff are following through by making planning information and processes simpler and easier to understand, while also moving to improve public engagement.”

The changes to the information and communication tools include:

Development street signs will be revamped to provide residents with greater clarity on what exactly to expect from the development application proposal. The sign will feature plainer language and a street-level image of the proposal (where applicable).

  • Plain language will be used to make information easier to understand on matters of planning policy and proposed development applications.
  • A report template has been designed to make it easier to find and contact the planner on the file for public feedback. It will also link to relevant documentation and will feature a one-page data sheet that gives a thumbnail overview of the application.

The fourth initiative that is being introduced is a one-year pilot project in Capital Ward that allows registered Community Associations to participate in pre-application consultations meetings between developers and City planners.

“The pilot project employs community engagement earlier in the process, before the development application is even officially made,” said Councillor Hume. “This promising initiative makes the process more transparent, allowing earlier communication with the community and builds awareness of the planning process.”

Pre-application meetings are required before a formal application is filed. The meeting covers the necessary studies and plans that are required to be in the final submission, along with the relevant planning policies that application must adhere to.

The one-year pilot will start in August of this year. A report to Planning Committee on its results will be tabled next summer. Further information will be communicated to affected Capital Ward community organizations later this summer.

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