Rockcliffe Airbase

The redevelopment at Rockcliffe is one of the most anticipated projects in Ottawa. It also presents one of the most significant community building opportunities in the Nation’s Capital.

Close to Ottawa’s urban core, this 310-acre (125-hectare) site presents a rare opportunity to reintegrate this former Canadian Forces Base into the surrounding urban and natural context, creating a vibrant new community that blends seamlessly with the existing character of Ottawa.

The mission is to develop an innovative neighbourhood while setting exemplary standards for strong design and development; providing for an appropriate mix of housing types, commercial development and employment uses, while creating strong connections among significant natural features, open spaces, and urban public spaces along with a commitment to sustainability development and long term economic viability.

CLC will draw from the extensive body of work gathered from previous consultations that took place five years ago.

For more information, please visit the Canada Lands Company website from which this introduction was borrowed.


****** 18 June 2013 Update ******

Letter from Don Schultz, Canada Lands Company

Dear Public Advisory Group,

Further to discussions that many of us have had, my Canada Lands Company (CLC) colleagues and I have compiled some information about how CLC maintains consistency in the implementation of our master planning vision after we sell serviced blocks and lots to developers and builders. You are welcome to share this information with your community members.

When developing communities such as the former CFB Rockcliffe, CLC creates master plans for those communities and follows all of the necessary municipal requirements prior to commencing the sales programs directed toward developers and builders. CLC does not conduct “pre-sales” or programs requiring deposits prior to the formal sale of properties. CLC puts certain legal and financial measures in place through agreements with developers and builders, which allow the Company to continue to participate in these projects until their completion.

The City of Ottawa approvals that will regulate the development of this project will include:

  • Community Design Plan (CDP)
  • Secondary Plan
  • Official Plan Amendment
  • Zoning
  • Conditions of Subdivision Approval
  • Development Charges

The CDP will serve as a broad policy plan to indicate generally where different land uses will be developed and the types of infrastructure that will be required to support those land uses. Approval of this CDP will be formalized through Ottawa City Council approval of a Secondary Plan and Official Plan Amendment, which will provide the legal assurance that development will proceed in accordance with the CDP. The CDP, Secondary Plan, and Official Plan Amendment will in turn direct which types and locations of zoning shall be approved within the new community. Because of Council’s approval of the Secondary Plan and Official Plan Amendment, zoning or rezoning of land that does not conform with the CDP shall not be permitted. Each zoning approval will establish the land uses and built forms (e.g., building heights) that will be permitted in the zoning district. The CDP, Secondary Plan, Official Plan Amendment, and all zoning applications must be approved by City Council. Each one of these approval processes includes certain requirements for public consultation.

The City of Ottawa also requires certain studies and consultation processes for the subdivision of land into blocks and lots prior to the registration of individual land titles. Conditions of subdivision approval include requirements that landowners enter into subdivision agreements with the City regarding matters such as the construction of roads, servicing, and parkland dedication. Subdivision applicants are required to provide letters of credit in order for the City to ensure that all subdivision conditions are fulfilled.

The City of Ottawa also imposes Development Charges at the time of building permit approval. When building permits are issued, the City levies fees on property owners and developers to assist in financing the costs of new infrastructure and municipal services. Such new infrastructure and services can include: roads, pathways, and related infrastructure; sanitary sewer; water; stormwater management; police, fire, and paramedic emergency services; public transit; development of parks and indoor recreational facilities; libraries; child care; City vehicles and works yards; and affordable housing programs.

In addition to these City regulations and requirements, Canada Lands Company requires that builders and developers who purchase serviced lots and blocks from CLC enter into legal agreements that address items such as conditions of development and design guidelines. For example, builders and developers enter into agreements with CLC that deter the re-sale of blocks and lots without developing such lands in accordance with CLC’s design guidelines.

Site development matters that are typically addressed CLC’s Design Guidelines include:

  • Confirmation of Land Use ( Zoning)
  • Lot Coverage or “building footprint”
  • Maximum Gross Floor Area (particularly for commercial development)
  • Maximum Numbers of Residential Units
  • Building  Height or Maximum Numbers of Floors
  • Development or Building Set-Backs (from roads, adjacent properties, slopes, significant woods, etc)
  • Placement of Buildings on Sites
  • Exterior Building Façade Materials and Design
  • Parking
  • Planting and Landscaping
  • Site Access, Service Access, and Barrier-Free Accessibility
  • Sustainability Initiatives and Performance Standards
  • Site Furniture and Street Furniture
  • Walls, Entry Features, Fences, etc
  • Street Lighting

All of CLC’s development agreements and design guidelines are legally enforceable and are guaranteed through measures such as financial securities similar to the letters of credit required by the City of Ottawa as conditions of subdivision approval.

As master developer, CLC maintains these interests in the communities we develop through the completion of all sales and the full built-out of each development phase. Canada Lands Company has demonstrated its commitment to ensure that the vision established for each community is fulfilled until the community is completely developed. This commitment includes not only the agreements we enter into with builders and developers who buy our blocks and lots. It is also apparent in the standards of quality to which CLC holds itself, in public places, streetscapes, park design, sustainability measures, and significant commemoration of community heritage.

Please contact me directly if you have any questions about how CLC ensures that our community vision is implemented. I look forward to our further collaboration.

Thank you,


Don Schultz

Director, Real Estate, Rockcliffe | directeur, Immobilier Rockcliffe
Canada Lands Company | Société immobilière du Canada

30 Metcalfe Street, Suite 601, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5L4 | 30, rue Metcalfe, bureau 601, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5L4
Tel/ Tél : 613-998-7765 | Cell : 613-863-6693 | Web: | Email/Courriel:

Rockcliffe web site/Site internet de Rockcliffe: http:\\

Report from the Workshop on Airbase Community Design Alternatives

On Saturday 25 May, Canada Lands Company hosted an Open House and all-day Workshop to present and receive public comment on the various approaches taken in three (3) Preliminary Alternative Design Concepts for the Rockcliffe Airbase.

(Note: The Alternatives that were presented are preliminary, for discussion, and have not been endorsed by the City of Ottawa or other key Stakeholders in the design process.)

Participants at both the Open House and the Workshop were presented with the three (3) Preliminary Alternative Design Concepts.  Each alternative showed optional (but generally different) road alignments, housing type mixes, spaces for schools, green space allocations and natural areas being protected.

The Workshop participants were then asked to discuss and summarize key points on how well each design concept met expectations for–

(1)    Urban lifestyles

(2)    Natural and man-made spaces

(3)    Moving into, around, and out of the community,and

(4)    The overall designs.

Workshop findings were recorded on flip-charts, for the proponent’s records, and presented to the Workshop audience as a whole.  Who was in the Workshop?  The active participants included interested members of the Ottawa community, including some who represented interest groups such as community housing, and some members of the project’s Public Advisory Group (who are also community association representatives).  Other (observer) participants were the Project Team and other interested professionals (project consultants, City of Ottawa staff, and Canada Lands Company personnel).

The event was engaging, interesting, and even fun.  A lot of good public comment went on record, specifically of what design elements were liked, not liked, and what we would like to see more of.

Feedback from the 25 May event will form part of the information used in formulating a preferred design plan for the community. Other input to the preferred plan will include further technical analyses, information generated from required studies, and information from detailed reviews by the Technical Advisory Committee, Affected City Departments, and other Stakeholder agencies.

To see a copy of the three design alternatives presented by CLC on 25 May, come to the Community Potluck Picnic on Saturday, 1 June at 5pm in Birdland Park.

Comments can be made through the project web site –




Public Advisory Committee

Conversations at the Public Advisory Committee for the Rockcliffe Airbase Redevelopment


1 March 2013

The email below contains a number of examples of community plans and recently developed communities that our (CLC’s) team members consider best practices in sustainable community planning and development. The sky is the limit in terms of best practices, so if you know of examples yourselves that aren’t on our list, then please let us know about them.

I would also like to draw your attention to some excellent work that has recently been undertaken by the sustainable communities group at CMHC. The overall name of their project has been “EQuilibrium Communities”. The neighbourhood scale of the Rockcliffe redevelopment and other CLC projects are good fits with EQ Communities, so there is a lot of potential for transferability of the lessons learned by CMHC to our project. I have been and will continue to be sharing information with CMHC as our project proceeds, which will hopefully benefit both CLC and CMHC. I would encourage you to search for information on the web about some recent EQuilibrium Communities, including:

Ty-Histanis, near Tofino, BC (a First Nations community)

Ampersand here in Ottawa (Minto Developments)

Regent Park Revitalization, Phase 1, in Toronto

Station Pointe Greens (proposed in Edmonton)

There is not a lot of information on line about all of these projects because some of them are so new, but more information will be available soon.

Here are links to a couple of CMHC’s “interactive maps”, which are like virtual tours, of 2 of the EQC projects:

CMHC will be placing more of these interactive maps on line in the coming weeks, as well as additional publications highlighting lessons learned from the EQC projects.

Don Schultz

Another example circulated with the above material:

Sustainable development Toulouse


26 April 2013

As the Greenspace Alliance representative on the PAG, I would like to table the report from  the European Centre for Environment and Human Health  for the consideration of urban planners associated with the development of CFB Rockcliffe. The video at the link below is only 3 minutes long, but it succinctly argues that greenspace has a significant impact on the well-being of a population and should be an important consideration in planning and policy making.

Al Crosby