Tewin Development

The proposal to include the rural Tewin lands for future suburban development is added as a late motion at a joint committee meeting. Staff rated the proposed Tewin development among the least preferred areas for urban expansion, scoring it poorly on nearly all criteria.

Council approves the extension of the urban boundary to include of 445 hectares for the Tewin suburb by development partners, the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) and Taggart. It is sold to Council as a reconciliation initiative, because Tewin promises that it will cover many of the costs of infrastructure (estimated at $618 million) and environmental studies. It was also seen as contributing to Ottawa’s need for housing, even though provincial policy requires that the City “accommodate residential growth . . . through residential intensification and redevelopment and, if necessary (italics ours), lands which are designated and available for residential development.” 

Unmentioned is that only a portion of the approved parcel is owned by the AOO. 

Who are the Algonquins of Ontario? The AOO is a coalition of ten Algonquin communities working together to provide a unified approach to reach a settlement of their 9-million-acre land claim. AOO membership, its right to negotiate on behalf of Algonquin peoples, and how it is conducting those negotiations are disputed by many Algonquin leaders.

In January, 2020, the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO), with financing from the Taggart Group of Companies, paid $16.9 million to buy 1,626 hectares from the Ontario government.

Taggart Group Land: The Taggart family, through two of its companies, owns about two-thirds of the land admitted for development within the urban boundary; the AOO one-third. Individuals connected to the Taggart Group collectively donated over $70,000 to various candidates during the last municipal elections — more than any other developer.

study by the Peoples Official Plan Coalition concludes that it is possible to maintain the current urban boundary while also meeting the new Provincial Policy Statement to maintain ability to accommodate residential growth for a minimum of 15 years.

City staff develop Principles of a Memorandum of Understanding to alleviate concerns about the high costs of providing transportation and other city infrastructure to service the community. In addition to the City-wide Development Charge, Area-specific Development Charges will be levied on the Taggart/AOO partnership to cover roads, transit, water, wastewater infrastructure. Tewin will also cover OC Transpo operating costs for things like staff, fuel, new buses and the installation of charging stations. They will also be responsible for a number of necessary studies related to such things as water, transportation, and soils, and will cover front-end costs.

Staff and residents’concern about the high risk of flooding and soil instability due to Leda clay soil are dismissed with an engineer’s assurance that these are manageable and that similar conditions exist in other built areas of the city.

Approximately 70 hectares of forested land are clear cut by Taggart and the AOO, including throughout the night, with the only notice to the City being an enquiry the previous summer about cleaning up fallen and falling trees from the earlier derecho windstorm.

Taggart persuades staff they had been in talks with farmers about potential leases since the previous October. However, they did the clearcutting before they signed a farming lease on March 3. City agrees Tewin is exempt under “normal farm practices” per the Normal Farm Practice Protection Board. City does not refer the issue to the Board for a ruling, just for guidance. (We have asked the City to provide the Board’s response.)

Tewin’s One Planet Action Plan has not yet been revealed. 

The “Principles of a Memorandum of Understanding” (Annex 12 of Ottawa’s Official Plan) outlines how Tewin transportation and infrastructure services will be financed under the principle that “Tewin pays for Tewin.” It cannot be finalized until mid-2025 when the City’s Infrastructure Master Plan (IMP) and Transportation Master Plan (TMP) will be completed.  Only then we will know whether Tewin will pay for Tewin.

Citizens living in the area remain disturbed about the lack of transparency and consultation and fear flooding, pollution and a threat to their rural way of life.

  • The inclusion of the Tewin lands in the urban boundary was based on misleading information – councillors were not aware that the majority of the 445 hectares is owned by Taggart alone. Council’s decision should be revisited. 
  • Object to councillors receiving funding from developer-related individuals. No such donations should be allowed. Councillors who accept them should not sit on committees that make decisions involving developers. 
  • Find out whether your councillor has accepted donations from developer-related individuals.

2022 election.  2018 election.

Shifting urban boundary ‘makes millionaires,’ planning prof says (May 26, 2020)

Algonquin chiefs denounce urban expansion as ‘wreck-onciliation’ (February 2021)

Algonquins of Ontario not the biggest landowner at Tewin  (October 2021)

Principles for the Tewin Financial Memorandum of Understanding (November 2022)

Protesters decry tree cutting on Tewin lands, which city has deemed permissible (March 2023)

No formal complaint to Ontario farming practices board over Tewin tree-clearing controversy (April 2023)