New community classification would ease development challenges, AGM attendees learn
The Kanata North Tech Park is in the running for a new special development title from the City of Ottawa that could see planning policies relaxed in the community.
Attendees at the Kanata North Business Association’s 2019 AGM heard from Steve Willis – the city’s general manager of planning, infrastructure and economic development – about the city’s plan to differentiate at least two Ottawa areas as “special economic zones.”
The designation in the city’s Official Plan would spark a review and update of development standards with the goal of introducing more flexible land-use policies
and greater density. This would make it easier for communities such as Kanata North to grow and evolve more quickly, nimbly and efficiently.
“We are looking to create something new and exciting that hasn’t existed before,” Willis told attendees at the business association’s AGM in late November. “This community should be spending time on innovation, not getting bogged down with
More broadly, a special economic zone designation would bring more recognition to the significant contributions that the Kanata North Tech Park makes to Ottawa’s economy while striving to increase the overall quality of life through investments in infrastructure and community development.
“I’ve actually been really excited … about the partnership with the KNBA,” Willis added. “It’s a partnership that is exemplary of what we can do when working with a city organization and a group representing one of the most dynamic and interesting business communities in all of Canada.”
One item on the agenda that had attendees applauding with support was Willis’ mention of increasing public transportation to Kanata North, an issue that may be fast-tracked with the adoption of the special zone classification.
Jamie Petten, the president and executive director of the KNBA, echoed the need to ease traffic congestion during the commute to and from the tech park in her remarks at the AGM, highlighting how the KNBA continues to meet with all levels of government to find creative solutions.
The crowd also bid farewell to Amy MacLeod as she wrapped up her term as KNBA’s board chair. The former Mitel executive, who recently joined shipbuilder Seaspan’s Ottawa office, thanked the KNBA membership for their support and ongoing efforts to make Kanata North a thriving tech park.
The evening wrapped up with a look ahead to 2020. Petten hinted at some new initiatives the team is hoping to bring to light such as turning the annual Discover TechNATA 2020 career fair into a cross-country roadshow.