A new study says Ottawa is doing its best to keep cities small.
The report from the Canada Urban Transportation Association found the federal government’s plan to build new highways, transit lines and public transit infrastructure over the next decade is making cities smaller and not growing them fast enough.
The authors said it’s clear Ottawa’s vision is to keep city centres small.
“What’s going on is not sustainable in any sense,” said Dr. Rob Muehlhauser, who co-authored the report with University of Toronto economist and former U.S. President George W. Bush senior adviser David Dao.
“We’re not growing the cities we’re supposed to grow.”
In fact, Ottawa has the worst growth rate of any big Canadian city, according to the report.
Muehlenhauser said Ottawa has been doing everything possible to try to shrink its population, even though Ottawa’s population is actually growing at a faster rate than the rest of Canada.
“You’ve got cities that are already smaller and are not growing as fast as they should be,” Mueghe said.
“In some ways we’re not doing enough to support the growth of the city.”
While Ottawa has had a population boom over the past few decades, its growth has been uneven.
The city has been building new roads, bridges and other infrastructure to keep its population from growing, and it has also increased the amount of public transit in the city.
The city’s growth rate over the last decade has been 2.8 per cent, compared with a national average of 1.5 per cent.
The average growth rate in the country is 2.7 per cent a year.
Ottawa’s growth has not been matched by the rest the country, which has grown at a much slower rate, according the report, which was released Monday.
“We’re seeing that the countries that have had a big population growth over the years, like Canada, the U.K., the U, S.A., have had higher growth rates than the countries in which we are seeing the most rapid growth,” Meehlhausers said.
“But in many cases, they’re not being supported by the federal governments.”
The city has also seen its growth rate slowed by a lack of infrastructure.
It is currently under construction on a new $3.3-billion highway that will link downtown Ottawa to the east and east-end communities like Woodbine and Yorkville.
But the city is also spending more money on the Highway of the North, the $1.2-billion new highway that is expected to be complete by the end of 2019.
Muehlhe said Ottawa should be paying more for infrastructure.
“When we are spending money to get more highways and roads, that’s a good thing,” he said.
But Muehnhauser warned that Ottawa should also be paying for the cost of the new highways and the public transit, especially if Ottawa is not going to pay for those infrastructure.
He said Ottawa is already paying $5 billion for the Highway No. 1 project and $4 billion for an extension of Highway No.-2.
“There’s not enough infrastructure to support that amount of growth,” he added.
“They should be putting a bigger share of their money into infrastructure and roads and transit, and we should be spending more on infrastructure and public transport.”
Muehls said it would be a mistake for Ottawa to try and make up ground on the cities.
“That’s just not going get you anywhere.
It’s going to make you lose a lot of your ground,” he explained.
Mueshh said it may be time for Ottawa and Ottawa’s political leaders to think about changing the political rhetoric around the city to try changing Ottawa’s perception of itself.
“The perception of the Ottawa we see today is that it’s not a good place for a city to be,” he continued.
“So it’s time to have some serious discussion about how we want to grow the city and how we can keep it from becoming too small.”