Kids weigh in on Ottawa's 2046 plan

Ottawa is coming up with a new official plan — the legal document that governs how the city grows — and the kids have something to say about it.

In February, the city announced it's aiming to make Ottawa one of North America's most livable mid-sized cities by 2046.

The city wants to have the blueprint ready for 2021, with the goal of making Ottawa more attractive to younger workers as the city competes in a world where economic activity is concentrated in a shrinking number of large urban areas.

Kate Herron, a Grade 5 teacher at Half Moon Bay Public School, tasked her class with coming up with their own ideas for how they'd like to see their city grow.

Lily Morin

Hallie Cotnam/CBC

Lily Morin said the city needs to be a bit more proactive when it comes to plastic waste, pointing out how cities in California are trying to solve the problem.

"When I go grocery shopping I see plastic bags in trees and I see coke bottles everywhere. If that's happening now, it could get better or it could get worse," she said. 

As an avid singer, Morin said she's also looking forward to seeing how music has evolved by 2046.

"People won't use as many instruments. I feel like it will be more techy," she predicted.

Katie Roberts and Cooper Pears

Hallie Cotnam/CBC

Katie Roberts and Cooper Pears were part of a group that focused on what Ottawans will be doing for fun in 2046.

Roberts predicted hockey and soccer will still be staples in Ottawa, but she expects new sports to come into play, too.

"Maybe they'll join two sports like basketball and lacrosse. That would just be an idea," she said.

Pears thinks the players will likely be robots, although he doesn't know if that will be an improvement.

"A robot might not be able to beat Wayne Gretzky," he acknowledged, but on the other hand, "they'd never get injuries so they could be good." 

Bella Czudner and Aileen Zhang

Hallie Cotnam/CBC

One sport there might be less of in Ottawa is golf, according to Aileen Zhang and Bella Czudner.

"We might need to destroy more golf courses to add more houses," Zhang said.

Another housing option the group came up with would see Ottawa become a real-life version of The Shire, where homes are moved underground.

"I think it's a good idea because then there will be more room for things up top," Czudner said.

Caitlyn Bird, Bernice Lu and Jake Smith

Hallie Cotnam/CBC

Caitlyn Bird, Jake Smith and Bernice Lu worry there will be less room for kids to play.

"The houses will probably be packed together a lot more. So front yards and backyards — there won't be as many," Smith said.

We'll need more houses because there will be more people working from home, the group reasoned.

"Since now we have the technology, we're able to work at home," Bird said.

Lu believes more people will be working in the auto industry as self-driving cars make their way to Ottawa.

Ashley Brydges, Gavin Landry and Hayyan Affan

Hallie/Cotnam

Speaking of self-driving cars, Ashley Brydges, Hayyan Affan and Gavin Landry looked at how transportation might change in the future.

If more people are driving, Affan said Ottawa will need more room.

"There's going to have to be bigger roads," he said.

For sidewalks, Ottawa should consider moving walkways like the ones at airports instead of sidewalks, Landry said.

"It would go faster and be less dangerous," Brydges agreed.