Urban Trends Erasing Rural Past

<p>Rural communities in Ottawa are being wiped out as urban trends take over the minds of developers and consumers. Rural residents are looking at ways to preserve the character of their communities.</p>
April 11, 2008, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Rural leaders such as Mr. Webster, who has lived in Richmond for 37 years, fear their communities are being driven down a slippery slope toward complete urbanization."

"'I have seen Ottawa change and much of the development has been good,' said Mr. Webster, president of the Richmond Village Association. 'But I just feel that if the Mintos and Mattamys move in, the rural life as we know it is gone.'"

"Stittsville resident Metin Akgun agreed. He has watched explosive growth virtually wipe out the dividing line between Stittsville and Kanata, making it difficult to tell one from the other. Even the city now describes the two communities as one growth area, acknowledging the reality on the ground."

"The city's rural areas developed very slowly for nearly 150 years, as many villages fought successfully to preserve their distinct, historical characters. But by the 1970s, as the population increased and suburban growth spurred rural development, things began to change."

"Barry Wellar, an urban planner and professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa, said as the desire for "country living" increased, developers cashed in. Because urban land was more expensive, developers bought acres of farmland at relatively cheap prices and waited for the right moment to start development."

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Published on Friday, April 4, 2008 in The Ottawa Citizen
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