Plan for the Ottawa Hospital's new Civic Campus under scrutiny at marathon city hall meeting
OTTAWA -- The plan for the Ottawa Hospital's new Civic Campus came under scrutiny Friday during a marathon meeting at Ottawa City Hall.
Traffic, trees and LRT service were some of the main concerns raised by residents during the special planning committee meeting.
The plan is the second-biggest infrastructure project in Ottawa's history, behind only the light rail transit project. The $2.8 billion project for the new 16-hectare Civic Campus is to be built across from Dow's Lake, near Carling Avenue and Preston Street.
Ottawa Hospital President and CEO Cameron Love said this new hospital is critical to meet the health care demands of a growing city.
"To be able to respond to the future challenges like a pandemic. our health care structure and particularly our regional trauma and referral centre has to be more accessible, has to be agile, and it definitely has to be able to accommodate today's and future standards for health care," said Love.
The new facility will be located on land just minutes away from the current Civic Campus on Carling Avenue.
"Swift, efficient, highly skilled interventions are critical to survival, which can only be delivered at the Civic, that's why the strategic location of central placement within our city core and rapid accessibility to the greatest number of Ottawa citizens is crucial," said Dr. Guy Hebert, The Ottawa Hospital's Chair of Emergency Medicine.
More than 50 delegates signed up to speak to councillors on Friday. Many spoke of the excellent health care, others were worried about losing green space.
"The Civic can be built on a much smaller footprint. The index of a sprawling high tech campus is very American, springs from the idea that land is limitless and cheap but urban park land is not limitless," said PHD student Neil Cruikshank.
Under the plan, Queen Juliana Park would become a four-storey, above-ground parkade -- one of several elements community groups are strongly opposing.
"Our community has lived very close to the existing Civic Campus so we know transportation and traffic is an issue, so we want them to be proactive this time to mitigate that," said Karen Wright, president of the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association.
The association is also concerned about proximity to the new Dow's Lake LRT station now being built on the north side of Carling Avenue.
"In the winter you're expected to cross Carling Avenue, which we know is very busy and then walk two football fields to the hospital building itself. I think that's going to encourage people to stay in their cars," said Wright.
City of Ottawa staff recommended the approval of the Civic site plan. The planning committee continued meeting early Friday evening, and was expected to adjourn until Monday to continue meeting.
If approved, the plan will go to City Council later this month for a final vote.
Construction for the new project is expected to begin in 2024 and scheduled to be completed in 2028.