More than 4,000 federal public servants are set to move across the Ottawa River after the completion of a large building project in Gatineau, Que.
Gradually in May, employees from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada — who currently work at an office in Vanier — will move into a 15-storey building at 22 Eddy St. in Gatineau's Hull sector.
Broccolini Construction was responsible for building the structure at the corner of Promenade du Portage in an area of several government buildings.
A second group of about 2,200 employees will also move from their office at Esplanade Laurier in Ottawa to the building on Eddy Street.
Reviews of the coming move are mixed. Some workers will be moving closer to home, while others are concerned about available parking.
"I'm very excited. I'm from Aylmer so it will be perfect for me, [it's a] short distance away and I'll be able to take my bike into work," said Joanne Spenard, who works for HRSDC.
"There isn't much parking over there and it's very expensive. So, I'll be taking the bus," said Jacques Lee, another HRSDC employee.
Elections Canada employees moving, too
In June, a group of workers with Elections Canada will move into a new 16-storey building at 30 Victoria St. That was built by Multivesco Inc.
Both buildings at Eddy and Victoria streets will be leased at about $11.7 million per year. But after 25 years, the government can purchase the buildings and land for a loonie each.
This influx of new workers has local Gatineau officials hoping for an economic boost with new, young families and more homebuyers.
Charles Mainville is a chef at the Orient Express on Eddy Street, next to a new building that will soon have federal government employees moving their boxes in.
"I'm very excited because it's going to help us bring in more business," he said, adding that it may mean hiring another person.
"So [it's] creating jobs," he said.
These moves will shift the distribution of public employees closer to the federal government's goal of 75 per cent in Ottawa and 25 per cent in Gatineau. Right now, about 20 per cent of employees work in Gatineau.
NDP MP Françoise Boivin, who represents the Gatineau riding, told Radio-Canada the 75-to-25 ratio is a long-awaited promise the government needs to deliver on.
Gatineau city council believes it will gain about $8 million in municipal taxes per year from the new buildings.