Group calls for inquiry into Civic hospital move

A newly formed group of concerned residents is calling for a public inquiry into how the Ottawa Hospital landed on the location for its new Civic campus, and accusing some of those involved of political interference and backroom dealing.

Reimagine Ottawa says 2016 decision to move Civic campus to Sir. John Carling site lacked transparency

Five members of the newly formed group Reimagine Ottawa held a news conference at Ottawa City Hall Wednesday. From left to right: Declan Hill, Monique Métivier, Clive Doucet, Frank Johnson and David Rogers. (David Richard/ CBC)

A newly formed group of concerned residents is calling for a public inquiry into how the Ottawa Hospital landed on the location for its new Civic campus, and is accusing some of those involved of political interference and backroom dealing.

Reimagine Ottawa, a collection of about 20 residents including former city councillor Clive Doucet, formed to combat what its members see as the disproportionate influence developers wield over city hall.

At a news conference Wednesday five of the group's members demanded the federal, provincial and municipal governments investigate the hospital's decision, and said they hope to make it an issue during upcoming provincial and municipal elections.

"I'm convinced that the only way that we will get to the bottom of this decision ... is through some kind of public inquiry," said David Rogers, a member of the group.  

Process lacked transparency, group claims

The issue dates back to 2016 when the National Capital Commission, after extensive public consultation, recommended Tunney's Pasture as the best location for a future Civic campus site.

The hospital rejected the NCC's choice, and days later hospital officials and politicians held a news conference outside Mayor Jim Watson's office to announce their support for the Sir John Carling site, part of the Central Experimental Farm.

Reimagine Ottawa claims the process lacked transparency, and said many questions remain about how officials arrived at the decision.

The group said it plans to file formal complaints with both the federal and provincial ombudsmen.

Design concept coming Jan. 31

In an emailed statement, Ottawa Hospital spokesperson Kate Eggins said the hospital has been holding public consultations on the new site, and said the final design will incorporate that feedback. 

"The hospital is working with the community to address key issues," Eggins said.

Architects and planners will present an initial design concept for the new campus at a public meeting on Jan 31. 

According to the hospital the new design will not include private sector development such as condo towers.