NCC reveals list of 12 possible sites for new Civic hospital campus

Community groups are weighing in after the National Capital Commission revealed its list of 12 potential sites Monday for the new Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital.

Results of site selection process will be submitted to NCC board of directors at Nov. 23 meeting

The National Capital Commission has unveiled 12 potential sites for The Ottawa Hospital's new Civic campus. (Danny Globerman/CBC)

Community associations are sharing their thoughts and concerns about the National Capital Commission's new list of 12 potential sites for the new Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital.

The 12 sites, unveiled Monday, include:

  • Tunney's Pasture off Scott Street.
  • Lincoln Fields, near the Pinecrest Creek Pathway.
  • The north side of West Hunt Club Road, near Highway 416.
  • The south side of West Hunt Club Road, near Highway 416.
  • Woodroffe Avenue near West Hunt Club Road.
  • The Merivale Road/Woodroffe Avenue corridor.
  • The Central Experimental Farm, near Baseline and Merivale roads.
  • The existing Ottawa Hospital Civic campus.
  • The west end of the Central Experimental Farm off Carling Avenue.
  • The middle of the Central Experimental Farm off Carling Avenue.
  • The east end of the Central Experimental Farm off Carling Avenue.
  • The Booth Street complex.

Community association 'very surprised' 

One community association president said she's shocked to see a swath of NCC land near Lincoln Fields as a possible new location and expects residents to oppose any plans to build a hospital near the Pinecrest Creek paths, which are frequently used by cyclists and runners.

"I'm very surprised to see it on the list," said Julie Goodman, president of the Lincoln Heights-Parkway Community Association. "I just don't think it's something that should ever be developed."

I just don't think it's something that should ever be developed.- Julie Goodman, president of the Lincoln Heights-Parkway Community Association

Goodman says the green space is also a corridor for wildlife including migrating birds spotted at Mud Lake and further north. 

"It's a wonderful resource that we have on our doorsteps," she added. "This area is becoming quite intensively developed, so we need to look at those natural spaces and do our utmost to preserve them. Once they're gone, they're gone. They don't come back."

To the south and east, some residents near the Merivale Road/Woodroffe Avenue corridor site are concerned that a 100-plot community garden could be in jeopardy of being paved over if that site's chosen for the hospital project.

Rick Lymer uses his garden plot to feed his family and neighbours and also to donate to the food bank.

"It's a three-year wait to get into this site," said Lymer. "So if this was taken away from the community, it would be very painful to replace it — and would negate a lot of good that garden has done for the community and for the people who farm here."

Other sites will 'perfectly' serve hospital's needs

Advocates fighting to save the Central Experimental Farm say they're disappointed that a fourth plot of land on the farm has now made it onto the NCC's list.

However, they're hopeful that the four farm sites will not meet the NCC's criteria and — given that the list has grown from four to a dozen options — optimistic that a site not on the farm could be chosen.

"We're very happy to see the list of potential sites has been expanded greatly," said Paul Johanis, co-chair of the Green Space Alliance of Canada's Capital. "The NCC did a good job in examining other possibilities that weren't even on the table before."

"We believe that there are other sites on this list that will suit and perfectly well serve the needs of the hospital, without having to use up valuable research land on the farm," Johanis added. 

In general, residents near the current Civic campus say they like being near the hospital, so there's a lot of interest in having the new campus stay in the area, according to Karen Wright, president of the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association.

However, the number one problem, Wright said, is hospital staff driving to work and parking nearby. She wants to see an effective transit plan as part of a new site, adding that the neighbourhood is "split" on whether they they want the new campus on the Central Experimental Farm. 

"Some people are supportive of that, and many are not," said Wright. "As a neighbourhood association, we're focusing on the practical aspect: no matter where it is, [ensuring] there is some good transit."

Public consultation

An open house and presentation will take place Sept. 22 at the Canadian War Museum.

The open house will run from 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., while the presentation and a question session will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

An online survey will also be available to the public on the NCC's website from Sept. 22 to Oct. 6.

The NCC's board of directors are set to see the results of the site review process at a Nov. 23 public meeting. The NCC's recommendation will then be submitted to the Minster of Canadian Heritage for a decision.