Ottawa

DND move will stir 'gravity shift' in Ottawa, top soldier warns

Canada's chief of the defence staff says it's not just Department of National Defence employees who will be affected by the department's impending shift to its new Carling Avenue headquarters.

8,500 employees to begin move to west Ottawa HQ in late November

Gen. Jonathan Vance, commander of the Canadian Forces, says the shift to DND's new headquarters on Carling Avenue will be disruptive, but a good move for Ottawa overall. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Canada's chief of the defence staff says it's not just Department of National Defence employees who will be affected by the department's impending shift to its new Carling Avenue headquarters.

Gen. Jonathan Vance took time from his morning speech to a business crowd at Ottawa City Hall to address what he called "a bit of a centre of gravity shift" as about 8,500 civilian and military workers from 48 offices spread across the capital region prepare to consolidate in seven locations, including the former Nortel campus in the city's west end.

"We'll deal with parking, we'll deal with providing concessions so that people can buy their lunch and do some shopping and so on," he said.

"It's going to be an interesting shift overall and an important one, but it will affect traffic flow, public transit, house prices."

OC Transpo has shifted routes 101, 103, 152 and 182 around to better serve the new headquarters, and plans to continue adapting to future developments including the extension of the Transitway to Moodie Drive next year and the completion of the first phase of Ottawa's light rail system in 2018.

Coun. Rick Chiarelli called the influx of thousands of workers "a major opportunity" for businesses near the site, including those in nearby Bells Corners.

Move begins later this month

The first DND employees will move in on Nov. 28. 

DND is moving its headquarters to the former Nortel campus on Carling Avenue. (Rebecca Zandbergen/CBC)

Vance said the largest phase of the move will happen in the spring of 2018, with the rest moving the following spring.

"For someone who's been working in National Defence Headquarters for their entire career, at that building, it's going to be a bit traumatic, so we're going to try and do this the best we can," Vance said.

Some DND workers will stay at the downtown building opposite the Rideau Centre.

The other five DND offices will be on Star Top Road in east Ottawa and Hôtel de Ville Street, Sacré-Cœur​ Street, Carrière Boulevard and Cité des Jeunes Boulevard in Gatineau.

In 2013 the cost of the move was estimated at $755 million, and was expected to save the department $750 million over 25 years.