Ottawa

Ottawa Hospital CEO 'surprised' by NCC's choice for new Civic site

The head of the Ottawa Hospital is hoping to sit down with all levels of government early next week to discuss his concerns over the National Capital Commission's choice of Tunney's Pasture as its preferred site for the new Civic campus.

Demolition costs, ambulance access top list of concerns for Dr. Jack Kitts

Dr. Jack Kitts wants to sit down with government officials to talk about his concerns over Tunney's Pasture as the NCC's preferred site for the new Civic hospital. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC News)

The head of the Ottawa Hospital is hoping to sit down with all levels of government early next week to discuss his concerns over the National Capital Commission's choice of Tunney's Pasture as its preferred site for the new Civic campus.

The hospital had been looking to rebuild the Civic on 24 hectares of Central Experimental Farm lands, across the street from its existing location.

"I'm surprised because … we did have some concerns, and it wasn't in our top choices," Dr. Jack Kitts, president and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital, said on Friday.

Kitts said he wasn't necessarily disappointed that Tunney's was chosen, but does want to "sit down quickly" with federal, provincial and municipal officials to "come up with a response to our concerns around access, timelines and costs."

The hospital has expressed concerns about how emergency vehicles will access the site from the Queensway, and about how long it will take to demolish and redevelop the western portion of Tunney's Pasture.

Demolition talks '1st order of business'

Kitts said the question of who will pay to demolish existing buildings at the site would be the "first order of business" when he meets with government officials.

"I didn't see a cost analysis, at least at first blush, in the NCC report. But again, it's early days," Kitts said.

MPP Yasir Naqvi, whose riding includes both the existing Civic campus and Tunney's Pasture, said on Friday that he plans to work "in partnership" with all those involved.

"It's important now that we roll up our sleeves, and work closely with of course our federal government, because they have to make the final decision, but also work very closely with the Ottawa Hospital to determine both the feasibility and the viability of Tunney's," said Naqvi.

The NCC board is expected to officially recommend the site to Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly in the next week.

The final decision on where to locate the Civic rests with the hospital, but there is a limited supply of available land in the core of the city.

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