‘Ottawa’ New hospital Site to be Revealed Thursday
The federal government has doubled down on its support for the Central Experimental Farm in recent weeks, just as the National Capital Commission is poised to reveal its recommended site for a new $2 billion Ottawa Civic hospital.
The NCC will announce which site it has selected at its board meeting Thursday morning.
It was given the task of reviewing a dozen potential sites in Ottawa, four of them located on the Central Experimental Farm. Its recommendation will go to Minister of Canadian Heritage Melanie Joly for final approval.
In recent weeks, the federal government has signalled it might have little appetite to dig up part of the farm to accommodate the hospital.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, whose riding includes the current Civic hospital, called the long-term research plots on Field No. 1 — the hospital’s preferred location for the new complex — “irreplaceable” in a written answer to a question from Pierre Poilievre about research on the farm.
“The real cost of cancelling the studies on Field 1 would be the loss of the scientific data and the effects of that loss on a variety of other research projects currently using this data, both in Canada and internationally,” in an answer to a question tabled in the House of Commons. She highlighted research looking at carbon and agricultural sustainability.
Officials with Agriculture and Agrifood Canada asked the National Capital Commission to ensure the Central Experimental Farm remains intact.
“From a research and heritage perspective, the department feels that an ideal outcome would be that the integrity of the CEF remain intact and that an alternate site be selected that does not include lands within its boundaries.”
Thursday’s announcement comes after years of debate, review and controversy over the site of a modern replacement for the aging Civic hospital.
Hospital officials would like to build the new super hospital across the road from the existing Civic, on the Experimental Farm along Carling Avenue.
The federal Conservative government agreed two years ago to transfer the land so the hospital could be built on 60 acres of farm research land there.
But the proposal, made with no public consultation, proved controversial with groups rallying to protect the National Historic Site.
Earlier this year, the federal Liberals announced the plan would be reviewed. The NCC was tasked this summer with reviewing 12 sites The Ottawa Hospital had previously looked at.
They include three sites on the Farm along Carling Avenue, another site on farm land near Baseline and Merivale roads, Tunney’s Pasture, one near Lincoln Fields, the Booth Street complex, two sites on West Hunt Club road near Highway 416, one on Woodroffe near Hunt Club and the Merivale Road-Woodroffe Avenue corridor as well as the current site of the Civic hospital.