Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Civic Hospital February town hall: what we heard

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Better late than never.

Last winter, in the wake of the news that the Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital would re-locate to the eastern end of the Central Experimental Farm and Queen Juliana Park, I hosted a town hall for the Civic Hospital neighbourhood to begin hearing concerns. I was grateful for the attendance, in addition, of our MPP Yasir Naqvi and the hospital’s Kate Eggins.

I’m happy to say that we’ve finally collated that session into the consultation document available at the link below. (I’ve also included the hospital’s proposed consultation approach, titled Setting the Stage.)

It’s good timing. Last night, I joined the open house hosted by Councillor Brockington looking at the proposed re-zoning to accomplish the Hospital’s move. Around 75 residents attended, many from Kitchissippi. I, the City, and Hospital staff heard many of the same concerns that were raised at our town hall in February.

I am very cognizant, and share, concerns about how transportation across the near west of Ottawa will work in light of the re-located institution and rapid intensification. A swath that includes Lebreton, Bayview, the O-Train corridor and Preston-Carling secondary plan area will probably see 10s of thousands of new residents in the next 20 years. We need to get transportation right, and to mitigate the influx of traffic in a way that protects the safety and quality of life of existing neighbourhoods.

The other key concern is about the site design and architecture. Many of us are concerned about the potential that the site will be a concrete jungle with large swaths of parking. That would be unacceptable to any of us, particularly since the environmental trade-offs for putting the hospital here to begin with are so significant. I am particularly keen that the architecture on this unique and important site be a contribution to city-building and not detract from it.

At last night’s meeting, the City told us that it is proposing to proceed with the re-zoning, but putting a hold on that zoning pending the completion of various essential studies and a comprehensive site plan. I have been seeking reassurances that any decision to approve the site plan and to remove the holding provisions will go to a Committee and Council vote. I can support this re-zoning if we have those assurances, and today I’m encouraged that that will be the case.

The key questions won’t be settled at zoning, and most of the site is already zoned for this kind of institutional use anyway. The key work will be that work over the next few years to actually design the hospital and how it interfaces with our neighbourhood. There will be many more consultations to come.

Of course, one portion to the west, is currently Experimental Farm land. Before removing the holding provisions on the zoning, we’ll want to ensure that the Hospital has proven it needs the land.

The “what we heard” document doesn’t propose any solutions to the concerns we’ve heard. But, I do think it’s important that those on are on the record now that we’re down a path of providing City approvals.

This will be a long process, and I’m looking forward to hearing the specifics of how the Hospital intends to solicit and then incorporate our community’s feedback. In the meantime, I hope this document is helpful. I have submitted it into the City’s zoning process, and it will be a touchstone for me moving forward.

Posted September 26, 2017