Civic hospital land transfer begins with OK from NCC

The Ottawa Hospital is a step closer to officially securing federal land at Dow's Lake for a new Civic campus.

The board of the National Capital Commission Thursday approved transferring the land from the NCC and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to Public Services and Procurement Canada, so the public works department can in turn start the process of developing a long-term lease with the hospital.

But the NCC board vote was not unanimous.

Board members Norman Hotson and Lisa MacDonald voted against the land transfer. Hotson said he was concerned the hospital's request for 20 hectares was arbitrary, and feared it would use much of the land for parking.Victor Brunette abstained from voting for similar reasons.

Hotson proposed handing over less federal land until the hospital could see how much land the hospital truly needs.

Decontamination costs

Board member Brian Coburn, meanwhile, wanted to figure out exactly who would pay to decontaminate the Sir John Carling site.

"There are lots of other hospitals in the queue waiting for that money, and I don't want to give the province an excuse for delaying funding for this project," said Ottawa mayor Jim Watson, who is a non-voting member of the board.

As the federal government moves ahead with the lease, NCC CEO Mark Kristmanson noted that the Sir John Carling site is of national interest and will be going through a formal federal design review.

The NCC also included a condition to ensure the hospital sets aside parking for 200 vehicles and seven tour buses for visitors to Commissioners Park, the Rideau Canal and Dow's Lake pavilion, even if that parking moves from its current location.