Expansion onto historic site is not an option
If the Ottawa Hospital is dreaming of moving its Civic campus to greener pastures, they won’t be the ones across the street from it.
The possibility of one day expanding the Civic campus onto nearby Central Experimental Farm land was floated yesterday by hospital president and CEO Dr. Jack Kitts, but Michel Falardeau, the property and buildings operations director for Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, said that’s not a possibility.
In 1998, the land was designated a National Historic Site, which grants it strict protections. Falardeau likened constructing a hospital building there to “be like trying to expand onto Parliament Hill.”
In addition, there’s also a move afoot to make the property — the only working farm in the world at the heart of a national capital — a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it even more untouchable.
“That is a very long, involved process and we are still in a very preliminary stage,” Falardeau said of the UNESCO designation. “We were hoping to apply with the Rideau Canal, but we weren’t ready then.”
The hospital already has a Helipad located on farm property, but that was built in 1992, before the farm became a historic site.
A spokesperson from the Ottawa Hospital said the idea of expanding onto the farm was an informal suggestion and the hospital is only in the early stages of reviewing its long-term needs. But with no room to expand on the north side of Carling Avenue, Kitts said the Civic would have to expand onto Central Experimental Farm property or move to a new location.