NCC approves Civic Hospital land transfer

The National Capital Commission has approved the proposal to lease greenbelt land for a new Civic Hospital campus.

The site would be about 50 acres on the site of the old Sir John Carling building, across Carling and down a few hundred meters from the current hospital location.

The building was levelled by a controlled explosion and covered over in 2014.

But NCC director Brian Coburn wondered who will pay to clean up the contaminated land.

"Are we going around with cap in hand, to have the people of Ottawa pick that up?" Coburn asked the committee.

"If I was a private citizen and I blew up a building, then environment ministry would be on me - 'You'll clean it up, and you'll do the right job.'"

NCC's CEO, Mark Kristmanson, says the cleanup costs don't come under the NCC's purview - that will be the subject of negotiations between the Ottawa Hospital and the federal Public Services department.

NCC director Norman Hotson, a Vancouver architect, is concerned that the site is too large, and that the hospital will pave over much of the land for parking.

"I do not agree with the principle of putting surface parking on the Experimental Farm," Hotson told the NCC Board.

"I can see that appendage that projects to the west as ending up being a massive parking lot - and I just think that's wrong."

But Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, a non-voting member of the board, said he doesn't want to see paved lots either - and he was confident the issue will be addressed as the Ottawa Hospital develops its plans for the new facility.