Residents near new Civic Hospital site worry about traffic

It was quite the sight.

In July of 2014, the old Sir John Carling building at the northeast end of the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa went tumbling down in a controlled implosion.

Safety was a big concern at the time.

Now that the same site has been chosen for a new $2 billion Ottawa Civic Hospital campus, safety is a big concern again.

“Principally it’s about traffic and safety,” says Peter Eady, Vice-President of the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association.

Eady says there is concern that the new site, a couple of blocks east of the existing Civic Hospital, isn’t a replacement campus. It’s more of an addition.

“We're also left with the old site which will remain the Ottawa Heart Institute for many years as we know, plus probably be developed into a long-term care facility, clinics of various types and sizes because the land that it rests on is specifically oriented towards medical use," says Eady. “So our concern is we're going to end up with two sites requiring traffic servicing and, you know, everything that comes with that.”

Local residents gathered to voice their concerns at a meeting held by local Councillor Jeff Leiper Monday night. Eady says it’s not their intention to oppose the new site, but to hopefully get in on the ground floor to find ways to mitigate traffic.

“We want to participate in that. We want to remain stakeholders as this site plan develops, as construction develops,” he says.

Ottawa Centre MPP, Yasir Naqvi, was at the meeting. He says it is still very early in the planning process. The Province only recently gave the Ottawa Hospital Board a grant to start the pre-planning of what a new Civic Hospital might look like. He says there will be plenty of time for public consultation.

“"Public consultation is a very integral part of that planning process. This is not the first hospital that the Ontario Government is going to be building," says Naqvi.