Neighbours of future Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus don't want to trade park for parkade

A rendering of the proposed design for the new Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus, which is scheduled to open in 2028. This image shows the view of the campus from Dow's Lake. (Image courtesy of The Ottawa Hospital)

The City of Ottawa hosted an information meeting on Zoom Tuesday night to review the master plan for the new Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus on Carling Avenue. More than 200 participants joined in with many expressing concerns about what they say is a change in the master plan.

According to neighbours, Queen Juliana Park, which borders Carling Avenue and Prince of Wales Drive, was to be the site of an underground parking garage for the hospital, while maintaining open greenspace for the community. The official plan, which is headed to the city's planning committee, has replaced a proposed underground parking garage with a four-storey, above-ground parking garage with space on the rooftop for public amenities like a lawn, trees and pathways.

Shaun Hopkins, who represents the residents of two large condo buildings and a group of townhomes across from the park, says Ottawa Hospital CEO Cameron Love stated back in 2018 that the Ministry of Health was willing to work with the hospital to build underground parking.

“What we are going to be looking at is a 2500-car, four-storey, above-ground garage approximately the size of the parkade at the Ottawa International Airport,” Hopkins said. “We love the Ottawa Hospital, they are true heroes who work there, we welcome them in this community and we are really excited about a brand new advanced hospital in the community, we are just hoping that they have listened to our concerns about preserving this important site.”

Coun. Jeff Leiper, whose Kitchissippi ward borders the new hospital site and who sits on the planning committee, says he hopes the Ottawa Hospital finds a way to address the community's concerns.

“I don’t know if, in this consultation process, we will be successful in convincing the hospital, convincing the province of spending the very significant funds to bury it, but I hope they are listening and listening hard. This is a once in a generation opportunity to build a great new hospital campus,” Leiper said. “What I’m hearing from residents and what I feel myself is that some of the details need considerable work before I’ll be in a position to support them.”

The plan now goes to the city’s planning committee and council for approval this summer. If approved construction on the $2.8 billion project is set to begin in 2024 and is scheduled to be completed in 2028.