Invest Ottawa Bayview project gets $15M from Ontario
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The provincial government is kicking in $15 million for a new "innovation centre" for Invest Ottawa on the soon to be redeveloped Bayview Yards.
The provincial funding will allow the economic development agency to build a new home on the Bayview lands in anticipation of a major redevelopment for the Mechanicsville site. At an event at Invest Ottawa's current Aberdeen Street location, Mayor Jim Watson said the business "incubator" is just the start.
"What I see is an opportunity for us to do something that presented to the province and the city several years ago, and create an accelerator incubation centre at Bayview, but it's going to be more than that," Mayor Jim Watson told reporters Thursday. "I think there should be a cultural component, we want to make sure there's community space, there’s a lot of space on that site."
The announcement came just one day after council lent its provisional support to the plan. According to Watson, the city will include the land, as well as a number of "in kind" contributions. While these haven't received council approval, Watson listed waiving development charges and building permit fees as possibilities.
Provincial Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli, who put in place his own vision for Bayview Yards during his time as mayor, said the province has confidence in both Invest Ottawa and the city. When asked why he thought the Bayview plan has taken so long to implement, Chiarelli said he did not wish to second guess the O'Brien administration, but is happy the city is moving forward.
Chiarelli said cabinet approved the spending two or three weeks ago, but city councillors did not know that when they voted to approve the plan Wednesday.
City staff are currently working on a community design plan for the rest of the Bayview lands, which is expected to be released later this year.