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Local MPP calls for federal government to negotiate directly with Ottawa Hospital

Ottawa South MPP John Fraser says NCC "tone deaf" to community on Tunney's Pasture pick.

The NCC recommended this area, outlined in white, as the potential site for a new civic hospital.


The NCC recommended this area, outlined in white, as the potential site for a new civic hospital.

Ottawa South MPP John Fraser said the federal government needs to sit down directly with the Ottawa Hospital board to settle where the new Civic campus will be built.

Fraser, along with five other Ottawa MPPs, signed a statement Tuesday backing the hospital board’s decision to reject the Tunney’s Pasture site, which has been offered by the National Capital Commission.

The Tunney’s Pasture site came as a surprise recommendation from the NCC, which was asked to review 12 potential sites for the new Civic site from available federal land.

Fraser said there are serious issues with access and increased costs at Tunney's, and he doesn’t believe the NCC fully considered the city’s needs.

“I was disappointed at how tone deaf the NCC was to the needs of the community.”

The Tunney’s Pasture site is now home to many surface parking lots and a number of office buildings that would need to be demolished. Fraser said that would add costs, but could also slow things down.

“There is a real risk of delay and that is a real challenge for the health care needs in the city,” he said.

Fraser said he believes there is space on the Central Experimental Farm that would allow a hospital to be built with minimal impact.  

“There is a way to use the land that we have right now, protective sensitive agricultural land on the farm, but utilize some land on the farm to build a new hospital.”  

He said he is indifferent to whether the NCC stays involved in the decision, but he believes the federal government has to take a direct role.

“The federal government can decide who they want at the table, but they need to be at the table.”

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, who oversees the NCC, told reporters she had to review the commission’s recommendations before making any decisions.

“I’ll be receiving shortly the report from the NCC. I need to take a good look at it, understand the criterias,” she said. “And ultimately, I will also look at the reaction of the population towards the site and take a sound decision based on all this important analysis.”

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, the local MP, was in Washington on Wednesday and unavailable for interviews, but said she was ready to work on the issue.

“I am confident we can find a solution that works for all Ottawans. A new hospital right downtown, close to public transit should be something that ‎brings people together.”

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