At the Community Association Annual General Meeting, Peter Thompson, Hospital Director of Planning, outlined the short-term development plans for the Hospital and the Hospital land. He also provided some insight into the medium- and long-term development plans. Some of these plans could directly or indirectly impact community residents. This note tries to explain recent developments.
In 1976 the Hospital served 100,000 clients. In 2007, it is expected to serve 400,000 and by 2030 it is projected to serve a million clients (assuming another hospital is not built to support western communities such as Carleton Place, Arnprior, and so on).
The Hospital leases its land from the National Capital Commission (NCC). Although this land is considered part of the City greenbelt, it was zoned for industrial/campus purposes by the City.
The Hospital development has been inside the ring road (John Sutherland drive) that goes through the property. This has provided significant green space to the north (toward the funeral home) and east (Aleutian and Sioux residents back onto this) of the Hospital development.
In addition to the cancer center that will soon be built, the Hospital will need to add more buildings to serve its clients.
Current development issues for the Hospital:
- The NCC is very involved in managing the land that it leases, including the Hospital land. It has imposed a restriction that 65% of the land the Hospital leases remain as green space – the Hospital is currently at the limit.
- The land is currently zoned for a maximum building height of 20 metres (measured from the floor of the main entrance). The hospital is looking at a zoning amendment of a 35-metre limit for longer term development projects.
- Development is restricted to inside the ring road (the community association executive is trying to confirm the status of Nepean by-laws from the 1970’s – 117-78 and 39-62).
- New buildings will be required. It will likely mean some of the older campus buildings from 1976 will eventually be replaced by modern bigger buildings.
Short- and medium-term issues impacting the community:
Current Hospital plans call for new buildings (including the Cancer Centre). These buildings will reduce the amount of parking spaces available to staff and clients. New parking spaces are required during this building development and before the new parking garage is built. The temporary parking could be in place for several years (possibly until the middle of the next decade).
The Hospital had requested that the temporary parking be built on the NCC land west of the Hospital (it does not have a lease on this land). The proposed parking is shown in the following site plan.
The NCC denied this request. They indicated that this area is considered a gateway to the National Capital and deserves more than parking. This decision is somewhat baffling considering this is scrub land and you can’t even see it when coming into the City from Highway 416 because the elevation of the land is higher than the road.
The Hospital considered putting the parking lot on the East side (between the ring road and the community). Here is what that could have looked like:
This plan, and variations of this plan, would not be approved by the NCC.
As a result of the West and East plans not being approved, the Hospital will construct the temporary parking on the North side of the land they lease as shown in the following site plan: (coming soon!)
As well, the public parking lot (south side of property) will be expanded slightly near Baseline and Cedarview.
The Hospital and the community:
Obviously the Hospital is a key health care resource to the City’s west-end residents. Many residents of our community have already used its services (for example, births, emergency services, orthopedics, and so on), and if they haven’t will likely do so in the future. The Hospital is an asset to the community. The community association executive and many residents generally support the Hospital’s growth of buildings and services.
The following items on the NCC/Hospital lands continue to be of concern to the community:
- Long-term parking resolution
- Storm water drainage
- Maintenance of the property between the ring road and the residents on Sioux/Aleutian.
- Long-term plans from the City/NCC regarding transit
Long-term parking – When the Hospital finally builds more and bigger buildings it will require a long-term parking solution. Ideally, the western option would be best for the community and the Hospital. The community will support the Hospital’s plans for this area. Other options include another parking garage or land on the south side of Baseline (like the western option, this land is owned by the NCC)
Storm water drainage – The Hospital needs to reduce the amount of water it loads into the City’s storm sewer system. It is currently reviewing options on how it can harvest storm water so that it can retain it so that eventually soaks into the land or evaporates. The Hospital will be proposing different options regarding location and type of storm sewer ponds.
East-side Property maintenance – The Hospital is interested in returning the land to its natural state, reducing its maintenance investment in terms of cutting and fertilizers, increasing biodiversity, and creating micro-ecosystems on this land. This would be for the benefit of staff and patients. Ultimately this could mean more trees and plants, walking paths cut out of the grass, and more greenery on the berm to cut down on noise and light pollution. This is still in the planning stage but this is an issue the community is very much interested in.
Transit – This is long-term issue but the NCC plans show potential for transit through the greenbelt next to our community. Once the transit proposals move forward again, the community needs to become involved.
Since the Annual General Meeting, Bret Caldwell (member of the Community Association Executive), Sioux residents Barry Hewson and Walter Zubrycky, and other community residents have worked with Hospital staff in opening the lines of communication through meetings that featured frank discussions.
The community has gained a better understanding of the needs of the Hospital and its direction and the Hospital staff has gained an understanding of the community concerns. Thanks to Peter Thompson for facilitating the recent meetings, patiently answering questions, and providing detailed information about the Hospital plans.
We hope this is the beginning of more open dialogue. Hospital development is continuous and the community needs to stay involved.