The choice of the Sir John Carling site for The Ottawa Hospital Civic campus is a very hard decision with which to argue.
Most everyone forgot that there was a commuter rail line beside the location but it so happened that it wasn’t the much-vaunted $2.3-billion Confederation Line but the $33-million humble O-Train.
That makes the Carling site especially well-served by mass transit. People from east and west can eventually (in 20 years perhaps once all the political machinations are worked out?) access the Civic and so too residents from the south end. The tall foreheads at city hall could make access better if they did the right thing by building light rail down Carling Avenue. Maybe that team of Grits that met Friday could put some pressure on Mayor Jim Watson to do the right thing on LRT. There’s still time and one would hope the Liberals don’t want to waste billions of dollars. Hello Bob Chiarelli and David McGuinty.
The road system to the hospital is practical as well with a good connection (at least for now) north on Parkdale Avenue between Highway 417 and Carling Avenue and some good roads south or at least as good as roads get in that part of town.
The Carling site is close to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute though it would be better if it were attached to the Civic. Guess you can’t have everything.
Furthermore the Civic doesn’t interfere with the precious salt-polluted Experimental Farm land. The value of debate is that motivated people find things to support their arguments. One wonders if without this controversy, residents would have discovered the Experimental Farm has substantial polluted land.
Most of the big hitters (but one) in town knew Tunney’s Pasture wouldn’t work for the hospital. Neighbours of the site, in particular those having dealt with the Parkdale Avenue-Highway 417 interchange for years, knew that emergency vehicles would have a terrible time getting to the Civic from the Queensway.
Furthermore the community listened to The Ottawa Hospital board and the good people who toil so diligently at the Civic campus. Some residents saw them as parking-obsessed money-crunchers, but your agent remembers the wonderful help he got in emergency when he was struck down by kidney stones a couple of years ago. And other medical woes over the years as well. These are dedicated professionals who know their business.
The community and our leaders (except one) deferred to medical community’s great expertise.
If people know something much better than you, it’s not a bad idea to listen to them.
And in the end, we did. Good on us.
A healthy debate with a good outcome. Ottawa could use a few of these at city hall.
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