Feds Lease Out Hospital Land For $1 Annually

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This is an edited release from the Government of Canada. I have left comments at the bottom:

The Government of Canada is proud to play a role in this important initiative that will improve health care services to communities in the National Capital Region and augment world-class research.

Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, along with Katherine Cotton, Chair of the Board of Governors for The Ottawa Hospital, signed a 99-year ground lease to The Ottawa Hospital. The Hospital will use approximately 20 hectares of federal land, located along Carling Avenue and Prince of Wales Drive, to build the Hospital’s new Civic Campus.

This property transaction was made possible with the support and cooperation of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the National Capital Commission. Their collaborative efforts facilitated the role Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) played in assembling each department’s piece of land for this lease agreement.

Other facts on the hospital site:

  • The 99-year ground lease to The Ottawa Hospital was signed at a nominal value of $1 per year.
  • PSPC, which manages the disposition of many federal properties, worked closely with all key stakeholders, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the National Capital Commission, Parks Canada, Canadian Heritage, the City of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital, during the planning and finalization of the transfer.
  • PSPC and The Ottawa Hospital have cooperated to address the environmental contamination in a manner that minimizes overall costs to taxpayers. While the Hospital will be responsible for the required remediation work at the site, PSPC will reimburse incremental costs the Hospital incurs that would otherwise not be incurred as part of the project up to $11.8 million.
  • The ground lease with the Hospital includes important requirements, such as maintaining 207 parking spaces for the Dow’s Lake Pavilion and surrounding area and obtaining necessary approvals from the National Capital Commission.

Your agent is just appalled that something as important as hospital land is turned into an advertisement for a coterie of politicians in town and out.

I trimmed out some of more egregious examples of self-promoting pandering by politicians but you will notice that it takes a whole mouthful of words to get to what is actually happening. This reads not as money for a hospital but as an advertisement for politicians. This is not how taxpayers want their money spent.

You have to get almost to the bottom to discover the lease details.

It is not the role of politicians to self-promote themselves while providing money for such a critical service as a hospital.

This release makes it look as though this is a gift from the largess of the Government of Canada. No it isn’t. It’s our tax money and taxpayers would appreciate it, no doubt, if politicians would stop using our tax money to promote themselves.

If you want to advertise, buy an ad with your own money … not mine. And stop looking like great benefactors … it’s not your money. It’s ours.

Come to think of it, it’s our hospital, too.

 

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3 thoughts on “Feds Lease Out Hospital Land For $1 Annually

  1. In 2014 Jim Watson’s big promise was to increases taxes by only 2.5% for the next 4 years. A measly 10% by 2018 – by the way, he didn’t mention this amount compounded from year to year so that 10% over four years is actually 10+%. And did he forget to mention that if city hall needs more money, they don’t increase taxes, they add “fees” to our tax bill, fees that have no controls tied to them. Now, what about the deal for the hospital? More manna from heaven? No. As the author points out, the taxpayer takes the hit, again.

    One of the goals of government should be to reduce taxes through better business practices, effective use of technology, etc. Why, with improved practices and advances in technology, can’t something be done to cut costs? Because no one is trying! It’s hard work and might require someone to think, and who wants to do that? I know my councillor doesn’t want to because he can’t afford to waste time he has allocated for working on his facebook page.

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  2. I would like to know what the actual market rent for that piece of land is that’s being handed over for $1. If the feds have money to spare, is this the best use of it? In addition to the $99, what do they gain in the transaction? I am more suspicious than I once was about deals made by governments and/or their partners when all the details aren’t public.
    I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with building hospitals or this particular hospital but is it a federal responsibility?

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  3. I doubt that there is any hospital in Canada that receives such a generous gift from Canada — a 99-year lease on 20 hectares of prime land for $1 per year.

    That said, let’s admit that the calculus of costs and benefits of being the seat of government is awfully complicated. In any case, The Ottawa Hospital was acting for free land all along and now they’ve got it.

    Note to Ron Benn: This will inevitably end up as another public private partnership as I understand every hospital built by Infrastructure Ontario has been. How do you do a business model for a hospital?

    Before we get there, the first thing to watch is how the bidding (likely for a design-build) will go. HDR is hired for this first phase. If they’re allowed to bid for the design-build phase, the bidding process becomes a farce.

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