Take The Civic Over The Farm

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This is a home movie of the Central Experimental Farm in the late 1950s. All appearances to the contrary, I’m not in this film.


In 1886 when the Central Experimental Farm was created, that agricultural land was way, way out in the country.

Not anymore.

The CEF is surrounded by a growing city. It is out of place. And it has been out of place for a long time.

So when The Ottawa Hospital comes knocking on the barn door looking for land, the farm should be sympathetic.

A good argument can be made that the Civic campus of TOH is the most important institution in town. And yes, that includes the House of Commons. A lot of good work is done there which doesn’t bear repeating. It’s self-evident.

The CEF is a wonderful institution, too. But it’s sitting in the middle of the city. Suburbs such as the South Urban Community must expand outward absorbing good agricultural land in the process rather than using land on the Experimental Farm.

That’s not good.

The farm is a huge expanse of very expensive land in our community. Sell that land to relocate and the CEF could buy half a county with the proceeds of its downtown sale. It could make for a much better experimental farm.

The Civic hospital campus must relocate and expand to face the health-services crisis being caused by the aging of the baby-boomer demographic. Furthermore the Civic’s building has outlived its usefulness. It’s old and inadequate.

If one is forced to choose between the farm and the hospital, The Bulldog (despite its strong advocacy for heritage) must go with the hospital. It saves lives everyday and makes other lives much more comfortable. The Civic campus is vital.

As well, one has to know that proponents of the farm recognize that its current location is not very environmentally friendly. Thousands of people must make the considerable trip through the farmland to reach their jobs downtown. That’s a lot of greenhouse gas.

Better to build on the Experimental Farm land to reduce the destruction of farmland beside suburbs and put it in a place where it does not contribute to the degradation of the environment by causing long drives.

Proponents of the farm … good people … love its heritage. God bless ’em. The proprietor of The Bulldog is an old history student and thinks heritage is precious. Your agent has fought many a losing battle in a city that really doesn’t give a damn about its heritage.

But even this person with a big bias recognizes that people’s lives are more important than the farm. And the opportunity of building a better CEF can be achieved by moving.

This can be a win-win.


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