Ballooning hospital costs reason to revisit Carling location

OTTAWA, ON – Member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre is calling on the Liberal government to reveal the extra cost that will result from the decision to locate the future Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus at the Sir John Carling location versus locating it across the street from the existing facility. Poilievre also argues that if these additional costs are too high, the federal government should allow the hospital to locate on the spot it originally chose, at the Experimental Farm.


The hospital will have to come up with approximately $400 million for its new Civic Campus, on top of funds provided by the provincial government to build the hospital. That’s money that might have to come from increasing municipal taxes.


The Liberals inserted themselves into the hospital’s location following the 2015 election. First they overturned the location chosen by the hospital’s expert panel and approved by the Conservative government after years of analysis. Then they punted the issue to the National Capital Commission but rejected its recommendation, and chose the Sir John Carling Site instead. This political interference resulted in an incomplete analysis, which is now coming to light as questions are being raised about the suitability of the site for a hospital.


 “This hospital is going to be more expensive as a result of the Liberals’ interference,” Poilievre said. “For example, the government admits that the Carling Site is contaminated with ‘various contaminants of concern… at levels higher than those prescribed’ by Environment Ministers’ guidelines. The government says it will cost at least $11 million to remediate these contaminants, but they have not decided who will pay for it – the hospital or the federal government.


“Then there is the issue that the government does not know what it will cost just to get the land ready to build a hospital. How can you choose a site for a hospital when you don’t know if the site can support a hospital? What about grading issues and issues with transplanting trees? How will the hospital be built around the remaining Experimental Farm’s buildings?


“The hospital is already faced with the gargantuan task of raising $400 million. The federal government should not add to that burden by forcing the hospital into a location it did not choose. The government must immediately reveal the extra costs of forcing the hospital to the Carling Site over its preferred choice, and it must allow the hospital to revert back to its original choice – the big open field across the street from its current campus,” Poilievre concluded.