NCC Watch

Working to consign the NCC to oblivion

Search string: "queensway"

Matches found: 8

Monday, July 18, 2011

A European view of Ottawa

Writing in the Citizen, historian and writer Phil Jenkins takes us on a sightseeing tour of Ottawa, circa 1951, touching on many locations that have since been transformed by the NCC.

A windows down, elbows out drive along the canal is recommended next, on the west side; the east side ends in railway tracks. Our tourists do not pass under the Queensway, still a decade away from being flown over the driveway, or must they turn left at Laurier before the Arts Centre, and they continue along the canal and past the Roxborough apartments and arrive at the War Memorial again, where we started. Passing between the Grand Trunk's monumental Union Train Station, then in its hey day, and the Loire Valley-esque copper spires of the Château Laurier, the guide directs us left across the streetcar tracks onto Sussex Drive, with government workers entering and leaving the venerable Daly Building, though none are lingering outside to smoke, something they are perfectly able to do indoors.

Citizen: A European view of Ottawa [18 July 2011]

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Chair suggests developing parts of the greenbelt

In an interview with the Citizen, the most recent Chairman of the NCC Russel Mills suggests developing the greenbelt along major routes to make better use of existing infrastructure:

"There is an awful lot of gasoline being burned in Ottawa every year by people driving through the Greenbelt. It's not environmentally sound.

"There needs to be some long-term assessment of the future of the Greenbelt," he says. It "was a good thing in its day, but it was intended to contain the growth of the city and it didn't."

Mills says the Greenbelt is a "sacred cow" and "the people of Ottawa would rightly resist just opening it up to development, but it seems to me we can make better use of it, more environmentally sound use of it, than we do now."

Mills is particularly interested in large swaths of fields on both sides of the Queensway between Kanata and Bells Corners, and on the 174 leading to Orleans. While it's "nice to look at out the window," it might make more sense to develop it.

The NCC chairman's willingness to at least consider such a change could be an important factor as the city revises its development plan. City bureaucrats have also been quietly discussing the idea of Greenbelt development and will release a discussion paper on it soon.

All well and good, if they could avoid building just another Terry Fox Business Park, but really, what are the odds? Mills also likes the idea of a bridge across the river in the east end, and a portrait gallery of some kind.

Citizen: A radical idea for the Greenbelt [3 Nov 2007]

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Raise my rent, Episode IX

Meanwhile, back on the Greenbelt, hot on the heels of the Queensway-Carleton Hospital's recent $1 rent reprieve comes news that the Ottawa Municipal Campground's own 40 year lease is coming to an end. Much like the hospital, the campground faces a massive rent hike as landlord the NCC seeks market value rents for its land, expropriated on behalf of a grateful nation all those years ago.

Citizen: A camping gem in jeopardy [2 Aug 2006]

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Queensway-Carleton to get $1 rent

Local MPs John Baird and Pierre Poilievre will announce next week that the federal government will slash the Queensway-Carleton Hospital's rent to a token $1 a year for the NCC land it sits on.

The hospital's rent has been a source of controversy since 2004, when the hospital revealed that its lease with its landlord, the NCC, stipulated that it must pay 6.5% of the value of the land, which meant the rent was due to increase from the current $23,000 to $3.4 million when the lease came up for renewal in 2013. The NCC refused to give the hospital a break, citing Treasury Board regulations. John Baird is now Treasury Board President.

The deal amounts to an absolute victory for the NCC - not only will the NCC continue to get its current rent of $23,000 (from the federal government instead of the hospital), it will also get its higher, market-based rent from the feds when the lease is renegotiated in 2013, estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.

CBC: Queensway hospital gets break on rent [31 Jul 2006]
Radio-Canada: Une location de terrain a 1$ [30 Jul 2006]
Citizen: Hospital wins fight for $1 rent [29 Jul 2006]

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Queensway Carleton Hospital rent website petition

MP Pierre Poilievre and MPP John Baird MPP have set up a website to petition the federal government to not increase the rent of the Queensway-Carleton Hospital (QCH), which is on NCC land.

The current lease for the land is up for renewal in a few years.

Queensway Carleton Hospital rent website petition

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

NCC and Treasury Board defend hospital rents

The NCC, landlord of the Queensway-Carleton Hospital, and Treasury Board took some more heat from the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates for the NCC's plan to raise the rent on the Queensway-Carleton Hospital (reported in The Citizen today).

Testifying on behalf of the NCC, Chairman Beaudry insisted that rules are rules, and they must charge market rates for government land as directed by a Treasury Board policy set in 1985. As he put it so succinctly, "There are policies in existence. We need to follow them. It's that simple." Treasury Board backed him up, stating that it's in the interests of all Canadians that market rates be charged because it's consistent and less open to political pressure. They also suggested that if the hospital was given a break, it would open the door to other requests.

Fair enough. But then, no mention is made of the fact that, back when the NCC was expropriating all this land, they sold the concept to the public claiming it would conserve land for "public institutions" much like, er, hospitals. From a 1963 NCC brochure:

D'une superficie de 41,000 acres, la Ceinture de verdure encercle la Capitale de l'est à l'ouest. Elle a plusieurs objectifs : restreindre l'expansion physique de la ville, fournir pour l'avenir des emplacements d'édifices gouvernementaux, conserver le caractère pastoral et agricole des accès à proximité de la ville, procurer des terrains propres à l'aménagement de parcs et à l'établissement d'institutions publiques, collèges, hopiteaux, etc.

Hopiteaux, etc. indeed. But heck, that was decades ago, hospitals are a source of revenue now. Enjoy your greenbelt folks.

Citizen: NCC, Treasury Board defend rents [15 June 2005]
Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates
House of Commons Hansard [29 Nov 2004]

Monday, May 30, 2005

NCC hospital land controversy comes to committee

The federal Government Operations Committee will be holding hearings on the land dispute between the NCC and the Queensway-Carleton Hospital sometime in June. The hearings will be televised, and hospital officials and NCC chair Marcel Beaudry are expected to testify. The hospital is located on NCC land and its rent, currently $23,000, is due to increase substantially in 2013. Area MP Pierre Poilievre, who sits on the committee, will be presenting a motion to set the hospital's rent to $1. Poilievre first floated the idea in September 2004.

Radio-Canada: Un député propose que la CCN cède le terrain occupé par l'hôpital Queensway-Carleton [30 May 2005]
Citizen: Queensway-Carleton to state case against landlord [30 May 2005]

Monday, September 13, 2004

NCC to raise hospital rent

Nepean Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre is demanding that the NCC sell land currently leased by the Queensway-Carleton Hospital to the hospital for one dollar. Because the hospital's lease with the NCC stipulates that it must pay 6.5% of the value of the land, Queensway-Carleton's rent will increase from the current $23,000 to $3.4 million when the lease comes up for renewal in 2013. Hospital chairman Jeff Polowin noted that the rent would bankrupt the hospital. Supporters of Mr Poilievre's plan noted that the Pineview Golf Club, also situated on NCC land, pays only a dollar a year in rent. The NCC's response was that the hospital's rent "would be substantially less than half" of $3.4 million.

CFRA: Tory Claims NCC Will Hike Rent [25 Oct 2004]
CBC: Ottawa church facing 18,000% rent hike [27 Feb 2002]