Funding framework for new Civic Campus to be debated at City Council

Ottawa city council will be discussing a future plan to provide the Ottawa Hospital with $150 million to build its new Civic Campus today.

The finance and economic development committee (FEDCo) spent about two hours last week discussing the plan before eventually giving the staff recommendation unanimous consent.

City staff recommend that council approve the financial framework and guiding principles for developing a response to the Ottawa Hospital’s request for funding from city hall. Approval would begin the process for staff to develop a plan to cover the $150 million ask from the hospital, though final decisions on actually spending the money won’t be made until the next term of council, and the money wouldn’t actually flow until the hospital is substantially complete in 2028.

Executive chair of the “Campaign to Create Tomorrow”, the Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s $500-million fundraiser for the new hospital, told FEDCo there could be consequences if the city does not come through with the funding.

“Our situation is very simple: we either raise the local share or the province drops us down to the bottom of the list; there’s nine other hospitals that are on this list and we’ll drop down to the bottom and they’ll come back to us in 20 years from now and ask us if we’ve changed our minds,” he said.

The $2.8-billion project to build a new, state-of-the-art hospital near Dow’s Lake is covered primarily by the provincial government, to the tune of $2.1 billion, but the Ottawa Hospital needs additional funding from other sources, including the aforementioned fundraiser and the $150 million from the city. The remaining $50 million is expected to be covered by hospital revenue.

Since amalgamation, the city has never contributed cash for the local share of hospital construction.

According to the agenda, two public delegations are signed up to speak to the funding plan.

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