New Ottawa Hospital: Watson Doesn’t Rule Out Possible Taxation to Pay for New Civic Campus

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says he is not ruling out the possibility that a hospital levy will appear on city tax bills in the future to help fund the new Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus.

The city council has voted in favor of a plan to encourage staff to find ways to raise $150 million to help pay for the new hospital at Dow’s Lake.

Watson, who is not running for reelection in October, told reporters after the city council meeting that a line on the tax bill is a possibility.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” he said. “If it’s a reasonable amount spread over a long period of time so that it’s not a big tax bill, and it’s clearly stated on the bill as going to the hospital instead of going to the city, that is in other jurisdictions done. and it worked out very well.”

Several councilors expressed concern about the imposition of municipal taxpayers for something that falls under provincial jurisdiction. The province is already committed to $ 2.1 billion for the new hospital.

“The provincial government is responsible for health care in its entirety,” says Graaf. said Shaun Menard. “Cities and communities shouldn’t be funding this.”

But Watson said it is critical that the new hospital be built.

“We’re not particularly well served by a nearly 100-year-old building that’s been put together for decades,” he told reporters. “I think we need a facility that matches our status as a healthcare center, serving Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, the Nunavut area and the entire city of Ottawa. Part of your tax assessment can be increased if the next municipality agrees.”

The plan was passed by a 15 to 8 vote.

Approval means staff can begin the process of developing a plan to cover the hospital’s $150 million, though final decisions on how the money will actually be spent won’t be made until the next council term and the money won’t be released until the next council term. would really flow before the hospital is nearly complete in 2028.

During the debate, Count. Jan Harder lashed out at those who objected to the hospital map.

“Take your trees and your damn parking lot and slide it where the sun doesn’t shine,” Harder said. “Stop sending ridiculous ‘change the site’ emails.”

The Financial and Economic Development Committee (FEDCo) spent about two hours last week discussing the plan before finally unanimously agreeing to the staff’s recommendation.

Roger Greenberg, executive chairman of the “Campaign to Create Tomorrow,” the Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s $500 million fundraiser for the new hospital, told FEDCo there could be repercussions if the city doesn’t get funding.

“Our situation is very simple: either we increase the local share or the province puts us at the bottom of the list; there are nine other hospitals that are on this list and we will sink to the bottom and they will come back to us in 20 years and ask us if we have changed our mind,” he said.

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

The Ottawa Hospital says the new state-of-the-art facility will serve residents of Ottawa, Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec and Nunavut.

“The new hospital will have highly specialized inpatient, outpatient, emergency and trauma services, which will treat the most complex injuries and illnesses in adults,” the Ottawa Hospital said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This world-class center for academic training and medical research will be networked with partners in Ontario, Canada and around the world.”

The Ottawa Hospital says it is responsible for the local portion of the price tag for the new hospital and asked the city for a contribution.

“The rest of the local share will be generated through fundraising, financing and a revenue strategy.”

Since the amalgamation, the city has never contributed money to the local share of hospital construction.


With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Leah Larocque

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