HERITAGE OTTAWA, By Leslie Maitland
The recent announcement that 60 acres will be severed from the Central Experimental Farm (CEF) raises serious concerns for the future of this culturally and scientifically important institution, a National Historic Site of Canada.
The 60 acres will be leased to the Ottawa Civic Hospital for development and construction of a new campus. Without doubt, a new hospital facility is warranted. Alternative sites exist, so why must a new facility be built at the cost of another scientific institution that conducts research of international benefit, and has national significance as a historic site?
Heritage Ottawa wrote to Dr. Jack Kitts, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Ottawa Hospital, regarding these concerns.
The letter prompted an invitation for Heritage Ottawa to meet with Dr. Kitts and Cameron Love, the hospital's Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer.
Dr. Clarke Topp, an award winning environmental scientist and soil physicist with over 37 years experience at the CEF, also attended the meeting at Heritage Ottawa's request. Dr. Topp outlined the scientific significance of the CEF's unique and long-term research on climate change and soil integrity. This ongoing research will be negatively impacted by the loss of 60 acres, which represents twenty percent of the CEF's scientifically useful land.
Heritage Ottawa appreciated the opportunity to meet with Dr. Kitts and Mr. Love. Although sympathetic, they were disinclined to consider an alternate location for the new hospital campus.
The severance of 60 acres of the CEF, contrary to the Management Plan established in 2004 for its continued protection, sets a disturbing precedent.
The Central Experimental Farm is a rare jewel in our midst that can be preserved, but can never be recreated. As a National Historic Site it belongs to all Canadians.
Heritage Ottawa will continue to explore the situation and advocate for its protection.
Read the letter from Heritage Ottawa to Dr. Kitts here.