Larga Baffin gets OK from Ottawa city council to build new facility

Medical boarding home on track to start yearlong site plan approval process

Ottawa’s city council has approved an application for a new Larga Baffin centre to be built. (Image courtesy of Dtah Architects)

By Madalyn Howitt

Ottawa city council has approved Larga Baffin’s proposal to build a new facility, clearing the way for the start of a site plan approval process that could take a year to complete.

The temporary-care facility for Nunavummiut receiving advanced medical care in Ottawa got approval Wednesday to build a six-storey, 220-room centre at the intersection of Hunt Club Road and Sieveright Avenue. It will be able to accommodate up to 350 clients.

Larga Baffin spokesperson Bill McCurdy did not say when construction might start, but said it won’t happen before the site plan is approved.

The facility’s current building on Richmond Road can accommodate 195 visitors, but is often over capacity with clients having to bunk in nearby hotels instead.

After a brief discussion Wednesday morning, council approved the zoning bylaw and official plan amendments.

“We are very pleased with the support we have received from the city planning staff and councillors,” said McCurdy.

The thumbs-up from city council followed a recommendation from the city’s planning committee to approve the project.

Council’s approval includes a 21-day period for people to appeal the decision. After that, the site plan approval process will require developers Fotenn Planning + Design and Dtah Architecture to submit more detailed design work to the city, according to McCurdy.

“We expect that to take another year,” he said.

There is no estimate available for how much construction might cost.

Coun. Diane Deans, who represents the ward where Larga Baffin will be built and who opposed the application in the weeks prior to the meeting, said she would have liked “to see more dialogue between the applicant and the community.”

She held a public meeting in April to discuss Larga Baffin’s application to build a new centre.

There were strong reactions at that meeting from some neighbourhood residents, including concerns that the institution would create more traffic and lead to people loitering in the area.

Others at the meeting spoke strongly in favour of Larga Baffin being situated in the community and accused those expressing concerns of NIMBY-ism.

“There’s certainly a lot of work to be done at the site planning stage, but it is certainly my hope that the community and the applicant can develop a meaningful and long-lasting relationship into the future,” said Deans.

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