Ottawa city councillor opposes new Larga Baffin facility

Some residents fear impact on their neighbourhood but facility spokesperson calls traffic concerns unfounded

An architectural drawing shows the proposed new Larga Baffin facility in Ottawa’s Hunt Club neighbourhood. The six storey, 220-room design has elicited strong reactions from community members who oppose construction of the building, and from others who support it. (Image courtesy of DTAH Architects)

By Madalyn Howitt

An Ottawa city councillor is opposing the proposed construction of a new Larga Baffin facility, citing strong opposition from her constituents.

More than 260 people attended a three-hour virtual public information session Tuesday to discuss a proposal to build a new Larga Baffin facility in Ottawa’s Hunt Club neighbourhood.

Larga Baffin is a medical boarding facility for Nunavummiut receiving specialized medical care in Ottawa, including cancer treatment, care for high-risk pregnancies or treatment for children’s medical conditions that’s not easily accessible in Nunavut.

“Medical travel is the only means available by which [Nunavut] residents can access medical services the rest of the country takes for granted,” said Harry Flaherty, board chairperson of Larga Baffin Ltd.

Councillor Diane Deans, representing the Gloucester-Southgate ward where the facility would be built, said she does not support the application “in its current form.”

“Like many in the community, I believe the building is grossly oversized both in height and in its footprint,” she said.

The six-storey building would be 22 metres high, divided into four wings with multiple entry points, according to architect Megan Torza.

The new Larga Baffin centre is being developed by Fotenn Planning + Design in collaboration with DTAH Architects.

It would be the first purpose-built facility for Larga Baffin, which has been housed in three locations around Ottawa since opening its doors in 2000.

The current building, on Richmond Road, can accommodate up to 195 patients, but Flaherty said overflow is common and many visitors are forced to stay in nearby hotels.

The new building would increase the capacity to 350 patients in 220 rooms and be closer to the airport and medical facilities in Ottawa, Torza said.

However, many residents in Tuesday’s meeting voiced concerns about the impact the facility would have on their neighbourhood.

Traffic congestion and safety was cited as a major concern.

Larga Baffin spokesperson Bill McCurdy said the facility doesn’t generate a lot of traffic because it uses its own fleet of eight vehicles to shuttle patients between the airport, hospitals and appointments.

Other concerns from residents included the height and size of the building, public safety in nearby parks from transient residents, and a perceived lack of community consultation between Larga Baffin representatives and residents.

One resident, identified as Madalaine on the Zoom call, said she’s concerned about the impact a building of that size would have on water pressure in the neighbourhood.

“I bought this house here and I spent a lot of money on this house. I can’t move anywhere else, so I’m just saying it’s not fair that the city will amend the zoning without considering the existing residents… We were here first,” she said.

Some residents, however, spoke strongly in favour of Larga Baffin being built in the area.

“Larga Baffin is a wonderful established joint venture. They have a long history already of being extremely good at what they do, and I’m very excited that they’re going to be in this community,” said Janine Flood, who lives in the area.

She said she works as federal lead on the Nanilavut Initiative, which helps Inuit families find information on loved ones sent away during the Nunavut tuberculosis epidemic of the 1940s through the 1960s.

She said a facility like Larga Baffin is needed so Nunavummiut receiving medical treatment can be close to loved ones.

“What I’m asking all of my neighbours to understand is how important and how wonderful Larga Baffin is and how special, what a gift it is, how lucky we are to have them come to our community,” Flood said.

“I’m just asking everyone to be reasonable and to be willing to be accommodated.”

Deans said after reviewing the application and listening to community feedback, municipal staff will make a recommendation to the city’s planning committee which will decide whether to recommend approval of the plan to city council.

No date has been set yet for when the Larga Baffin proposal will go before the planning committee.

Share This Story

(44) Comments:

  1. Posted by Inuk on

    Actually, Madeleine, we were here first.

    37
    57
    • Posted by 867 on

      Who was where first? The inuit, in ottawa? Wowee they never taught us that in our history books.

      Ridiculous comment aside, this facility is much needed and arguments about being concerned about traffic congestion is just another way for this Councillor to say that she doesn’t want an Inuit boarding home in her riding. 🙄

      51
      14
      • Posted by snapshot on

        @867, yes Inuit were here first. They’ve found taluu (rocks that are used to herd caribou or deer) at the bottom of one of the great lakes. And the camera drone line was stuck and turned out it was inukshuk that hooked the drone line!

        Yes, we were here first, thousands and thousands of years before the lady commented in the city hall meeting.

        Amazing, Huh? How about Inuit in UK and the Vikings couldn’t get to them because they were too fast to catch with their Qayaqs? How about the Inuit in Egypt that the Egyptians called Shasu of Yahweh? How about the Inuit that Annihiiated Tunniit? (Dorset People) Giants of the Giants?

        16
        48
        • Posted by still here on

          please post your reference material, as i believe you may have been looking at face book way too much

          26
          5
          • Posted by still here on

            just found article on what you talked about, but there is only a reference of that it is similar to how the inuit herd caribou, there is zero correlation that the Inuit had been the specific people behind what was seen.

            22
            2
            • Posted by still here on

              currently look up the “Luzia woman” and also it has been reported that we have 23000 year old human foot prints in north america, these people were most likely the first to be here, and they were not of inuit descent, most likely from the small islands off the east coast of Australia as humans always travelled and also were hunter gatherers during that time. at one time humanity had more similarities than we realize.

              21
              1
              • Posted by Funny Bone on

                Dear ‘still here’ I believe snapshot was doing what the English call ‘taking the pish’

                No references required.

                14
                2
        • Posted by John K on

          Citation please.

    • Posted by Objective Thoughts on

      Context is everything. In your context, I would urge seeking much better locations. Inuit residents deserve better than being put into an area with limited greenspace right on one of the largest arterial roads in Ottawa.

      7
      1
  2. Posted by URSUS on

    The article fails to mention that the building footprint & size substantially meets the exisiting official city zoning (height, use, etc) regs applying to that parcel of land. The folks who bought their $1 million new homes a few years back just metres from the site didn’t do their due diligence – Larga’s newly purchased land was never destined by city planners to remain the rubbish-strewn weed-infested wasteland that it has been for the past 25+ years

    43
    15
    • Posted by Objective Thoughts on

      The article cannot mention that because zoning amendment requests are required when there are significant modifications requested. Thankfully, this articke recognizes that fact.

    • Posted by pocketpeople on

      Actually it does not meet the size requirements allowed with the current zoning. Currently zoning would allow for a structure 18m in height (59 feet). They are requesting an amendment to allow for 22m PLUS an additional 6m penthouse which would mean a building that is 28m high (92 feet). 10 meters (aka over 30 feet) taller than the area is currently zoned for. It is a substantial difference.

    • Posted by Mary-Lee Jensen on

      My home backs on the property. Before I purchased, my realtor checked on the zoning of the land behind. It was residential. I definitely expected the land to be developed – with other homes. Not a monstrosity that will block my sunlight and put my backyard on display

      12
      3
  3. Posted by Community Member on

    This is a private for-profit development that is in effect a temporary stay hotel that provides rooms for a profit as contracted for now by the government of Nunavut. This is s ultimately a corporate applicant that is looking to build and eventually operate a for-profit enterprise that can be put to any use it so desires. It is an investment. They have a targeted rate of return and they rejected various comments as being inconsistent with their best economic outcome. Residents raised concerns related to infrastructure, traffic and green space and were summarily dismissed by the City’s assertion that they lacked funding to mitigate impact and the developer’s assertion there weren’t any. The issue is not the use the issue is the building itself.

    29
    15
    • Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

      What a bunch of baloney! Are you telling me that the residents would have these concerns about “infrastructure”and “congestion” if the plan was to build a community pool or a big box store. I doubt it!!
      As painful as this is to acknowledge, this may be a case where “progressive” and “woke” residents of Ottawa do not want to see a lot of indigenous people in their midst. These woke residents could very well have in the back of their minds the old stereotypical concerns about having drunkenness and transients in their midst if the facility is built.
      It would be nice to see some transparency in this discussion, instead hiding behind fake issues like “infrastructure” and “congestion”.

      26
      30
      • Posted by Homunculus on

        The flip side of “stereotypical concerns” (an utterance that often assumes these are unfounded and based almost purely in unconscious bias) is that stereotypes are often grounded in some measure of truth. That is, they exist for a reason. This does not mean they are always true, but at times they can be and are true.

        25
        13
      • Posted by a nimby on

        Perhaps the problem has less to do with racism and more to do with the well-known anti-social behaviour of the people who will be using the facility. Why would anyone want badly behaved people disturbing their neighbourhood? For people who demand that the world respects their culture, they seem to show very little respect for others.

        29
        11
        • Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

          “Perhaps the problem has less to do with racism and more to do with the well-known anti-social behaviour of the people who will be using the facility”

          What a crock of racist crap. You are saying Inuit are anti-social??

          This whole argument is racist and nimby from the get-go.

          You should be ashamed of yourself for even voicing this comment. It puts you at the low of the low in racism

          8
          19
      • Posted by Objective Thoughts on

        I may be going out on a limb, but my guess is that if a community pool or a big box store was proposed and required a zoning amendment, they would think about the impacts. Some would be opposed, some would support it and some would not even give it much thought, perhaps after it was built. If it affected me personally, I would weigh the benefits of enjoying a pool close by versus the opening hours impacts. I would probably have different thoughts on a big box store depending which one it is. Regardless, I would like to have a say that would actually matter. Respectfully, it is a little bit more complicated than you make it sound.

        6
        1
        • Posted by And on

          There is a different impact on property value, I would think, from a pool, a box store or a transient non-luxury accommodation building. That must influence some residents’ responses.

        • Posted by And on

          There is a different impact on property value, I would think, from a pool, a box store or a transient non-luxury accommodation building. That must influence some residents’ responses. Looking at the area on googlemaps, I can see both points; it is a super residential area and a tall building with transient residents is a change; at the same time it is on a busy relatively large road and there are suburban types low commercial buildings nearby. It seems to me that the concept we tend to try to apply in Nunavut should be applied here too, i.e. what benefits could be provided to local residents? Maybe a nice food store in the building so that residents could walk and shop there or drive 2 minutes instead of 15 minutes (not a corner store with overpriced unhealthy foods), or something else useful materially, or an Inuit art and craft display area where small exhibits are organized for local residents to the benefit of both Inuit Larga Baffin temporary residents and local residents, for positive sharing and learning of Inuit culture. We all play at nimbyism, it is a normal reaction for humans, but proponents of a change in an area can bully their way in or honestly address concerns from local people, and leaders can listen to business interests only or residents only or they can find compromises and mitigative measures.

          4
          2
      • Posted by pocketpeople on

        A community pool would likely also raise traffic concerns but it would not be over 90 feet tall.

  4. Posted by Elder on

    please use one wing for elders to be near other inuit.

    6
    7
  5. Posted by Medical travel clients deserve better on

    At a minimum, this application needs to be sent back to the drawing board, otherwise it risks being defeated at the Land Tribunal (and what an embarrassment that would be for Larga Baffin and the City of Ottawa). There are too many issues: 1) Public Consultation: the subject land required a Future Land Use Study to determine appropriate land uses and building heights, which required “early preparation” and consultation with the community “in addition to” public consultation required for the Zoning ByLaw and Official Plan amendment process. The application documents were submitted in October 2021, but Larga Baffins FLUS was posted the day of the public meeting on April 26, 2022. No public consultation was done. 2) Land Use: Larga Baffin does not provide medical services so they can not be considered a residential care facility. They provide transportation and meals to clients, and when there is not enough room in their facility, the overflow residents are sent to a hotel. Larga Baffin is a 5-star hotel, and hotel is a land use not allowed under current or requested zoning. 2) Transportation Impact Analysis: they estimated site generated traffic as a “nursing home” and only considered staff traffic. They did not consider the number of trips in-out by their fleet of vehicles or trips by the resident escorts. The TIA also assigned site traffic to the road network based on an 11yr old city of ottawa resident phone survey, and did not consider modal levels of service in the upper hunt club community, which is subject to cut-through traffic on streets with no sidewalks. 3) Building Size: the maximum allowed building height is 18m but the requested building is 28m with the mechanical penthouse (56% increase). This will reduce natural light and project building shadows on adjacent houses and in park space. And is higher than any other building in the area. And most importantly, 4) Location: is on one of the busiest arterial roads in the city of Ottawa, with heavy passenger and commercial vehicle traffic. The road infrastructure is operating near maximum capacity, Bank/Hunt Club is one of the top 10 most dangerous intersections in the city. Larga Baffin staff have said their residents are under extreme stress and culture shock when they come to a big city. A Larga Baffin resident was hit and killed on the Sir John A McDonald parkway last year. Instead of fitting a square peg in a round hole, a for-profit corporation like Larga Baffin should do the right thing and work with the City of Ottawa to find a central location with green space that will promote healing and safety for its clients. They deserve better. End of story.

    37
    9
    • Posted by DeeMoness on

      Traffic impact? The building is practically at the corner of Bank and Seiveright. How much traffic would a shuttle service bring to the neighbourhood? These are NIMBYs who are using a veiled rationale to hide their racist opinions that Inuit are going to have a negative impact to the area. Diane Deans compared this facility to a homeless shelter!!! 😱 It’s not a shelter and it’s not any different than a building on the corner of Hunt Club and Bank St that was once a hotel and is now a seniors home. That building is literally across the street from the new Larga site.

      22
      10
      • Posted by anon on

        And the Southway had 170 rooms, so it’s not even like the new Larga is going to be outsized for the area.

        I’d bet the Dymon building has more traffic in and out of it.

        7
        7
      • Posted by Objective Thoughts on

        A properly conducted traffic impact assessment is required to properly understand the traffic impact. Even the current one recognizes existing issues on Sieveright and any additional cut through traffic in any neighbourhood inherently contributes to that issue. Being exactly on Bank and Sieveright could result in a very different configuration and traffic impact on the neighbourhood. But those impacts on the area would also have to be studied.

      • Posted by spirit on

        How can anyone not recognize that there would be a huge traffic impact? The proposed building will only be housing the patients. Every single appointment and treatment they receive will be elsewhere and they will have to be taken there.

        4
        1
  6. Posted by Ottawa Residents Suck on

    The ‘not in my backyard’ attitude of Ottawa residents comes from plain ignorance. What a bunch of Karens.
    I’m sure the business owners in the area would welcome the $$$.

    23
    22
    • Posted by art thompson on

      Yes, and unlike some folks we have mortgages, pay city taxes and did’nt have the canadian government build houses for us.

      35
      15
    • Posted by Objective Thoughts on

      When there are significant zoning amendments, there is a requirement for public consultation on what is proposed for someone’s backyard. I would find it unfair for me to comment on what should be in someone’s backyard, but I would think that not too many would like blue sky replaced by a relatively tall building and the developer seeking to make it tsller than currently allowed.

  7. Posted by Thomas Shelby on

    Well it really doesn’t matter who was there first, they are there now and don’t want there neighborhoods to be targeted by criminals and drunks. Obviously not all the people coming to Larga will be criminals but it will be bringing criminals into their community who wouldn’t normally be there. And yes drinking will be a problem as it is here in the North. Down there in Ottawa, there is a lot more alcohol to buy and abuse, so be prepared for drunks to be walking the neighborhood looking for cigarettes and whatever else they can find. It’s a shame but its true. This post is not showing up on this feed because its true I guess?

    26
    16
    • Posted by 867 on

      Sometimes reconciliation isnt pretty, but if you look at why that drunken bum is going around looking for cigarette butts, chances are it will lead to deep-rooted wounds that are caused by Colonialism. Ya, nobody wants homeless people fighting and yelling in their neighborhood, but if not there, than where? Last thing Larga needs is a boarding home occupied by an already marginalised group to be located in downtown Ottawa with all it’s bars and drug dealers. This location makes sense. Alternatively, it could be miles and miles away from civilization, but that too is not a good look.

      5
      24
      • Posted by Puzzled on

        Are there two people who use the handle ‘867’ ? That’s the only way I can make sense of the totally inconsistent messaging from this person(s).

        6
        2
        • Posted by 867 on

          Since anybody can put any name they want yes I have noticed other people use the name 867 on here. Might be time for a new name.

          3
          1
      • Posted by Objective Thoughts on

        If all those folk criticizing the concerned community, at times ironically distastefully injecting their own biases, were aware of the issues being raised that also negatively impact facility clients, they would join and demand a better location. Or, if they know the location and issues, it would be disappointing if they thought the clients did not deserve better. The economics works for the developer, the location does not for either of those groups in the facility or around the facility. Arguments to the contrary welcomed.

        5
        1
    • Posted by eskimo joe on

      Republican and Trump mentality, so sorry that you suggested all natives are drunks and criminals, just look at your inner city cores, this problem is of all nationalities. Drunks and criminals have no respecter of persons, the problem is world wide.

      3
      6
  8. Posted by UHC Resident on

    For those who did not attend the community meeting – I did, and many residents including myself were not given a chance to speak before it ended – the community have raised impact concerns and asked for them to be addressed. Key point there is address. That doesn’t mean block. The response from developer was to minimize our concerns as not valid and inconsistent with their “economic” goals, they produced material they paid for suggesting our concerns are false (based on evaluating the facility as a retirement home with semi-permanent residents, not a temporary stay facility), and simultaneously there has been a
    Reddit and Twitter campaign started (from a digital marketing firm owner / Ottawa resident advocate / ex-CPC staffer) that mischaracterizes our requests as being against the use of the building entirely. This is a building variance application where the impacted community have asked for impacts to be addressed. The only way we get to do that is by going to meeting and making comments. What is the agenda from others who are not impacted by the building to attack the community for asking for collaboration in the spirit of being good neighbors? We lack the resources, funding, retained law firms, planners and PR specialists that the developers do, so we can only ask.

    21
    1
    • Posted by Objective Thoughts on

      It is beyond distasteful and irresponsible that someone would use a soundbite to provoke a divisive reaction and mislabel individuals or groups. It is disheartening that so many would bite and end up supporting a project location that is far from good for the clients of the facility.. He has done a great public disservice. My parents would disown me and take me to court to force me to change my name and force me to publicize the change and reason thereof using the same social media.

      5
      2
  9. Posted by John K on

    NIMBYism is an inescapable burden on our society.

    6
    7
    • Posted by Marxian on

      It comes with class consciousness, and class consciousness is part of human nature.

      3
      1
    • Posted by Objective Thoughts on

      It is inherent to the existing land development regime. When significant changes to existing zoning by-laws are required, people have a right to speak out on proposals submitted for whst will affect their homes. Zoning by-laws are sufficinelty broad to allow land uses that may not be desirable either but at least one can take an informed risk. Once you’ve tsken that risk and someone seeks to change the playong field, there is a certain lack of fairness if that change is not agreeable to the most impacted community. We msy respectfully agree to disagree.

  10. Posted by Faye on

    It is a shame – and very misleading – that the author of this article decided to quote literally the 1 area resident who made any such ‘we were here first’ type comment. I attended the three hour long meeting and can confirm that of the residents who were given the opportunity to speak, not one other person was against Larga Baffin as an endeavour or demonstrated any kind of NIMBY-istic type attitudes. My experience has been that everyone recognizes that the people of Nunavut should undeniably have access to health care services. The issue for the residents near the planned building site is that the proposed size and eventual impact on a very small community that currently is only made up of 2 storey homes, is completely out of scale. The maximum permitted height for a structure on the piece of land being discussed is 59 feet and they are asking to build one that is 92 feet. No matter how you look at it, that is significantly different and will have a different impact on surrounding areas.

    Numerous community members have expressed concern for the eventual patients, coming from a small community (which according to spokesman Bill Flaherty doesn’t even have roads) and being brought to stay on the corner of a major intersection surrounded only by traffic and buildings and no green space. Why not use these resources to establish acceptable care within the Nunavut community so that individuals can receive care close to home and loved ones? Is sending people away to be treated really helping that community, in the long run?

    10
  11. Posted by kukapia on

    If they dont want multi-million dollar project… let go Montreal

Comments are closed.