The National Capital Commission (NCC) has received a proposal to transform a part of the former Greenbelt Research Farm into a $40-million “soundstage campus and creative hub” – and it wants to know what you think about it, the federal agency said on Monday.
In a statement on Wednesday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli and Alta Vista Coun. Jean Cloutier said the proposed TV, film and animation centre would be constructed on an already developed, 9.86-hectare portion of the 822-hectare research farm, located across from the Nepean Sportsplex.
The NCC announced simultaneously it is launching consultations on the proposal, submitted by the Ottawa Film Office and Toronto-based company TriBro Studios, and will host a public open house on Sept. 5.
“We are excited to see this sector continue to develop in Ottawa, and particularly in such close proximity to Algonquin College and the Ottawa International Airport,” said Watson, Egli and Cloutier – all three of whom are running for re-election in this fall’s municipal vote.
“A project of this magnitude will have a positive impact on Ottawa’s film, television and animation industry as well as our local education, tourism and hospitality sectors.”
Agriculture Canada built the Greenbelt Research Farm in the 1960s. The entire site is bordered by West Hunt Club Road, Woodroffe Avenue, Fallowfield Road and Greenbank Road.
The research farm closed down in 1998 and many of the buildings currently on the property have been vacant ever since, the city’s statement said. The NCC then acquired the property in 2000.
The City of Ottawa has been keen for some time to turn the site in Ottawa’s west end into an “innovation hub.” Earlier this year, council voted to use $300,000 in unused project funds to get the private autonomous vehicle test track, located on a different part of the site, up and running.
The mayor and the two councillors said the proposed “creative hub” would produce approximately 500 full-time jobs during the construction phase. Once operational, it would create at least another 500 new full-time jobs “within its first few years of operation,” and generate about $40 million in new economic activity, they said.
The three city officials said “no farmland or forested area will be impacted” by the proposed “sustainable” campus. Rather, they said the project would be accompanied by a “re-naturalization of 21.5 hectares at the former Capital Golf Centre, adjacent to the Lester Wetlands.”
The NCC’s open house on Sept. 5 is scheduled to run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the site in question on the Greenbelt Research Farm.