'Milestone projects' in NCC 50-year plan include revamped 24 Sussex

The National Capital Commission’s draft plan for the next 50 years envisions a more populous Ottawa region, home to about two million people by 2067, where the federal government might play a somewhat smaller role in the local economy.

By Jacob Serebrin

The NCC released the plan on Thursday. It will govern use of federal lands in the capital for the next five decades.

“The federal government’s activity will remain a key sector of the region’s economy into the future,” the plan says.

“However, the relative size of its impact will possibly diminish in importance when compared to the other sectors of the Capital region’s economy, such as research, health care and the creative and cultural industry.”

The NCC says that over the coming years, it will support the federal government’s move away from large suburban campuses and toward the use of “more collaborative, space-efficient and flexible workspaces.”

“This plan will strongly support the renewal of the federal employment campuses with the addition of other non-federal residential, retail and office uses, particularly near rapid transit stations,” it reads. “Existing federal employment nodes such as Tunney’s Pasture, Confederation Heights and some core area complexes such as Place du Portage will gradually adapt to integrate more effectively with the surrounding communities.”

The plan also calls for improved connections between Ottawa and Gatineau.

“Interprovincial links are vital to the region’s economic vitality and growth,” it says. “Seamless integration of interprovincial crossings with municipal and provincial transportation networks is essential.”

As well, the plan includes a commitment to “support the National Research Council’s goal of making 100 Sussex Drive a centrepiece for a connected collaborative science, technology and innovation hub that bolsters Canada’s innovation capacity and visibility.”

Much of the plan focuses on beautifying the capital.

It calls for improvements to the region’s “gateways” – places such as airports, as well as bus and train stations, to make them more welcoming and reflective of Canada’s diversity.

There are also commitments to create new parks and improve existing green space to make the Ottawa area “even more vivid and picturesque.”

While much of the plan lacks detail, due to its extremely long-term scope, it does include 17 “milestone projects.”

Those include a renovation of the prime minister’s residence at 24 Sussex Drive. The plan calls for new security features to be added to the residence while preserving the building’s “heritage characteristics” and making it more environmentally sustainable.

Other projects include an Indigenous welcome centre on Victoria Island and new commemorations for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the military.

Another “milestone project” will see land reserved to make additions to national museums as well as the creation of a national botanical garden. A new riverfront park running from LeBreton Flats to Mud Lake at Britannia will also be established.

Other projects on the list are the creation of “an illumination plan that will make the night-time appearance of the capital more beautiful” and the reinforcement of the policy that protects views of Parliament and other national symbols.