Why are PSPC and Canada Lands collaborating on this project?

    We are excited to launch the Confederation Heights Master Plan process, which is one of the collaboration projects between PSPC and Canada Lands to redevelop federal lands in the National Capital Region. The partnership leverages each organization’s respective strengths to deliver a Master Plan that will benefit Canadians and the Government of Canada. 

    Learn more about Canada Lands Company by visiting its website and PSPC’s projects by visiting its project page.

    Who has Canada Lands Company contracted to assist in the development of the Master Plan?

    Fotenn Planning + Design from Ottawa, Ontario has been contracted by Canada Lands to work on this project. Fotenn is accompanied by a group of professionals of various technical disciplines to support the Master Plan.

    Why are we talking about ‘realizing the potential’ of Confederation Heights?

    Confederation Heights is governed by several federal and municipal policies that have evolved over the years to encourage a greater number of people and jobs to be located on existing urban, serviced lands, particularly in proximity to existing or planned public transit. This site has the potential to deliver a complete community. There is already one operational Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route that runs along the eastern edge of Confederation Heights, parallel to Sawmill Creek. Two additional planned transit projects include the conversion of the O-Train line that bisects Confederation Heights in a north-south direction into Light Rail Transit (LRT) (underway) and the future development of a new BRT route along Heron Road, which cuts east-west across the Confederation Heights. 

    In October 2021, the City of Ottawa Council approved a new Official Plan for Ottawa, which will guide growth in the City for the next 25 years. The new Official Plan identifies Confederation Heights as a “Hub” due to its proximity to transit, a designation which is planned to provide a mix of uses at transit-supportive densities. 

    Pedestrian and cycling connectivity within Confederation Heights and to surrounding areas is currently characterized by barriers such as elevated and wide, busy roads and transit corridors, as well as below-grade crossings in select locations (which are not fully accessible). There is an opportunity to improve these connections to benefit all users (present and future) of the site, including those arriving by transit, walking or cycling. Pedestrian and cyclist-friendly connections would help integrate Confederation Heights into the broader community.

    Given the above, there is an opportunity to better understand and realize the potential of the Confederation Heights for the 21st century. As well, the Government of Canada is evolving its accommodation needs; here and now is the time to discuss these matters and the future of the site.

    What is a Master Plan and what does it contain?

    The Confederation Heights Master Plan will establish a long-term vision for the federal employment node and the potential opportunities for mixed-use, sustainable communities. The plan will consider such aspects as the location of federal office and mixed-use land uses, minimum and maximum building heights, minimum and maximum densities, housing, the location and size of parks and open spaces, pedestrian, cycling, transit and vehicular connections, and guidance for heritage preservation, commemoration, and wayfinding. It is anticipated that the Master Plan will inform a new municipality-approved Secondary Plan. 

    It will also include urban design guiding principles that will provide direction and enough flexibility to guide how the plan will evolve over time. Based on the Master Plan, additional site-specific plans could be developed which may subsequently require approval from the City of Ottawa. 

    What approvals are being sought?

    PSPC will be seeking Master Plan approval from the National Capital Commission (NCC). NCC approval of the Confederation Heights Master Plan could result in land transactions, leading to the redevelopment of properties based on the Master Plan outcomes. Following NCC approval, if some parcels are deemed to be surplus, PSPC will remain responsible for the federal employment portions of the site, and surplus lands approved for disposal will be acquired by Canada Lands Company. Canada Lands will then seek municipal planning approvals for any the development portions of the site it acquires. This will happen in a phased approach working closely with the community, Indigenous groups, stakeholders, and the City of Ottawa.

    Are Canada Lands Company and PSPC engaging with Indigenous peoples on this project?

    Yes. Engagement with Indigenous communities and organisations will be organised. Any potential disposal will also require PSPC to consult with various Indigenous communities and organisations. 

    What other stakeholders are involved in the master planning process?

    The partners are working with Canada Post, Health Canada, the NCC, City of Ottawa, public utilities, federal tenant groups, and the RA Centre, among others.  

    Are there other initiatives being undertaken in the study area?

    The City of Ottawa is currently rebuilding the light rail transit station and adding double tracking, as part of the Stage 2 expansion of the system. As well, the City is planning a bus rapid transit route along Heron Road and Baseline Road.  

    Will NCC parkland along the Rideau River be impacted by this project

    The Master Plan will look to enable new and improved connections between Confederation Heights and the NCC parklands, which include Vincent Massey and Hog’s Back parks. The Master Plan will not drive changes to the size, ownership orprograming of these parks, and no development will be proposed on these lands as a part of the master planning process.

    Will there be affordable housing on the site?

    The Master Planning process for Confederation Heights will seek to identify the potential for residential land uses. Residential land uses will allow for affordable housing requirements to be incorporated. PSPC and Canada Lands in collaboration with the City of Ottawa and the Federal Lands Initiative through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will define the delivery of affordable housing which would include the type and number of units.

    Has there been engagement with Indigenous communities during the master plan process?

    Yes. PSPC and Canada Lands are jointly engaging with Indigenous communities and organizations to solicit their input and interests within the master planning process. PSPC and Canada Lands continue to solidify these important relationships.

    In addition, any potential disposal requires PSPC to consult with various Indigenous communities and organizations.

    Does PSPC intend on building new office towers at Confederation Heights?

    The Master Plan is intended to provide a flexible development framework that will allow PSPC to respond to existing and future departmental needs. However, PSPC does not currently anticipate a need for new federal office buildings in its portfolio at Confederation Heights.

    Does PSPC have any plans to sell the buildings or part of the land at Confederation Heights?

    The Master Plan will be informed by, and will support PSPC’s portfolio decision-making regarding its properties in Confederation Heights, including lands that may be identified for disposal. The Master Plan team is working with PSPC’s tenants and with other landowners within Confederation Heights, and their long-term planning considerations will be incorporated at the Draft and Final Master Plan stages. PSPC has already declared two buildings as surplus - the Sir Charles Tupper Building and 1500 Bronson Avenue. 

    PSPC follows Treasury Board Secretariat’s Directive on the Management of Real Property, whereby multiple stakeholders are consulted throughout the disposal process before decisions are made. The disposal process for federal properties includes a number of steps and due diligence activities, as well as soliciting expressions of public purpose interest from federal departments, agent Crown corporations, provinces, municipalities and Indigenous groups.

    PSPC is conducting a national exercise to optimize the office space under their responsibility, lower operating costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. PSPC is further assessing its portfolio with the expectation that additional assets for disposal will be identified in future, which may include properties in Confederation Heights.

    When will construction start at Confederation Heights?

    Once the final Master Plan is complete, a phasing and implementation plan will be developed, which will be followed by municipal approvals for such things as subdivision applications. Construction activities for new development are expected to begin after municipal approvals are obtained.

    Construction activities for lands owned by PSPC may begin prior to the completion of the Master Plan as part of ongoing projects, such as the rehabilitation or fit-up of existing buildings.

    What is the future of district energy in Confederation Heights?

    PSPC’s Energy Services Acquisition Program (ESAP) will continue to supply heating and cooling services to all buildings currently connected to its district energy system in Confederation Heights. New buildings may be added to the district energy system as the Master Plan advances.

    There is currently work in place to modernize the district energy system, which will result in a 92% overall reduction in GHG emissions in the National Capital Region (NCR), which Confederation Heights is part of, as compared to a 2005 baseline. Further reduction of the remaining NCR’s district energy system network’s greenhouse gas emissions is part of ESAP future program of work, pending funding availability, where PSPC is targeting further greening solutions to be net-zero by 2050.

    Will there be changes to the existing road network? What will be done about the high traffic speeds and unsafe walking/cycling conditions in Confederation Heights?

    The Master Plan vision and guiding principles highlight the importance of making Confederation Heights a place that is accessible, safe, and attractive to travel through and to by public transit, bike and on foot. The Master Plan team is continuing its work with the City of Ottawa to determine how the road network can be improved to support non-vehicular modes of transportation in addition to the automobile. Feedback provided by the public is being considered as part of the process.

    Will the number of parking spaces/lots be reduced?

    A major objective of the Master Plan is to make it safer and easier to walk, take public transit or bike in Confederation Heights. Much of the developable land in Confederation Heights is where parking lots currently sit. Under the City of Ottawa parking by-law, there is currently no parking minimum for the Confederation Heights area as it is located near a major transit station. 

    The Master Plan consultant team will develop a parking strategy and transportation modal splits to determine what the future parking supply will be, along with infrastructure to encourage and support more sustainable transportation choices.

    The Master Plan team is engaging with adjacent landowners and tenants on PSPC land to understand their transportation needs and priorities. This input will be incorporated into the parking strategy and future stages of the Master Plan.

    Will there be affordable housing on the site?

    The Master Plan’s eventual land uses will identify and inform opportunities for affordable housing.

    The Master Plan municipal approval process will require a minimum 20% contribution across the site as outlined in the Official Plan and Canada Lands’ own commitment.  The implementation, phasing and municipal approval stage will define more details regarding the total number of units, housing types and allocations within the phases of development for affordable housing to be realized.

    What is happening to the rehabilitation of 875 Heron?

    In 2017 PSPC began the planning for the rehabilitation work at 875 Heron Road, however since then, and as part of the government’s portfolio optimization efforts, a decision was made to cancel the 875 Heron project, as it no longer fits within the government’s future office space requirements. The master planning team is currently evaluating the impact of this decision as it relates to the master planning process for Confederation Heights.