Mayor confident city will get provincial funding for “innovation” hub

Mark Brownlee
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Councillors also vote to limit rebate for vacant commercial property owners

Mayor Jim Watson said he’s confident the province will provide millions of dollars in funding to help create a proposed hub for business innovation on city-owned property.

(File photo)

City councillors on the finance and economic development committee voted Monday to support, in general terms, the redevelopment of the property known as the Bayview Yards.

The idea is to renovate the former garage and make it the home of the city’s lead economic development agency, Invest Ottawa.

The city doesn’t yet know how much the project is going to cost, but they are counting on $15 million in funding from the provincial government to help realize the plans for the site.

“I’m optimistic the province will look at this favourably, but until we have a firm commitment from the government and cabinet we won’t know,” said Mr. Watson, who has been negotiating with the province, at the committee meeting.

He expected they would hear back on the request “shortly.”

The city is also looking to get funding from the private sector and the federal government, said city manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

City staff said in a report made public last week they want to make the building a place for startup companies and researchers to connect with each other. The idea is that this will create better products which will attract investors and, eventually, create more jobs.

The city also wants to make the site home to a new sound stage that Invest Ottawa hopes will bring more film production to the area. However, the stage wouldn’t necessarily end up there, staff said Monday, as the location for the stage will ultimately be left up to the company that builds it.

Also Monday, the committee’s councillors voted to ask the province to limit the power of landlords to collect a tax rebate from the province while their buildings are vacant.

The province currently forces the city to give commercial property owners a rebate on properties that remain vacant, according to a report by city staff. Councillors approved the staff recommendation that owners be allowed to apply for this rebate for only three years.

Geographic location: Ottawa

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