Letter to Trudeau asks to keep farm safe from hospital development

Apr 21, 2016

Former Agriculture Canada officials write open letter

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

An open letter written by former deputy minister of agriculture Gaëtan Lussier and various other former agriculture officials is calling for Prime Minister Trudeau to reconsider giving up part of the Central Experimental Farm for development of the new Civic Hospital.

“We would all like to see a new state-of-the-art health care facility built in Ottawa, but we do not believe that valuable research fields of the Central Experimental Farm need to be sacrificed to achieve this,” the letter reads.

Central Farm Letter Pg 1Central Farm Letter Pg 2

The Conservative government announced in 2014 it would allow for 60 acres of farmland to be leased to make room for the new hospital across the street from the current facility – including acres which were used in the development of short-season soybeans.

“We have been told that 60 acres is only six per cent of the total area of the Farm. But it is over 10 per cent of the total usable crop area. That’s a significant impact,” reads a 2014 letter by Leslie Maitland, president of Heritage Ottawa.

“Thanks to that work, today this crop is grown from Prince Edward Island to Alberta and contributes $2 billion each year to Canada’s economy, the cost of a new Ottawa Hospital every year,” says the open letter by Mr. Lussier.

A groundswell of concern resulted in the Liberals announcing they will look at other possible locations, but most of them are still situated on the farm.

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