City looking to partner with Carleton University on new aquatics centre

Published on
July 2, 2024
Council, committees and City Hall

The Finance and Corporate Services Committee today approved the City entering into negotiations with Carleton University to partner on a new aquatics centre for Ottawa. The aim is to have the new aquatics centre within the next five years.

The centre would feature a 50-metre competitive pool, a 25-metre warm-up and community pool, and the amenities to host aquatic special events. It would enable the City to host competitive swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming events, and to improve access to aquatic facilities and programs. The new pool would be located on campus, close to Bronson Avenue, offering access via public transit and close to Highway 417.

The City and university will negotiate project scope, facility ownership, operations and management, as well as day-to-day maintenance and governance and financing models. Staff would return to Committee and Council with details and recommendations for final approval.

The Committee approved the purchase of 1754 St. Joseph Boulevard from the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa for $11 million, plus about $350,000 in closing costs. The property would be used for transitional housing and could serve as many as 150 clients. The property, located southeast of Forest Valley Drive and St. Joseph Boulevard, is well served by transit, with access to shopping, employment, and community and social services.

The main building has about 70 rooms, private offices, meeting rooms, a commercial kitchen, common areas and dining space. The building’s size and layout will make it easier to offer on-site social services and programming, resulting in better outcomes for clients and quicker transitions to long-term housing. The area could also be developed with additional buildings as the site has about 4.8 hectares of developable land.

The Committee approved revising the definition of Affordable Housing under the Municipal Housing Facilities by-law. This would allow existing and future non-profit housing units, which meet the revised eligibility criteria, to be designated as municipal capital facilities and to be exempted from property taxes. The City would require non-profit housing providers to reinvest the savings from tax exemptions into affordable housing.

The City estimates that 30 affordable housing properties could qualify immediately for a property tax exemption under the revised definition. This could result in a total of $2.7 million in property tax exemptions, of which $2.3 million would be municipal property taxes. The remaining $400,000 would be school board taxes.

The Committee recommended prohibiting Council members from soliciting and facilitating voluntary donations to the City. Staff would consider any donations under the existing Donations to the City for Community Benefit Policy. However, Councillors could still choose to bring forward a proposed donation or facilitation approach for Committee and Council consideration. This report follows a motion from the January 24 Council meeting that directed staff to develop an updated policy framework to ensure consistency, improve transparency and include tools to help bring clarity to any donation-related discussions for all parties involved. The Committee also recommended directing staff to look into the potential effects of adopting a community benefits framework for the City and report back to Committee and Council by the end of Q4 2025.

Items from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, July 10.

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