The City of Ottawa discusses with the federal government the transfer of ownership of Wellington Street
The City of Ottawa is holding “fact-finding discussions” with the federal government on the potential transfer of ownership of Wellington Street following the occupation of the “Freedom Convoy” last winter.
City Manager Steve Kanellakos appeared before a parliamentary committee studying the future of the Parliamentary Precinct, including whether Wellington Street should be permanently closed to vehicles.
Kanellakos told deputies that the council had instructed staff to begin discussions with federal officials regarding the future function of the road, as well as the potential transfer of the road to the federal government.
“(Public Services and Procurement Canada) have in the past expressed a federal interest in reclaiming the street, and potentially other streets for more cohesive management of federal assets within the compound,” Kanellakos said. “It is expected that these investigative discussions will take some time to conclude.”
The city manager says there are many issues to consider in discussions on the future of Wellington Street, including the impact on traffic flow in the city centre, access to infrastructure the city’s existing underground for asset management and “the real estate value” of the street.
National Capital Commission CEO Tobi Nussbaum told the committee that the NCC is in talks with Public Services and Procurement Canada about who will lead discussions with the city on the possible transfer of ownership of Wellington Street.
“We are engaged with PSPC in a discussion to ensure that we have a full scope of all issues that need to be raised and we hope that we can soon engage the City of Ottawa on some of the details that have been discussed so far. present,” Nussbaum said Thursday morning.
Wellington Street has remained closed between Elgin Street and Bank Street since the Freedom Convoy ended in late February.
Nussbaum says the NCC has a “very open mind” about permanently closing Wellington Street to vehicles.
“We see a lot of benefits in focusing this part of Wellington Street on service vehicles for Parliament Hill, transit, active transportation,” Nussbaum said, adding that traffic data still needs to be collected. .
“I think it’s fair to say that we have a very open mind and are positively inclined to rethink how this space can work.”