08/21/2012 09:02 EDT | Updated 10/21/2012 05:12 EDT

Tunney's Pasture to get major makeover

The Tunney's Pasture government complex is set to get a major facelift as the federal government announced a 25-year redevelopment plan for the site Monday morning.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird made the announcement in place of Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose.

Baird said there would be extensive public consultation before the work goes ahead at the 49-hectare site. But, he said, he hopes to have the plans in place by next year.

Open House scheduled for Sept. 17

The government's master plan options will be unveiled for public comments at an open house on September 17th.

The large complex along Scott Street contains offices for Health Canada and Statistics Canada, with some of the buildings dating back to the 1950's.

Baird said the mid-century designs on the site don’t reflect the modern nation, and that many of the building are old and badly in need of repair.

He said he wants the site to be "of high-quality, healthy and a green environment."

Plans for the site include tearing down older buildings in disrepair and building up to two dozen new ones. The number of workers could double from 10,000 to 20,000, and residential and commercial space could also be added to the space.

Baird said it makes perfect sense to be doing this because it’s on the transit hub at Tunney’s Pasture.

"PWGSC (Public Works and Government Services Canada) puts great importance on its stakeholders, working with the City of Ottawa and receiving the views of citizens in the National Capital as well as hearing their concerns about the options being presented; that is why we want to hear from them," Baird said.

"The final result will be a master plan that will guide the growth and development of the site in a way that will ensure best value to Canadian taxpayers."

Area residents curious to see plans

Kitchissippi councillor Katherine Hobbs said while there are plans for a new north-south municipal street — she's worried about traffic.

"I have a big concern about that and that's important for the community to voice," said Hobbs. "How are we going to deal with this? Obviously they are setting it up because it is a transit hub."

Hintonburg Community Association board member Linda Hoad said there have been four previous studies on how to redevelop Tunney's Pasture and she hopes this time something will finally happen.

"There's a lot of land, a lot of scope for development and I'm really pleased," said Hoad. "First it fits with the city's official plan in trying to create mixed used communities around transit stations. A place where people can live without a car because everything is very convenient and I think it could work."