New 1 storey medical imaging centre proposed on Merivale Rd

A new medical imaging centre is suggested for this location for Merivale Medical Imaging, currently further north on Merivale Road to eventually occupy.

Image source: TIA Strategy report

A new medical imaging centre is suggested for this location for Merivale Medical Imaging, a company that is currently located further north on Merivale Road. The applicant is 1545 Merivale Inc., based on 1370 Clyde Ave, where the current Merivale Medicale Imaging is located.

  1. Introduction
  2. Applicant’s Proposal
  3. Planning response
  4. City staff recommendation
  5. FHACA thoughts
    1. Questions from the community
    2. It’s complicated
    3. Contact the city planner
  6. Virtual Public Meeting

The building with that bright green roof is also owned by the developer but there are no plans for this lot yet (Google screenshot)


The building will be built on the lot just south of Capilano, south of the mall with the Bell store and behind the Ultramar gas station. The developer suggests a 2481 m2 (26,700 ft2) medical imaging facility and parking for 129 cars, 72 of which are above ground. There are two lots directly on Merivale, and this lot doesn’t have much access to Merivale other than a 4.7 meter front lot line.

The one storey building will replace a (crummy) existing one storey building that was built in the 1950’s. The parking lot remains. (Screenshot Google Maps)

From the city’s website

Applicant’s Proposal

A Site Plan Control application to construct a 1-storey, 2,481 sqm medical imaging building with 129 parking spaces provided in a surface parking lot and an underground parking lot.

The site is located on the east side of Merivale Road and south of Capilano Drive. The site is approximately 6,905 sqm (0.69 ha) in area and is irregularly shaped. It is located to the rear of two other sites which front onto Merivale Road (1543 and 1545 Merivale Road). The Site itself has a narrow front lot line approximately 4.7 metres in width, which provides access to the Site from Merivale Road. There is an existing one-storey former commercial building on the site which was constructed in the 1950s, and associated surface parking lot, which is proposed to be demolished.

The abutting properties are zoned Arterial Mainstreet, Subzone 10 (AM10) and
Community Leisure Facility Zone (L1). North of the site is developed with a gas station and a commercial plaza; east of the site is a curling facility; south of the site is a commercial plaza and a vacant restaurant building; and west of the site is a church and a gas station.

A Site Plan Control application has been proposed to enable the construction of a 1- storey, 2,481 sqm GFA medical imaging building. A total of 129 vehicle parking spaces are proposed, including 5 barrier-free spaces (72 surface spaces and 57 underground spaces). Vehicle access is proposed from Merivale Road via the existing driveway. The underground parking garage would be accessed via a ramp at the rear of the property. Bicycle parking would be supplied by bicycle racks along the front of the building and an underground bicycle storage room.

A new internal sidewalk is proposed to provide pedestrian access from Merivale Road to the building’s front entrance. An outdoor amenity area for staff would be provided at the rear and landscaping is proposed along the entire perimeter of the site.

Note from FHACA: walking and cycling access will only be from Merivale Road from what it looks like on the maps. Ideally there would be some side access from Emerald Plaza and the curling rink too.

You can find the city’s planning responses to this proposal in the developers document (link below) highlighted in blue.

Planning response

Planning Response: “The development proposal represents an efficient development pattern and is underpinned by broad principles of sustainability, by optimizing the use of land via intensification on an existing site. (…) It is our opinion that the development proposal is consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement.

City staff recommendation

City of Ottawa staff recommends the following:

“It is our opinion that the implementation of the development proposal will result in good land use planning and should be approved”

Read the entire document here. If you are into landscaping, check the landscape plan carefully too (invasive species etc).

FHACA thoughts

The city development information sign was installed on January 13 in front of 1545A Merivale Road (behind the Ultramar gas station), which most recently housed a thrift shop. Before that, it was for many years a bingo hall and even before that, Malabar Costume Rentals occupied the narrow building on the side for 35 years beginning in the 1970s. The main building has been vacant for several years; the side building for much longer.

The property was sold in 2021 to a numbered company apparently owned by Greater Niagara Medical Imaging (GNMI), which operates 11 such centres from Niagara Falls to Ajax. Merivale Imaging Centre plans to move its operations to the new building from its current location at 1370 Clyde Avenue. The owners propose to occupy the full rear part of the property, which has an area of 6,905 square metres, with a one-storey medical imaging facility occupying 2,481 square metres.

It would include 57 underground parking spaces for staff and 72 surface spaces for clients. Access to and egress from the property would be limited to northbound Merivale: a right-in, right- out from and onto Merivale Road.

The proposal is currently under review by city staff. The proposal is unusual in that although there is significant pressure at the province and at the city to intensify development; in particular to provide more housing in more compact spaces, particularly in locations relatively close to transit and retail and other services; this plan would replace a derelict one-storey commercial building and surface parking in a prime location with a new one-storey commercial building and surface parking.

The planning document acknowledges the need for intensification outlined in the city’s new Official Plan, but for other properties, not its own: the proposed development could serve as an asset that can help support residential intensification in the surrounding neighbourhoods.

It says it satisfies the new Plan because the Plan’s definitions of intensification include the development of vacant and/or underutilized and ensuring that the various elements that made up a complete neighbourhood are keeping up with the increases in population. As part of its 2021 land purchase, GNMI also owns 1545 Merivale, the narrow strip of land facing Merivale beside the gas station, containing a building that has long been various restaurants but is now also vacant.

Questions from the community

The owner has not indicated its plans for this smaller but prominent tract. This proposal raises several questions that affect the community:

1. Is a one-storey commercial building the best use for this large tract of well-located land? There are significant development pressures in our community, with high-rise proposals for 780 Baseline Road and 1509 Merivale Road that are adjacent to low-rise residential neighbourhoods. Should this property, which is surrounded by non-residential uses, be exempt from significant intensification? If the proponent wishes to use the property only for its business, could it sell the air -rights for the property to another developer who would build up, above it?

2. Should any proposal for this property, 1545A, also include specific plans for the fronting property, 1545?

3. The planning documents for the proposal also state that it adheres to the province’s Provincial Planning Policy Statement, which calls for promoting efficient development and land-use patterns and accommodating an appropriate range and mix and residential, employment, recreation and open space. The Merivale Road corridor currently has essentially zero residential, recreation and open space components and is exclusively retail- and employment-oriented. Would this proposal change that?

4. The new ward councillor, Sean Devine, has stated that a major project for his four-year term is to reinvent this entire stretch of Merivale Road to make it a more pleasant environment for all users. The road has long been considered one of the least attractive and poorest planned in the city, with vast sterile parking lots, buildings far removed from the street, little green space or pedestrian amenities, and an overall emphasis on vehicle convenience. Does this plan fit with Coun. Devine’s goals?

It’s complicated

The project is in complicated planning turf. According to the city planner, Samantha Gatchene, the new Official Plan applies to this proposal, but the old zoning bylaw applies because the bylaws to support the new Official Plan have yet to be written. The current Zoning Bylaw is in effect, with the understanding that it conforms with the Official Plan.

The proponent states that the proposal satisfies the new Official Plan and most of the current zoning bylaw, and is seeking only site-plan approval and one minor variance. Coun. Devine scheduled a community Zoom meeting to discuss this proposal on February 7, after our newsletter deadline.

Contact the city planner

Direct comments to the city planner, Samantha Gatchene, Kindly send a copy to so your Board will know of your views. The deadline for comments is February 15.

Virtual Public Meeting

On February 7th Councillor Devine’s office will host a virtual Public Meeting on 1545A Merivale Road, where a new medical imaging laboratory is proposed. Whereas the councillor welcomes the facility, his concern is that this prime real estate on Merivale Road is not being developed to its full potential.