Under construction
Pictured is the site of the new Amazon facility on Boundary Rd. in east Ottawa. Construction crews have been underway preparing for a year-long process.   Van Dusen photo

Tom Van Dusen
Villager Contributor
OTTAWA – The official groundbreaking Monday of the massive new Amazon distribution facility where Boundary Road meets Highway 417 was big enough to draw no less a dignitary than the Prime Minister of Canada.

Surrounded on a makeshift podium by a swarm of lesser dignitaries, Justin Trudeau thanked the gigantic American e-commerce company for once again showing faith in Canada. The east Ottawa facility will mark the company’s fifth installation in this country.

The Boundary location will occupy over one million square feet and it shows. Now crawling with workers and heavy equipment, the construction site parallels the 417 for close to a full kilometre. According to contractor Broccolini Construction, the finished building – the largest of the type ever built in the National Capital Area – will be big enough to house 60 regulation-size hockey arenas. It’ll create 1,500 construction jobs through next fall and 600 permanent jobs once it’s up and running.

Broccolini will serve as owner and property manager of the facility. The company – which owns and manages a portfolio of other industrial projects and properties – will coordinate all aspects of development from startup to delivery of the finished Amazon complex.

Wielding a shovel along with councillors George Darouze, Tim Tierney and Stephen Blais, Mayor Jim Watson said the new business is particularly welcome in Ottawa’s rural east end where there is a lower ratio of jobs to residents than in other parts of the city.

Glenn Somerville, director of Amazon’s Canadian operations, said help received from all levels of government has been humbling and made it that much easier to establish what the company calls a “fulfillment centre” while becoming part of the Ottawa community.

Blais said the city and Broccolini are working on a plan to alleviate concerns of immediate neighbours about the amount of construction traffic on roads not built for it, and about where fill from the project is being disposed of. The contractor has agreed to spread additional calcium and water to help keep the dust down and to grade as required to smooth out surfaces.