In 2011, LAC undertook a study of its real property requirements and revised its Long-Term Real Property Plan (LTRPP) in order to ensure the requirements of its ever growing collection would continue to be met. This study highlighted that the majority of space occupied by LAC at the time supported its programs and mandate; however, it also revealed that some locations and facilities were not efficient or effective for storing of LAC’s collections. In response, LAC set objectives which included:
- Renewing only real property that was appropriate and purpose-built or retrofitted with physical infrastructure to support its programs’ needs, including growth in holdings and preservation standards.
- Supporting greening activities through:
- Contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through innovation;
- Using efficient building systems and structures;
- Reducing LAC’s physical footprint by consolidating its specialized space requirements and taking advantage of modern storage and access systems, thereby reducing its operating costs;
- Consolidating collections to LAC’s Gatineau Preservation Campus; and
- Finding efficiencies in the transport of collections and reducing its requirement to transport holdings between dispersed facilities.
- The LTRPP identified a requirement for additional purpose-built space to accommodate growth of materials, which require specific environments to ensure safekeeping. The development of an additional specialized storage facility in Gatineau was proposed. Approval for this new facility, comprising a 12,900 square metre purpose-built facility, was received from the Treasury Board (TB) in 2015. Approval was contingent on LAC identifying and committing to the consolidation and/or disposal of other surplus or inappropriate facilities over several fiscal years.
- As part of the approvals for the new Gatineau 2 facility, LAC is required to validate the 2011 LTRPP and to develop a real property plan, which would outline and give consideration to the following:
- Future storage capacity needs;
- Future revenue generating opportunities;
- Operating efficiencies; and
- Consolidation and/or divestiture opportunities where feasible.
- LAC has fulfilled these commitments by releasing over 18,000 square metres of space over the past few years at facilities that did not provide suitable environments for the safekeeping of the collection, and the LTRPP anticipated further disposals once the new Gatineau 2 facility is completed. At the same time, LAC has begun to invest in state-of-the-art storage and automatic retrieval systems and has also collaborated with other groups to create joint facilities, notably the most recent partnership with the Ottawa Public Library (OPL), which will see the development of a world-class destination that will serve many patrons and allow for research and access to an array of technology, as well as provide city-wide library services. These initiatives demonstrate LAC’s ongoing efforts to invest in efficient facilities and modern systems to best store and retrieve materials, as per TB directives.
- The development of the accompanying Real Property Master Plan has been undertaken to address these requirements and to enable strategic decision making and planning. It provides an overview of the LAC collection and factors/assumptions that have been applied to establish future growth patterns—a key driver for determining real property requirements. The analysis also provides a supply and capacity assessment for key LAC assets, including 395 Wellington, and outlines conclusions and recommendations on longer term real property requirements, as well as impacts for individual assets. It also presents the financial sustainability of the custodial and leased real property portfolio.
- Phase 1, validation of collection growth assumptions and projections until 2050, validation of collection storage capacity within current LAC portfolio, and update/validation of the financial sustainability analysis of LAC’s custodial portfolio, was completed and submitted to Treasury Board in support of the final approval for the new Gatineau 2 facility in April 2019.
- Phase 2, the development of storage options to accommodate the validated expected growth for LAC’s collection until 2050, including LAC’s long-term infrastructure needs such as general office spaces, and the development of a physical Master Plan for the Gatineau site is to be completed in fall 2019. This phase will provide options for use of the land as well as existing facilities under the custody of LAC, including retention/disposal strategies as required.
- Phase 3, consists of the development of a Strategic Action Plan that will define and prioritize strategic actions required to implement/support the recommendations and conclusions identified within the Master Plan. The Strategic Action Plan is to be completed in fall 2019.
Key Findings and Strategic Direction
- The 2011 LTRPP set clear organizational direction and positioned LAC to make—and gain support for—strategic decisions required to modernize its real property portfolio.
- Gatineau 2 will significantly improve LAC’s collections storage quality and address immediate demands for additional space. This is a starting point, not an ending point, in meeting future storage needs.
- LAC’s archival materials continue to grow and most existing facilities are nearing capacity. LAC will require additional facilities, over and above Gatineau 2, by 2030 at the latest. LAC may also have to retain all existing assets, including Renfrew, until new facilities are built.
- Deteriorating and insufficient assets do not adequately mitigate risks to collection safety (e.g. fires, flooding, etc.) and are expensive to maintain. Modern, purpose-built facilities are required to safeguard the collection and provide efficient storage.
- In view of the age/condition of numerous assets, decisions are required on the fate/future of key existing assets: 395 Wellington, the Collection Storage Facility, Renfrew, and Winnipeg.
- The addition of new or replacement facilities carries significant cost and funding implications which will exceed LAC’s current financial capacity—additional funding sources will be required.
- LAC needs to think strategically about its real property requirements beyond just accommodating collections growth. LAC has aging, deteriorating, non-purpose-built assets that do not align with Treasury Board Secretariat’s (TBS) Greening Government Strategy, are an inefficient use of storage space, and risk LAC’s commitment to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada.
- Jean D. Allard, Senior Manager, Investment Planning and Portfolio Management—email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: 613-818-2817
- Scott Hamilton, Director General, Real Property Branch—email: email@example.com; tel: 613-219-8057