The city’s planning committee gave a unanimous thumbs up to a proposed new $40-million “creative hub” in Ottawa’s west end that would include the national capital’s first film and television soundstage campus.

The Ottawa Film Office and Toronto-based TriBro Studios have banded together to bring the project to life on an already developed, 8.4-hectare parcel of land on the former Greenbelt Research Farm, near the intersection of West Hunt Club Road and Woodroffe Avenue in Nepean.

If the project gets all the remaining necessary approvals, including the green light from Ottawa city council, the plan is to get shovels in the ground this summer, Ottawa Film Commissioner Bruce Harvey told councillors on the planning committee.

Coun. Jan Harder, who chairs the committee, called the project “overwhelmingly exciting.”

The project is expected to create 500 construction jobs and 500 full-time jobs in Ottawa’ film, TV and animation sector, as well as generate between $25 and $40 million in economic activity annually once it opens for business, city staff told the committee.

Many students who come to Ottawa’s colleges to study animation, as an example, end up leaving the city for jobs in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, some city councillors and speakers noted. They argued the soundstage campus will help attract and retain that talent.

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