City looking at affordable housing grants

The city wants to give a tax break to developers who build affordable housing, plus progress on the LRT east extension.

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Good morning!

Exciting times at Lookout headquarters, as this weekend we head out to get The Boy’s first photo with Santa Claus. Will he enjoy it, will he scream bloody murder? Who knows, but he’s going to be wearing a holiday onesie while he does it. Can’t wait.

This week we sent around our annual reader survey. We’re looking to hear from you as we head into the new year. We believe local media is at its best when it incorporates ideas from readers. It lets us get to know you a little better, and helps us set the direction for the newsletter in 2024.

Now, let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Friday: -6 🌡️ -11 | 🌤

Saturday: +1 🌡️ -3 | 🌤

Sunday: +4 🌡️ +1 | ☁️

Monday: +3 🌡️ -9 | ☁️


City to offer tax breaks for affordable units

What happened: In an effort to boost affordable housing in the city, council approved a plan to give a tax break to housing developers who build below-market rate housing, CTV reported.

The plan: If a new development has at least 20 percent affordable units — as defined by the CMHC — and the builder promises to keep those units at that rate for at least 20 years, they’ll be eligible for a tax break of $6,000 to $8,000 per year. 

  • To qualify, there must be at least five affordable units in a building. (Meaning if a five-unit building had one affordable unit it would not qualify, even though that would account for 20 percent of the total units.)

Timeline: The rule won’t go into effect right away. Staff are expected to come back to council next year with the full policy for council to vote on.

Development pause

Development turned down: A Baseline Road housing development is in danger of being turned down, after city staff said the second phase of the building would cast too much shadow on the adjacent Experimental Farm, CTV reported. At the corner of Fisher and Baseline, the 1,100-unit development would include a 24- and 32-storey building that staff said needs to be further studied.

  • Staff said the development could endanger research by casting a shadow over a part of the farm from 8 am to noon for large parts of the growing season. 

A previous project: Council recently approved a project on the north side of the farm despite similar concerns on how it would affect research at the farm. While the project has not been turned down entirely, staff want a pause put on the approval until more study is done.

Transit update

Some good news… The city announced the tracks for the eastern extension of the LRT have been laid, CTV reported. There’s still plenty of other infrastructure work to do. The trains are expected to be running east to Orléans in 2025.

…And some bad: Dozens of bus routes that run along the western Transitway will run on a detour until at least the weekend because the temporary Roosevelt Bridge needs emergency repairs, the city said in a memo. Parking and other restrictions will be in place along Churchill and Richmond to help speed the flow of buses while the bridge is closed.


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💰 $5,669,068: Or was it “five million, six-hundred thousand sixty-nine dollars” ($5,600,069)? A giant novelty cheque given to the city by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission gave conflicting information on how much money the city was getting. [Ottawa Citizen]

🪧 570,000: The number of public sector workers on strike in Quebec. [CBC]

📚 3: The number of Ontario teachers’ unions still without a contract. Public high school teachers have agreed to binding arbitration, while Catholic- and French-system teachers are still bargaining. [CTV]

🔌 1,080 MW: The new electric capacity of the hydro grid in the city, after Hydro One upgraded the system. Capacity has increased 66 percent from 650 MW. [CTV]


Consultant disputes airport’s description of recommendations

What happened: A consultant cited by the Ottawa Airport Authority said he did not suggest a forest on Hunt Club Road needed to be clear cut because of safety reasons, CBC reported.

  • The forester told the broadcaster he presented the authority with several options, including doing nothing and leaving the forest as is, to significantly cutting back the forest but still leaving about 120 trees.

History: The forest was planted in the late 50s and early 60s to be a source of hydro poles and other forest products. Because only one type of tree was planted, with each one fairly close together, it limited the biodiversity of the forest, and left the forest vulnerable to large storms. Little has been done to care for the forest over the years, making it even more vulnerable.

City doesn’t want it: In a memo, city staff said the forest was not worth taking over because it had been neglected too long, and would require too much work to get it into decent shape. 

  • “Under all options, the city would be required to restrict public access to the plantation to protect public safety or to carry out restoration actions. Such restrictions would likely create a continuing friction with residents currently engaged in unauthorized use of the site for dog walking and passive activities,” staff wrote. “Ownership of the woodlot would create an on-going enforcement pressure as well as potential legal and financial liabilities.”


Staying informed about the world doesn’t have to be boring.

Looking for news outside of just Ottawa? You may like International Intrigue.

It’s a free global affairs briefing created by former diplomats to help leaders like you understand how geopolitics, business and technology intersect. They deliver the most important international news and analysis in <5-minute daily briefing that you’ll actually look forward to reading.


🩺 At least two patients have been assigned a family doctor by Appletree Medical Clinics without their knowledge. One woman from Ottawa said she was registered without her knowledge and was then kicked off the provincial waiting list. Now, she has access only to the doctor virtually, or through a once-a-week walk-in visit. [CBC]

☃️ Snow plows across town should be quieter this year, as the city has installed rubber blades to its snow clearing fleet. The blades make less noise, clear the road better, and require less salt. [Ottawa Citizen]

🌉 After outrage over the winter closure of the William Commanda Bridge, the city said it would reopen the crossing over the Ottawa River if there was enough snowpack to groom on the bridge. The city said it was closed because it could not be plowed or salted without risking the bridge’s iron structure or the nearby water purification plant. [CBC]

🚨 Four people were arrested as part of an investigation into a human trafficking ring. In total, 23 criminal charges were laid. [CTV]

🛏️ City staff are looking at adding bunk beds to community centres and deploying a large heated tent to deal with the homelessness crisis this winter. [CBC]

🍻 Negotiations are ongoing between the provincial government, the alcohol industry, and small and large retailers, as Ontario looks to massively overhaul the way beer, wine and spirits are sold. Much of the industry is at stake, including what alcohol can be sold where (convenience stores?) and whether the Beer Store will continue its monopoly on empties. [CBC]

🚓 One person is dead and another in critical condition after a shooting in the Centrepointe neighbourhood early Thursday morning. No one has been arrested, but police are investigating. [CTV]


What to do this weekend


🎼 Ottawa Celtic Showcase, Saturday 6:45 pm: A night of Celtic-inspired entertainment including Highland dancers, pipes and drums, and more. At École secondaire publique De La Salle, 501 Old Saint Patrick St. Adult tickets $28.

🪈 The Magic Flute by Mozart, Sunday 2:30 pm: An all-female version of the classic Mozart opera, where the forces of good and evil do battle. At First Baptist Church, 140 Laurier Ave. W. Tickets start at $28.


🎅🏻 Santa's Parade of Lights, Saturday 6 pm: The east end’s Santa parade is this weekend. Running from Youville to Centrum along St-Joseph Boulevard come out and see the lights with the whole family. Free.


📸 SPAO Open House, Friday 5 pm: The School of the Photographic Arts is hosting their annual open house and launching their annual publication. With live music and a holiday sale of art prints there’s plenty on offer. At SPAO Centre Galler, 77 Pamilla St. Free.


🎄 ADAAWE Indigenous Holiday Market, Saturday 9 am: More than 30 local Indigenous vendors with plenty of great gifts for the holidays. Traditional bannock and tea offered for free. Plenty of giveaways and more. At ADAAWE Hub, 338 Somerset St. W. Free!

🌲 Watson’s Mill Christmas Market, Saturday and Sunday: AT the historic buildings of Watson’s Mill in Manotick, more than 30 vendors will have plenty for the holiday gift-giving season. THere will also be classic Christmas carols played by the Manotick Brass Band. At 5524 Dickinson St. Admission by donation.


💃 World Multicultural Festival, Saturday 1 pm: Featuring performances and more from 70 cultural delegations, it’s one of the biggest cultural events of the year. At the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, 355 Cooper St. Free.

  • A fond farewell to Rita Celli, who’s retiring from Ontario Today after 32 years with CBC. [CBC]

  • Authentic German beer and dishes like schnitzel and currywurst? It's only at Braumeister Bierhalle, open in Hintonburg at 175 Carruthers. Check it out today.*

  • We all know the Canadian Tire Centre is far from downtown, but when you see how it compares to other teams in the league…yeesh. [Twitter]

  • Some consolation for KISS fans, who will receive refunds for the cancelled show earlier this week as Paul Stanley recovers from the flu. [CTV]

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This week in food

🍽️ Our food editor spoke with local restaurateurs on what they need to survive a tough period for the food business.

🍴 (Insiders) Locals in Manotick love this bistro in the village, and with good reason!

🎄 (Insiders) With the holidays approaching, you can’t go wrong with this ready mixed egg nog available at the LCBO.

🥕 (Insiders) Our food editor shares an old family recipe for vegetable stock that’s like a warm hug as the weather gets cool.


Congrats to Adam, Mark, Roger, Paulina, Beverly, and all the rest of you who knew this week’s Ottawa Guesser was of the corner of Bank Street and Rideau Road.

Think you can solve this week’s Ottawa Wordle? Play now.

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