Bus lane, bike lanes proposed for Old Ottawa South
Council returns and will debate adding bike lanes to Billings Bridge and a bus lane to Bank. Plus the latest on hospital wait times (bad news).
Well, we made it through the weekend without a major LRT disruption. Let’s hope that holds up this week. (Really hope I’m not jinxing anything here.) It’s tough these days to trust our transit system. I’m finding lately I’m reluctant to take trips by bus or train, not knowing if there will be some delay waiting.
It’s not a great situation, especially as we’ve seen the effects of climate change this year so viscerally. I want to think with all the fixes made (and re-made), we’re past the worst of it. But, getting hopeful about the LRT seems to just be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Anyway, the good news is this is the last mention of the LRT in this newsletter edition! We have news on the upcoming week at council, hospital wait times, and great events for you and your family this week.
Let’s get to it.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
Monday: 24 🌡️ 12 | 🌤
Tuesday: 25 🌡️ 11 | 🌤
Wednesday: 25 🌡️ 12 | 🌤
City council: City hall gets back to work this week after a long summer break. We’ve got plenty of details on what’s to come this week below.
Council returns: Bike lanes over Billings, and rescinding the Vacant Unit Tax?
A No. 6 heading north on Bank Street, where a rush-hour bus lane has been proposed. Robert Hiltz/Ottawa Lookout
What happened: At long last, it’s what we’ve all been waiting for, the return of city council. This week, councillors will return to the table, so here’s a quick glimpse of what they’ll be discussing.
Bank Street bus lane
The proposal: This Thursday, the transportation committee will debate putting a northbound bus lane on Bank Street through Old Ottawa South. City staff recommend the committee approve a northbound bus lane from Chesley Street and Aylmer Avenue during the weekday afternoon rush hour, a staff report said.
Staff also recommend the committee approve bike lanes in both directions across Billings Bridge, to connect with the NCC’s Eastern Pathway along Riverside, and for the redevelopment of Bank south of the Rideau River.
The plan for the Billings Bridge bike lanes. City of Ottawa/Handout
Effects: During afternoon rush hour, 41 parking spaces on the northbound side will be lost to the bus lane, and 14 will be lost permanently. Traffic on Bank is not expected to be substantially affected. Traffic on Riverside could be delayed by one or two light cycles because of the new configuration.
Vacant Unit Tax
The proposal: For Wednesday, Orléans West-Innes Coun. Laura Dudas has put forward a motion to cancel the Vacant Unit Tax. She wants any property declared vacant this year not to have the tax applied and for the tax to be rescinded entirely.
The tax adds one percent of the home’s assessed value to the yearly property tax bill if vacant for more than half the year. In 2023, 6,104 homes were declared vacant, either voluntarily or automatically, because they didn’t submit a declaration. The purpose of the tax is to incentivize property owners not to keep their homes vacant to ease the housing crisis.
The reasoning: Dudas’ motion said that the number of homes declared vacant was much higher than staff expected, and the paperwork was too burdensome on homeowners.
OTTAWA BY THE NUMBERS
🚨 157 km/h: The speed a driver was caught doing on the 416 over the weekend. The driver was charged with stunt driving, driving while impaired, and driving with cannabis within reach. [CTV]
Ottawa ER waits still above provincial average
The General Campus ER. Robert Hiltz/Ottawa Lookout
What happened: The General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital emergency room has the third longest wait time in the province in June, CTV reported. None of the city’s hospitals had wait times lower than the provincial average of two hours.
The times: It took an average of 4.1 hours to get a first assessment by a doctor at the General. The ER at the Montfort Hospital was the quickest in the city, with an average wait of 2.4 hours, while the Queensway Carleton had a 2.7-hour wait, and the Civic a 3.1-hour wait. CHEO had a wait time of 3.5 hours.
Admission: To get admitted to the General, it took 19.2 hours, the longest in the city, while CHEO had the shortest wait at 10.8 hours. The other hospitals had wait times between those two. The average wait for admission in the province was 17.9 hours. The General was the only hospital in the city above that time.
NEW LOCAL JOBS
Check out the new open positions in Ottawa.
Local jobs are selected by the Lookout team and are not paid ads, unless specifically noted.
📸 Police hope residents and businesses near a shooting this weekend around Carlsbad Springs have footage of the incident they can turn over. A 26-year-old was killed overnight Saturday, and no one has been arrested. [CTV]
🧶 After 40 years in business, the 81-year-old owner of Wool-Tyme is retiring. Her niece will be taking over the beloved yarn store. [CBC]
🚒 Four townhomes in Greenboro were seriously damaged by a weekend fire, leaving four families without homes. Four people were taken to hospital. [CTV]
⚖️ A former OPP officer, already facing six years in prison for sexual assault, was sentenced to an additional three years for assault against another woman. [CBC]
🤿 If you plan on going to the NCC’s revamped River House, you probably don’t want to drive there. Parking is limited to the riverside attraction. [Ottawa Citizen]
🤖 A MSN Travel article written by AI that recommended tourists visit the Food Bank on an empty stomach has been pulled from the site by Microsoft. [CBC]
🚫 The Kenson Park Community Association was forced to close because of liability insurance requirements from the city. The association’s board says the city’s two-tiered insurance system, which older associations don’t have to pay rising fees, is to blame. [CBC]
🦙 A baby alpaca missing for nearly a week in Kingston needs to be found, as the month-old animal needs its mother to stay alive. [CBC]
🔍 A confession and a DNA swab led investigators to charge an 81-year-old man with murder in the 75-year-old cold case of the death of Jewell Parchman Langford. [CBC]
What to do this week
📜 Hamlet - by A Company of Fools, all week 7 pm: The last week of shows for Shakespeare in the park, with puppets, swordfights, and a scary ghost. At parks across the city. Pay what you can, suggested $20 donation.
🎸 City Sounds Live, Wednesday 6 pm: Jessica Pearson & the East Wind, and Sam Stone perform, followed by a panel interview with Tara Shannon, author of YOU and the Music Business. At the Ottawa sign on York Street in the ByWard Market. Free.
🏇 Major League Show Jumping, Saturday and Sunday: World-class show jumpers are in town to compete for more than $800,000 in prize money. With classes, live entertainment, a market and more. At Wesley Clover Parks, 401 Corkstown Rd. Tickets from $17.
🐄 Welcome Wednesday - Fun in the Sun, Wednesday 4 pm: The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum on the Experimental Farm is open for free this week so families can come and explore. With outdoor games, homemade ice cream and more. Free (doesn’t include parking).
🍄 Fungi for Families, Sunday 9:30 am: A guided forest tour to look for, and understand, mushrooms — what’s safe, and what to avoid — in a day designed for kids 6-12 and their parents. At Pinhey Forest, 1701 Woodroffe Ave. Tickets $23.
🔧 Bike Maintenance Workshop, Thursday 6 pm: Bring your bike and learn how to care for your bike, and how to assess its safety. At the Ottawa Tool Library, 877a Boyd Ave. Tickets $45.
🎬 Capital Pop-up Cinema - Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Friday at dusk (8:30 pm-ish): Bring a chair and popcorn to enjoy a screening outside of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, at Sparks Street and O’Connor. Free.
Expect delays on King Edward in the coming weeks as the NCC surveys interprovincial trucking. [CTV]
You will want to visit the region’s first Brazilian bakery. Be sure to try the Brigaderos!
The Champlain Bridge will be partially reopened today, with the repair project three months ahead of schedule. [CBC]
Want to have your announcement featured? Contact our partnership team for more info.
Alan Bacon/Ottawa Lookout Reader
This lovely photo comes from reader Alan Bacon, who shot it on Monday.
Do you have a photo you’d like to share with the Lookout community? Send it in!
Congrats to everyone who got last week’s Ottawa Wordle, the answer was RIDGE, as in Falcon Ridge, the golf club last week's Ottawa Guesser was near.
For this week’s Ottawa Quiz, we want to know which hospital had the shortest ER wait times in the city. The first five people to write in with the correct answer will get their names mentioned in the next issue.
What did you think of today's newsletter?