City hopes to expand rainwater capture program

The city wants to expand a program to retrofit homes to keep more rainwater out of storm sewers.

Good morning!

Well that was neat. Seeing most of the sun covered by the moon was quite something. Though, it does seem like it would have been more than worth it to drive a little southeast to see the whole thing. 

If you’ve still got some eclipse fever, you’ll want to check out this episode of In Our Time on the BBC from a couple years ago on eclipses. It’s a very interesting 50ish minutes of radio on the science and history — including a rather astonishing biblical fact — of eclipses and what they can tell us.

In any case, we’ve got a newsletter to get to, so let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor


Wednesday: +21 🌡️ +4 | 🌦

Thursday: +22 🌡️ +14 | 🌧

Friday: +15 🌡️ +4 | 🌧


City wants to expand rain rebates

What happened: The city is looking to expand a rebate program to retrofit homes and properties with rain-absorbent features, according to a new report from staff. Rain Ready Ottawa is designed to encourage homeowners to install permeable driveways and rain gardens, to reduce runoff into the city’s waterways.

The program offered home assessments to identify possible projects, and up to $5,000 in rebates for construction costs. The pilot project started in Westboro and the Pinecrest Creek watershed, and watersheds in most of the city’s eastern suburbs. Making it permantent would expand it to the areas in orange* below:

City of Ottawa/Handout

Not fully successful: Hundreds more homes than expected applied for an assessment from the city. The backlog grew to 800 homes because of high demand. While uptake was much higher than anticipated, it resulted in far fewer than expected retrofits. Only six percent of homes which received an assessment applied for a rebate. Staff expected uptake to be about 40 percent.

  • The program was more successful than anticipated at spurring projects that didn’t require or qualify for a rebate. About 40 percent of assessed homes undertook these projects, above the 33 percent staff expected.

City of Ottawa/Handout

But some good signs: Permeable driveways and downspout redirection have been the two most popular rebates. City staff said companies that installed the driveways — which let water seep through them, rather than run into the street — were aggressive in advertising their services and the rebates. More complex projects like rain gardens were not nearly as popular.

The point: The city wants to reduce runoff into storm sewers and waterways. The excess water can carry harmful chemicals, but can also lead to an increase in flooding.

Design issues: The design of the program also does little for low-rise condos and co-ops. Because many of these homes are communally owned, the program treats them as a single entity.

  • “Rain Ready Ottawa has consistently received inquiries from residents living in these kinds of properties, but few have been able to pursue the rebates as the scale of changes needed at these properties does not align with current financial supports.”

Going forward: Staff want council to approve a plan to make the rebates permanent, but shut down the assessment process. They found an online course was effective at convincing residents to retrofit their property, but didn’t require the city taking on the approximate $600 cost of doing an assessment. The city also wants to continue a program to pay a portion of the training fees for installation crews.

*Editor’s note: A previous version of this story mistakenly identified the wrong part of the map as where the program will expand. If approved, the plan would extend to the areas in orange. The Lookout regrets the error.

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📸 2,100: The Mooney’s Bay speed camera issued this many tickets in its first month of operation on Riverside Drive. [CTV]

🌡️ 20 C: The temperature the city hit yesterday for the first time this year. Expect above 20 C temperatures again today. [CTV]


🐕 The H in HOV lane stands for “human” as well as “high-occupancy.” A driver was pulled over and fined for using the HOV lane in the west end and tried to claim their dog as a passenger. [CTV]

🚨 The body of a man was found on the bank of the Ottawa River in Gatineau. Police are investigating, but foul play was not immediately suspected. It is believed the man was in the water for some time before being discovered. [CTV]

🔌 About 6,000 customers in Stittsville were without power Monday. Hydro crews were able to restore power just after noon. [CTV]

🚁 An air ambulance helicopter had to be called in for a transport truck driver after crashing off the 417 and into the trees near Anderson Road. The driver was flow to hospital in serious condition. [CTV]

🚂 One of Brockville’s biggest tourist attractions, the country’s first railroad tunnel will open a few weeks later than usual. The tunnel’s light show required unexpected maintenance. [CTV]

💐 A 65-year-old died in Tudor and Cashel when the side-by-side off-road vehicle he was riding in left the trail and rolled into deep water. [CTV]


City paid out millions to cops suspended with pay

Ottawa Police Service/Twitter

What happened: The CBC put together a database of all the police officers put on paid leave across the province over the past 11 years. Keeping officers on paid leave while they face criminal charges or other disciplinary measures has cost citizens of Ontario $134 million.

  • Out of cities with a force with more than 1,000 officers, the Ottawa Police Service had the highest rate of suspensions, with 35 officers suspended, or 2.34 percent of the force.

Not cooperative: The force wasn’t particularly helpful when CBC was collecting this data. The broadcaster said Ottawa police wouldn’t “provide any detailed information or clarify any questions about specific suspensions.”

By the numbers: Provincially, the average length of suspension was 533 days, and 87 percent of suspensions came alongside criminal charges. About half of the officers charged and convicted of a crime were able to return to work. Only 10 percent were fired. 

  • The largest percentage of charges were related to gender-based crimes. More than a third, 35 percent, were charges including sexual assault, sexual harassment, and intamate partner violence. The next most common reason for suspension was for impaired driving at 10 percent.

The highest amount paid out to a suspended officer was more than $650,000 to former Ottawa deputy chief Uday Jaswal, CBC reported.

Just this week, the force announced one of its officers had been put on administrative duty, while he faces drunk driving and other charges for an incident that occurred a month ago on St. Patrick’s Day. Const. Cory Chuchryk will make his first court appearance next month.


This week’s house of the week is a bit on the pricey side. That’s to be expected, given it’s in New Edinburgh. It’s got some interesting quirks that made me take note. The kitchen is well appointed, and it’s got a very nice bathroom, all the stuff you’d expect. But then there’s the parquet floors through much of the home, and the mirror wall with the fireplace inset. But what really sold me was the square spiral staircase, with a square skylight at the top. Couldn’t help but be charmed.

House of The Week is a home selected by the Lookout team and is not a paid advertisement. All ads are labelled as such. If you’re a realtor who wishes to feature your home in our newsletter, please contact our sales team. 


Listings are provided by, the best place to discover live music in Ottawa. Check out for full listings across the city.

King Cruff, Thursday 8 pm: Blending Jamaican instrumentation and riddim with hip-hop delivery and flow.  At the Rainbow Bistro, 76 Murray St.  Tickets $22.

Zaki Ibrahim, Thursday 8 pm: Bringing together elements of spoken word, hip hop, soul, house and 70s pop. At the National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St.  Tickets $25. 

Cam Kahin, Friday 8 pm: Hooky, heavy indie rock with metalcore influences.  At Dominion Tavern, 33 York St. Tickets $15.

Kaeley Jade, Saturday 5:30 pm: Mixing lush imagery and hooky melodic lines into pop-forward indie folk music. At Montgomery Scotch Lounge, 750 Gladstone Ave. Tickets $10. 

Benj Rowland with Ali McCormick, Saturday 8 pm: Expansive folk combining an ensemble of instruments, including the bouzouki, tenor guitar, hurdy-gurdy and accordions. At Red Bird, 1165 Bank St. Tickets $25.


🌑 Thousands of people gathered outside to watch the eclipse Monday. Crowds south and east of the city were treated to a total eclipse, where the moon perfectly blotted out the sun for a few minutes. [CTV]

👃 Five years after opening, the tunnel of the O-Train Confederation Line still smells like a toilet. The stench is most prominent at Rideau and Parliament stations. Last year the private-sector group that runs the trains injected grout into part of the tunnel hoping to eliminate water infiltration, seemingly without success. [Ottawa Citizen]

🛍️ The premier directed the LCBO to bring back paper bags. Last year, liquor stores across the province phased out paper bags and went exclusively to reusable bags. The LCBO doesn’t have a timeline on when the paper bags will return. [The Canadian Press]

💥 Students at Carleton have developed a crash test dummy capable of riding a bike. This week, Ottawa police and the students will test the dummy by hitting it with a vehicle at fatal speeds to find out more about the dangers faced by cyclists when they’re hit by drivers. [CTV]

💐 The man whose family was killed in a brutal mass stabbing once again wanted to thank the people of Ottawa for their support. Dhanushka Wickramasinghe told Mayor Mark Sutcliffe he planned to stay in the community and give back to the city that helped him though the worst imaginable time. [CTV]

  • Billy Idol will be heading to the Canadian Tire Centre in August as part of his Rebel Yell tour. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • 🌍 Geopolitics in <5 minutes? Get International Intrigue, the free global briefing crafted by former diplomats. Sign up for free. [Sponsored]

  • Good work everyone! The city’s hospitals did not report anyone coming into the ER with eclipse-related eye injuries. [CTV]

  • After 36 years in operation, Mandarin Oglivie will close its doors in June. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Learn how here.


Nice work everyone! Sixty-nine percent of you knew that 98.87 percent (we incorrectly wrote 98.85 percent, our apologies) was covered by the moon during this week’s partial eclipse.

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