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City votes to raise development charges, skip federal funds

The city’s decision to raise development charges means it can’t apply for a new federal housing fund.

Good morning!

I hope everyone is enjoying the weather. The boy and I spent a lovely little afternoon downtown after getting a bike tire repaired at Retro Rides. It’s always nice to be able to stop for a bite while waiting on a quick and friendly repair.

With the long weekend coming, the Lookout won’t be publishing on Monday. We’ll be back to our regular programming on Wednesday.

We’ve got plenty to get to today, so let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor


Friday: 23 🌡️ 14 | 🌦

Saturday: 23 🌡️ 14 | 🌦

Sunday: 27 🌡️ 14 | ☀️

Monday: 28 🌡️ 15 | ☀️


Council votes to up development charges, rename centre after Diane Deans

What happened: City council voted to increase development charges in the city for new homes by between $4,700 and $6,500, CTV reported. The lower increase will be for homes inside the Greenbelt.

  • New homes built outside the Greenbelt require buildingf more infrastructure, leading to the higher increase in development charges.

Foregoing funds: By voting for the increase, the city will lose out on the ability to apply for its slice of a new $6 billion federal housing fund, CBC reported. It’s a risk, but one Mayor Mark Sutcliffe thinks is worthwhile.

  • “We have to calculate, are we better off freezing development charges and losing out on all the revenue that we would need from that to build better communities? … And clearly, by a significant amount, we are better off increasing development charges to pay for the infrastructure in new communities than we are accessing the infrastructure funds,” Sutcliffe told reporters,” according to CBC.

Higher prices: The move is not without detractors. Increasing development charges increases the cost of new homes, as builders pass the fees onto buyers. The fees are also pegged to inflation, and will rise again in the fall.

The principle of the charges is that growth pays for growth. Coun. Shawn Menard argued the city would better be able to constrain development charges if the city stopped expanding the urban boundary, the Ottawa Citizen reported

  • The principle of growth paying for growth is that new developments should cover the cost of additional infrastructure, developers, and the people who buy the homes, pay for it, rather than existing residents helping pay for a growing city through higher taxes. The argument goes that eliminating the charges and making homes cheaper expands the tax base quicker, making the charges less necessary.

Also at council

Diane Deans: Councillors paid tribute to their former colleague, voting unanimously to rename the Greenboro Community Centre after Deans, who died this week from ovarian cancer, CTV reported. A celebration of life for Deans will be held May 25.

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🤒 21: The number of confirmed measles cases in the province in just the first four months of the year. That’s one shy of the recent full-year record of 22 cases in 2014. [CBC]

🏠 -58%: Housing starts were down this much in April compared to April 2023 in the city. Despite an increase in single-family home construction of 12%, all other types of construction dropped 66%. [CMHC]


Still no date for Trillium opening

What happened: The opening of the north-south Trillium O-Train line is at least two and a half months away, but even that date is fuzzy at best. The director of the city’s rail construction told reporters that the line couldn’t open for six to 10 weeks after all the operators are trained, and that’s at least a month away, CBC reported.

  • Even still, Michael Morgan would not commit to an opening date. Trains have yet to run 18 hours a day, so more testing on the line is required. When it’s online, trains will run once every 12 minutes, but they have yet to run at that frequency.

Much of the new line runs on only one set of rails. This means any delay or failure has serious consequences for the whole line. The city is also wary of repeating the rushed and disastrous opening of the Confederation Line. Still, the line, which extends the old O-Train line and uses similar diesel infrastructure, is more than two years behind schedule.

Spring opening? Transit general manager Renée Amilcar has maintained that the new train line will open up in the spring, but the current pace would put the opening into the summer. Staff had previously warned the line, which runs through Carleton University, may not open until well after classes restart in September.


👶 The provincial government is going to move to a cost-based funding model for the federally funded daycare system. Providers had been asking from nearly the start of the program for this type of funding, as rents and other costs they couldn’t claim were ineligible for subsidzed funding. The details of the model weren’t announced, but it will be in place for the start of 2025. [CTV]

🛒 Two weeks into an online-organized boycott of Loblaw stores, the company has decided to sign the federal grocery code of conduct. The company insists the decision to sign has nothing to do with the boycott, which had a key demand the company sign onto the code, which is designed to make transactions between retailers and suppliers more fair. [CTV]

📚 The Ottawa Carleton District School Board plans to move kids with special needs into regular elementary classrooms as part of a program review. Parents are skeptical the promised supports for their children will be available, especially as the board faces a funding shortfall. [CTV]

🚨 A 62-year-old ParaTranspo driver is facing multiple sexual assault related charges. He allegedly drove a lone female client off the route and assaulted her. The driver is facing charges of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a person with a disability. Police believe there may be other victims. [CTV]

🚑 A teenage pedestrian was struck and seriously injured by an OC Transpo driver near Heron Gate. He was taken to hospital in critical condition after being hit by the bus. [CTV]

🚲 The city is looking to build bike lanes along the Maitland 417 overpass when that bridge is replaced in the coming years. The bridge replacement is covered by the province, but the city will have to pay about $5.4 million to add the cycling infrastructure. The bridge isn’t scheduled to be replaced until 2027. [CTV]

⚖️ A judge ordered the Law Society of Ontario to take over the legal practice of suspended lawyer James Bowie. The lawyer has been investigated six times, some previously undisclosed, for sexual harassment by the governing body. Bowie goes to court this fall on charges he allegedly threatened to kill and attempted to extort a client, among other charges. [CBC]

🫨 A 3.2 magnitude earthquake struck just northwest of Hawkesbury early Wednesday morning. The quake was too small to cause damage, but was lightly felt in the surrounding area. [CTV]

💐 Local businessman and philanthropist Larry Bradley has died after a long illness. He was 74. [CTV]

💸 The federal Phoenix pay system is not long for this world. The government plans to abandon the system after years of failures. [CBC]

🔥 A man jumped from the second storey of a townhouse to escape a fire Thursday in Alta Vista. He was taken to hospital with burns and other injuries. [CTV]

🎬 Cineplex’s Galaxy Cinema in Brockville will close July 7 once the lease runs out. The cinema is the city’s only first-run movie theatre. [OBJ]

🚔 The death of a 16-year-old boy last month at McNabb Park has been ruled accidental by police. The boy was taken to hospital with undisclosed injuries where he later died. [CBC]

🚓 The Ottawa police hate crimes unit is investigating the hijab pulling of a pro-Palestinian protestor at this week’s raising of the Israeli flag for that country’s independence day. [CTV]


What to do this weekend

👩‍💻 Spatial Storytelling, Saturday: A two-day workshop on spatial storytelling using virtual reality and other techniques. At Digital Arts Resource Centre, 67 Nicholas St. Tickets start at $65

🎤 King Promise Live, Friday 10 pm: The Ghanaian performer brings his mix of afrobeats, highlife, hip hop and R&B to the city. At The Palace Ottawa, 400A Dalhousie St. Tickets $43.

🧀 Make a Charcuterie Board, Saturday: Learn to make your very own charcuterie board, while learning some important wood finishing techniques. Materials provided. At Lee Valley Tools, 900 Morrison Dr. Three times available. Tickets $90.

🥁 Classic Rock Drum Clinic, Saturday 11 am:  Learn some of the techniques of famous classic rock drummers like Keith Moon, John Bonham and more. At Hummingbird Hall, 900 Greenbank Rd. Tickets $20.

🦁 The Wizard of Oz Sing-Along, Saturday 12:30 pm: Come for a sing-along view of the Wizard of Oz. The event is to raise money for the Caelis Academy Ensemble and their upcoming trip abroad. At the Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank St. Tickets $23.

🪄 Science Magic - Crazy Gadgets, Saturday 1 pm: A great afternoon for kids as Donal Vaughan mixes comedy with science in a spectacular performance. At the Tony Graham Recreational Complex, 100 Charlie Rogers Pl. Tickets $17.

🪖 The Liberation Men screening, Sunday 3 pm: Shot in Ontario, join a screening of this film about Canadian soldiers and the liberation of the Netherlands, followed by a Q&A with cast and crew. At the Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank St. Tickets $15.


This week in food

🍕 Tennessy Willems in Hintonburg is an institution that’s very close to excellence.

🍷 Try this Georgian wine for a simple but flavourful experience. (Insiders)

🍇 For lovers of Pinot Noir this German bottling will provide an elegant version at a nicely reduced price.

🦪 At Le Fougeres in Chelsea, the fine service matches well with the interesting menu. (Insiders)

  • Most city services will be closed for Victoria Day, with a modified schedule for rec centres. Most stores are closed, but some malls and grocery stores in the core are open. [CTV] 

  • Tired of drowning in science news? Dive into The Aurorean! Their weekly briefing scours 100+ sources to bring you the juiciest bits of science news every Wednesday. Stay ahead of the curve—subscribe now for free! 🔬 [Sponsored]

  • Good news! Splash pads and NCC bistros are opening up for the weekend! [CTV]

  • If you’re heading into outdoor areas, be sure to check for ticks as they’re out in force this year. [CBC]

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


Congrats to Wendy, Bev, and David who all knew this week’s Ottawa Guesser was the gateway to Britannia Village.

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

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