LRT Inquiry drops today, city manager suddenly resigns
The LRT inquiry report drops today, and we’ve got everything to get you ready for it (including where to read it).
First a very happy birthday to my mom. Who turns, well, she’d be mortified if I used the number, so I won’t. But I hope she has a great day! (Don’t worry, I’ll also be calling her, not just putting a mention in the newsletter.) I also hope my step mom has a great day today, as it’s also her birthday! (What are the odds? Pretty good, it turns out.)
Today, we’re launching our end-of-year-survey to get a better idea of what you like about the newsletter, and what more you’d like to see from us at the Lookout.
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Wednesday: +8 🌡️ -2 | 🌧
Thursday: +1 🌡️ -7 | ❄️
Friday: +3 🌡️ +3 | ☀️
LRT report drops today, shockwaves already felt
What happened: The city’s top bureaucrat, city manager Steve Kanellakos, announced his sudden departure Monday, citing the LRT inquiry report as his reason for leaving. The report itself will be released today.
- “It is my belief, that this is the time to do the right thing and allow the organization to find a new leader who can deal with implementing the recommendations from the inquiry unfettered from the long complex history of the project or the findings of the Commission report,” Kanellakos said.
He said while he had not* seen an advance copy of the report; he expected it to be negative based on the questioning during the inquiry.
- *A previous version of this story inadvertently dropped the word “not.”
Kanellakos has been city manager since 2016, and with the city in a variety of roles for almost 38 years. Council will vote today whether to approve chief financial officer Wendy Stephanson as interim city manager, CBC reported.
Last man standing: With the departure of the city manager joins former mayor Jim Watson and former OC Transpo general manager John Manconi on the sidelines. They were key city officials involved in the genesis and implementation of the LRT project and have now all left before the inquiry report reveals the full extent of the system’s problems. It leaves only former transit chair Coun. Allan Hubley still at the city in any capacity. He said he has no interest in being the transit chair again this term, CityNews reported.
Hoping for closure: Former citizen member of the Transit Commission Sarah Wright-Gilbert told the Ottawa Citizen she was hoping for some closure on the LRT saga.
- “What I’m most hoping to hear is an acknowledgment of what we all long suspected, that information was being withheld from the transit commission and council and the public, particularly about the testing period,” she said to the paper.
Read the report: Today at 11 am, the inquiry will make the final report public. You will be able to find the document and watch a press conference about its findings at the commission’s website.
OTTAWA BY THE NUMBERS
🛫 $4 million: The federal government is spending this much to repave parts of Ottawa International Airport taxiway system. [Ottawa Citizen]
🚨 5: This many people were charged in relation to car thefts, after they were pulled over on the 401 south of the city in stolen vehicles. [CTV]
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Local nurses at breaking point as wage bill struck down
What happened: A nurse at the Ottawa Hospital said staffing issues at hospitals in the area are getting worse.
- “Wait times are longer and now, surgeries are getting cancelled at pediatric hospitals and there just seems to be no end in sight,” nurse and union rep Rachel Muir told CityNews. "It's not the staff's fault, it's not the nurses’ fault, it's the system, and no one is listening to us shouting from the hills that our healthcare system is collapsing.”
Struck down: One of the issues for hospital staffing has been Bill 124, which capped wage increases to one percent for provincial employees including healthcare workers. That bill was struck down by a judge yesterday, who ruled it unconstitutional. The government said it plans to appeal the decision.
- Justice Markus Koehnen said the government had not explained why it was necessary to infringe on the workers’ constitutional right to collectively bargain as a cost saving measure, while it was at the same time able to offer mass licence plate fee refunds and cut taxes, CBC reported.
Spending less: The government spent $859 million less on healthcare this year than it had budgeted for, CTV reported. About $500 million of that was due to lower public health spending.
🎄 This family in Stittsville is going all out with an Elf-themed Christmas display at their house. [Ottawa Citizen]
🏥 The emergency room at the Almonte General Hospital had to close overnight because of staffing issues. It’s expected to reopen today. [CItyNews]
🥤 In Gatineau participating bars will offer non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers for free for the holiday season. [CTV]
🚧 A nursing home in Orléans built in 2007 is being closed down because mould and water damage is too severe to repair. [CBC]
🚍 David Hill, one of Barrhaven’s two new councillors, said his focus will be on transit, safety, and parks in his first term. [Capital Current]
SPONSORED BY CMPA
Time to fix Canada’s Broadcasting Act
Why? Because it hasn’t been updated in 30 years.
Local independent producers are being left behind as large foreign companies don’t play by the same rules as Canadian companies.
Provincial housing bill passes
What happened: The province’s controversial housing Bill 23 passed on Monday, CBC reported. The bill will drastically rewrite housing everywhere across Ontario. Here in Ottawa, it’s expected to shift the tax burden for services onto existing taxpayers.
- The city expects the bill to cost $60 million per year in lost revenue from development charges on new construction. It also severely restricts the powers of conservation authorities which protect wetlands and waterways.
Land deals: More big purchases of land are being unearthed in the wake of the province’s other major housing move to open up more land for development. One Toronto-area purchase of $50 million in spring 2021 of undevelopable land in the province’s Greenbelt was bought by a developer with a $100-million loan from CIBC with a 21 percent annual interest rate, according to the Globe and Mail. Those lands have since been approved for development by the government.
The provincial Green Party has asked the integrity commissioner to investigate several land deals, CTV reported.
HOUSE OF THE WEEK
There’s something about an old house that is intriguing. This three-storey home in the Glebe was renovated with a two-storey addition in the back. It features a chef’s kitchen and the whole house is surprisingly spacious and filled with light. It’s worth checking out.
🚨Ottawa police are investigating two recent fires in Little Italy as arson. [CTV]
🥣 The ByWard Market started a new program to give away 150 free meals to those in need. [Ottawa Citizen]
⚖️ A prominent local lawyer has been accused of sexual misconduct in an official complaint to the Law Society of Ontario. [CTV]
🚲 A cyclist was seriously injured by a driver near Riverside and Tremblay. The injuries were not life-threatening. [CTV]
📣 The cheerleading team for the Ottawa Sooners football team has been disbanded and the football coach and owner is under investigation for a series of text messages commenting on the cheer team’s appearance. [Ottawa Citizen]
🎄 A mean one has walked off with a Grinch and trampled a Christmas display at the Frankford Tourist Park according to the OPP. [Ottawa Citizen]
💻 Police are warning people to watch out for scams this holiday season. [CTV]
🏒 Assistant captain Claude Giroux said it’s too early to start looking at the standings after a pair of wins to finish the Sens’ western leg of their road trip. [Ottawa Sun]
🥅 Cam Talbot is looking much better in net after a rough start to the season for the Senators. [Ottawa Sun]
💰 Several potential ownership groups are trying to court Ryan Reynolds in their bids to buy the Sens. There are believed to be 20 different groups looking to buy the team. [Ottawa Sun]
🏈 The Ottawa Redblacks signed eight Americans, including receiver Quan Bray. [Ottawa Sun]
Senators vs Rangers | Tonight, 7 pm | At home | Tickets
Senators @ Rangers | Friday, 7 pm | Away | TSN5, RDS
67’s vs Firebirds | Friday, 7 pm | At home | Tickets
Senators vs Sharks | Saturday, 7 pm | At home | Tickets
67’s vs Petes | Sunday, 2 pm | At home | Tickets
- Kettleman’s is expanding its operations, heading into the home of (the good kind of) bagels with its first Montreal location. [CTV]
- 30 years is too long. Bill C-11 updates Canada’s Broadcasting Act, so Canadian independent producers aren’t disadvantaged compared to big streaming giants. Learn more.*
- A new brewery in Chinatown adds a Spark (that’s the name!) of something special.
- The Trees of Hope to raise money for CHEO are up and decorated at the Chateau Laurier. [Twitter]
- Oops, the NAC light box looked to be on the fritz this week. [Reddit]
- Catch up on six weeks of convoy inquiry testimony in less than 20 minutes in these videos. [Twitter]
- A local freelance photographer is looking to build their portfolio, check out their work! [Reddit]
- The Shoebox Project is looking for shoe donations to give to women in need. [Capital Current]
- At the Rideau Centre, the Victoria’s Secret has been replaced by a Lululemon. [Reddit]
- Want to have your announcement featured? Contact our partnership team for more info.
Reader Angela Quinlan sends in this photo of a lovely sunset in Carp.
If you’d like to share your photos with the Lookout community, send them our way! We love to run reader photos.
Congrats to Angela, Jill, Chantal, Michelle, and Bam who all knew the convoy occupied the downtown for more than three weeks.
If you have any affection for concrete highrises, you’ll probably have a good idea where today’s OttawaGuesser is. The first five people to respond correctly with the location will get their names mentioned in the newsletter.
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