- Ottawa Lookout
- Why are LRT stations already falling apart?
Why are LRT stations already falling apart?
They’ve only been open for three years, but downtown stations are already showing serious defects.
A big happy birthday to my dog Lady Bird, who turned 11 this week. She’s not much of a newsletter reader (she prefers the printed page) but, we’ll all know she got birthday wishes in this issue.
It’s for sure winter now, we’ve got another snow storm coming to town today. If you were hoping to travel, officials recommend you hold off until conditions improve. We’re expected to get as much as 30 cm of snow in some areas, according to Environment Canada. There’s also a parking ban in effect starting this morning at 10 am, the city said.
Here’s hoping the LRT survives this storm!
Let’s get to the newsletter.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
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Friday: -3 🌡️ -9 | ❄️
Saturday: -7 🌡️ -15 | ☀️
Sunday: -7 🌡️ -16 | ☀️
Monday: -6 🌡️ -8 | ☀️
Crummy LRT stations, and police leadership issues
A stairwell at Rideau Station. Robert Hiltz/Ottawa Lookout
What happened: Alta Vista Coun. Marty Carr went on a tour of downtown LRT stations with CBC, and found all kinds of issues along the way, the broadcaster reported. The three-year-old stations are in bad shape already.
Water stains, rust, peeling paint, broken windows, and the ever present smell of sewage were all on display in Parliament and Rideau stations — what should be the showpiece stations for the capital.
Being back in Ottawa for a few weeks and using its transit network does not make me to move back here one second. Delays, disruptions, crumbling stations. This is Rideau Station.
— Alexandre Laquerre (@alexlaq)
Jan 10, 2023
"The little things are important in terms of maintenance and how things look on the LRT — this was a really large investment for the city,” Carr told CBC. "After three and a half years, we have that rust, that leaking, that peeling paint. What's causing those issues? I'm really interested in finding that out."
Rideau Transit Management, the private operators of the system, told the broadcaster the sewage smell was from stagnant groundwater and called the problem “intermittent.” Pools of water at Parliament Station were caused by an (unspecified) clogged drain, RTM said. The company said it had a plan to deal with all the peeling paint and other water damage, and explained that water intrusion like this was common for underground transit systems.
The Lookout’s view: More than just issues with catastrophic failures, the LRT system doesn’t seem able to stand up to wear and tear very well either.
For most of the time it’s been in operation, ridership has been millions of trips below expectations because of the pandemic. Imagine what stations would look like if they were in regular use? And while the water damage is ugly, it also suggests there could be serious flaws in construction. All in all: not great.
What happened: The Ottawa Police Service is in need of new senior leadership, as the force’s chief administrative officer announced her retirement after only a year on the job, CBC reported.
The Police Services Board — the civilian body that oversees the police — will be in need of a new chairperson. Mayor Mark Sutcliffe promised to hire a civilian, and the search is set to close at the end of the month.
The current chair Suzanne Valiquet inherited the role when former coun. Eli El-Chantiry decided not to run for another term. Occupying the only civilian seat at the board, Valiquet will lose her seat when a new appointment is made.
Turmoil at the table: Last year’s police budget was a point of serious contention when the previous board decided not to give the force as big a budget increase as it had requested. That board was ousted during the convoy when former mayor Jim Watson reinstalled his allies including El-Chantiry, who then appointed a new chief just days before voting day in the municipal election.
What it means: On top of needing to get up to speed on their jobs, a new leadership team will need to present a budget in the coming weeks, and keep any increase to 2.5 percent. The final vote is expected in March, so there is little time to prepare.
OTTAWA BY THE NUMBERS
🚒 7: The number of Ottawa firefighters splitting a $1-million lottery prize. [Ottawa Citizen]
🚔 3: This many people in Embrun were arrested for allegedly having tools to steal cars. [CTV]
🚨 13%: Hate crimes reported to police rose this much compared to last year, to 377 up from 340. Police found 300 of this year’s reports to be criminal, compared to 260 last year. [CTV]
Ordered back to the office, workers scramble for child care
What happened: Federal workers who have been at home for the past three years are in a sudden scramble to find child care, now that the government has ordered them back into the office, CBC reported.
Finding child care can be difficult at the best of times, but now some public service workers are finding it difficult to get their kids into limited spaces on short notice. The public OCDSB told the broadcaster there can be a delay opening up spots at its before- and after-school programs as they staff up. The Catholic board said some of its schools will not have space for new students.
Bargaining: Talks between the government and the Public Service Alliance of Canada as well as talks with the Union of Taxation Employees have broken down over the issue of remote work. The unions said bringing workers back in the office should not have been decided at the bargaining table, not made an order. Strike votes are scheduled to start later this month.
🏥 Next week the province will unveil the details of its plan for private surgical centres. The Ontario College of Physicians warns it will make health care wait times and the staffing crisis even worse by drawing more staff out of the public system. [Toronto Star]
💥 The new pastry shop Amandine Patisserie in Hintonburg was vandalized less than two months after it opened. [CTV]
👑 The family of a 104-year-old veteran in Ottawa is having difficulty getting a letter from King Charles III for his upcoming 105th birthday. [Ottawa Citizen]
🍽️ Eleven of the 12 graduates of the Ottawa Mission's food services training program have already secured jobs in the local industry. [CTV]
⛺️ Kingston city council voted to delay until March the eviction of about 70 people who are homeless from an encampment. [CBC]
🩺 The eastern Ontario county of Lennox and Addington voted to increase the pay for a nurse practitioner at a nursing home by $50,000, to about $160,000, after no one applied for the open position. [CBC]
🚨 A 36-year-old woman died in a major apartment fire in Gatineau. Another person was taken to the hospital with burns. [CBC]
🛻 A truck that displayed a Confederate flag at the convoy protests last year was driven by a local roofer, who makes no apologies for using the racist symbol. [CTV]
Your weekend guide
Cold Comfort opening reception, tonight 6 pm: A reception with photographer Ella Morton, whose photo series on the effects of climate change in the North. At the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa, 77 Pamilla St. Free registration.
Watercolour and Wine, tonight 6:30 pm: A guided paint session to learn how to use watercolours. This edition’s theme is painting a winter forest. Refreshments and supplies provided. At Staples 403 Bank St. Tickets $50.
Paint with Tunes, Sunday 6 pm: Live music and a guided painting session at the Works at 2525 Bank St. Everything you need to paint is provided. Tickets $40.
Big Shiny 90s, Saturday 7 pm: Three sets from DJ Geoff Paquet of all your 90s favourites at Queen Street Fare. Tickets start at $17.
Festival of Carols, Saturday 7:30 pm: An evening of Ukrainian carols and New Year’s songs at 1000 Byron Ave. Tickets $25.
Ride a Bike in Winter, today 4 pm: A workshop with tips for your to make winter biking possible. Everything from the proper clothing to maintenance. An English workshop at Alliance Francaise, 342 McLaren. Free registration.
Plant-based Wonderland, Sunday 11 am: Try out samples of a variety of plant-based products. At XMarket Rideau in The Bay at 77 Rideau St. Free admission.
Extra-Temporal Exploits, Saturday 1:30 pm: A steampunk performance of comedy and acrobatics, a blend of circus and slapstick, at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Tickets $22.
Beginner 3D Printing Workshop, tonight 5:30 pm: Learn how to design and print your very own designs on a 3D printer. Laptop required. At the uOttawa Makerspace, 150 Louis-Pasteur Pvt. Free registration.
SPONSORED BY PARTICIPACTION
A key way of addressing Canada’s mental health crisis
40 per cent of Canadians report that their mental health has deteriorated over the course of the pandemic.
A vital component to building resiliency? Physical activity.
ParticipACTION inspires and supports Canadians to make physical activity a vital part of their everyday lives.
Now ParticipACTION is calling for renewed funding to help Canadians – of all ages – live happier, healthier lives.
Here’s why this funding is needed and how it could save our healthcare system $3.9 billion annually.
More than just art, film turns into view into Glebe man’s remarkable life
What happened: It started as a documentary about his neighbour's art, but turned into much more. Mike McKay told the Ottawa Citizen his in-progress film about Jaya Krishnan opened his eyes up to how much more he has to offer than paintings.
“It comes down to this idea of unfiltered sharing. This is about a man who’s managed to go through life looking at things like a child – none of us get to do that,” McKay said to the paper.
Krishnan, who came to Ottawa in the 70s, travels every year to Cambodia to teach art to impoverished children. Over the years he’s raised money here to help improve an orphanage, and has kept in touch with many of the students he’s mentored over the 15 years he’s travelled to teach.
McKay said the film is not yet complete, but the recent addition of an editor has the end in sight.
Two area writers, Jamie Chai Yun Liew and Iain Reid, have made this year’s Canada Reads long list. [CBC]
(Members only) Stand out flavours from local Chinese takeout.
A Reddit user has found a mid-80s Ottawa trivia board game. Do you remember Souvenirs? [Reddit]
Check out some of the arts and culture jobs in the city. [Apt613]
Actor Ryan Reynolds is the bookies’ favourite to buy the Senators. [CTV]
You won’t want to miss YKO’s new location in the Market for great African BBQ.
Want to have your announcement featured? Contact our partnership team for more info.
Kevin Dorse/Ottawa Lookout Reader
Today’s photo comes from reader Kevin Dorse. He was inspired by the sky in Monday’s top photo and sent along this one. “Not quite as dramatic, but here’s one I took over near the arboretum last weekend,” he said.
Have a photo you want to share? Send it our way, we love to share your photos with Lookout readers.
Congrats to Michelle, who knew that this week’s OttawaGuesser was of pre-construction Strandherd Drive. This one might have been a bit tough, even with the hints. We’ll ease up on you next week.
Are you ready for this week’s Ottawa Wordle? Play now.
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