New celebrities join bid for Ottawa Senators
Plus a breakdown of the city’s funding on homelessness
You’ll find today’s newsletter just slightly different today. I’ve taken the week off from newsletter writing as I try and catch my breath a bit after a pretty frenetic few months both here and elsewhere. The closure of Ottawa Magazine, the death of my dog Lady Bird, and a few other things have built up enough that burnout seemed not so much a possibility, but an inevitability.
It seemed like a good time to step back, before reaching the brink. But not for long, just this week. And, hey, what a week it is shaping up to be.
In the meantime, you’ll be in the very capable hands of Geoff, who many of you will know if you’ve had technical issues here at the Lookout.
Fear not, I will return next week with a new edition of the Insider, and your usual editions of the Lookout.
So, why don’t I let you all get to the news.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
Wednesday: 13 🌡️ 4 | 🌧
Thursday: 18 🌡️ 6 | 🌤
Friday: 22 🌡️ 9 | 🌤
Who’s joined the Senators’ bidding
The list of potential owners for the Ottawa Senators continues to grow this week.
What happened: The bid by Neko Sparks added more high-profile owners over the weekend, with comedian Russel Peters joining the bid, according to CTV. He joins rapper Snoop Dog and Canadian Olympic gold medalist Donovan Bailey, who are both part of the bid.
But that’s not all: The group also added not one, not two, but four Dragons’ Den investors, including Robert Herjavec, Arlene Dickinson, Wes Hall, and Manjit Minhas, according to CBC.
Don’t count Ryan Reynolds amongst them. It was confirmed by the Ottawa Sun that Reynolds turned down other bid groups that asked him to join, with his spokesperson saying “he’s not looking for a symbolic piece of this. Remington’s plan was robust and dynamic. None of this was cursory or impulsive for him.”
The scuttlebutt: The Athletic’s Ian Mendes says there’s no leading contender, while “feverish negotiations” are ongoing. As of right now it appears Andlauer and the Kimel family are the leading bids, but Steve Apostolopoulos or Neko Sparks are not yet out of the running. Mendes says the price may be over $1 billion US, and the process is finally in the end game.
OTTAWA BY THE NUMBERS
1st: Where Ottawa-Gatineau ranks in terms of median employment income, with $47,490 in 2020, up from $45,550 in 2019. [CBC]
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How to choose an e-bike
The e-bike business is booming and showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, e-bikes are outselling Electric Vehicles in both the US and Europe, with Canada not far behind.
The benefits are huge: hills disappear; distances shorten; knee and joint pain are not as big a barrier; the weight you can carry by bike increases. E-bikes open the door to cycling for transportation to many people who previously would never be able to consider it.
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Interested in more resources to help you choose sustainable transportation and cycling in your everyday life? Check out the Let’s Bike Month campaign for resources, workshops, community events and more.
👮 Police are investigating a fatal shooting in Renfrew on Friday. No one has been arrested yet. [CityNews]
🐶 Thank yous are in order for the anonymous donor who donated more than 7,200 kilograms of cat and dog food to the Renfrew County SPCA. [CBC]
🧀 More cheese, please! La Trappe à Fromage de l'Outaouais received $1.5 million in federal funding to purchase more equipment and diversify its offerings. [CTV]
🚗 A woman is facing two drunk driving charges in Aylmer from an incident on Victoria Day. She had two children in her vehicle at the time of the arrest. [Global News]
🏫 It’s been one year since the derecho damaged Nepean’s St. Monica Catholic School and while the gym is fixed, there are still repairs left. [CTV]
🏢 Younger? Own a business? Trendy? The city of Arnprior is looking for more trendy businesses to attract younger residents and visitors. [CTV]
🚥 Gatineau residents are dealing with massive traffic due to construction on the Champlain Bridge and Chaudière Crossing, with commute times tripling for many. [CBC]
Breaking down Ottawa's spending on homelessness
What is it: The city announced their plan to tackle homelessness, with $48 million from the province set aside to deal with the problem, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
The spending breakdown is as follows:
$21.4 million for emergency shelters,
$13.8 million for supportive housing,
$8.2 million for housing assistance,
And 2.6 million for outreach.
Controversy: The city claims they were shortchanged in new funding from the province. The provincial government set aside $202 million, but Ottawa only received 0.4 percent of it. Ottawa expected about $20 million, but received less than a $1-million boost. The province said the lower-than-expected increase was to correct the funding formula.
What it means: According to CTV, rental rates rose 14 percent in 2022, to $2,072. With rising construction costs and the time it takes to build housing, the $13.2 million for supportive housing seems like a drop in the bucket when dealing with such a protracted issue.
HOUSE OF THE WEEK
Good news — this home comes with its own elevator. The bad news is the home was involved in a dispute with residents and the city, and was almost torn down. But that can’t detract from this gorgeous five-bedroom, five-bathroom home with a pool, a rooftop spa and an infinity pool. Also, it has an elevator. Why? Who cares!
🛴 Scoot scoot, the scooters are back. The city approved the fourth pilot project for e-scooters downtown. To reduce complaints, e-scooters have geofencing to reduce sidewalk riders, emit noise while they move, and there’s a $150 fine for leaving them on sidewalks. [Ottawa Citizen[
🏠 If you did not fill out your Vacant Unit Tax form, or believe your home was improperly categorized, you can now file an online Notice of Complaint, which the city will review.
👷 Be aware, Ottawa police say there’s a contractor scam where the scammers collect deposits but don’t complete the work. [CBC]
🚗 Customers from Garage Plus Auto Centre are complaining about multiple safety concerns after buying vehicles from the company. [CBC]
Come by 160 Glebe on Saturday for the Great Glebe Garage Sale. [Reddit]
Struggling to find a good lunch spot? Our food editor has you covered.
Let’s Bike Month kicks off June 1 with a Bike-In Breakfast at Bank & Laurier! Drop by for mini bike tune-ups, free coffee, and more!*
Check out the history of these 10 buildings the federal government is selling. [Ottawa Citizen]
You have to try this elevated fish and chips from this food truck.
Reddit has some recommendations on where to buy bikes, including Dave’s Used Bikes, Re-Cycles and Cycle Salvation. [Reddit]
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Want to have your announcement featured? Contact our partnership team for more info.
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AROUND THE WORLD
How one city is making housing more affordable
Every so often our team will highlight a story from around the world that relates to a big issue in Ottawa.
What is it: The New York Times wrote an in-depth profile on Vienna’s unique housing market and how it’s bucked the trend of unaffordable housing in western countries.
Background: Housing has increasingly become a financial asset in western countries like Canada. As the story notes, housing prices have grown far more rapidly than incomes. Housing becomes an investment rather than something you need to live. The cause? Policies designed to encourage buying and home ownership.
Why the difference: Vienna undertook a massive expansion of housing between 1923 to 1934. The massive supply allows 80 percent of residents to qualify for public housing, a huge difference here in Canada. An astonishing 43 percent of housing is not tied to market prices, with subsidies set for a wide range of income levels.
About 80 percent of households choose to rent in Austria, compared to 43.5 percent as of 2020 in Canada.
The numbers: Because of the large supply of rental housing in Vienna, people spent 26 percent of their post-tax income on housing. In Ottawa, average rent is $2,047 according to CTV, with the median household income of $98,000, which amounts to one-quarter of pre-tax income on rent.
What it means: It’s hard to imagine Ottawa, Ontario or really any place in Canada, investing the money needed to build housing like this on the scale that’s required. What it does show is that alternative forms of housing can exist outside of the current paradigm, and at the very least, that’s worth remembering as governments consider the best way to solve the housing crisis.
Do you enjoy reading stories like this that explore international issues and how they relate to Ottawa?
Congrats to everyone who got last week’s Ottawa Wordle, the answer was VICKY, as a nickname for Queen Victoria, whose birthday was celebrated over the long weekend.
Do you know where this is? The first five people to respond get their names mentioned in the newsletter.
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