A new LeBreton arena? We’ll know in June

The NCC announced several plans for its properties, but it’s saving news about what’s going to happen to LeBreton Flats until June.

Good morning!

Hope everyone enjoyed the first edition of the Insider yesterday. I know I did, we ordered a pair of sandwiches from Roberto’s Corner. I’ve been buying from there for a while but reading about it again, it was all I could think about all day. That bread, let me tell you. Would highly recommend you give some of Ralf’s sandwich suggestions a try.

And don’t forget, next week’s Insider will be members only. So if you haven’t signed up already, there’s no time like the present to get a membership.

With that, let’s see what’s going on in the city.

Can you do us a favour and forward this to your friends? It helps others discover the Lookout. Forwarded this email? Sign-up for free.

Rainfall Warning: Rainfall amounts of 20 to 30 mm into Friday morning may lead to localized flooding in low-lying areas.

Friday: +11 🌡️ +2 | 🌧/❄️

Saturday: +9 🌡️ 0 | 🌧/❄️

Sunday: +8 🌡️ -1 | 🌧/❄️

Monday: +13 🌡️ +5 | ☀️

A New LeBreton Arena? No Announcement Until June

No news, for now: The NCC won’t announce the centrepiece of its new LeBreton development until June. There was speculation a new Senators arena would be announced. The NCC instead only said it received multiple pitches for major attractions at the site, according to CBC.

  • “It's not that we're trying to be secretive. It's really that we're trying to give this process the best chance of success moving forward. … Expectations, I think, on the NCC are high for these sites, so we want to be sure to take the time to get it right. June isn't that far away,” NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum said.

In June they’ll announce the winning proposal after signing an agreement with the developers. There won’t be any further public consultation on what goes on the spot, as the public was consulted in 2019 when the NCC took the first crack at developing the site.

What else was announced, according to the Ottawa Citizen:

  • Gatineau Park shuttle: The NCC will run a shuttle between downtown and Gatineau Park all summer. The shuttle will be wheelchair-accessible and have multiple city stops.
  • Westboro beach redevelopment: The west-end beach will be closed all summer to undergo major changes. The brutalist pavilion will be redesigned, and an annex will be added with a restaurant, community space, and new washrooms. The parking lot will be across the parkway and the old one will be regreened.
  • Nepean Point: A major makeover is coming. The Samuel de Champlain statue will be moved, and joined by the statue of his scout, known as “Zibi Annini.” A new large viewing platform of the Ottawa River and Parliament hill will also be added.

Ottawa By The Numbers

  • $5.5 million: A fund from Ottawa Tourism to give out grants to local businesses worth up to $100,000 each. [OBJ]

The Housing Measures In The Federal Budget

Cooling a red-hot market: The federal government is trying a series of things to make the price of housing more affordable. A ban on foreign buyers is one of the big policies. So is an $800-million fund to speed up approvals at the municipal level across the country, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

But with soaring housing prices such a widespread and complex program, there is much more in hopes of making housing more affordable.

The Ottawa Citizen breaks down the key areas:

  • The first-time homebuyers’ credit will be doubled to $1,500.
  • A one-time payment of $500 for people struggling with housing affordability. Details on who qualifies and when have yet to be determined.
  • Renovating your home to make it possible for a relative to move in could be eligible for up to $50,000 in tax credits on 15 percent of expenses to create a secondary unit for a senior or someone with a disability.
  • A tax-free savings account with a maximum value of $40,000 to be put toward buying a home.
  • A house-flippers tax that would treat the money from any home bought and sold within a year as business income, and fully taxed as such.
  • GST now applies to all new and renovated homes bought and sold before construction is completed.

Money for approvals: It’s not clear the fund to speed up approvals will work. Coun. Scott Moffatt, vice-chair of the planning committee, told the Citizen he wasn’t sure money was the issue in getting permits approved. “You cannot rush building code compliance as a means to achieve more affordable housing,” he told the paper.

  • The fund is supposed to spur the construction of 100,000 more new homes over the next five years, which would be about 1,200 new homes in Ottawa, according to the Citizen.

Go deeper: Measured on March 31st, 2021 housing prices soared over 36 percent in the city.

COVID On The Rampage, No One Taking Action

Still rising: The weekly and daily COVID wastewater signal keeps smashing all-time highs. 

The reason: The lack of masks. The head of the Ontario Science Table told the Canadian Press “We are creating a tidal wave” because the mask mandate was dropped. Province-wide, there may be as many as 100,000 daily cases based on the level of the wastewater signal, CityNews reports.

Please won’t someone do something: Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s chief medical officer, is doing lots of encouraging. She encouraged employers to encourage masking, according to CTV. She encouraged the people of Ottawa to wear masks when they’re out. She said everyone should limit their close contacts because of the spread of COVID, also via CTV. But she has not issued any orders to make masking mandatory or limit capacity, despite having those powers.

Etches said there is much more COVID in the community, and going in enclosed spaces with lots of others makes catching the virus more likely.

  • Read more: Ontario’s sixth wave of COVID-19: How bad will it get? [CBC]

Provincial update: At Queen’s Park, opposition leaders asked the government to bring back masking rules, CBC reports. These requests were not g heeded by Premier Doug Ford, whose spokesperson said the province’s chief doctor did not request the return of mandatory masking.

  • Good to know: Is it COVID or a cold? How to know as Omicron cases rise [CBC]

Fourth boosters available: If you’re over 60, you’re now able to book an appointment for a fourth dose of the COVID vaccine, CTV reports. You’re eligible for a second booster if it’s been at least five months from your third shot. You can book an appointment through the provincial portal.

Stories You Might Have Missed

$7.75M in convoy funds missing: Of the $24 million raised by the convoy protests, about $7.75 million is unaccounted for. The missing money is from GiveSendGo, the online fundraising platform that stepped in to facilitate convoy donations when GoFundMe suspended the original crowdfunder. Most of the GoFundMe money has since been returned to donors, it’s unclear how much, if any, GiveSendGo money has been refunded. [CBC]

Alexandra Bridge to be torn down: The 124-year-old bridge connecting Ottawa to Gatineau is set to be torn down. Built in 1898, it is showing concerning signs of decay, and cannot be repaired.  

Bird flu worries farmers: The H5N1 bird flu was found in Ottawa, including a Canada Goose near Billings Bridge, that has local farmers worried. So far, the disease is confined to wild birds, but because this particular strain seems so virulent, there are worries it could pass into poultry stocks. Three farms, including one in Peterborough, have already been put in quarantine. [CBC]

Women fleeing Ukraine find safety in Ottawa: Two women from the Kharkiv region of Ukraine made their way to town after a weeks-long journey to escape the Russian invasion. It was a difficult journey as they brought their children out of the warzone. Both women left their husbands behind to fight in the war. “To watch kids say goodbye to their father is heartbreaking,” one said. [CTV]

Second man charged with arson: There is no link between the second man charged with arson and the convoy protests, police said. The two men face arson charges after a video of them trying to light firestarters inside a building lobby after taping the doors shut emerged. A passer-by was able to extinguish the flames. [CTV]

Kinder Easter chocolates recalled: A series of Easter chocolates made by Kinder have been recalled over possible salmonella contamination. Easter-themed Kinder Surprises, mini-eggs, Schoko-Bons, and Egg Hunt kits are being recalled. The full list with details on the affected products and lot numbers can be found on the CFIA website. [CityNews]

Community Highlights

  • Big news — Ottawa Chinatown is launching a Night Market. We’ll keep you posted once we have more information.
  • It’s a bug's life over at the Canadian Museum of Nature. They’ve opened a new permanent Bugs Alive exhibition.
  • Go big this weekend and order an Italian sandwich from one of our food editor’s top Italian sandwich shop picks.
  • Apt613 has a new feature about the Irish Film Festival, on today until April 14. You can attend online or in-person.
  • A former golf course on 8th Line Road could once again become an agricultural zone.
  • Ottawan Doug Wilson stepped down as GM of the San Jose Sharks, after 19 years running the franchise. [CBC]
  • Try some northern Chinese cuisine at Chinese Meat Pie House. Ralf says it “hits all the notes for authenticity of regional flavour”.
  • Bo Stelmach, an English professor at Algonquin College, sold more than 4,000 perogies and raised $3,700 for the Red Cross Ukraine humanitarian crises relief fund. [CTV]
  • Students in Brockville started a business called Eco-Gro, a garden box company that “makes gardening a lot more accessible.” [CTV]
  • The Ottawa Titans added some new pitchers and a catcher to their baseball team. [CityNews]

What to do this weekend:

  • Our suggestion? Check out the first edition of our Insider newsletter featuring the best local places to eat, the best upcoming events, and the perfect date night spot.

Today's Top Photo

Here’s a bit of a throwback, to just last summer. A lovely view of the Vimy Memorial Bridge looking into Barrhaven, care of Reddit user Seawaysider. The dog really likes splashing in the rive underneath the bridge when we walk there when I visit my mother.

Have a photo you want to share with Lookout readers? Send it in! We’re always looking to publish reader photos in our newsletter.

Daily COVID Stats

All infection and vaccination data via Ottawa Public Health. You can find the status of the wastewater tracking here. And you can find vaccination stats here.

  • Active Cases: 1,231 (+234)s
  • Deaths: 765 (+0)
  • Ottawans In Hospital: 23
  • Ottawans In ICU: 0
  • Acute Beds Occupied: 97%
  • ICU Beds Occupied: 75%
  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 29%

What did you think of today's newsletter?

Help others discover Ottawa Lookout by sharing with your friends on Twitter

Reach more than 19,000 locals with Lookout ads - contact our team

Become an Insider member today for as little as $2 a week

Written by managing editor Robert Hiltz and food and wine editor Ralf Joneikies

Subscribe to Ottawa Lookout

Get up to speed on the most important local Ottawa news, where to eat and what to do in a newsletter readable in 7 minutes or less. Read by over 23,000 locals.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.