New LRT problems take trains out of service
Trains had to be taken out of service for inspection, after a new failure on the LRT system. Plus: A new convoy-related protest rolled through town.
I have to say, wandering around the Asian Fest night market during the day on Sparks Street was…hot. Real hot. I was there to get my bike repaired — thanks to Retro Rides for the quick turnaround! — and figured it was a good time to wander around. Lesson learned, it’s best to go to a night market at night, especially when there’s little shade to be had along the pedestrian mall.
And hi to the two Lookout readers who came to scout out my soon-to-be-former apartment for a family member. Was very nice to meet you! I realized after you left, I didn’t think to ask your names. Down the road, I hope to have some better swag than a couple of business cards!
Anyway, on with the show.
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Ottawa this week
Pope visits the country: He’s not making a stop in Ottawa, but several churches in the city will be marking Pope Francis’s visit to the country for a Truth and Reconciliation tour. The Holy Redeemer Parish in Kanata will host a livestream on Tuesday of the Pope’s Edmonton mass. And on Thursday, St. Joe’s Parish downtown will hold a noon mass. [Ottawa Citizen]
Update on new LRT issues: More problems have struck the LRT (more on that below) and OC Transpo will give an update Tuesday after their initial inspections. [CTV]
Festibière review coming: Our food editor Ralf spent some time at the Gatineau Beer Festival over the weekend, so expect to get his take on the event in this Thursday’s edition of the Insider. (Not a member? Now’s the perfect time, we need 55 more members this month to launch a food publication available to everyone. Join today!)
Employment data: On Thursday, Statistics Canada will release its latest employment figures, which will give some insight into how the city (and the country) are fairing amid high inflation.
Rogers execs testifying: Several executives of Rogers will be appearing at a parliamentary committee today to explain the nationwide outage that knocked out internet service and Interac payments. You can watch starting at 11 am here. [Ottawa Citizen]
Wheel hub fails on LRT, trains pulled
What happened: The streak of good LRT performance ended this weekend when a train was pulled off the tracks when an operator reported vibrations. After an initial inspection, it was discovered a wheel hub assembly had failed, CBC reported.
- The cause of the failure is so far unknown, but all trains that had travelled more than 175,000 kilometres were pulled off the tracks for inspection.
Fewer trains: The LRT system is currently running with only 10 trains, while the inspection continues. This should mean trains will come to a station every five to six minutes, CTV reported.
It’s not yet known how long the trains will be out of service. According to CBC, the issue with the wheel hub is different from the failure that caused a derailment in August of last year.
What it means: Each time there is a failure with the LRT, it is a new and novel failure. It’s becoming a serious concern there may be an actual design flaw in the system. As revealed in testimony at the inquiry, the train manufacturer Alstom thinks the hub failure that caused the August 2021 derailment was caused by excessive pressure on the trains as they travelled around the sharp curves of the line, CBC reported.
Ottawa by the numbers
- 1st: The place a Merivale High School student finished at the International Brain Bee neuroscience competition. [CBC]
- $0.07: The amount gas prices jumped over the weekend, after a brief dip. Prices went up to 175.9 cents per litre. [CTV]
- $4,800: The amount the city spent on a total of 87 gifts for retiring staff, 100th birthdays, and other occasions last year. [CTV]
Another vehicle protest (slow) rolls through town
What happened: Another protest came to town organized by an offshoot of the convoy. They were protesting in solidarity with Dutch farmers who oppose new environmental measures in their country.
Where it occurred: A “slow-roll” protest started in Kanata, and headed east along the 417 on its way downtown to the National War Memorial before moving further east, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
- The government in the Netherlands wants to cut nitrogen and ammonia emissions in half by 2030, which would require large reductions in the use of many types of fertilizer, and will also require a reduction in livestock, Reuters reported.
Downtown 417 on-ramps were closed, and a vehicle-exclusion zone was set up downtown. One person was arrested on mischief charges, 12 vehicles were towed, and 103 tickets were issued, according to Ottawa police.
One Reddit user posted a video showing the protest slowly moving down Montreal Road east of downtown, taking up an entire lane of traffic for at least several hundred metres.
The new normal? Because of the early failures of city officials, vehicle protests may be the new normal for the city. Protesters are able to cause bigger disruptions with fewer people just by bringing their cars and trucks. They saw how well the first protest worked and, from their perspective, why not keep doing it?
Jobs around town
Perth Hospital re-opens its ER
Back open: After three weeks of public closure, Perth hospital reopened its emergency room this weekend, CTV reported. A staffing shortage was exacerbated by a COVID outbreak in the hospital. While the emergency department was closed, staff were transferred to the nearby Smiths Falls hospital ER to bolster staff there.
Originally, Perth was only going to close its ER for a week, but staffing shortages remained too high.
- A broader problem: Perth isn’t the only hospital needing to limit new patients in the region. The Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria has closed its ER overnight until Aug 3 and the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston is limiting the number of patients it accepts, CTV reported.
Stories you might've missed
Good water quality: Good water quality in the Ottawa and Rideau rivers means beaches have stayed open for much of the year. With E. coli levels low, there have only been nine days when swimming was not recommended, last year there were 69 of those days through the summer. [CBC]
Firefighters rescue trapped motorist: A driver who appeared to hit a pole on Riverside Drive was saved by firefighters, after his car teetered over the Rideau River, 15 feet below. The man was in serious but stable condition. [CBC]
First Black superintendent retires: Isobel Granger has retired as a superintendent with the Ottawa Police Service. She joined the Ottawa police in 1994, becoming one of the first female Black officers on the force. She was appointed as a superintendent in 2020. [CBC]
Monkeypox in Ottawa: Ottawa has the second-most monkeypox cases in the province with 21. Most of the 288 cases in the province are in Toronto, which has 220. Nine people in the province have been hospitalized with the virus, two of them in intensive care. One case has been confirmed in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, and one has been identififed in Leeds, Grenvile and Lanark. [CTV]
- Smiths Falls’ own, Brooke Henderson, won her second career major on the LPGA tour after a dramatic charge in the final holes of the Amundi Evian Championship. [CBC]
- Why not try out a Lebanese Kaak at Mr. Kaak, one of our food editor’s picks on his sandwich safari across the city.
- Festival season is in full swing, and Apt613 has some great photos of Chamber Fest last weekend.
- If you find yourself on Bank Street, south of Riverside, be sure to check out some of the fantastic Palestinian food at SemSem.
- In a different world, Sparks Street could be leafy and welcoming, something like this, courtesy of a Reddit user.
- Michael Woods, an Ottawa cyclist, wasn’t able to compete in the final stage of the Tour de France because of a positive COVID test. [CityNews]
Today's top photo
Reader Peggy Lee sent in this photo of some very good dogs enjoying the dock at Brewer Park.
How many bike repair stations are there scattered throughout the city? (Hint: We mentioned this in a recent issue!) If you think you know the answer, let us know. Everyone who gets it right will get a shoutout in Wednesday’s newsletter.
Latest COVID stats
Note: Ottawa Public Health is now only updating COVID stats twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. Because of the Lookout’s publishing schedule, this means the numbers here may be out of date. For the most recent stats, see the OPH COVID Dashboard.
- Active Cases: 1,239
- Total deaths: 835
- Ottawans In Hospital: 37
- Ottawans In ICU: 0
- Acute Beds Occupied: 99%
- ICU Beds Occupied: 74%
- ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 22%
Previous Lookout editions
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