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Man pleads guilty in Orléans gas explosion, gets five years

A man pleaded guilty for causing an explosion in an Orléans subdivision, plus the city won’t say how much it pays a month to the private company that runs the LRT.

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Good morning!

Well, after another busy week at the Lookout, we have made it to the end of the month. I won’t lie, I’m pretty ready for the long weekend. As usual, most government services will be closed Monday, and garbage day will be pushed back. For all the deets of what’s open and what’s closed, CBC has you covered.

A reminder: Monday is Labour Day so there will be no Lookout. Don’t worry we’ll be back Wednesday. For Capital Eats readers, that also means there will be no Tuesday newsletter.

Hope everyone enjoys the weekend! Let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Weather Report

Friday: 25 🌡️ 12 | ☀️

Saturday: 26 🌡️ 16 | 🌦

Sunday: 30 🌡️ 17 | ☀️

Monday: 31 🌡️ 19 | ☀️


Man pleads guilty for causing Orléans explosion, gets five years in prison

What happened: Kody Troy Crosby was sentenced to five years in prison for the explosion in a new Orléans subdivision, CBC reported. Crosby pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing water heaters from two homes and leaving the natural gas lines wide open, which led to the blast.

  • Fortunately no one was killed, but six people were injured in the explosion, several homes were levelled and many more were damaged.

The charges: He was initially charged with 12 different offences, but pleaded guilty to two of them in a joint submission with Crown prosecutors. He was sentenced to five years for breaking and entering a dwelling under construction and intentionally or recklessly causing damage by explosion, according to CBC. The total damage caused by the explosion was estimated at $5.3 million.

  • Because of the time he’s already served in jail, Crosby will serve four years and three months of the sentence.

Still waiting: While the trial quickly wrapped up with a guilty plea, many of the people whose homes were damaged are still waiting for repairs six months later, CBC reported. Insurance has been slow to pay out in some cases, and those that have had repairs started, many are still waiting for the work to be finished.

  • Along with the four homes completely destroyed by the blast, several others had to be torn down after the fact because they were so badly damaged. These homes have been under reconstruction, and some are almost complete.


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😷 5: The number of people who died of COVID in the city in the last week. Some experts say the city might be at the start of a new COVID wave. [Ottawa Citizen]

🚧 33%: The amount vehicle traffic on Wellington Street has dropped since it reopened to cars and trucks this spring. Heavy truck traffic is down 85 percent, while cycle traffic is up 757 percent. [CTV]

🚌 9,000: The number of students in the city starting the school year without access to a school bus. [CTV]

💰 $55 million: The amount an Ottawa couple won in a Lotto Max jackpot earlier this month. They bought the ticket at a Shoppers Drug Mart on Bank. [CTV]


City won’t say how much it pays for the LRT

What happened: During the most recent LRT shutdown, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and other city staff made a point on how things were different under his mayoralty. They emphasized in particular how transparent they were being.

  • “We must be transparent and share as much information as possible. Throughout the past week there have been a number of updates and briefings shared with counsellors and the public much more communication than there was in the past,” Sutcliffe said at a press conference during the crisis.

Well, that transparency only goes so far. The city won’t say how much it has paid Rideau Transit Group (RTG), the private consortium that runs the LRT. And not just during the latest closure, but at all, CBC reported.

Withholding payments: During the shutdown, transit general manager Renée Amilcar said the city would be withholding payment while the system was down. How much of the $4 million to $5 million it usually pays to RTG was withheld? It won’t say. How much has it paid in previous months? The city is mum. How much has it paid in the past year? You guessed it — not gonna tell the public, CBC reported.

The problem: Earlier this year, the city signed a secret deal to settle a legal dispute where the city accused the consortium of not living up to its obligations. The terms of that deal were never released, and all of council’s meetings were held behind closed doors. The city told CBC that telling the public how much it was paying for its train system would break confidentiality agreements with RTG. Payments both before and after the settlement will not be made public.

  • In that agreement, the city agreed to repay millions in payments withheld for previous stoppages. Again, the public was not told the amount paid.

What we will know: It’s not actually clear how much the public will be told. The city said to CBC it would provide a yearly aggregate amount of what it paid RTG to council and the relevant committees.

The Lookout’s view: The city was better at giving information to the public during the most recent shutdown. Descriptions about what was wrong, what was being done, and how long it might take to fix, were all welcome improvements over the previous term.

But fundamentally, having a public transit system operated by a private company means the “public” part of transit is preposterous. Corporate interests now trump our right to know. Any insistence by the city they are being transparent is at best half true when they have tied their own hands with secret legal agreements.


💪 Most government services will close for Labour Day on Monday, and garbage day will be pushed back by one day. A few grocery stores, mostly downtown, will remain open, as will several Beer Stores. [CBC]

🥵 Hot weather returns this weekend with temperatures in the 30s expected from Sunday until Wednesday. The bad news is splash pads and other outdoor water features closed last weekend for the year. Lifeguards are also done for the season, after a deadly year of drownings. [Twitter]

💰 Provincial Housing Minister Steve Clark broke ethics laws in the course of his handling of the ongoing Greenbelt affair. The ethics commissioner said he failed to oversee the process that could see several developers reap a fortune because lands they owned went up substantially in value when they were removed from protected status. Several developers had a direct line to the minister's staff, and the ethics commissioner said Premier Doug Ford personally suggested several parcels be removed from the Greenbelt (which the premier’s office denies). [CTV/The Narwhal]

🚛 Next week, the trial of two of the organizers of the convoy protest will begin. There is potentially much at stake, including how authorities might respond to future protests like it. [The Canadian Press]

🎣 A court has allowed a lawsuit to go forward between the Algonquins of Ontario and the recently recognized Métis of Ontario over fishing rights on the Ottawa River watershed. [Ottawa Citizen]

⚖️ An Ottawa man charged with terrorism offences for his participation in a neo-Nazi group was released on bail pending trial. He cannot leave his parents’ home without one of them present, and only for legal, counselling or medical appointments, and he’s forbidden to use any digital devices without supervision from one of his parents. [CBC]

🚧 Starting in October, the Alexandra Bridge will close to vehicles until fall next year for repairs and rehabilitation. One lane will be open for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge won’t close until the Chaudière Crossing fully reopens. [CBC]

🚔 A man was arrested and charged with assault with a weapon and robbery after at least five people were hurt in an apparently random attack near the Supreme Court of Canada building. [CTV]

🔫 An Air Force colonel was temporarily relieved of duty after he was charged with firearms offences for firing on protected wildlife from a boat without a licence and other charges. [CBC]


What to do this long weekend


🎺 The Woodshed Quintet, Friday 8 pm: A night of jazz and cocktails at Happy Goat, 145 Main St. Tickets $5.


🍦 Vegans Who Snack Food & Art Festival, Friday 5 pm: Come try out tons of great vegan eats, put on by Little Jo Berry’s, with live music by local DJs and plenty of local art to peruse. At the Parkdale Market. Free.

🍗 Metcalfe Fall Feast Chicken Dinner, Sept. 9 at 4 pm: The annual feast in the rural village of Metcalfe. Chicken dinner with all the fixings. At Victoria Park in Metcalfe. Tickets available by email [email protected] or by phone 613-979-4718.

🍂 Harvest - A Feast of Fall, Sept. 13: A foodie fundraiser for YouTurn Youth Support Services. At All Saint Event Space, 330 Laurier Ave. Tickets $102.


🌽 Fall Fun on the Farm, all weekend: The fall season has started at The Log Farm, with a corn maze, wagon rides, animals to meet and plenty more. At The Log Farm, 670 Cedarview Rd. Tickets $12.

🍹 A Guided Tasting of Non-Alcoholic Drinks, Saturday noon: Come see the best in what non-alcoholic drink has in store at Knyota Drinks, full of complex flavours for your adult palate. At Knyota, 104 Bank St. Tickets $23.


🎈 Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival, until Sept. 4: Giant hot air balloons will fill the sky over the region. With concerts, fireworks, an amusement park, buskers, and fun for the whole family. At Parc de la Baie, Gatineau. Daily tickets start at $20.

🪚 Vintage Tool Festival, Saturday 10 am: Come see some of the historic tools that built Bytown, including a broadaxe demonstration from the Ottawa Tool Library, and vintage tools refurbished by the Library. Plenty of activities for the whole family. At the ByTown Museum, 1 Canal Ln. Free.


👗 613Flea, Saturday 10 am: As many as 150 vendors with everything from vinyl records to vintage clothing, and everything in between. At the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park. Free admission.

  • Air Canada will be cutting its Ottawa-Calgary routes, in part because of a shortage of pilots. [CTV]

  • “Intrigue is the juice concentrate of The Economist and Foreign Affairs magazine, without all the pulp people just don’t have the patience for.” That’s what people are saying about the newsletter International Intrigue. Cut the pulp and sign up today.*

  • The Science Museum used to run steam trains across the Prince of Wales/William Commanda Bridge, way back when. [Reddit]

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City running $16-million deficit through first half of the year

This story is available for Insider City Hall members. Consider becoming a member today and support independent journalism that investigates and explores the issues happening at city hall and across Ottawa

What happened: Just as the city gets rolling on plotting out the financial path for next year, the city is reporting its second-quarter results — and its budget forecasts for the rest of the year. It’s a critical time, as it shows how well staff and council did at budgeting for the year.

The top line: For the first half of the year, the city ran a $16.2-million deficit. The bulk of this was a $25.4-million deficit in the public works department, still reeling from years of catastrophic weather and heavy snow. By the end of the year, the city expects the deficit to shrink to about $6.6 million.

To go even deeper on how the city’s budget is, read the whole story.


André Martin/Ottawa Lookout Reader

Reader André Martin sends in this great photo of Wednesday’s Blue Moon.

Do you have a photo you’d like to share with the Lookout community? Send it in!


Congrats to Kyle, Julie, Chantal, Sylvie, Michelle, Adam and the many others who knew that this week’s Ottawa Guesser was of Blair and Ogilvie roads.

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