The Ides of Smarch are upon us, as another storm looks to be rolling in.
Wow. We sent out a survey about a new food and events newsletter we want to launch — one we’re very excited about. And we were floored. More than 700 of you responded with your suggestions and ideas about restaurants, events and other things you want covered.
If you missed it the first time, we’d love to get your feedback. You can find the survey here.
With that, how about we see what’s going on in this town.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
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Special Weather Statement: Winter weather returns Friday evening with 5 cm to 12 cm of snow falling overnight and into Saturday.
Friday: -1 🌡️ -4 | ⛅️/❄️
Saturday: -5 🌡️ -15 | ❄️
Sunday: -4 🌡️ -6 | ⛅️
Monday: +6 🌡️ -6 | 🌧
Too soon? Several experts are warning that by lifting most mask mandates March 21, the province is moving too quickly. Dr. Peter Juni, the head of the Ontario COVID-19 Science table told CFRA it would be better if the province waited to see if the latest wave of the pandemic had actually receded before dropping the mandate.
An individual burden: Now, the onus for getting through the pandemic is back on each of us as individuals, Ottawa’s chief medical officer Dr. Vera Etches said. “We are shifting to a space where individuals and their families must choose how to, rather than be mandated, to best protect themselves. This will include the decision to wear a mask in indoor or shared spaces,” she said, according to CTV.
OCDSB considers its own mandate: The Ottawa-Carleton District School board says it is looking into whether it can institute a mask mandate itself, CTV reports. The board, the city’s largest, is weighing its options, as it looks to protect students. Parents should expect to hear more over March Break.
Not only will mask mandates be ending province-wide, the monitoring of infections will also end March 21, CTV’s Colin D’Mello tweeted.
Not a bubble: Don’t expect house prices to dip anytime soon. One real estate advisor tells CTV that high prices in the city seem here to stay. This is making it difficult for people looking to get into the housing market. One searcher tells the broadcaster that despite being approved for a $500,000 mortgage, she’s been unable to find a home for months.
Rental market returning to normal: For large apartment owners, the worst of the pandemic seems to be over. Minto, who operate about 3,100 units in the city, told investors in a call they expect business to be back to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of the year, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
About 95 percent of Minto’s units are occupied, up from 91 percent earlier in the pandemic. Before the pandemic, fully 98 percent were occupied.
On Wednesday our food and wine editor Ralf shared a lovely review of Duke Fine Foods, a local grocery run by a Ukrainian family who moved here from Ukraine six years ago.
Ralf's review: "Duke may well be the largest European Deli in the National Capital Region. It's bright, supremely clean and the clear sightlines and wide aisles make for inviting shopping. The packaged products are largely from the east; from countries such as Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Ukraine, Hungary, and even Germany and Italy."
You can read Ralf's entire review on our website.
Convoy-supporting cops under investigation: The Ottawa Police Service is investigating a “very small number” of its own officers for their support of the convoy. Interim Chief Steve Bell’s wording implies they may be looking at more than just donations, but he did not say exactly what the officers were under investigation for, or how many. At least six Ottawa officers were identified on the leaked list of donors. [CBC]
Gas prices will hit the vulnerable hard: As prices stay high, organizations like Meals On Wheels will feel the squeeze from the higher gas prices. So too will the Good Companions Seniors Centre, who help seniors get to appointments. It’s making it difficult for them to budget for the next year, and may require fundraising drives down the road. [CTV]
Stabbed teen stable: A student at a Barrhaven high school is stable after they were stabbed at school. Police are still investigating, and no one has been charged in the assault. [CTV]
Ottawa woman released by Taliban: An NGO worker who decided to stay in Afghanistan after the Taliban retook the country has been released after 24 days in custody. The family of Nadima Noor credits media coverage for securing her release. Noor plans to continue her work in the country. [CTV]
Level zero: In December, the city was without ambulances 143 times, with one instance lasting for more than 15 hours on Dec. 31. The day before, there were no available ambulances for nearly 13 hours. And on the 28th, the city was without ambulances for 11 hours. Ambulances from nearby townships needed to be brought in to ease the load. [CBC]
Expect plenty of police on St. Paddy’s: There will be plenty of police in the Market and Sandy Hill next week for St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday falls on a Thursday this year, but they’ll be staying through the weekend, focusing on liquor license infractions and general bad behaviour. [CityNews]
Reporting on the latest news from City Hall
Running for council: Current director of the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation Laine Johnson announced on Twitter she is running for council. Johnson is looking to run in the west-end College Ward, for the seat currently held by Coun. Rick Chiarelli. “College Ward is a special part of Ottawa that deserves representation that will make sure it thrives. I am determined to do everything I can to develop a vision that creates safer, more inclusive, and joyful opportunities for everyone,” Johnson says. Her campaign will officially launch in May.
Meehan off library board: Coun. Carol Anne Meehan resigned as a trustee from the Ottawa Public Library Board after she revealed confidential information from a closed-door meeting, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
Short-term rental permit deadline approaches: Starting April 1, anyone looking to rent out either their principal residence or a secondary vacation property will have to have a permit, the City of Ottawa says. Permit criteria include capacity limits, displaying emergency contact information, information on local bylaws, a criminal check, and proof of insurance.
New misconduct Bill moves ahead: A new bill to make it possible for councillors to lose their seats after misconduct has moved ahead in the provincial legislature. The bill was put forward by former Ottawa city councillor and current provincial MPP Stephen Blais, who moved the legislation after Coun. Rick Chiarelli was found by the city’s integrity commissioner to have harassed staff, CBC reports.
What do you think about this new section covering City Hall?
In recognition of our those who stood up for our community during the convoy, the Ottawa Lookout is asking residents to nominate individuals and organizations who made a difference during these difficult times, who represented and lifted up our city.
Nominate an Ottawa Community Hero today and recognize the heroes in our community. But hurry — nominations close in less than 24 hours.
Reader André Martin sends us this great shot of the city on a cold morning from his balcony in Westboro. Makes you want to pour a warm cup of coffee just looking at it.
Have a snow photo? Send it over and it could be featured in our newsletter and on social media.
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