City marks three years of the pandemic
It’s been three years since the start of the pandemic, plus why there are so many approved homes don’t get built.
I made a grave error this weekend hoping to catch a bus up Bank Street. Little did I realize that both directions of the 6 bus at Billings Bridge board at the same platform. I thought I had hit the transit jackpot, getting off one bus and seeing my connection down the platform.
In my haste to catch it, after nearly bowling over a man looking at his phone (sorry about that!), I never bothered to read the destination on the bus, considering it was in the right spot to catch it. Alas, it was not going north where I wanted to go, but south. Thankfully my little detour only cost me about 10 minutes, but yikes.
Did I learn my lesson? Honestly, probably not.
Why don’t we get to today’s newsletter.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
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Monday: +2 🌡️ 0 | 🌧/❄️
Tuesday: +3 🌡️ -4 | ❄️ (periods of snow)
Wednesday: +5 🌡️ -6 | 🌤
Vacant Unit Tax: Thursday is the deadline to make your Vacant Unit Tax declaration. All this week, the city will be holding information clinics if you need help making your declaration. If you don’t fill out the form, the city will consider your property vacant and apply the tax.
March break: This week is March Break. Which, if you’ve got school-aged kids, you almost certainly knew. Museums are always a great idea this week. Check out the great events at the Museum of Nature, Canadian War Museum, Science and Technology Museum, Canadian Museum of History, National Gallery of Canada, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.
Three years of COVID
What happened: Saturday marked three years since the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization. In those 1,095 days, 1,022 died of the virus in Ottawa, and countless thousands were infected. Across Canada, more than 51,000 people have died.
Good morning, Ottawa.
March 11, 2023 marks 1,095 days since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic.
Today we reflect upon the many people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in so many ways, including 1,022 lives lost in Ottawa to date. (1/4)
— Ottawa Public Health (@OttawaHealth)
Mar 11, 2023
It also marked three years since the first case of the virus was detected in the city, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
“We owe our thanks to every person involved in the ongoing pandemic response. Same for each member of this community who has done their part to help keep each other safe,” Ottawa Public Health said.
Stabilization: The virus has largely stabilized in the country, federal public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said, according to the Citizen. Widespread vaccination, and natural immunity from infection, meant there haven’t been any recent variant-driven infection waves. Tam also said while it has stabilized for the broader population, people who are older or immunocompromised are still bearing the brunt of the pandemic.
Memorial: Last week, council passed a motion that would designate March 11 as a COVID day of observance. It is already a national day of observance for the pandemic.
Wastewater testing: Rapid wastewater testing for new COVID variants will end this month as provincial money for the testing runs out, CBC reported. The lab at CHEO that performs the tests will still periodically test the water, but no longer check twice a week. The researcher in charge of the program said this would make it more difficult to get an early warning if new variants had arrived in the city.
SPONSORED BY PARTICIPACTION
A missed opportunity to combat inactivity in Canada
Here’s a startling statistic — 28 percent of children and youth do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.
Canadians know when it comes to living a longer and healthier life, physical activity is essential. That’s why this statistic is so troubling.
ParticipACTION is leading the charge to reverse the decline in Canada's physical activity.
For over 50 years, ParticipACTION has been recognized as a trusted physical activity leader, helping support the health and well-being of Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
And they’ve got the results to prove it. 2 million more Canadians have made physical activity a daily priority because of their programs.
But in a time when we need to invest in physical activity, ParticipACTION’s funding is at risk. The organization needs renewed funding in the upcoming federal budget, to tackle the inactivity crisis across the country.
Learn more about why this funding for ParticipACTION is so critically important.
OTTAWA BY THE NUMBERS
🐴 150: The number of years the RCMP has existed, which it will commemorate by presenting King Charles a musical ride horse in May. [Ottawa Citizen]
🥵 -4.8 C: The mean temperature for meteorological winter, the third-warmest since records began in 1872. [Twitter]
More than a million houses have been approved for construction, why aren’t they being built?
What happened: There are more than a million homes approved for building across Ontario, but have not been built despite the housing crisis. A new report by the Regional Planning Commissioners of Ontario laid out how cities across the province have plenty of approved housing, but not all of it gets built, CBC reported.
The problem: Once housing is approved, there’s no real mechanism for governments to move the process forward. Not every building that is approved gets built. There are a variety of reasons projects go unfinished: labour costs, interest rates, lack of capacity.
Ottawa’s goals: The provincial goal over the next 10 years is to build 1.5 million homes. In Ottawa, that number would be 151,000 new homes. From 2016 to 2021, about 6,700 were built per year, according to the Ottawa Citizen. To hit the target set by Queen’s Park, that number would need to almost double, to slightly more than 15,000 per year.
What’s next: The city is starting a process to implement new zoning bylaws across town. Those would set the rules for what kind of housing can be built where, with the goal of making it easier to construct homes. That process is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
NEW LOCAL JOBS
Check out the new open positions in Ottawa.
Discharge planning coordinator at the Ottawa Hospital
Fire services dispatcher at the City of Ottawa
Bylaw officer at the City of Ottawa
Operations chief at the Exchange Corporation Canada
Supply base management specialist at Boeing
🏥 The emergency room at the Almonte General Hospital had to close overnight Saturday because of a shortage of nurses. [CBC]
🚍 Transit general manager Renée Amilcar said in a statement she had no intention of leaving her job at OC Transpo, despite an American news report linking her to a top transit job in Boston. [Ottawa Citizen]
🚨 The owner of Sunrise Roofing said door-to-door scammers are using his company’s name, looking to charge homeowners $1,500 for winter services they don’t offer. [CTV]
🌊 Some residents in Gatineau are preparing for possible spring flooding after this year’s dump of snow. [CBC]
💰 Shopify sent an email to its customers affected by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank offering interest-free loans to firms suddenly unable to make payroll because of frozen funds. [Twitter]
🪧 Protesters headed to the east end to show their opposition to the clear-cutting of forest near the Tewin development. [Ottawa Citizen]
🎸 Buskers are upset by a proposed booking fee in the ByWard Market of $50 for two hours. They said it makes performing in the market a risky proposition where they will likely lose money. [CBC]
🥇 The Carleton men’s and women’s basketball teams both won the gold medal at the national championships Sunday, the first university to win a double title since 1985. [CTV]
⚖️ Huge backlogs in the province’s tribunal system mean some people are waiting more than a year to have their cases heard. [CBC]
🚧 Pothole crews hit the road in force last weekend, looking to repair road infrastructure that has been hit hard by the winter’s fluctuating temperatures. [CTV]
The Feline Cafe, which is closing down, is holding a silent auction to help cover the costs of caring for their cats. [Instagram]
The Sens lost an ugly game on the road, falling to the Canucks 5-2. [The Canadian Press]
Having trouble adjusting to the time change? Here are three tips that could help you out. [CTV]
Ottawa police are going to give Quebec drivers a break if their licence is expired because of a huge backlog to renew. [CBC]
Freedom Dog Rescue is planning two fundraising events for the spring to support the rescue. [Reddit]
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Your guide to this week
🌱 Sīgwan (Spring) Festival, Wednesday to Sunday: Snowshoeing, horse-drawn wagon rides, Indigenous, and many more events for the whole family. At Mādahòkì Farm, 4420 West Hunt Club Rd. The festival is free, some workshops $15-$30.
🚜 Ottawa Valley Farm Show, Tuesday to Thursday: Exhibitors of everything farming, a seed auction, and keynote addresses on the future of agriculture, safety, and more. At the EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Dr. Tickets $12.
🩸 Book launch for Bleed, March 20 7 pm: A launch for local author Tracey Lindeman’s new book about the poor care women with endometriosis receive from the healthcare system. At St. John the Evangelist, 154 Somerset St. W. Free tickets.
🤣 Tom Green at Yuk Yuk’s, Friday 10 pm: The Ottawa comedian is working on some new material for an upcoming standup special. At Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa West, 1394 Richmond Rd. Tickets $40.
Janet Stephens/Ottawa Lookout Reader
Today’s photo comes from reader Janet Stephens, who took this great photo of paddle art at the Experimental Farm.
Do you have a photo you’d like to share with the Lookout community? Send it in!
Congrats to everyone who got last week’s Ottawa Wordle, the answer was MARCH, as in the month we’re in the middle of.
The province of Ontario wants Ottawa to build 151,000 homes in the next decade. For this week’s quiz, we want to know how many homes Mayor Mark Sutcliffe promised to build over that same time period? The first five people to write in with the correct answer will get their names mentioned in the next issue.
LATEST COVID STATS
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