Thunder rolling into town

A new vehicle protest comes to town today, with the city taking much more proactive action. It’s going to lead to mega disruption downtown, with parking and stopping bans galore.

Good morning!

I’ve typed much of this newsletter with George on my lap. Which is difficult, because my laptop is also on my lap. It’s good he’s feeling better, but he’s not making it easy to get work done, I gotta say. (Not that I made him move, I couldn’t do that to him.)

Anyway, it is the weekend, and once again things are looking difficult downtown. Even if the protest itself is a minimal disruption, the measures to prevent the motorcycle rally turning into another convoy occupation are going to be very disruptive. Hopefully, if you’re downtown, not too disruptive.

Let’s get to it!

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Friday: +13 🌡️ -3 | ☀️

Saturday: +15 🌡️ +2 | ☀️

Sunday: +18 🌡️ +7 | ☀️

Monday: +14 🌡️ +9 | 🌧

Thunder Strikes

No stopping, no parking: Much of downtown will be an official no stopping zone for when the motorcycle protest rolls into town later today. It’s to prevent parking in the exclusion zone downtown and stop another occupation, according to CBC. The ByWard Market is part of that zone, but those streets will not be under the same no-stopping order.

  • The exclusion zone went into effect last night at 8 pm. There is no set end time for the zone yet. If you’re heading downtown, it’s recommended you take transit instead of driving, because parking will be difficult to find.

Ottawa police tweeted that you should expect to see road closures and police directing traffic throughout the weekend.

The route: The protest is expected to start rolling from the St. Laurent Shopping Centre, head west on Coventry, up the Vanier Parkway, across Rideau, then down Colonel By and off to the 417.

By-law said there will be zero-tolerance for parking infractions, noise, the use of fireworks, public urination, and other offences throughout the weekend.

  • Read more: ByWard Market ‘open for business’ despite weekend biker convoy protest [CTV]

Counter-protest: There is a counter-protest being planned by Community Solidarity Ottawa, looking to push back against the new vehicle protest as soon as it arrives. “We’re wanting to show our opposition to the convoy and also to […] build those connections so we can build a stronger, more resilient community because I think these people have plans to keep coming back,” Brian Latour told the Ottawa Citizen. Final details on the counter-protest are still being worked out, but keep an eye on the Horizon Ottawa Twitter account to keep up to speed.

  • Dig deeper: Weekend rally rolling into Ottawa shares roots with convoy [CBC]

Ottawa By The Numbers

  • 12: The number of storeys in a two-building complex in Westboro the planning committee approved for construction. A final vote at council is expected May 11. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • 696: An old streetcar, of the long-gone Ottawa system, with this number is being restored. It was the last car in service and was in use from 1917 to 1959. [CTV]

Track Laid For Stage 2

The proposed redevelopment of Lansdowne. OSEG/Handout

$330 million: The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group wants the city to pony up $330 million to tear down the north side stands, rebuild the arena, and add about 1,200 homes in three towers. This “Lansdowne 2.0” project would revamp the parts of the park left with minimal changes in the last redevelopment, the Ottawa Citizen reports.

Quick timeline: OSEG seems in a hurry to get on with the project, with a planned start date in November of this year. That would be within weeks of municipal election day on Oct. 24, meaning the current council would have approved the project before their terms are up. Mayor Jim Watson and several councillors will not be running for re-election. The finance committee will make a recommendation to council next week on whether to support the proposal or not.

  • The city would own the buildings, and expect they could do it on a revenue-neutral basis, CTV reported. They hope to pay for it through property taxes and air rights to build new towers, as well as ticket surcharges. In the short term, the city would need to issue $239 million in new debt, CBC’s Kate Porter tweeted. The expectation is the ongoing taxes and fees would pay the debt servicing costs.

Several expenses spared: The new arena would go under a grassy berm at the end of the stadium, rather than under the new stands. This wouldn’t be accessible to the public. That, OSEG said according to the Citizen, would require extra support and therefore cost more money.

Not a lot of faith: The Glebe Community Association isn’t happy with how the project has started. There has been essentially no public consultation, instead, the city has been presented with a single option for what will be built.

  • “There’s a lack of faith that this time around it’s going to work. … Concepts should come with alternatives, not just, ‘Here’s the best option,’ ” GCA chair Anthony Carricato told the Citizen.

The upshot: The last redevelopment of Landsdowne has never brought the economic benefits that were hoped. Nor has it provided stability for OSEG. Will more years of construction and redevelopment save the area in the long run? Starting off with a plan of limited ambition is part of what’s wrong with Lansdowne as it is. Doing things like making unusable green space on top of a new arena does not inspire confidence they’ll get it right a second time. Again and again, the city and its partners have tried to do things on the cheap—Lansdowne 1.0, the LRT—and that has not gone well to date.

Interested in more about this project? The Lookout will be digging deeper over the coming weeks to give you the full scoop on the proposed second Lansdowne revitalization.

Insider Edition: Two West End Pho Spots To Fill Your Craving

Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

Yesterday we shared a story about the best excellent pho places in Ottawa for Lookout Insider members.

Until tomorrow, we’re offering 25 percent off a Lookout Insider membership. We offered 39 to celebrate our hitting 400 members, but there are only 14 discounts remaing

Get 25% off a yearly membership or 25% off a monthly membership for your first year — but hurry, last time we ran a discount they disappeared in a few days.

City Hall Bulletin

Free transit for refugees approved: Council voted to give newly arrived refugees free OC Transpo passes for the first six months after they arrive in town. The city’s social services department and their partner agencies will distribute the passes. [CityNews]

City gets back money from fraud: The city has gotten back most of the $558,000 it was defrauded out of last month. Hackers broke into the email of a Salvation Army director, and provided a fake bank document, and the city sent them money. They’ve been able to get $523,000 back so far, and expect to recover the rest eventually. [CBC]

Green bins for big apartments: Council approved a plan to make green bins mandatory for multi-unit apartments that use municipal waste services. Starting June 1, all new buildings will have to use organic waste bins. Existing buildings will be able to get into the program voluntarily for the rest of the year, and the city will come forward with how to force them in next year.

24 new EV charging stations: Two dozen new charging stations have been installed across the city at 12 locations. The Level 2 chargers are available for use at $2 per hour. You can see this map to find ones that might be of use to you.

Carlington gets heritage designation: The neighbourhood south of Carling between Fisher and Merivale, originally built as post-war housing for veterans, has been given heritage designation to preserve its character. The designation means changes to housing can be made, but “a set of design guidelines to help guide new construction or renovation,” the city said.

OC Transpo fares increase: Starting Sunday, fares will go up to ride transit by 2.5 percent. Presto fares are rising to $3.70, and cash fares for a regular ride are $3.75. See the OC Transpo site for more detailed fares. EquiPass, Community, and Access Passes will stay as they are for the rest of the year.

Stories You Might Have Missed

Ontario budget arrives: The provincial government tabled its budget today. It includes a number of promises, many of them which had already been made. The document won’t get a vote, as the election begins next week. The Ottawa Citizen calls it “more aspirational than most” budgets. [The Canadian Press]

IKEA looking to sell Pinecrest retail: Don’t worry, the IKEA isn’t leaving. But the Swedish furniture giant wants to sell the retail space at the rest of the Pinecrest mall it owns. The mall has 168,809 square feet of retail space. They’re also selling the 1,800 parking spaces that go with the mall. [OBJ]

Flood watch continues: The lower Ottawa River from Arnprior to Hawkesbury is still under a flood watch. Recent rain has kept water levels high. For up-to-date river info, you can see the latest river forecasts here. [CityNews]

Developing golf course could cost tech jobs: If the city doesn’t fight the proposed housing development on the Kanata Golf and Country Club, it will make it harder to attract tech talent. A number of groups opposing the development came together to keep the green space in the city. There is an ongoing lawsuit over the development plans. [OBJ]

Community Highlights

  • The Ottawa Business Journal has released its top 40 under 40 list for this year. See who made this year’s list!

  • Want less clutter, less chaos and more space? Declutter4Good can help (and they take your donations to local charities). Reach out to [email protected]*

  • This July the Night Market is returning to town, and Narcity has all the details.

  • Pets are wonderful things, and this sweet little hamster Perry is up for adoption at the Ottawa Humane Society. [CityNews]

  • In Kingston, the city’s only castle is for sale for $2.8 million. Alas, there is no moat.

  • Looking to up your bar game? Try one of these 12 rooftop patios and get a different perspective on the city. [Narcity]

  • Are you in Bells Corners? This black cat was lost, he responds to Little Man and Baby Boy. Keep an eye out for him.

What to do this weekend:

  • Who doesn’t love fries and gravy? PoutineFest is on now until May 1 at City Hall!

  • This Sunday is the CN Cycle for CHEO. The event is still open for registration, but hurry! You have to be registered and pay your $70 fee before Sunday.

  • Tonight at 8 pm Arc Poetry Magazine is hosting its spring launch. Tickets are free, but there are limited in-person spaces. If you can’t make it, you can also watch it on YouTube.

  • Head on down to the Aberdeen Pavilion on Saturday for another edition of 613Flea, and find yourself something unique from all sorts of interesting vendors.

  • Former On the Road Again host Wayne Ronstad is doing a musical performance at the Fifty-Five Plus Lifestyle Show at the EY Centre today and tomorrow. All sorts of vendors are there, and there are tons of prizes available.

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Today's Top Photo

Ron Dennis

While at the Lookout we are mostly anti-Canada Goose—familiarity breeds contempt, after all—we are absolutely pro duck. Thanks today go to Ron Dennis, who took this shot on the Ottawa River, along the SJAM Parkway trails.

Send us your photos! Reply to this email with your shots from around town. We love running pictures from our readers. 

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: 1,743 (+252)

  • Deaths: 777 (+0)

  • Ottawans In Hospital: 38

  • Ottawans In ICU: 3

  • Acute Beds Occupied: 98%

  • ICU Beds Occupied: 71%

  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 27%

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