Road budget divides eastern councillors from the rest of the city
Councillors from the east end voted against the city's road budget because they say it doesn't do enough for their communities.
Today we’ve got a few more updates on the budget, as committees start their work on passing parts of the city’s financial plan. Plus the difficulties facing one fo the city’s biggest shelters.
And of course, as the weekend fast approaches, which means we’ve got plenty of events to keep you busy.
Let’s get to it.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
Friday: +13 🌡️ -7 | 🌧
Saturday: +1 🌡️ -2 | 🌤
Sunday: +2 🌡️ -9 | 🌦/❄️
Monday: -1 🌡️ -6 | ☀️
Transportation budget passes, with dissent from the east
What happened: East end councillors on the transportation committee feel that their communities are being ignored by city staff. Both Coun. Matt Luloff and Coun. Catherine Kitts voted against the transportation budget because of its lack of projects funded in the east, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
Centrum Plaza is in a state of decline, and a footbridge to the upcoming Trim Road LRT station, aren’t included in the draft budget, Luloff said.
“Not one priority that my community and I have identified to staff has been included in the list before us today.… I see many projects in the south and west, but here we are again and I see many examples of how the east has been left out,” Luloff said.
Big projects elsewhere: In the south end, Greenbank Road will be realigned south of Chapman Mills at a cost of $20.2 million. While in the west end, $13.4 million will be spent to connect two Stittsville roads.
The draft transportation budget passed 9-2. Couns. Laura Dudas, Glen Gower, Tim Tierney, George Darouze, Laine Johnson, Sean Devine, Jessica Bradley, Ariel Troster, and Wilson Lo all voted for, while Luloff and Kitts were against. Coun. Steve Desroches was absent watching the Sens play the Red Wings in Sweden.
Also in the budget: Another 20 speed cameras are coming to the city, raising the number to 60 by the end of next year.
More protection: The city is considering expanding protections to trees outside the greenbelt. Right now, healthy trees in urban areas with a diameter larger than 30 cm can’t be cut without permission from the city, and in the suburbs that number rises to 50 cm. Now, staff recommend lowering the suburban threshold to 30 cm, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
The change would make the tree protection less confusing, and also have the benefit of better preserving the city’s tree canopy which has taken a beating in recent years because of severe weather.
CITY HALL INSIDER
(For Insiders) Diving deep into OC Transpo’s budget
What happened: The budget situation is going from bad to worse at OC Transpo. With ridership forecasted to be three-quarters of pre-pandemic levels, the transit agency expects to run a $49.8-million deficit, after finishing this year $40.8 million in the hole. While not a giant percentage of its $768.7-million budget, municipalities cannot finance operational deficits with debt, so the budget must quickly be balanced.
Dwindling savings: The organization will dip into its reserve funds to the tune of $12.7 million, leaving only $4 million left. Unable or unwilling to find revenue for transit elsewhere, staff touted the 2024 draft budget as “an affordable approach for responsible growth, mobility, housing, and ensures a balance of affordability and fiscal responsibility while maintaining a prudent approach to long-term financial stability.”
🚌 10: The number of new hires at the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority, bringing their school bus driver vacancies down to 30. The authority started the year with more than 70 vacancies, leading to dozens of cancelled bus routes and causing chaos for students and parents. [CTV]
Ottawa Mission needs help
What happened: The Ottawa Mission is asking for more donations from the public, as it struggles to keep up with increasing demand. The charity said demand has doubled to more than a million meals served a year, CTV reported. Now they serve about 3,000 meals a day.
The Mission raised the amount it asks donors for each meal to $4.68. It last raised the amount in 2017, when it went to $3.47, the Mission said. Now, the organization said it needs hundreds of thousands in donations to keep up. About 60 percent of its budget is covered by donations.
Rising food costs: Costs everywhere are up for food and have been steadily rising for some time. Inflation is still being driven by increases in grocery prices. Food price inflation was 5.8 percent year over year in September, The Canadian Press reported, well above the 3.8 percent overall inflation.
Big profits: High food prices aren’t bad news for everyone. Two of the country’s grocery chains posted big profit increases in the latest quarter. Loblaws saw its third-quarter profit rise to $621 million, up from $556 million a year earlier, while Metro saw its profits rise to $222 million, up from $169 million in the same quarter last year, The Canadian Press reported.
🦮 A man in Orléans who is both blind and deaf wants an apology from a driver whose guide dog was hit by a driver while they were crossing the road. Both he and the dog were unharmed, but the driver took off. [CTV]
🚫 An RCAF major in Kingston has been charged with smuggling illegal firearms into the country from the US. The 19 weapons were allegedly shipped through CFB Trenton among the officer’s personal belongings. [CBC]
♣️ The chair of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, Lyra Evans, was ousted from her position after two tied votes led to the drawing of cards to elect a new chair. Lynn Scott won the drawing of cards, which as per the board’s rules cards were drawn and the highest, in accordance with Bridge Convention, won the position. [CBC]
🚨 Police caught a suspected car thief after a foot chase in Barrhaven. The stolen car was recovered. [CTV]
📚 Numerous schools in Quebec will be closed next week when teachers go on strike from Nov. 21 to 23. The teachers will strike alongside other public service unions in the province. [CBC]
🚓 A woman was charged with several arson-related counts for allegedly spilling gasoline and spray painting messages related to the war in Gaza. [CBC]
🚙 If you own a 2020 Honda CR-V, you may want to get extra security for it. It’s the most stolen vehicle in the province. [CBC]
🕺 One of the city’s break-dancing pioneers is hoping for the return of his vintage velour tracksuit, after it was stolen from an exhibit at the Ottawa Art Gallery. [CBC]
What to do this weekend
🍇 Outstanding in their Fields, Friday 7 pm: A night of wine and cider featuring products from producers across Ontario. A taste and buy event with dozens of vendors. At Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, 355 Cooper St. Tickets start at $89.
🎸 Kim Mitchell, Saturday 8 pm: Why not go for a soda to hear the most Ontario of rock singers. At the Rideau Carleton Casino, 4837 Albion Rd. Tickets $50.
🥊 Mayhem on Main Street 2, Saturday 7:30 pm: A night of amateur boxing with a dozen bouts. Cash bar on site. At 140 Main St. Tickets $33.
🦖 Jurassic Quest, Friday to Sunday: An interactive dinosaur expo, with interactive displays, activities, shows and more. At the EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Dr. Tickets start at $28.
🎅🏻 Help Santa Toy Parade, Saturday 11 am: This year’s Santa parade starts at city hall and heads west along Laurier, then goes south on Bank toward Lansdowne. Donations go to the annual Toy Mountain campaign. Free!
🎄 Metcalfe Farmers' Christmas Market, Saturday 9 am: One of the city’s favourite Christmas markets with tons of local vendors. At the Greely Community Centre, 1448 Meadow Dr. 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.
Catching the vegan bug at Chickpeas
Food reviews are written by our food and wine editor Ralf Joneikies.
For this series of stories I had thought of only comparing falafel shops around the city. I realized however that I liked the alliteration of Shawarma Safari so I expanded the category.
Then, sticking to my original plan, I came across Chickpeas at the Trainyards. It’s at the far end and sits diagonally across from Walmart. It also produces a knockout falafel sandwich.
Originally the owners had not just the Ottawa location but several in Toronto as well. With the pandemic, tough decisions needed to be made and we Ottawans were the lucky winners with the last Chickpeas now in our fair city.
This week in food
🍷 (Insiders only) Here’s a unique sparking red wine from Crimea.
🍽️ (Insiders only) The fine decor is just the start at Boujie, where the food delights. It’s supper club beyond your expectations.
🆚 Six local chef’s teams went head to head in the Ottawa Senior Chef’s Culinary Challenge to vie for a spot at the 2024 Canadian Culinary Championships. Who came out on top?
👎️ Why Ottawa restaurants are suffering in big ways.
Training camp for the city’s as-yet-unnamed Professional Women’s Hockey League team have started, as players gather to prepare for the inaugural season. [CTV]
We can grow Canada’s ocean economy to $220 billion by 2035. Learn how through Ambition 2035. [Sponsored*]
At one point a hopeful to buy the Senators, Snoop Dogg said he “decided to give up smoke.” [Twitter]
If you’re looking for COVID rapid tests, the Ottawa Public Library Carlingwood branch seems to be giving away plenty. [Reddit]
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André Martin/Ottawa Lookout Reader
Today’s photo comes from reader André Martin, taken after last week’s Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial
Congrats to Philip, Ian, Chris, Nicholas, and Jame, who all knew that this week’s Ottawa Guesser was of the entrance to Bruce Pit along Cedarview Road.
Think you can solve this week’s Ottawa Wordle? Play now.
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