LRT inquiry report slams senior city staff and RTG, and a rise in daytime car thefts: Top five stories this week
The final report into Ottawa's light rail transit system concludes there was "egregious violations of the public trust', an Ottawa lawyer accused of sexual misconduct and a tire flies off a car on Hwy. 7.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the top five stories on our website this week.
The final report into Ottawa's light rail transit system concluded the construction and maintenance of the $2.1 billion project was plagued by persistent failures in leadership and saw "egregious violations of the public trust."
Justice William Hourigan's report found that both the city of Ottawa and Rideau Transit Group lost sight of the public interest during the project.
The commissioner's report lists several reasons for the problems with the LRT. He found that the city chose unproven technology for the trains, RTG didn't coordinate the work of its subcontractors, the city rushed the LRT system into service before it was ready due to political pressure, and RTG and its subcontractors did not provide adequate maintenance.
The report makes 103 recommendations to fix the problems with the Confederation Line and ensure the same mistakes aren't made on other large projects.
Mayor Mark Sutcliffe directed city staff to develop an action plan to implement the report's key recommendations.
In his response to the report, Premier Doug Ford said the project "stunk to high heaven" and that senior city of Ottawa officials did a "terrible job."
Ottawa's LRT train on Thursday. (Natalie van Rooy/CTV News Ottawa)
Steve Kanellakos stepped down as Ottawa's city manager two days before the public inquiry tabled the final report into Ottawa's light rail transit system.
In an email to council, Kanellakos said he informed Mayor Mark Sutcliffe that Monday would be his last day as city manager.
“I’m sure there will be speculation about the reasons for my departure at this time. This decision is mine and mine alone. No one asked me to leave. I’ve always deeply believed in leadership accountability. As City Manager, I am ultimately accountable for the performance of the organization. I have always deeply believed that my role is to have your backs and that it is my duty to accept ultimate responsibility for our performance,” he wrote.
Kanellakos said he did not know what the LRT report would say, "I do believe, based on the line of questioning and approach taken by the Commission, that the report will be critical of the City of Ottawa and City Staff."
Kanellakos was hired as city manager in 2016.
Council approved a motion from Sutcliffe to name City Treasurer Wendy Stephanson as interim city manager.
Ottawa city manager Steve Kanellakos. (City of Ottawa)
An Ottawa woman is accusing a well-known lawyer of sexual misconduct, saying he offered her legal services in exchange for sexual favours.
James Bowie, who became known on Twitter this year for chronicling the court appearances of various 'Freedom Convoy' organizers, is the subject of an official complaint to the Law Society of Ontario.
The complaint alleges Bowie sent the woman "unsolicited intimate images, attempted to convince her to do illegal drugs with him, propositioned her, and offered legal services for sexual favours."
"These predatory acts violate multiple rules of professional conduct and were deeply harmful and offensive," the complaint said. "Mr. Bowie was seeking to prey on a vulnerable client."
CTV News called, emailed and texted Bowie to ask about the allegations in the complaint. He has not responded. CTV News also called his lawyer and has not heard back.
Bowie tweeted Tuesday evening, "It's fake. Just you wait. You'll see. It's fake."
None of the allegations have been proven.
Ottawa lawyer James Bowie is the subject of a complaint to the Law Society of Ontario. (Facebook)
'Thieves are getting brazen': Ottawa police warn of spike in daytime vehicle thefts at malls, grocery stores
Ottawa police are warning of a new trend heading into the holiday season of vehicles being stolen from parking lots at shopping malls, grocery stores and recreation and sporting venues in broad daylight.
"Thieves are getting brazen," Staff Sgt. Cathy Brown said in a statement.
"You may have your mind on your seasonal shopping list, but thieves are taking advantage of unattended vehicles in parking lots to steal your car, SUV or truck."
A total of 1,160 vehicles have been reported stolen in Ottawa this year. Police tell CTV News Ottawa that 173 vehicles were reported stolen in November.
In a media release, police say there has been "a surge" of reported vehicle thefts from the parking lots of grocery stores, recreation and sporting venues and shopping malls during daylight hours.
An Ottawa Police vehicle is seen behind police tape. (CTV News Ottawa)
Police in eastern Ontario are reminding people to make sure their winter tires are retorqued, after at least one wheel flew off a car on the highway.
Police say they investigated a collision on Highway 7 that was caused by a failure to retorque winter tires.
"When wheels separate from vehicles, it can be deadly," OPP said on Twitter.
Police are reminding people to retorque their wheels about 100 kilometres after a tire change.
OPP say a crash on Highway 7 was caused by a failure to retorque winter tires. (OPP)