Week two without O-Train service and all eyes on rising COVID-19 cases among Ottawa youth: Five stories to watch this week
Workers wearing a hard hats from train manufacturer Alstom work among evidence markers laid on the tracks Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 after an OC Transpo O-Train derailed west of Tremblay LRT Station on Sunday in Ottawa. (Justin Tang /THE CANADIAN PRESS)
OTTAWA -- Experts arrive in Ottawa to review the return to service plan for the O-Train, Canadian Tire Centre welcomes fans back for the first time in 18 months and the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch this week.
O-TRAIN REMAINS SHUT DOWN AFTER SEPT. 19 DERAILMENT
As Ottawa begins a second week without light rail transit service, outside experts will arrive in the capital to review the return to service plan.
On Friday, City Manager Steve Kanellakos announced STV will undertake an "independent and impartial review" of the cause, actions, safety plan and return to service for the Confederation Line following the second derailment in six weeks.
The city continues to work with the Transportation Safety Board and Rideau Transit Group to investigate the root cause of the Sept. 19 derailment.
The two-year-old line has been out of service since an LRT car derailed just west of Tremblay Station, damaging the train, the track and rail infrastructure.
The Transportation Safety Board says the LRT derailed before entering Tremblay Station, approximately 500 metres from where the train stopped.
"The train then departed the station in the derailed condition and continued over the rail bridge that traversed Riverside Drive before striking a signal mast and switch heater that were adjacent to and north of track 1," said the TSB.
The Rideau Transit Group said on Sept. 20 that full LRT service could be shut down for three weeks while repairs were completed. City officials told CTV News Ottawa on Friday there was no update on when the LRT would return to service.
COVID-19 CASES AMONG CHILDREN RISING
All eyes will be on cases of COVID-19 among children and youth in Ottawa, as the fourth week of the school year gets underway for students.
COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at 14 schools in Ottawa, while 74 schools have an active case of COVID-19.
Ottawa Public Health reported 95 cases among residents 0 to 9 years-old between Sept. 20 and 26 and 27 cases between Sept. 13 and 20, compared to 56 cases involving residents 10 to 19 the week of Sept. 20 to 26, and 73 cases between Sept. 13 and 20.
There were 46 cases involving youths ages 0 to 9 the week of Sept. 6 to 12, and 56 cases involving youths ages 10 to 19.
As of Sunday, youths ages 0 to 9 represented the age group of the highest number of active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, with 110 active cases.
Medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said last week that as people get together more often, cases would increase.
"As people get together, as they have more close contacts we see greater transmission of COVID," said Etches. "As people are cautious and are careful about meeting outside, choosing lower-risk activities the pressure on COVID transmission comes back down.
"I would encourage people to continue choosing those lower-risk activities."
FANS RETURN TO CANADIAN TIRE CENTRE
Senators fans will return to Canadian Tire Centre for the first time in 574 days this week, as the Sens host the Toronto Maple Leafs in NHL pre-season action.
Under Ontario's COVID-19 capacity restrictions, indoor sports arenas are permitted 50 per cent capacity or 10,000 people (whichever is less). The Senators will be allowed to have approximately 9,300 fans for NHL pre-season action.
The Senators also announced the following changes for seat availability and access to meet the capacity limits.
- Certain areas of the venue will provide limited food and beverage offerings.
- The venue’s 400 level suites and the Ledge Restaurant will be closed.
- Seats within the 300 level will be limited to those that have purchased those tickets already.
Wednesday night's Senators game against Toronto will be the first time fans will be allowed inside Canadian Tire Centre for a game since March 5, 2020.
BUDGET TALK AT OTTAWA POLICE HEADQUARTERS
The Ottawa Police Services Board will be discussing budget directions for the 2022 fiscal plan on Monday night, including a proposal to freeze spending.
A report from Chief Peter Sloly recommends the board direct staff to draft the 2022 operating budget that "assumes a zero per cent increase as its base."
It does caution that factors outside of the service's control could result in new funding being needed for next year, including inflation and salary increases for officers through contract negotiations.
In July, a report for the Ottawa Police Services Board warned a budget freeze in 2022 would result in the elimination of 140 officers, longer response times and the suspension of all recruiting, hiring and promotions.
Some councillors and members of the public have called on police to freeze its operating budget for 2022.
NATIONAL DAY FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION
The first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be held on Thursday, Sept. 30.
The federal government says the day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.
Sept. 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived residential schools and remembers those did not.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a federal statutory holiday, and is a designated paid holiday for federally regulated employees, including public servants, and employees at Canada Post and banks.
EVENTS HAPPENING IN OTTAWA THIS WEEK
Joint meeting of the Planning Committee and Community and Protective Services Committee – 9:30 a.m.
Ottawa Police Services Board meeting – 4 p.m.
Audit Committee meeting
Ottawa Carleton District School Board meeting – 7 p.m.
Ottawa Catholic School Board meeting – 7 p.m.
Ottawa Redblacks vs. Edmonton Elks – 7:30 p.m. at TD Place (TSN 1200 and TSN)
Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs – 7 p.m. at Canadian Tire Centre (TSN 1200 and TSN 5)
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Planning Committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.
Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens – 7 p.m. at Canadian Tire Centre (TSN 1200 and TSN 5)