New speed cameras, the Bluesfest lineup and the skating season that never was: Top 5 stories in Ottawa this week

The city of Ottawa says it’s going to double its number of speed cameras, the Bluesfest lineup is released and the Rideau Canal Skateway won’t open this winter.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca takes a look at the top five stories on our website this week.

Rideau Canal Skateway won’t open for 1st time in 53-year history

The Rideau Canal Skateway will not open for skating this winter.

The National Capital Commission announced the mild temperatures this winter will prevent the world’s largest skating rink from opening for the first time in its 53-year history.

Ottawa has seen above-seasonal temperatures in January and February this winter, delaying work on the historic skateway by NCC crew members.

While the Rideau Canal Skateway remained closed during all three weekends of Winterlude this month, the NCC remained hopeful it could open the skateway with colder temperatures in the forecast.

On Friday afternoon, the NCC said Mother Nature did not co-operate with those plans and the season has been cancelled.

The Rideau Canal on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (Josh Pringle/CTV News Ottawa)

Ottawa to get 23 new photo radar cameras in 2023

The city of Ottawa has released a list of where new photo radar cameras are going to be installed this year.

The city says it plans to install 23 new cameras this year, bringing the total to 40 by the end of 2023. Six of the cameras were supposed to have been installed in 2022, but the city said delays linked to construction industry-related labour strikes and shortages pushed the work to this spring.

Of the 23 cameras set to be installed this year, 17 are near schools. The city says the locations chosen for the cameras was based on a “data-driven approach” that factored in compliance with the speed limit in the area, the number of speeders, as well as the activity of students.

Two new cameras are near parks, and four are being placed along higher-speed roads—Hunt Club, Walkley and Montreal roads and King Edward Avenue—to test their effectiveness at reducing street racing.

To see where the cameras will be installed, click here.

23 new speed cameras in 2023

Shania Twain, Foo Fighters headline Bluesfest lineup

One of the biggest days of the year for music fans in Ottawa is the day the Bluesfest lineup releases, and the annual festival nabbed some big names this year.

Organizers are calling the 2023 lineup, released Wednesday, one of the festival’s best ever.

“There’s a whole host of amazing acts; not only the headliners, but all the folks in between,” festival executive director Mark Monahan told CTV News.

Foo Fighters, one of the biggest rock bands in the world, will take the stage at LeBreton Flats. Folk rockers Mumford & Sons will also play the main stage, as will rapper Pitbull.

Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss and Charlotte Cardin are also among the featured acts on the mainstage.

Shania Twain will headline the festival’s opening night on July 6.

Bluesfest runs July 6 to 16, with two days off July 10 and 11.

Hundreds of federal public servants seek support amid return to office: union

A union representing federal public servants says hundreds of its members have asked for help navigating challenges posed by the government’s return-to-the-office plan.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada says more than 1,100 of its members have reached out to the union with various concerns about the plan, which mandates federal employees return to office work at least two days a week.

One key issue, they said, is that many federal employees no longer have dedicated offices to which they can return.

PIPSC, which represents more than 72,000 employees, says its members have raised concerns about workplace safety, availability of office equipment, network capacity, breach of work agreement, accommodation issues and child-care availability.

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier has said the return-to-office requirement is designed for consistency across all departments, and rooted in fairness and equity.

File photo of a federal government building in Ottawa. (CTV News Ottawa)

Ottawa police believe east end explosion was criminal in nature

The explosion in Ottawa’s east end that levelled several buildings and forced dozens of people from their homes is now a criminal case, Ottawa police say.

The explosion on Feb. 13 destroyed several homes under construction on Blossom Pass Terrace in Orléans. Homes within several hundred metres were evacuated and many nearby were damaged. Twelve people were injured, including children. Two people were pulled from the rubble at the scene.

Police said Wednesday that the arson unit has taken over the investigation.

“On Feb. 18, the Arson Unit took over as the lead agency for this investigation as the circumstances surrounding the explosion were deemed criminal,” police said in a news release.

No other details about the investigation were offered. Police said, when asked, that more information would be released in the coming weeks.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Ottawa Police Criminal Investigations Unit at 613-236-1222 ext. 5625. 

Ottawa firefighters sort through the wreckage after an explosion levelled several homes at an east Ottawa construction site on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. (Ottawa Fire Services)

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