Ottawa’s new city council, the LRT inquiry report, and keeping an eye on the flu: 5 stories to watch in Ottawa this week

Ottawa’s new city council gets down to business, the LRT inquiry report is released, and keeping an eye on the flu.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.

New City Council holds first meetings

Ottawa’s newly sworn-in city council will meet together for the first time this week, with a special, largely closed meeting on Monday and a regular council meeting on Wednesday.

Mark Sutcliffe will begin his council term as mayor alongside 11 new councillors and 13 veterans of the last term.

Monday’s meeting will discuss the upcoming release of the LRT inquiry report on Wednesday.

The agenda for the meeting on Wednesday is light, but includes opening remarks from members of the 2022-26 term, a governance review and a follow-up to planning items discussed at the final meeting of the last term on Nov. 9.

Council’s next meeting is Dec. 7.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and 22 councillors pose for a picture ahead of Tuesday’s swearing in ceremony. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)

Two first-timers at Ottawa Police Services Board

The Ottawa Police Services Board meets Monday, with two high-ranking first-timers.

This will be the first police services board meeting for Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and Police Chief Eric Stubbs.

Stubbs was sworn in earlier this month after being hired by the police services board three days before the municipal election on Oct. 24. There was some demand from candidates in the election to delay the hiring of the new chief until after the crucial vote, but the board had the authority to make the decision.

Stubbs is vowing to regain the trust of the community following the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration in February that led to the resignation of former police chief Peter Sloly and a reconfiguration of the police services board.

The meeting begins at 4 p.m. There are eight public delegations signed up to speak, including a former mayoral candidate.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs has been named the new chief of the Ottawa Police Service.

LRT inquiry report released

The long-awaited report from the inquiry into Stage 1 of Ottawa’s beleaguered LRT system will be released this week.

The final report from Justice William Hourigan is due at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Justice Hourigan was tasked with a mandate to investigate the commercial and technical circumstances that led to the Stage 1 breakdowns and derailments of the Confederation Line since its launch in September 2019. Hourigan will present his findings in the final report, and recommendations to prevent these issues from happening in the future.

The inquiry heard from 41 witnesses during 18 days of public hearings in June and July, hosted an expert panel to discuss public-private partnerships in July, and held two nights of meetings to hear from the public in May. The commission also received well over a million documents and interviewed dozens of witnesses before the start of public hearings.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe has promised to implement the recommendations from the public inquiry. As part of his 100 days in office pledge, Sutcliffe said he would “begin to implement the key recommendations” to fix the system.

A window is broken and the wheels of a segment of an OC Transpo O-Train is seen west of Tremblay LRT Station in Ottawa on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 after it derailed on Sunday. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Keeping watch on the flu

As flu cases continue to climb, all eyes will be on Ottawa’s weekly flu report, to see if the positivity rate grows again.

Ottawa Public Health reported a flu testing positivity rate of 23.4 per cent for the week of Nov. 13 to 19, which is well above the seasonal average. It’s unclear yet if influenza has peaked, as it’s still early in the flu season.

OPH’s weekly flu updates come on Tuesdays.

COVID-19 figures will also be reported Tuesday. There are signs that the level of the virus in the community is decreasing, with wastewater concentration trending downward, according to available data. Four COVID-19 deaths were reported in Ottawa last week.

The “triple-demic” of the flu, COVID-19, and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) have been keeping CHEO busy. The hospital has been well over capacity for weeks.

Some children’s cold and flu medication has begun to arrive in Ottawa amid bare shelves, but pharmacies are largely expected to keep it behind the counter for some time yet, as supplies are still limited.

Person checking their temperature with a thermometer. (Shutterstock)

Canada’s last stand at the World Cup

The Canadian men’s national team has been officially eliminated from advancing at the 2022 World Cup, but there is still one more game for Team Canada, and they could still make history.

Canada play Morocco on Thursday, where a win—which would be Canada’s lone win of the tournament—would mark the first-ever win for Canada at the World Cup.

Canada scored its first goal of the tournament on Sunday when star Alphonso Davies found the back of the net just over a minute into play against Croatia. It was the very first goal for Canada at a World Cup. Croatia responded with four unanswered goals, sealing Canada’s fate at its first appearance in the international tournament since 1986.

Canada vs. Morocco airs at 10 a.m. Eastern, Dec. 1 on TSN.

Alphonso Davies of Canada celebrates after scoring their team’s first goal with their teammate Richie Laryea, right, during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Croatia and Canada at Khalifa International Stadium on Nov. 27, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

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