Panda-monium fallout and two mayoral candidates release financial platforms: Five stories to watch this week

Ottawa police launch an investigation into the post-Panda Game celebrations, two candidates for mayor release their financial platforms and cleaning out the office in support of the food bank. looks at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.

Panda Game fallout

The fallout from the post-Panda Game celebrations will continue this week, as Ottawa police investigate what it calls “unacceptable” behaviour and the University of Ottawa looks at the future of the event.

Thousands of people gathered in Sandy Hill last Saturday night, hours after the Gee-Gees beat the Carleton Ravens in the annual Panda Game at TD Place.

“Many people in the crowd became belligerent and hostile and began committing illegal acts, including vandalism and throwing objects at police,” police said in a statement.

“Police gathered video evidence of this activity. Any members of the public with video or photo evidence of illegal activity are asked to contact the police.”

Officers moved in to disperse large crowds in Sandy Hill just after 9 p.m. on Saturday.

Overall, seven people were arrested during the Panda Game festivities, including for public intoxication and mischief. Officers also issued 88 tickets for open alcohol and 13 tickets worth $1,000 each for violating the noise bylaw.

In a tweet late Sunday morning, the University of Ottawa said it regretted the disturbance caused by large crowds in Sandy Hill and would “confer with our partners to take stock and determine how to move forward with future Panda Game plans.”

The tweet was deleted about an hour later.

A new statement on Twitter said, “We regret the disruptions that the large crowds caused our neighbors in some areas of Sandy Hill. We will now take stock with our partners and discuss lessons learned.”

Ottawa police monitor crowds in Sandy Hill on Saturday night, as students celebrate the Panda Game weekend. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)


Mayoral candidates release financial plans

With three weeks left in Ottawa’s municipal election campaign, two candidates running for mayor will release their financial platforms.

Catherine McKenney says they will release their financial platform for the four year term on Thursday, while Mark Sutcliffe has said his platform will be released this week.

McKenney told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron that their financial plan will include a three per cent property tax cap. Campaign promises made by McKenney so far include: A $250 million plan to build 25 years worth of cycling infrastructure, funded by green bonds; increasing OC Transpo operations by 20 per cent; free transit for riders under the age of 17 and a transit fare freeze; a housing platform that will end chronic homelessness; and having Ottawa reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and ending “costly sprawl.”

Sutcliffe has not said whether he will unveil a property tax cap.  His campaign promises have included $100 million of four years on roads and pathways; doubling councillors traffic calming budgets to $100,000 per ward; transit fare freeze for the seniors’ pass, Equipass and current youth transit rates; increasing the police budget by an unspecified amount; and a 10 per cent cut in recreation fees and “look to increase” recreational programs offered by the city.

Ottawa residents head to the polls on Oct. 24.

Ottawa City Hall. (File photo)

New wave of COVID-19 in Ottawa

All eyes will be on the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa ahead of Thanksgiving weekend, as health officials see a rise in COVID-19 in the community.

“Our monitoring indicators are showing we are now in a new wave of COVID-19,” Ottawa Public Health said on Thursday.

“We are also heading into the respiratory illness season where we expect respiratory viruses to be circulating.”

All Ottawa residents aged 18 and older are now eligible to receive the bivalent COVID-19 booster dose, and will be offered the bivalent vaccine when booking an appointment.

“This booster is an added layer of protection, giving your body even more ways it can fight COVID-19,” the health unit said.

The Montfort Hospital has imposed visitor restrictions due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the community.

Until further notice, visitors are not allowed to visit patients in care units at Montfort Hospital.

Quebec election

Quebecers head to the polls on Monday in the provincial election.

Polls show Francois Legault and the Coalition Avenir Quebec is in position to coast to a second majority government.

There are five ridings across Gatineau and western Quebec. Heading into the election, the CAQ held three seats (Chapleau, Gatineau and Papineau), and the Quebec Liberal Party held two seats (Hull and Pontiac).

Elections Quebec

Mayor Watson cleans out his office

Mayor Jim Watson is cleaning out his office, and hoping to help the Ottawa Food Bank.

Watson is auctioning off some items from his office on Tuesday evening, as he prepares to leave Ottawa City Hall after three terms as mayor.

Among the items up for auction, according to his Facebook post, are a Canada baseball jersey and bat, a soccer jersey, and a Sens Mile street sign from the 2014-15 season.

The silent auction is happening Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Jean Pigott Place in Ottawa City Hall. Admission is free.

Proceeds from the auction will go to the Ottawa Food Bank, which is reporting its highest demand in is nearly 40-year history as the cost of groceries skyrockets.

These are among the items Mayor Jim Watson will be auctioning off at Ottawa City Hall on Oct. 4. (Facebook/Jim Watson)

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