Ottawa LRT inquiry, gas prices, and CFL football: Five stories to watch this week in Ottawa


Public hearings into the LRT begin, municipal election season heats up, and drivers watch how much higher gas prices can go.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca takes a look at five stories to watch this week.

Public hearings in the LRT inquiry begin

The first public hearings in the inquiry looking into Stage 1 of Ottawa LRT begin Monday.

Forty-one witnesses are scheduled to testify in the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Public Inquiry. The public hearings will be held at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law from June 13 to July 8.

Among the witnesses set to testify in the coming days are Mayor Jim Watson, former city of Ottawa treasurer Marian Simulik, former transit boss John Manconi, ex-RTG head Peter Lauch, representatives from Alstom, and a city panel of councilors Catherine McKenney, Allan Hubley, and Diane Deans along with transit commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert.

The inquiry, led by Justice William Hourigan, has a mandate to investigate the commercial and technical circumstances that led to Stage 1 breakdowns and derailments. It will look at the decisions and actions that were taken in determining the procurement approach the city selected for Stage 1, the selection of the Rideau Transit Group to build the system and the awarding of the contract.

Crews moving an LRT train slowly along the track after a minor derailment earlier in the week. Aug. 11, 2021. (Jim O’Grady / CTV News Ottawa)

Triple murder inquest continues

The coroner’s inquest into a 2015 triple homicide in the Ottawa Valley continues this week.

The inquest is examining the deaths of Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam, who were killed by the same man on the same day. All three had had prior relationships with their convicted killer, Basil Borutski.

Last week, the inquest heard a dangerous offender application was being considered for Borutski, but it was not pursued.

The coroner’s inquest, which began Monday at the Best Western Pembroke Inn and Conference Centre, will examine the circumstances surrounding the deaths, and may make recommendations aimed at preventing further deaths. It is scheduled to continue until June 24 and hear from approximately 30 witnesses.

Municipal election seasons heats up

With the Ontario election in the books, voters in Ottawa are turning toward their municipal candidates.

While the Oct. 24 vote is still months away, some candidates are hitting the ground early, hoping to drum up support.

Mayoral candidate Coun. Catherine McKenney plans to launch their campaign this week.

Voters in College Ward are also keeping an eye on whether long-time Coun. Rick Chiarelli will register for re-election. The councillor, who was found twice this term to have violated the code of conduct for councilors because of inappropriate and lewd behavior toward women—accusations he denies—said last week he “expects” to run for another term. There are two registered candidates in Ward 8 already, Laine Johnson and Granda Kopytko.

As of Sunday, seven people had put their names forward to become the next mayor of Ottawa: Brandon Bay, Bob Chiarelli, Bernard Couchman, Graham MacDonald, Catherine McKenney, Ade Olumide and Param Singh. Jim Watson is not seeking re-election. Ward 20 Osgoode remains without a registered candidate.

Candidates have until Aug. 19 to register to run for mayor, city councilor, or school board trustee.

Ottawa City Hall (File photo)

How high can they go?

The price at the gas pump continues to rise, hitting a new local record this weekend.

Gas was 215.9 cents per liter at most stations in Ottawa Saturday and Sunday.

According to Dan McTeague, the president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, prices could hit $2.25 per liter this summer.

McTeague says the weakness of the Canadian dollar is partly responsible for the hike in gas prices. There is also tight global supply that’s been worsened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A man fills his vehicle with gasoline in Ottawa. May 17, 2021. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa)

redblacks home opener

CFL football is back in the capital this week with the Redblacks home opener.

The first full season since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic began June 9. The Redblacks play their regular season home opener against the defending Gray Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers Friday at TD Place, hoping to take revenge for their 19-17 loss last week.

The Ottawa Redblacks wave to fans in the north-side stands after Saturday’s scrimmage at TD Place. (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa)

Events this week

Monday:

LRT Inquiry public hearings, 9 a.m.

Audit Committee, 9:30 a.m.

Tuesday:

LRT Inquiry public hearings, 9 a.m.

Ottawa Public Library Board: 5 p.m.

Wednesday:

LRT Inquiry public hearings, 9 a.m.

Transit Commission, 9:30 a.m.

Thursday:

LRT Inquiry public hearings, 9 a.m.

Special Joint Meeting of the Planning Committee and the Community and Protective Services Committee, 9:30 am

Friday:

LRT Inquiry public hearings, 9 a.m.

Ottawa Redblacks vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 7:30 p.m. (TSN, TSN 1200)


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