Ottawa retail landmark closing and the NCC bans gas-powered garden tools: Top five stories this week

Ontario calls a public inquiry into Ottawa’s LRT system, a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for children and a retail landmark is closing after 92 years of business.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the top five stories in Ottawa on our website this week.

Ontario calling a full public inquiry into Ottawa’s beleaguered LRT system

The wheels are now in motion for a full public inquiry into Ottawa’s beleaguered light rail transit system.

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney announced Wednesday that the Ontario cabinet approved launching a public inquiry to “get to the bottom” of the issues facing the system and transit riders.

“The issues plaguing Stage 1 of the Ottawa LRT have been unacceptable and disappointing,” Mulroney said in a statement.

“As a funding partner for the project, we need certainty that the City of Ottawa will be able to successfully deliver the remaining phases of work for this project. Ottawa transit riders deserve and expect this certainty as well.”

Council voted against a motion from coun. Catherine McKenney to call a judicial inquiry into the LRT contract, the project rollout and the issues plaguing the system. Instead, council asked the auditor general to investigate.

Mulroney said the province plans to establish the terms of reference in the coming weeks, and hopes to receive recommendations in 2022.

The inquiry will look into the safety of the trains, technical elements, value for money and accountability, including examining the procurement process.

The Confederation Line resumed service on Nov. 12 after a 54-day shutdown following a derailment on Sept. 19. There were two issues with the LRT system this week, including a brake fault that kept 50 customers on the train for 55 minutes Thursday evening.

Ottawa Public Health prepares to vaccinate 77,000 children against COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines will begin to be administered to children in Ottawa and eastern Ontario next week, after Health Canada authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine for children.

Children ages five to 11 years-old are now eligible to get vaccinated with a dosage that is one third the size that has been offered to those aged 12 and older.

Eastern Ontario medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis told Newstalk 580 CFRA the aim is to begin administering doses on Thursday.

“It will probably arrive in Ontario early next week,” he said. “Stay tuned for final details, but I can tell you we’ll likely be vaccinating by the end of next week.”

Ottawa Public Health says the COVID-19 vaccine for children will be available at seven community clinics, neighbourhood vaccination hubs and at 73 schools during after-hours pop-up clinics.

The goal is to administer a first dose to 77,000 children in Ottawa within four weeks of the vaccination’s authorization and delivery.

“We are turning another corner in our COVID-19 response as we anticipate approval of the vaccine for the children aged 5 to 11 very shortly,” said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health.

Man charged with killing 64-year-old Barrhaven woman

A 39-year-old man is facing charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder in connection to a stabbing at a Barrhaven home.

Ottawa police were called to a home on Sherway Drive near Tedwyn Drive, southwest of the Walter Baker Sports Centre, Sunday evening.

Police say a 64-year-old woman was stabbed to death at her home, while a 66-year-old man suffered serious injuries.

Conor Donnelly of Ottawa was charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder.

NCC banning gas-powered garden and lawn tools

The National Capital Commission is putting gas-powered gardening and lawn tools into the shed for good.

The crown corporation has announced it will ban the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, line trimmers, hedge trimmers and small chainsaws on NCC lands starting on April 1, 2023.

The ban will apply to all NCC maintenance contractors.

“It’s important to demonstrate action to reduce our carbon emissions. The NCC has a commitment to go net zero by 2050, but we want to start as soon as we can,” said NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum in an interview on CTV Morning Live.

“This announcement is all about getting rid of those polluting, and also very loud and annoying two-stroke small gas-powered tools.”

Nussbaum says electric-power tools are already in use on some NCC lands in the national capital region.

Ottawa retail landmark closing after 92 years in business

An Ottawa retail landmark will close its doors for the final time in early 2022, after nearly a century of operation.

Pat Flesher Luxury Outerwear on Cooper Street, near Bank Street, has announced it will close its retail doors forever.

“It was a great run for my partner Pat Flesher’s father in 1929, then Pat Flesher and now me, and ready for the next adventure,” said owner Stewart Chadnick.

Chadnick, who was planning to retire, says the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to e-commerce and online shopping accelerated his decision to close the business.

Pat Flesher Luxury Outerwear is a family-owned business that opened in 1929. Chadnick has been involved in the business for more than 35 years, including the last 25 as the owner.