$3 million Gatineau home order demolished and photo radar cameras catch thousands of speeding drivers: Top stories in Ottawa this week

OTTAWA — A Quebec judge orders a multi-million dollar mansion in Aylmer to be torn down, photo radar nabs thousands of speeders and smoky air covers the capital.

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

A Quebec judge has ordered a nearly $3 million home in Aylmer to be demolished because it was built too close to the street.

The home at 76 chemin Fraser was built seven metres from the street, instead of the minimum 15.67 metres required under Gatineau’s zoning bylaws.

The decision by Quebec Superior Court Judge Michel Déziel comes after an eight-year saga that began when the city of Gatineau granted the homeowner permission to build the house even though it ran afoul of zoning bylaws.

The city granted homeowner Patrick Molla all the required building permits in 2013. He believed the plans complied with municipal rules since the city approved them.

The city later found the plans were approved due to ‘human error,’ since the planning official who granted them didn’t know the relevant bylaw.

To fix that mistake, in July 2014 city council granted a minor exemption to allow the home to be closer to the street. The judge’s 51-page decision overturned the exemption, and ordered the city of Gatineau to cover all legal costs.

Molla has filed a separate $3.6-million lawsuit against the city of Gatineau.

Judge orders Gatineau mansion to be demolished

Ottawa’s eight photo radar cameras issued 90,295 speeding tickets to drivers in the first 10 months of a pilot project in eight Community Safety Zones.

The city launched the automated speed enforcement pilot project on July 13, 2020, setting up cameras in eight locations. After initially only purchasing four cameras, the city bought four more cameras to have cameras permanently installed at the eight locations.

Data provided by the city to CTV News Ottawa shows photo radar cameras at eight locations across Ottawa issued 90,295 charges between July 13, 2020 and May 2021. The 90,295 charges resulted in $4.6 million in fines to Ottawa motorists.

Here is a look at the charges filed through the Automated Speed Enforcement Program between July 13, 2020, and May 2021.

  1. Bayshore Drive near 50 Bayshore Drive – 17,475 tickets ($799,685.50 in revenue)
  2. Katimavik Road between Castlefrank Road and McGibbon Drive – 15,136 tickets ($845,565.50 in revenue)
  3. Ogilvie Road between Appleford Street and Elmlea Gate – 13,471 tickets ($591,613 in revenue)
  4. Smyth Road between Haig Drive and Edgecomb Street – 13,286 tickets ($632,284.50 in revenue)
  5. Meadowlands Drive West between Winthrow Avenue and Thatcher Street – 10,892 tickets ($567,896 in revenue)
  6. Innes Road between Provence Avenue and Trim Road – 8,704 tickets ($690,718 in revenue)
  7. Longfields Drive, between Highbury Park Drive and Via Verona Avenue – 6,829 tickets ($294,151 in revenue)
  8. Watters Drive, between Charlemagne Boulevard and Roberval Avenue – 4,502 tickets ($197,915.50)

Photo radar locations in Ottawa

Smoky, hazy air settles over Ottawa

Smoky, hazy air settled over Ottawa for two days this week, as wildfire smoke from northern Ontario moved into the region.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement on Monday about poor air quality in the region due to wildfire smoke.

The smoke caused reduced visibility and poor air quality Monday evening and Tuesday. Social media was filled with images of an orange glowing sun at sunrise and sunset over Ottawa.

A cold front behind a storm on Tuesday pushed the smoky air from the northwestern Ontario wildfires out of the city.

Smoke from wildfire hangs over the city

A new COVID-19 outbreak in Barry’s Bay, Ont. late this week forced the closure of two businesses and resulted in nearly two-dozen high-risk contacts.

The Renfrew County health unit reported three new confirmed cases that started with a visit from southern Ontario. Twenty-one high-risk contacts have to isolate, a fresh example that Canada is not yet out of the pandemic.

After two staff members tested positive for COVID-19, the Ash Grove Inn was forced to close, leaving owner Wendell Henry “frustrated as hell.”

He says the weekend shutdown will cost the inn about $20,000.

Ash Grove inn

Medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches has a new look, making good on her promise to support a campaign raising money for CHEO.

Etches posted a photo on Instagram after dying her hair in the Ottawa Public Health colours.

Chris Hofley, the communications manager for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, started a fundraiser in May, promising to shave his head if $1,000 was raised for youth mental health services at CHEO.

Etches said she would happily dye her hair when salons reopened–suggesting Ottawa Public Health colours of green, blue, and white–if $80,000 was raised.

Hofley’s campaign raised more than $200,000 in support of mental health services at CHEO.

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