Rolling Thunder arrives in Ottawa and the top doc provides an update on COVID-19: Five stories to watch in Ottawa this week

The city prepares for the arrival of “Rolling Thunder Ottawa”, Ottawa’s top doctor provides an update on the COVID-19 situation and counting down to the start of the Ontario election campaign.

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

ROLLING THUNDER OTTAWA ROLLS INTO TOWN

The Rolling Thunder Ottawa event will roll into Ottawa on Friday, for a weekend of events.

Ottawa police and the city of Ottawa have said up to 1,000 motorcycles and other vehicles are expected to take part in the three day event in Ottawa.

According to the Rolling Thunder Ottawa website, a rally and march is scheduled for Friday evening on Parliament Hill.   Saturday’s itinerary includes a rally and march on Parliament Hill, a Veterans for Freedom service at the National War Memorial and a bike show. A bikers church service is scheduled for Sunday morning at the Capital City Bikers Church in Vanier.

The Rolling Thunder Ottawa website doesn’t provide any details about why the three-day event is being held. Partners for the event are Veterans for Freedoms, Live from the Shed and Freedom Fighters Canada, which is a non-profit organization demanding an end to all government COVID-19 mandate.

Ottawa Police Interim Chief Steve Bell is expected to provide more details about the planned rally and the police response during Monday’s Ottawa Police Services Board meeting.

Horizon Ottawa is calling on the city to publicly condemn Rolling Thunder’s event and is urging police to withdraw planning and logistical support from Rolling Thunder Ottawa organizers.

COVID-19 IN OTTAWA

Ottawa’s top doctor will provide an update on the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa on Monday, as health officials predict the worst of the sixth wave will soon be over.

Medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches will speak at the Ottawa Board of Health meeting, her first public comments on the COVID-19 situation since before Easter.

On Friday, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health told CTV News that COVID-19 related hospitalizations are expected to peak this coming week. Dr. Kieran Moore says the wastewater and limited PCR test positivity data suggested the case count peak happened on April 10, but the peak for hospital admissions will happen this week.

Moore added he expects that majority of the cases by mid-June will be back down to a “very low endemic risk” across Ontario.

File image. (Jeremie Charron/CTV News Ottawa)

ONTARIO BUDGET

Ontario finance minister Peter Bethlenfalvy will table the Ontario government’s budget on Thursday, just days before the start of the provincial election.

“I will table our government’s vision for a better, brighter future and our plan to get it done,” Bethlenfalvy said in a Twitter post announcing the budget

The budget will be tabled five weeks before Ontarians head to the polls on June 2.

This weekend, Progressive Conservative candidates in Ottawa began handing out campaign signs, while Liberal candidates were opening campaign offices in advance of the campaign.

Queen’s Park seen in August 2021. (Craig Wadman / CTV News)

LIGHT-RAIL TRANSIT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE

Ottawa’s finance and economic development committee will receive an update on construction of Stage 2 of the Light Rail Transit project on Friday.

The project will see the Confederation Line extended to Tenth Line Road in the east and Moodie Drive and Algonquin College in the west end.  The Trillium Line will run from Bayview Station to Riverside South.

In December, staff said the Trillium Line extension was running nine months behind schedule, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays with construction.

Staff said the city was looking at a 10-month delay for the western extension of the Confederation Line.  The eastern section of the Confederation Line from Blair Station to Trim Road was on track to be finished in 2024.

Staff are expected to provide an updated timeline on the construction projects during Friday’s meeting.

Meantime, staff will also provide an in-camera update on the legal disputes between the city of Ottawa and Rideau Transit Group. On Thursday, rail construction director Michael Morgan told council that Rideau Transit Group was filing a counterclaim against the city over the LRT construction delays.

An east-bound OTrain pulls in to Rideau Station on the Confederation Line of the Light Rail Transit system in Ottawa, ON. (Brenda Woods/CTV Ottawa)

HOMETOWN STAR FOR BRUCE COCKBURN

Bruce Cockburn will be awarded with a Hometown Star in Ottawa on Monday, in honour of his recent induction to Canada’s Walk of Fame.

The Hometown Stars initiative provides all inductees with an additional opportunity to celebrate their induction in their hometown with a commemorative plaque unveiling.

The Hometown Star will be unveiled at the National Arts Centre.

Cockburn, the Ottawa-born singer-songwriter, was inducted into the Canada Walk of Fame in 2021.  His five decade career included 13 JUNO Awards and named as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

EVENTS IN OTTAWA THIS WEEK

Monday

Ottawa Police Services Board meeting – 4 p.m.

Ottawa Board of Health meeting –  7 p.m.

Tuesday

Ottawa Senators vs. New Jersey Devils – 7 p.m. at Canadian Tire Centre (TSN 5 and TSN 1200)

Ottawa Carleton District School Board meeting – 7 p.m.

Ottawa Catholic School Board meeting – 7 p.m.

Wednesday

Ottawa City Council meeting – 9:30 a.m.

Thursday

Ottawa Planning Committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.

Ontario government tables spring budget

Ottawa Senators vs. Florida Panthers – 7 p.m. at Canadian Tire Centre (TSN 5 and TSN 1200)

Friday

Ottawa Finance and Economic Development committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.

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