What’s next after Stage 2, budget day at City Hall and a driver-less shuttle: Five things to watch in Ottawa this week

OTTAWA — The end of the 28-day modified Stage 2, the City of Ottawa reveals the plans for spending your tax dollars next year and a driver-less shuttle bus.

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

As the clock ticks down on the 28-day modified Stage 2, the City of Ottawa is preparing a “made-in-Ottawa” plan to allow businesses to reopen safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches is expected to submit a list of recommendations to Mayor Jim Watson on Tuesday, and the list will be forwarded on to Premier Doug Ford.

The Ontario Government moved Ottawa into a modified Stage 2 on Oct. 10, with new restrictions on bars, restaurants, nightclubs, gyms and fitness centres, and movie theatres for 28 days. The modified Stage 2 was scheduled to run until at least Nov. 6.

Dr. Etches told CTV Morning Live Friday morning she is looking at “sustainable measures” to help reduce transmission of COVID-19 while allowing businesses to open.

The premier says he has asked public health experts to create a plan that would ease restrictions and allow businesses to start reopening in the four COVID-19 hotspots, but didn’t say when the plan would be released.

COVID-19

The Ontario Government will present its 2020-21 budget on Thursday with a plan to deal with the economic fallout from COVID-19.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips says the budget will lay out three scenarios for the pandemic’s financial impact, and outline a three-year plan to address the economic challenges.

The Ontario Government has already projected a $38.5 billion deficit for the fiscal year.

Queen's Park

All eyes will be on City Hall Wednesday as Mayor Jim Watson and City Manager Steve Kanellakos unveil the 2021 City of Ottawa draft budget.

Council directed staff to draft the budget document with a three per cent property tax increase, and an increase in the transit tax on the property tax bill. A three per cent property tax increase would add an extra $115 to the average property tax bill next year.

Transit fares are also expected to increase 2.5 per cent in 2021, however the mayor directed staff to find a way to freeze transit fares for low-income residents.

Staff have warned the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions will continue to hit the city’s finances in 2021. The city is anticipating a reduction in the transit and recreational revenues as ridership and recreation program registration is not expected to return to 100 per cent in 2021.

Ottawa Public Health will table its draft budget on Monday night. The Ottawa Police Services 2021 draft budget will be presented Wednesday morning, and will include plans for a new mental health strategy.

Ottawa City Hall

Extending light rail transit into the heart of Barrhaven will cost $3 billion.

The Transportation Committee will receive an environmental assessment on Monday looking at plans for 10 kilometres of twin-track, fully segregated electric Light Rail Transit from Baseline Station to Fallowfield Station, and then on to Barrhaven Town Centre.

The route includes three new bridges for LRT and vehicle traffic over the Woodroffe Avenue and Fallowfield Road VIA rail lines and the Southwest Transitway.

Three new LRT stations would be built at Tallwood, Knoxdale and Nepean Sportsplex, while four existing Bus Rapid Transit Stations at Fallowfield, Longfields, Strandherd and Barrhaven Centre would be converted to LRT stations.

The report notes there is no secured funding to build LRT to Barrhaven as part of Stage 3. Staff also say 120 privately owned affordable rental units would need to be removed to make away for the LRT project.

Ottawa LRT, OTrain, Confederation Line

All aboard the first on-road Electric Low-Speed Automated Shuttle

The future of public transportation will roll out Monday morning in Ottawa.

Area X.O will launch the first on-road Electric Low-Speed Automated Shuttle trial of its kind in Ontario.

Area X.O operated by Invest Ottawa is billed as the futureplex of innovation and collaboration in Ottawa that enables and accelerates the safe and secure development, testing and application of next-generation technologies.

Monday’s announcement will include Mayor Jim Watson, Transport Canada, the City of Ottawa, EasyMile and RideShark.

What’s happening in Ottawa this week

Monday:

Transportation Committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.

Ottawa Board of Health meeting – 5 p.m.

Tuesday:

Ottawa Public Library Board meeting – 5 p.m.

Wednesday:

Ottawa Police Services Board – Special Meeting (2021 draft budget tabled) 8:30 a.m.

City Council 10 a.m.

Transit Commission Special Meeting (2021 draft budget tabled) 1 p.m.

Thursday:

Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee meeting: 10 a.m.

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