COVID-19, LRT fixes headline Council meeting agenda

Ottawa City Hall is seen in this undated photo. (File photo)

The COVID-19 pandemic and the state of Ottawa’s finances will be the main focus of today’s Council meeting.

Councillors will dial in by telephone from home or the office for the meeting since the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act prohibits organized public events of more than five people.

Both Mayor Jim Watson and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches are scheduled to address Council at the start of the meeting.

Dr. Etches will provide an update on COVID-19, and the city’s efforts to flatten the curve.

Losing $1 million a day

City Staff will present options for Council to consider as the city faces shrinking revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mayor said on Monday the city is losing approximately $1 million a day in revenue due to facilities closures and program cancellations. OC Transpo ridership is down 70 to 90 per cent during the pandemic.

The city has announced temporary layoffs for more than 4,000 part-time employees in the Parks, Recreation and Facility Department and Ottawa Public Library.

City Manager Steve Kanellakos says the layoffs will save the city approximately $2.7 million a month.

Issues with the Confederation Line

The City Manager will also provide Council with an update on Rideau Transit Group’s plans to address the issues with the Confederation Line.

On March 10, Council issued a notice of default to RTG, giving the company until March 31 to present a plan to fix the issues with the seven-month-old system.

In a letter to RTG released to the public on March 13, the city outlined the issues it wanted RTG to address, including problems with the vehicles, the Overhead Catenary System, the Vehicle Braking Systems, Vehicle Door Performance and vehicle power.

The city also wants 14 trains running during peak periods by June 1, and 15 trains running by August 4.