Strike shuts down Ottawa construction sites and gas prices inch towards $2: Five stories to watch this week

A crane at the Centre Block rehabilitation project on Parliament Hill. The Ottawa Construction Association says construction will slow down on the project due to a strike by crane and heavy equipment operators.

A strike shuts down work at Ottawa construction sites, Ottawa gas prices flirt with $2 a litre and the tulips are blooming in the capital.

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

Strikes slow down Ottawa construction

Major construction projects in Ottawa could be affected this week as carpenters join crane and heavy equipment operators on strike.

The Carpenters' District Council of Ontario says carpenters in the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional sector in the construction industry will go on strike Monday after its 15,000 members rejected the employers latest offer.

Last week, crane and heavy equipment operators in Ottawa and across Ontario went on strike, shutting down cranes and heavy equipment on major construction sites.

The Ottawa Construction Association warns the job action will cause lengthy delays for all projects in Ottawa, including the Centre Block restoration on Parliament Hill and work at condominium buildings.

The city of Ottawa says work on the $334 million new central library at LeBrton Flats was shutdown last week due to the strike by crane operators, and contractors are warning the strike action could impact work on Stage 2 of the LRT.

"Due to the current International Union of Operating Engineers, Institutional, Commercial, Industrial (ICI) sector strike, work has temporarily paused at the Ādisōke project site. The Ādisōke project site is safe and secure," Carina Ducios, Director of Infrastructure Services, told CTV News Ottawa in a statement.

"The City and the Ādisōke Project Team are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to provide regular updates."

The Ottawa Construction Association says the rising cost of fuel and other products was a concern for members in rejecting proposed contracts.

Rising gas prices

All eyes will be on the cost of gasoline this week, as prices flirt with $2 a litre.

Motorists were paying 199.9 cents a litre to fill up at Ottawa gas stations on Sunday, a record price for gasoline.

The cost of gas has increased over the last few weeks due to several reasons, including the switch to summer gasoline blend and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Canadians for Affordable Energy President Dan McTeague predicts gasoline prices could hit $2.10 a litre by the May long weekend.

McTeague says the only thing that could cause prices to drop would be if Russian forces retreat in Ukraine.

"If Russia decides to back off look for gas prices to drop, as well as oil, that would probably lead to an unexpected decrease in prices," McTeague told CP24 on Saturday.

Week two of the Ontario election campaign

It's week two of the Ontario election campaign, as leaders spread out across Ontario to pitch their vision for the province following the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent poll suggests living affordability is a key issue for Ontario voters. An Abacus Data survey found 62 per cent of Ontarians said their household income was falling behind the cost of living.

As of Sunday, Liberal leader Stephen Duca was the only major party leader to visit eastern Ontario during the campaign.

This week, the leaders of the Progressive Conservatives, Liberal, NDP and Green parties will hold a debate Tuesday to discuss issues focused on northern Ontario.

Ottawa Hospital requests $150 million from the city of Ottawa

Council will vote this week on a request from the Ottawa Hospital for $150 million in municipal funding to support the new Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus.

If council approves the financial framework and guiding principles plan, staff will report back during the next term of council with options to cover the local share contribution.

The four "guiding principles" to support the study of contributing $150 million to the hospital project include "minimal to no financial burden" to the taxpayers and no redirection of existing operating budget dollars to the project.

City Treasurer Wendy Stephanson told the finance and economic development committee it was the "biggest, the largest" funding request the city has received during her tenure.

The $2.8 billion new Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus is expected to be completed in 2028.

Canadian Tulip Festival returns

As the tulips begin to bloom across Ottawa, visitors will arrive for the start of the Canadian Tulip Festival.

The popular spring festival will celebrate its 70th anniversary with in-person events for the first time since 2019.

Events include a Tulip Legacy Walking Tour, new night programming called 'Tulips at Night' and Tulip Bingo.

For more information, visit tulipfestival.ca

EVENTS HAPPENING IN OTTAWA THIS WEEK

Tuesday

Ottawa Public Library Board – 5 p.m.

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

Ottawa Catholic District School Board meeting - 7 p.m. 

Wednesday

Ottawa City Council meeting – 10 a.m.

Thursday

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

Friday

Canadian Tulip Festival begins