Volume 12 Week 5

Sunday, Jan. 20


Posted Jan. 10

Posted Jan. 9

Posted Jan. 7


Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney





(Posted 5:30 p.m., Jan. 8)
Crime, politics and store closures dominate headlines in 2015

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Justin Trudeau waves to supporters at a rally at the Shenkman Arts Centre in September. File photo

While 2015 was dominated primarily by the federal election and subsequent landslide victory by Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party, it was also notable for the criminal proceedings both inside and outside the courtroom, and the closure of a number of prominent businesses including Target, the Future Shop, Builders Warehouse and the Home Hardware store in Sarsfield.

The year was barely two weeks old when workers at the Target store in Place d’Orléans were informed that the American retailer was pulling out of Canada. The decision affected 17,600 employees at 133 stores nation-wide, including four stores in Ottawa. By year’s end, Place d’Orléans had still not found a tenant to replace Target.

The one story that commanded headlines for the better part of 2015 was the federal election. In January, soon-to-be former Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid a pre-budget visit/rally to Garneau high school where, among other things he announced the Conservative government’s plans to allow income splitting and increase the Universal Child Care Benefit.

The next day, the City of Ottawa released the preliminary plans for the eastern extension of the LRT system that will be built as part of Phase II of the mega project. The plans received a mainly positive response, except for the fact that the system will only be extended as far as Place d’Orléans. Most residents were hoping that it would be extended to Trim Road. A later report pegged the cost of extending light rail from Place d’Orléans to Trim Road at $160 million.

In early February, consultants conducting the environmental assessment for the widening of Ottawa Road 174 from Trim Road to Rockland, released their initial findings and recommendations which were met with criticism from residents living along the 174 corridor in Cumberland.

Sticking with February, a private day care in Orléans came under fire for offering clients a “vaccine free” environment. The debate over whether parents should have the right to decide if their children should vaccinated or not, continued to be waged in 2015. It was also announced that Habitat for Humanity would be building four new homes on Cousineau Street, and Plasco officially filed for banktrupcy, bringing an abrupt end to any plans to convert the city’s garbage into an energy source through gasification.

The month ended with Orléans lawyer David Bertschi filing a lawsuit against several executive members of the Liberal Party of Canada for breach of trust and defamation for the alleged role they played in revoking his candidacy for the Liberal nomination in Ottawa-Orléans. The decision paved the way for Andrew Leslie to win the nomination by acclamation.

The end of February also saw the appointment of Dina Epale as the new executive director of the Orléans Chamber of Commerce.

In March, a former coach with an east end soccer club pled guilty to sexual interference charges laid in connection with a series of e-mails he sent to a 12-year-old player that were intercepted by his then girlfriend.

Council also approved the 2015 budget in March along with a two-per-cent tax hike. The month ended with announcement that Best Buy planned to consolidate its holdings in Canada by closing all of its Future Shop stores. Here in the east end the company closed the Future Shop store in Gloucester Centre and rebranded the Future Shop store on Innes Road as a Best Buy store.

In April, an outdoor press conference was held at the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre at which the provincial and federal governments made a joint announcement to provide $124 million for the completion of the Ottawa River Action Plan which prevent future sewage outflows into the Ottawa River once it is completed.

April also saw the first of two homicides take place on Jasmine Crescent in 2015, when 18-year-old Connor Stevenson was stabbed to death just steps from his mother`s apartment unit. Six months later, 17-year-old Issaiah Clashar suffered the same fate when he was stabbed to death on Sept. 20.

In May, St. Peter High School students collect over 36,000 items for the Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre foodbank, and Cairine Wilson Secondary School students raised over $75,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society during their annual Relay for Life.

On May 25, Justice Robert Wadden found Orléans real estate agent Chris Hoare guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault with a weapon and choking for attacking his wife with a baseball bat in their Convent Glen home in April 2014 and then trying to suffocate her.

In June, city workers quietly installed a public sculpture at the corner of Trim and Watters Roads. Entitled “Erratic Field”, the work is a collection of random metal shapes depicting boulders left by the receding glaciers following the last ice age.

The public art installation at the corner of Trim and Watters Roads as it looked in the artist’s rendition (above) and as it appeared after it was installed in June. File photos

The sculpture drew the ire of local taxpayers when it was revealed that it cost $150,000.

Work also began on the Millennium Park expansion in June, and the city announced changes to OC Transpo routes impacted by construction of the LRT system along the transitway between Hurdman Station and Gloucester Centre.

After celebrating Canada Day on Petrie Island for 10 years, thousands of residents flocked to Navan to celebrate Canada’s birthday at the fairgrounds for the first time.

On July 9, 70-year-old John Frank McRae was charged with second degree murder after his 51-year-old son was stabbed to death in their Notre Dame Street apartment.

Two weeks later, 18-year-old Orléans resident Sam Cudmore became a YouTube sensation when he was invited on stage by country music legend Keith Urban at the Bluesfest to sing “Kiss A Girl”. Within minutes #SamfromOrleans started trending on Twitter.

On July 16, Blackburn Hamlet lost one of its earliest residents when Lois Kemp passed away at the age of 85.
Kemp was responsible for establishing many of the community’s institutions including the Blackburn Fun Fair, the Blackburn Community Association and the Banar newspaper.

On July 31, OrleansOnline.ca published a story about the Earle family in Avalon and the support they received from family and friends in renovating their home after Michelle Earle was left paralyzed in a freak accident at a friend’s cottage.

Michelle credited her husband Mike for helping her get through the first few difficult days following the accident.

“It’s one of those situations that can either pull you together or pull you apart. And for us, it’s really pulled us together. In fact our marriage is stronger now than it’s ever been,” Michelle said. “He’s constantly reminding me that we’re going to get through this no matter what and he’s not going anywhere. It’s going to be difficult, but we’re going to do it."

Bryce Desrochers gets a little help from his dad Rollie as he takes the plate during the official opening of the Miracle League of Ottawa baseball diamond on Friday. Photo supplied

In August, local baseball enthusiasts gathered in Notre-Dame-des-Champs for the opening of the Miracle League of Ottawa baseball diamond. The guest of honour was 12-year-old Bryce Desrochers who was the inspiration behind the project to build a baseball diamond for children with special needs.

On Aug. 20, Al Blake of Rockland was killed while he was cutting grass in the median of Hwy. 174 when a truck inexplicably left the roadway just west of the Rockcliffe Parkway overpass.

In September, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau made a campaign stop at the Shenkman Arts Centre to attend an enthusiastic rally of local Liberal supporters. One month later he would become the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada after the Liberals won a surprising landslide victory.

Among the newly-elected rookie MPs was retired lieutenant general Andrew Leslie who defeated Conservative incumbent Royal Galipeau in Orléans. Touted as an obvious choice for Minister of National Defence, he was passed over for Cabinet and was instead name government whip.

In November, the city`s social service agencies form Refugee 613 in anticipation of the Liberal government`s commitment to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February.

On Dec. 9, Ottawa city council passed the 2016 budget which contains a 2.12 per cent tax increase for urban ratepayers, and a 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares.

December was also the month former Ottawa Police Service high school resource officer Jason Mallett pled guilty to a trio of charges including insubordination and discreditable conduct for failing to turn in two marijuana joints as evidence in a high school seizure and having a local teen held overnight under false pretenses.

Mallett is a former St. Matthew High School football standout who spent eight years in the CFL before joining the Ottawa Police Service in 2005.

The year ended with news that Hydro Ottawa and Hydro One had failed to reach an agreement on the possible transfer of 45,000 suburban customers to the municipal utility.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)


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