A look back at what made news in 2009

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JANUARY

The start of 2009 saw two devastating fires. The first, which struck just after midnight on New Year’s Day, destroyed the Navan Animal Rescue Shelter, killing nearly a dozen animals. Then on Jan. 4 two homes on Avebury Drive were destroyed by fire. No one was injured in the second blaze, but damages were estimated at $1.5 million. Meanwhile, a city committee approved the St. Joseph Community Improvement Plan, offering four grant program options to residents and businesses along a four-kilometre stretch of St. Joseph Boulevard.

FEBRUARY

OC Transpo buses started rolling in early February, ending a 53-day strike. Councillors, meanwhile, pointed to the need for better safeguards after a shipment of radioactive waste from the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre was turned away at the border. Those concerns launched a study into hospital waste disposal. Later in the month, city council approved $700,000 in safety upgrades for the Blackburn Bypass, which averaged 29 collisions per year between 1998 and 2004.

MARCH

City council officially proclaimed 2010 the 150th anniversary of the founding of the St-Joseph d’Orléans parish, paving the way for 12 months of celebrations in 2010. Montfort Hospital president and CEO Gérald Savoie announced his retirement after 23 years with the hospital. Beacon Hill North residents were busy assessing damages in their homes after a spectacular blaze on March 20 destroyed the substation at Shefford and Canotek roads, knocking out power to roughly 5,000 customers. The city laid off 33 managers and administrative staff in a third round of restructuring, resulting in annual savings of $2.3 million.

APRIL

Police were urging area businesses to protect their investments in mid-April following a rash of commercial break-and-enters. Fire services, meanwhile, battled a blaze at a Briargate condominium that was later determined to be caused by careless smoking. Dozens of rural residents protested the city’s proposed urban boundary expansion, which would have pushed the city limits farther east. Innes Coun. Rainer Bloess officially announced he would run for the federal Liberal nomination. In late April, the federal government announced $4 million for the new La Cité campus at North Service Road and the 174.

MAY

Beacon Hill North residents threatened to ditch the bus in favour of taking the car after OC Transpo planned to cut route 24, a move that was later rescinded. A proposed bylaw making helmets mandatory for youth at city sports and recreational facilities didn’t get a warm reception from local skateboarders. Navan’s Heritage Public School had to close for a day due to plumbing problems. East-end entrepreneur, Judith Cane, threw her name in the hat for the federal Liberal nomination, pitting her against Bloess. May ended on a positive note for two families who each received keys to their Habitat for Humanity homes in Chatelaine Village.

JUNE

The start of June saw a 28-year-old construction worker impaled by a steel spike at a Sandpiper Court and Pintail Terrace site. He was rushed to hospital in stable condition. On June 6 youngsters tore down Orléans Boulevard in their soap boxes. Local lawyer David Bertschi joined the federal Liberal nomination race. The southern section of the Cardinal Creek karst was granted provincial designation as an area of natural and scientific interest, after a two-year campaign by a local community association. Councillors decided not to expand the urban boundary in the east and instead rubber stamped an amended Official Plan that saw 239 hectares in the west added to the city’s footprint. Both Lester B. Pearson and St. Matthew high schools got some much-needed provincial funding to build an addition to their respective schools. By the end of the month, former federal Liberal candidate Marc Godbout confirmed he would not run for re-election.

JULY

July got off to a warm and festive start with the annual Canada Day celebrations at Petrie Island. The Orléans YMCA-YWCA announced plans to expand its facility on Centrum Boulevard, launching the largest campaign in the National Capital YMCA-YWCA’s history. Petrie Island’s split beach proved a boon for swimmers, with consistently low E. coli counts at the east beach. In terms of water quality, though, the city released a report that noted the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre was releasing too much chlorine into waterways. In Navan, three abandoned pot-bellied pigs were rescued by the Ottawa Humane Society. One of the pigs gave birth to 11 piglets after being taken in by an area farmer.

AUGUST

The 64th-annual Navan Fair opened with a raucous spectacle as cars crashed into one another during a demolition derby. Henry Larsen Elementary School lost some of the greenspace it had been leasing after a developer decided to start building more houses in the community. The province announced $1-million to help the Montfort Hospital develop a business plan for an Orléans Family Health Hub. Recommended changes to the city’s water rate left some residents angry, especially rural homeowners who argued they’d be on the hook for a service they don’t receive.

SEPTEMBER

On Sept. 13 the Orléans Urgent Care Clinic reopened on Sundays, after being forced to close one day a week because of a doctor shortage. In early September, the police warned residents theft from vehicles in the east was on the rise. The Eastern Ottawa Chamber of Commerce announced its merger with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. Bertschi won the federal Liberal nomination. The city, meanwhile, announced it would be paying out just over $36.7 million for the cancelled LRT project. Blackburn Hamlet’s Anglican Parish of St. Mary’s the Virgin celebrated its 130th anniversary. Later in September, the community went into mourning after Brad Rivington, 19, Chris Sabean, 19, and Ginny Marko, 16, were killed in a crash on Heuvelmans Road.

OCTOBER

A heated east-end meeting about the future of Lansdowne Park helped usher in October, with residents questioning sole-sourcing by the city, the economic impact of the development, and municipal accountability. Ottawa philanthropist and business leader, John Ruddy, president of his family’s Trinity Development Foundation, donated $1 million to the YMCA-YWCA campaign, paving the way for his family name on the Orléans Y. Councillors authorized staff to award the construction contract for the Hunt Club extension’s first phase in order to meet spring 2011 deadline on stimulus funding.

NOVEMBER

Master Cpl. Jody Mitic of Orléans experienced a Remembrance Day unlike any other as he met Governor General Michaëlle Jean one day and Prime Minister Stephen Harper the next. Mitic, who lost both his legs below the knee from a landmine blast while on patrol in Afghanistan, received the new Sacrifice Medal honouring soldiers who were wounded or killed in action. As the DriveTest strike continued, management opened a handful of centres across the province, including the site on Canotek Road. City budget deliberations started to heat up, with frustrations expressed by riders and some councillors about a proposed 7.5 per cent transit fare hike.

DECEMBER

The city’s budget consultations made a stop in the east end early December, with residents complaining about transit fare increases, service reductions, and the proposed green bin levy. Navan residents, meanwhile, started rallying around the community’s bid to earn the title of Hockeyville. Olympic fever set in on Orléans as the torch made its way down St. Joseph Boulevard on Dec. 14. Orléans’ own Mélissa Brunet was the city’s official torch bearer two days earlier. As the Christmas season got into full swing, area businesses were reporting brisk sales, with red mittens at the top of most shopping lists.

Organizations: OC Transpo, Montfort Hospital, North Service Heritage Public School Habitat for Humanity Sandpiper Court Orléans YMCA-YWCA National Capital YMCA-YWCA Ottawa Humane Society Henry Larsen Elementary School Orléans Urgent Care Clinic Eastern Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Trinity Development Foundation YMCA Hunt Club

Geographic location: Orléans Boulevard, Joseph Boulevard, Beacon Hill North Navan Briargate Chatelaine Village Ottawa Centrum Boulevard Heuvelmans Road Lansdowne Park Afghanistan Canotek Road

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