CBC Ottawa's top stories to watch for 2016
Our predictions for some of the bigger local stories to come in the new year
News is unpredictable by its very nature, but there are stories in the Ottawa-Gatineau area that are expected to be resolved or have major developments in 2016.
As we get set to start a new year, here are some of the major local stories on our radar for the 366 days ahead.
Many of Ottawa's major sports teams exceeded expectations in 2015:
- The Senators rode a late-season surge and a little Hamburglar magic to a playoff berth after a slow start led to the firing of head coach Paul MacLean.
- The Redblacks went from a two-win expansion season to within a touchdown of winning the Grey Cup.
- The Ottawa Fury also had a number of franchise firsts when they won the North American Soccer League title and their first home playoff game before falling in the league final.
- The Ottawa 67s went from the Eastern Conference basement to the East Division title.
So what will these teams do for an encore?
On the ice the 67s and Senators are having good, not great seasons that have kept them in the playoff picture.
On the field, the new-look Fury will resume play in the spring without head coach and general manager Marc Dos Santos, leading scorer Tom Heinemann and captain Ritchie Ryan, while the Redblacks are looking to Jaime Elizondo to replace offensive coordinator Jason Maas, now head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos.
Speaking of living up to expectations…
The change of family living at 24 Sussex Drive (and Rideau Cottage) will continue to be a big national story to watch in 2016, but Justin Trudeau's majority mandate will have its local ripples.
Will the feeling of joy from many public servants at the change in government continue under Treasury Board president Scott Brison?
What effect will Immigration Minister John McCallum's plan to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees affect the people coming to local communities and the people who are here to help them?
What will it mean for the city to have Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna also serve as MP for Ottawa Centre?
And what will end up happening with 24 Sussex Dr., anyway? That depends in large part to the group falling under the jurisdiction of Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly.
NCC details and decisions
The National Capital Commission has two high-profile projects to continue working on this year.
We have two dates set for the next stage of one of them: Jan. 26 and 27 at the Canadian War Museum, where more details about the two remaining proposals to redevelop 9.3 hectares of LeBreton Flats will be revealed during public consultations.
The winning bid is not expected to be announced until "early 2017."
Meanwhile, we have less of an idea about what exactly is happening with the planned monument to victims of communism after Joly asked for it to be redesigned and moved to the Garden of the Provinces and Territories.
The NCC would have to approve use of the Garden of the Provinces and Territories for the memorial if that request comes in.
Oh, and the NCC also manages the Rideau Canal Skateway, which is nowhere near opening as 2016 calendars are going up.
While we're on the topic of transportation…
We had already picked taxi-related issues for this story before Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson highlighted them in his year-end interview with CBC Ottawa's Adrian Harewood.
A final report into the City of Ottawa's taxi industry and the impact of ride-hailing service Uber is expected any day now from consulting firm KPMG.
That report will be looked at by staff and potential changes given to councillors, which could have a significant impact on how people get around the city and what they pay to do so.
This next year could also see the end of the months-long labour dispute between Airport taxi drivers and their dispatch company, Coventry Connections, over the ability to pick customers up at the Ottawa airport, which got off to a very intense start and has flared up a few times since.
Finally, another topic we've heard of a few times...
This was a story to watch when we did a similar outlook two years ago. It's a safe bet it will be a story to watch in a year's time, too.
Ottawa's quest to become the No. 1 destination for Canada's 150th birthday celebrations locked in a major music event (the Junos) and a title sponsor (CIBC) in 2015, while Watson and Ottawa 2017 executive director Guy Laflamme continue to hone in on events big (the Grey Cup, an NHL outdoor game) and small for that calendar year.
People in the Ottawa area are constantly reminded of Ottawa's tourism and event push for 2017, but how will Ottawa make itself a destination for the rest of the country and beyond?
Work to make that happen will continue in a big way in the year ahead.
- A previous version of this story said the NCC has final authority over the victims of communism memorial. That's not true. The NCC doesn't have final say over the entire project, but would have to approve the use of the Garden of the Provinces and Territories.Jan 01, 2016 11:48 AM ET