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Weekly News Review: Spring has sprung, it’s construction season, storm wreaks havoc on Ottawa, Stanley Park contaminated, beware of the swine

By François Levesque on April 27, 2009

Last week, we finally witnessed the coming of spring. The snow is gone, flowers are showing, leaves are popping out, the market stalls are back, skirts and shorts are back and everyone seems a bit happier. One big exception to this general feeling of joy are the business owners on Bank St. between Somerset and Arlington. This past week was the beginning of Bank St. renovation part four. In these tough economic times, many business in that area are worried that they will be affected by six months-plus of construction on the street. Following this winter’s bus strike, the construction might be a death blow for some.

Along with businesses, the construction will affect everyday Ottawans using Bank St., be they driving or using public transit. For info on how you might be affected, check the City of Ottawa’s advisory here.

The warm weather brought storms and strong winds to many areas of the city Saturday night. The storm managed to tear roofs off homes, trap people in vehicles thanks to fallen trees, and leave thousands of residents without power. Apartment613 Flickr pool member Mike Geiger captured the damage from the storm here.

In environmental news, the National Capital Commission has warned Ottawans that sections of Stanley Park in New Edinburgh are contaminated with lead. The area, which used to be an industrial site 100 years ago, has been fenced off along the contaminated areas. The new fence extended right up to some residents’ backyards, which prompted the NCC to warn residents that the soil in their backyards and gardens could potentially be harmful as well. The NCC will be holding an information session for local residents on May 5th.

Unless you’ve been living in total isolation in the last week, you’ve surely heard of the swine flu outbreak in Mexico. Six cases have been confirmed in Canada, two in British Columbia and four in Nova Scotia. Everyone from the World Health Organization to Canada’s Public Health Agency are taking things seriously. Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq urged Canadians to take precautions to prevent the human-to-human transmission of this strain of swine flu by washing their hands with hot water and soap, covering up their mouth and nose when sneezing, and staying home and contacting their family physicians if ill – particularly those who recently visited Mexico and have flu-like symptoms.

Health officials also advised Canadians to get flu shots and visit www.fightflu.ca and www.voyage.gc.ca for more information.