The Tomato

Photo: Spencer Murdock
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Council holds emergency meeting to debate costly project

The City of Ottawa has called an emergency council meeting to talk about City plans to purchase a giant freezer to insta-freeze the Rideau Canal. The emergency meeting to vote on this issue is expected to be held on Jan. 18 at city hall. This ambitious project would require buying a giant freezer, and closing off downtown streets to give more space for cranes needed to support the freezer.

Councillor Mike Standstill was the driving force behind this initiative, and believes that the city would enjoy numerous benefits if the proposal goes through.

“I don’t think it can be disputed that winter in Ottawa doesn’t exactly scream ‘tourist hotbed’, but we can’t ignore the extreme popularity of the canal. We need the canal up and running as soon as possible so that thousands of people can show off their skating skills for 20 minutes before getting off because it’s too cold.”

There are already some strong supporters of this idea. Among them is University of Ottawa student, Noelle Snow, who has been living in Ottawa for five years and has grown tired of the ski-hill nature that Ottawa’s streets take on in the wintertime. In an interview with the Tomato she said “anything they have to do to get the canal open sooner is fine with me. I can’t keep roller skating through Sandy Hill to get my skating fix. ”

Of course there are some naysayers to this idea, including councillor Troy Hawthorne, who said “I can’t believe we’re even considering this! Where will we even find a big enough freezer to get the job done? And I’m supposed to vote to dip into the light-show lightbulb budget for this?!”

One U of O student whose father spent 25 years in the refrigerator maintenance business, Lou Roles believes the project can be done. “I guess it all depends on what size the freezer is. We could have a large unit that could quickly freeze small areas of the river but would have to be disassembled each night to drag it to a new location,” said Roles. “Or we could have several small freezers on some sort of rope and pulley system.”

Mayor Jim Watson was somewhat impartial to each side of the issue, saying briefly “I don’t get it, but if it’s what the people want, well…”

Despite logistics concerns and the potentially astronomical costs associated with this project, the proposal is expected to be approved and work could be started within the next two weeks. No word yet on whether the City will let people store their food outside under the mobile units.