On November 22, the NCC Board of Directors met to discuss recent and upcoming projects. Here are some of the highlights presented in my Report on Activities.
- The skate shelters have been installed on the Rideau Canal in preparation for the 49th season of the Rideau Canal Skateway.
- Skating at the Rideau Hall rink and Winter Pavilion is expected to begin on Dec. 1.
- On September 21, a series of tornados caused extensive damage in the Capital, including to NCC property and assets.
- The most seriously affected NCC assets on the Ontario side of the river were in the southern sector of the Greenbelt, in particular the Bruce Pit forest and dog park, and in Gatineau Park.
- About 17 hectares in the Greenbelt were damaged and several thousand trees were lost as well as a heritage barn on Russell Road.
- Cleanup efforts began immediately with a priority on mitigating risk to the public.
- Gatineau Park was closed for 48 hours for cleanup and inspection of the trail network.
Reporting to Parliament
- Work on the Portage Bridge was carried out beginning in mid-September, mostly at night to minimize disruption.
- The first phase of the project was completed ahead of schedule.
- The widening of the cycle track and addition of the barrier separating it from the vehicular lanes will be completed in 2019.
Emerald Ash Borer
- In 2019 the will replace trees to the Emerald Ash Borer in locations including Leamy Lake Park, Deschênes Park, Mud Lake, along the Aviation Parkway, at Remic Rapids, and along recreational pathways with a variety of indigenous species.
- The NCC is working with Chaudière Hydro LP and Energy Ottawa Inc. to give the public access to the Chaudière Falls. A negotiated agreement will be presented to the board for approval at its in-camera meeting.
Ottawa River South Shore Linear Park
- More than 650 people have contributed ideas for a name for the new park. The ad hoc committee will discuss a short list later in November and three names will be submitted to the Board in January.
Monastère des Servantes de Jésus-Marie
- Online consultations opened on Oct. 11 regarding the future of the Monastère des Servantes de Jésus-Marie in Gatineau and almost 950 people have responded. The NCC will next hold meetings with the Servantes de Jésus-Marie and other stakeholders.
Sir John A. Macdonald Winter Trail
- This year the NCC will post new signage marking the route and will create a rest area at Remic Rapids featuring picnic tables, a fire pit, and storage lockers in co-operation with Access Storage and Cube-It.
- Work on Phase 1 — the ceremonial landing and water entry — has been substantially completed, with NCC staff making several design adjustments to promote resiliency against spring flooding. It is hoped that Phase 2, the land access, will begin construction in 2019.
Gatineau Park Master Plan
- Phase 3 of the renewal process, involving a draft concept and zoning, is scheduled to begin in February.
- The free NCC shuttle carried more than 10,000 riders into Gatineau Park, with 4,000 riders also travelling between locations within the Park — an increase of almost 20% over last year.
- The Pontiac County Fair at Luskville Falls, a partnership with the Municipality of Pontiac, drew 3,000 visitors.
- Nature Days at Lac Philippe drew 1,000 visitors
- A folk picnic in the Meech Creek Valley held in partnership with the Municipality of Chelsea drew about 300 people.
- Anishinabe Nibin, at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre and organized in collaboration with the community of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, attracted more than 5,000 people.
Winter Park Passes
- This year it is possible to purchase day passes online.
- A presale campaign for season passes ended on Nov. 4 with sales already reaching almost 7,000.
- For the third year the NCC and more than 20 partners are offering a discount and exclusive-offer program at a number of local retailers.
- Since the end of May volunteers have put in more than 600 hours in trail development, allowing the NCC to open more than four kilometres of new trails for snowshoeing and fatbiking this winter. We expect to be able to open about 15 kilometres of new hiking and mountain bike trails in the spring.
Blog: Responsible Trail Management
A few years ago, when we initially began to look at addressing the problem of unofficial trails in Gatineau Park, our thinking was to harmonize the needs and requests of Park users with the Park’s conservation mandate. So we created the Responsible Trail Management project.
- Signage warning of coyotes in McCarthy Woods was installed at five locations on Oct. 3.
National Holocaust Monument
- The National Holocaust Monument remains open for winter but the entry points on Wellington Street are now closed, as are the upper terrace, the elevator, and the Flame of Remembrance.
- The interior of the monument can be accessed via the main entrance on Booth Street.
- The fifth season of programming in the Lab is under way. This fall’s sessions so far have addressed pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods; gardens and healthy cities; and sustainable urbanism. Also this fall the Lab has hosted delegates to the annual Conseil des infrastructures Grand Forum and a presentation on sustainable cities by Ellen de Vibe, the chief town planner for Oslo, Europe’s Green Capital for 2019.
- This year the NCC launched an initiative called ARAL — Assessment and Rescue of Archaeological Legacy. It is a major undertaking addressing the flooding of 2017, as well as the ongoing erosion affecting archaeological sites on shorelines managed by the NCC, in an effort to protect the Capital’s rich archaeological record.
- Work to date has involved auditing and re-documenting known archaeological sites and surveying shorelines that have not been previously explored.
- This project is being carried out in collaboration with the Algonquin communities of Kitigan Zibi and Pikwakangan, under the guidance of NCC archaeologist Ian Badgley.