On June 22, the NCC Board of Directors met to discuss recent and upcoming projects. Here are the highlights presented in my Report on Activities.
Every spring, the tulip beds that we plant and care for set the scene for the Canadian Tulip Festival. In May, the 71st edition of the festival drew hundreds of thousands of visitors to the National Capital Region.
We also saw the return in May of our active use programs, including our NCC Weekend Bikedays, which I am very pleased to say are as popular as ever. And, for the third year in a row, we reserved the Queen Elizabeth Driveway for active use, providing a one-of-a-kind, sustainable, car-free experience along the scenic Rideau Canal.
Since our last board meeting, we have hosted three successful Urbanism Lab sessions, which you can rewatch here:
This innovative lecture series has now ended but will be back in the fall for a tenth season.
We are making progress on many major projects and plans:
- 24 Sussex Drive: We started the Asset Integrity Project on May 17. This is an important first step to removing obsolete and hazardous mechanical and electrical infrastructure, as well as designated substances found throughout the structure of the house.
- Victoria Island Remediation Project: We are still in Phase 3 of the project, which focuses on the greenspace area west of Portage Bridge. We expect the bulk of the work will be completed by the end of the year.
- Sir George-Étienne Cartier Park Plan: The Sir George-Étienne Cartier Park Plan is also in Phase 3 of development. The plan focuses on a 13-kilometre stretch of federal lands along the Ottawa River. The next round of public and stakeholder consultations is set for fall 2023.
- Ruisseau de la Brasserie Public Development Plan: We have finalized concept plans. The concept outlines the desired mix of uses and public realm improvements to ensure the project adds to the vibrancy of Gatineau’s downtown.
- Rideau Canal Corridor: We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of Ottawa and Parks Canada for a cultural landscape study of the area.
- Champlain Bridge Rehabilitation: Phase 2 of the project is complete. We are now mobilized for Phase 3, the very last phase of the project, which is on track for completion in November 2023.
- Philippe Lake Campground Rehabilitation: Preparations for the foundations are ongoing, with archaeological excavations taking place at the site. Just recently, our in-house archaeologists, Ian Badgley and Monica Maika, uncovered stone tools near the site. The tools are made of quartz and date back 3,000 to 6,000 years (if not longer).
- Westboro Beach Area Redevelopment: Work progresses very smoothly on site. The foundation work for the new net-zero pavilion (restaurant and community space) is now complete. The steel structure is expected to be erected this summer.
We met with the community at Westboro Beach in May to provide an update on the redevelopment project. We are planning a similar community engagement exercise for 2024.
We also held an open house on May 10 for the Algonquin Renaming Process of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. The event included members of the Algonquin community and the public. The gathered stories will be featured in a summary report about the naming and engagement exercise.
We have begun updating the 2017 Protocol for the Co-management of Archaeological Resources between the NCC, the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nations. This collaborative agreement ensures direct input from these two Algonquin communities, particularly as it relates to archaeological matters on federal lands in the region.
Interprovincial Transportation Planning
We are working to update the data in our Long-Term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan. New traffic studies and surveys will soon be initiated regarding the movement of people as well as commercial vehicles in the region.
In May, we issued a contract for truck data collection, as data on interprovincial truck travel patterns is outdated. The new data will complement the Household Origin-Destination Survey.
Following an agreement with the Government of Quebec, the Gatineau Park team is now participating in the provincial biodiversity monitoring network. We have installed several devices to record the sounds of some animals and to take pictures of mammals. This data will be monitored at five-year intervals and the project will document changes in the environment and observe the adaptations that occur in the face of climate change.
Also, the Quebec Urban Lands and Gatineau Park teams will soon conclude two new contribution agreements as part of their annual scientific research incentive program. With this program, we provide financial assistance to encourage scientific research on NCC lands in Quebec. We sometimes also put researchers in touch with the Friends of Gatineau Park, who can contribute volunteers.
Every year, we support two projects from the proposals submitted. Last year, one of those was a study by CREDDO on animal deaths on roads near Gatineau Park.