On September 17, the NCC Board of Directors met to discuss recent and upcoming projects. Here are some of the highlights presented in my Report on Activities.
- Work on the Portage Bridge, which included widening the bike lane and adding a barrier to separate cyclists from motor vehicles, as well as rehabilitating the asphalt surface of the bridge, was completed this summer, on time and on budget.
- Work to renew the LeBreton Bridge on the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway began in May, and demolition of the existing structure is complete. The temporary detour route is in place. The project is expected to be complete by next July.
- Construction on the Hog’s Back Swing Bridge began in July, and the bridge was closed to traffic on Aug. 12. A temporary detour for cyclists, pedestrians, and people using wheelchairs and scooters is complete and in use.
- Construction on the Sentier de l’Ile in Gatineau began in July and is now complete.
- The Blair Road boat launch, currently a gravel ramp, is being upgraded to a permanent concrete ramp. It was closed on Sept. 15 and work is expected to be completed over the winter in advance of the 2020 boating season.
Flood Damage Repairs
- The pathway beneath Parliament Hill and the Voyageurs Pathway were both reopened to the public before the end of July, as planned.
- This summer the NCC began a 2-year pilot project partnering with local entrepreneurs to create a new and innovative way to activate our urban parks and enhance the visitor experience.
- The NCC Bistro in Confederation Park, operated by Moulin in the Park, opened on Aug. 3 and the NCC Bistro in Remic Rapids Park, operated by The Rapids Grill and Patio, opened on Aug. 18. They intend to stay open until Oct. 15.
- Feedback from the public to date has been overwhelmingly positive.
- We will review the results of all feedback to this pilot project — from visitors to the bistros, as well as our partners, stakeholders, and local communities — in the fall of 2020.
Gatineau Park Master Plan review
- The land use concept and strategic directions were well received by the public earlier this year, and the NCC is now developing a draft of an updated Plan, which will be shared with the Board at a subsequent meeting.
Other Planning Projects and Partnerships
- Online public consultations regarding the Recreational Pathway Plan should begin in December.
- The NCC is also collaborating with the City of Ottawa on the Sparks Street Public Realm study and the By-Ward Market Public Realm Plan.
- As well, the NCC intends to launch the development of a long-term integrated transportation plan for the National Capital Region, in consultation with provinces and municipalities.
- About 650 people participated in August in archaeological digs at Lake Leamy.
- The NCC will once again provide a free shuttle service into Gatineau Park from downtown Ottawa and Gatineau, as well as a shuttle connecting Champlain Lookout and Camp Fortune, for Fall Rhapsody
- There are many other NCC properties that offer beautiful views of the Fall colours, such as Mer Bleue, Green’s Creek, and Stoney Swamp in the Greenbelt, and I encourage you to visit them as well.
Responsible Trail Management
- Volunteers put in more than 800 hours of work over the summer that will enable the NCC to open more than 7 kilometres of new trails this fall while closing 1.3 kilometres of old trails that put habitat at risk.
Greenbelt Wetland Restoration
- Thanks to a project carried out by the NCC in partnership with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and Public Works and Government Services Canada, a declining wetland in the Greenbelt has been restored to life.
- Wetlands serve as habitat for diverse species, and they are also extremely valuable in terms of the ecosystem services they provide — including improving water and air quality and mitigating the effects of flooding.
- In fact, according to our natural capital study carried out in 2016, wetlands are the most valuable of the green spaces under NCC stewardship in this regard.
- We are now seeing wildlife return to the wetland.
Tornado Damage Repair
- Last September the National Capital Region was hit by a series of tornadoes, including an F2 tornado that caused extensive damage in the Greenbelt, mainly at the Bruce Pit and the forest adjacent to the Arlington Woods neighbourhood.
- This summer the NCC completed the final phase of our operations to clean up the damage and restore the forest, including planting about 200 trees.
Emerald Ash Borer
- As part of the NCC’s emerald ash borer management strategy, the NCC is currently planting 740 trees and shrubs of varying species in Rapides-Deschênes Park on the Quebec side of the river.
- Other invasive plant species have been removed to ensure these new trees thrive.
- During the fall and winter the NCC will continue to remove dead ash trees, mostly in the Greenbelt, and throughout the fall the NCC will plant a total of 5,000 more trees at various locations on NCC lands throughout the fall.
- The tree replacement program launched last spring is now 50% complete.
- In late June, the NCC and the Ville de Gatineau inaugurated L’Entre-Deux Artists’ Workshop at our property at 101, rue Montcalm.
- The NCC is proud to have been able to play a role in enhancing Gatineau’s cultural scene and downtown.