Published on January 10, 2022
A host of NCC projects set to entice Ottawans to get some fresh air
The start of the new year provides the opportunity to anticipate all that is coming our way in 2022. At the NCC, there is much to be excited about, with dozens of projects under way, led by our able staff and in support of our mission to build an inspiring capital that is a source of pride for all Canadians. Here are a few highlights that will be particularly visible this year.
Parkways for People
In light of their massive popularity during the first two years of the pandemic, the various pilot projects through which we created more outdoor space for people to walk, wheel, bike or run without fear of motor vehicle traffic will be regularized in 2022. Sunday Bikedays are now Weekend Bikedays, quadrupling the amount of time people can enjoy the Ontario parkways, by launching the program earlier in May, through to the Thanksgiving weekend. We’ll also be expanding space for people along the canal, in both winter and summer, starting with daytime weekend closures of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway in January.
In Gatineau Park, we will pilot a summer shuttle service promoting weekend access to destinations along the parkways from downtown Ottawa and Gatineau. This service aims to achieve three objectives: addressing equity for those who don’t own cars; improving accessibility for people with disabilities; and offering cleaner transportation options to reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions.
Shorelines and Waterways
Providing more opportunities to enjoy our spectacular waterways will continue to be a focus in 2022. Work on the new Westboro Beach complex will start this summer, while the revitalization of Nepean Point and the NCC River House (former Ottawa New Edinburgh Club) will advance — with the promise of opening up views and access to the Ottawa River. The summer season will see new activities not just near the river, but also on it. From inner tube rafting trips to kayak excursions to dining experiences, new business partnerships will offer varied river adventures for all interests.
On the north shore of the Ottawa River, people will be able to enjoy Jacques-Cartier Park after a two-year decontamination project, while soil cleanup work shifts to the Ruisseau de la Brasserie (Brewery Creek), creating new opportunities to advance the development of this jewel in Gatineau’s crown.
Building on the success of the five outdoor taverns and NCC Bistros we have created with local restaurateurs around the Capital, plans are afoot for additional locations, with details to come this spring.
Our momentum at LeBreton Flats continues to grow. This past fall saw the completion of a new pathway network linking the Ottawa River Pathway to the two LRT stations that bookend the Flats, including an area near Pimisi Station that will provide future opportunities for outdoor activation. In the meantime, this pathway will be added to the Kitchi Sibi Winter Trail, so users of the trail will get an early glimpse of parts of the Flats that haven’t been accessible for decades.
Over the course of the coming year, we will see progress on three major development initiatives. Early this year, in partnership with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, we will announce the proponent selected to deliver affordable rental housing in a sustainable mixed-use development adjacent to the future Library and Archives Canada and City of Ottawa Central Public Library, east of Booth Street. Second, we look forward to reviewing responses to our request for expressions of interest in two parcels within LeBreton Flats, which we hope will become exciting attractions within the project. Third, the next development phase within the Master Concept Plan — the Flats District between Wellington and the aqueducts — will also come to market this year, providing further impetus toward the transformation of the site.
Finally, among many other initiatives planned for 2022, we will see the launch of Open NCC, modelled on Open Doors, which will offer national capital residents and visitors an up-close look at the NCC’s assets — from guided walks to building tours to nature hikes to archaeological digs.
In the meantime, despite the current pandemic challenges, we are starting 2022 with an ever-expanding network of groomed winter trails on both sides of the river, and preparation under way for what we hope will be (fingers crossed) a robust Rideau Canal Skateway season. We hope to see you out there!
Chief Executive Officer
National Capital Commission
Read this letter published in the Ottawa Citizen on Monday, January 10, 2022.