Aylmer hydro ruins granted reprieve after Quebec hits pause on demolition plan

The remains of a 130-year-old hydro dam at the Deschênes Rapids that were slated to be demolished due to concerns about their safety have been granted a reprieve.

Will first study proposals put forward by kayaking associations for 132-year-old site

The ruins of a 19th century hydro dam near the Deschênes Rapids on the Ottawa River, as seen from the Gatineau, Que., shoreline, on March 5, 2017. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

The remains of a 132-year-old Ottawa River hydro dam slated to be demolished over safety concerns have been granted a reprieve by the Quebec government.

Quebec's transport ministry has decided to hold off on the demolition project after receiving proposals for the Deschênes Rapids site from local kayaking associations, Pontiac MNA André Fortin told Radio-Canada this week.

The rapids near the dam — located on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, near Gatineau's Aylmer sector — have been described as "world-class," with kayakers traveling long distances to experience the waves.

However, the Quebec government has been concerned by the fact that six people have died or gone missing in the water near the ruins over the past 10 years.

The Deschênes Residents' Association has also spoken out against the plan to demolish the immense stone ruins, which speak to the Aylmer area's longstanding industrial history.