NCC considering overnight closures of Gatineau Park parkways

Driving through Gatineau Park could come with a curfew in the future, as the National Capital Commission considers closing down the parkways at night.

Changes considered as part of master plan for the park

The NCC is considering closing parkways in Gatineau Park overnight. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Driving through Gatineau Park could come with a curfew in the future, as the National Capital Commission considers updating its master plan.

The NCC launched a survey on Tuesday to consult the public on a number of ideas, including possible changes to Camp Fortune, putting some restrictions on large events in the park and closing its parkways at night.

"This last year, there have been serious incidents involving crashes, speed and we have had feedback from a lot of people that speed is an issue," ​said Christie Spence, director of Québec urban lands and Gatineau Park with the NCC

In May, a man and woman in their early 20s died when their car crashed into trees along the Champlain Parkway near the Huron Lookout.

Spence said they have already had some consultations on the issue and most people have been receptive of the change.

"We have had issues with vandalism," she said.

"We have had issues with partying and littering that happen after hours, so we are hoping that would address some of those issues."

Details like exactly when the parkway would close would have to be figured out if the policy goes ahead, she said. 

Change to events

Another issue the survey mentions is the number of events held in the park each year.

Spence said they want to hear from the public about what events fit best within the park.

"We can see a future in the near term where we are going to have too many requests," she said.

Events can cause road closures and Spence said that can mean some parts of the park are off limits to drivers.   

"We are here for everybody so we want to make it available to all Canadians," she said.

"We want to make sure we are not cutting off access to certain people."

The Champlain Lookout is one of the spots that becomes hard to access when parkways are shut down for major events. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Camp Fortune

The survey also asks for opinions on what happens at Camp Fortune.

The ski hill has a long-term lease and Spence said they have some ideas on how to tie it into the park more closely.

The NCC's goal for most of the park is to keep it as natural as possible, she said, but Camp Fortune is set aside for more high-intensity uses.

The NCC envisions it possibly becoming more of a place for races and other events all year long, as ski seasons may shorten because of climate change.

The survey is available on the NCC's website and will remain open until Dec. 10.

The complete master plan for Gatineau Park is expected sometime in 2019.