$3.4-million repairs to NCC flood-damaged paths won't begin until fall

Construction isn't expected to begin until the fall on the downtown recreation paths closed from flooding. The National Capital Commission said requests for tenders for the projects are going out soon.

Requests for tenders going out in coming weeks

Etienne Audet and Dominic Dorion were visiting Ottawa from Montreal and said they were disappointed part of the Ottawa River pathway was closed off. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

Construction isn't expected to begin until the fall on the downtown recreation paths closed from flooding. The National Capital Commission said requests for tenders for the projects are going out soon.

The price tag is $3.4 million for the flood-related clean up, which includes repairs to the Ottawa River pathway, Lac-des-Fées pathway, the Voyageurs pathways, the Champlain Bridge parking lot, and the electrical system for Leamy Lake's facilities – although the park and beach remain open.

The 500 metres between the canal locks and the stairs to Parliament Hill reopened earlier this week, mostly because the NCC  recently spent $600,000 on erosion mitigation along that section.

"It did really well," said Yoland Charette, the NCC's chief of landscape architecture. 

On the section of the path that was reopened, the NCC only had to clean up debris deposited by the river.

"But there was no fixing the shoreline or the pathway resulting of this work we've done," said Charette. 

Entire pathways won't reopen until 2018

However, the 600-metre section of the pathway between the stairs leading up to Parliament Hill and the Portage Bridge remains off limits, along with the path behind the Canadian Museum of History.

Several rocks have tumbled down the hill face behind the Supreme Court and part of the shoreline looks fairly eroded.

That section of the pathway isn't expected to be open until next spring, nor is a section of the Voyageur Pathway on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River, nor the Champlain Bridge parking lot where the flooding caused sinkholes and erosion.
Several people walked, ran or cycled up to the fence before having to turn back towards the canal locks or take the long stairs up to Parliament Hill. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

Caught off guard by closure

Some users of the pathways were caught off guard by the closures.

"I'm a creature of habit," said Hélène Gaudreau, who often jogs along the pathway behind Parliament Hill but was stopped by a noticeable gap, a large fence and signs telling people the pathway is closed for safety reasons.

"This is my habit. Now my habit's broken. But that's OK, I'll make a new habit in the meantime. You got to be safe now, right? That's what's more important. It is what it is I guess."

Richard Pariseau, who was cycling along the pathway, wasn't as understanding of the closures.

"You think if it was a road for cars they'd be waiting til next spring?" he said. "It's the same thing all the time with bikes, they have you turn around and go any which way, but with cars, they fix it right now."

Erosion is visible along the Ottawa River athway between Parliament Hill and the Portage Bridge. The NCC has said there are also potholes along the trail, making it dangerous. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

Another cyclist visiting with a friend from Montreal said he did understand why it was closed off, but lamented the fact there wasn't more of an explanation as to why the path had been closed.

"We were planning on going out here and enjoying the view, but now it's blocked off and now we have to go back, so a bit disappointed,"said Etienne Audet who was visiting from Montreal with his friend.

The NCC urges people to respect the signs along the pathways for their safety.