Boat tour, camping seasons delayed by flooding

Boat tour companies and campgrounds are losing money because of the high waters on the Ottawa River.

Boat tour companies, provincial parks may not open until the end of May

There's a $5,000 fine for violating the Transport Canada order against operating a boat on the flooded Ottawa River. (CBC)

Boat tour companies and campgrounds are having to push back their season due to high waters on the Ottawa River.

The losses are beginning to mount for boat tour companies in Ottawa, who can't venture onto the river in part because of a Transport Canada order restricting boating in flooded areas from Mattawa to the end of the Ottawa River at Lake of Two Mountains.

Kurt Huck, president and owner of Capital Cruises, is expecting major losses from refunding reservations made for the May long weekend and Tulip Festival.

"We're probably looking at a $40,000 loss this weekend and that's just us," he said.

"There are other cruise companies as well … They're our competitors, but it's a small community. They're losing too."

Kurt Huck, president and owner of Capital Cruises, says his company is losing thousands of dollars as it refunds reservations because it cannot operate on the river. Their dock is under water. (CBC)

The company is estimating its losses for the season will be about $100,000 by the end of this weekend and there's no guarantee they'll be in the water after that.

"We only have about a hundred days in the summer peak to make our money, to pay for all our bills and our staff for the year," he said.

"It really hurts at the start of the year to not have that revenue coming in."

Docked longer than 2017

Andrew Wing, director of sales and marketing for Capital Cruises, said most employees have been laid off until the season can get underway.

Wing said they are trying to spread what few hours they have between the students and retirees who make up most of their staff.

Wing said the company had to secure its boats to avoid possible damage from the rising water.

Spring is the season for boat tours. But when water levels are as high as they've been in our region, how do those businesses cope? 9:50

The Lady Dive amphibious tour bus has been in storage for the entire season, according to operations manager Annabelle Bergevin.

"We're not operating at all. That means that all the reservations that we had for the last 14 days we had to cancel and we're looking at cancelling for another two weeks," she said.

She said in 2017 the company lost five operating days due to flooding.

Annabelle Bergevin, operations manager with Lady Dive Tours, says the company missed five operating days during the 2017 floods compared to 14 so far this year. (CBC)

The Quyon Ferry closed because of the floods, but has since reopened.

To the east, the Ecolos and Bourbonnais ferries are still docked.

Campsites closed

Bonnechere Provincial Park in Renfrew County and Fitzroy Harbour Provincial Park along the Ottawa River in rural west Ottawa have delayed opening due to flooding.

Staff are allowing people to cancel with a refund or move reservations.

Bonnechere is expected to open May 30 and Fitzroy on May 31.

Part of Parc national de Plaisance in western Quebec is flooded May 14, 2019. (CBC)

Parc national de Plaisance on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, between Thurso and Papineauville, will be keeping its campsites and trails closed through the Victoria Day weekend.

Officials with the agency for Quebec's parks will be evaluating the situation next week, according to the park's website.

with files from Gilles Taillon and CBC's All in a Day


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