NCC to ask local businesses for ideas on animating the Ottawa River

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The National Capital Commission is planning to expand a program that brought patios, ice cream carts and a beach to the Rideau Canal.

Ottawa MP Mauril Belanger said the recreational pathway beneath Parliament Hill could be supplemented by a boardwalk and commercial amenities.

By Jacob Serebrin

And just like with that initiative, it’s going to ask the public for ideas.

Beginning in February, the NCC will begin soliciting suggestions for waterfront activities along the Ottawa River. The plan is part of the second phase of its shorelines initiative, which previously focused on the canal.

“The NCC will be seeking proposals through a request for expressions of interest for pilot projects that will enliven and bring more vitality along the Ottawa River,” said Jean-François Trépanier, the NCC’s CEO, in a report presented to the organization’s board of directors earlier this month.

“The NCC looks forward to working with our stakeholders, businesses, community associations and not-for-profit organizations on this exciting initiative.”

The lack of activity on the Ottawa River waterfront has long been a source of frustration for the city’s tourism operators, who have looked on in envy at the shops and other attractions that dot bodies of water in other major cities.

The City of Gatineau recently hatched a plan to spend $135 million on beautifying its side of the Ottawa River.

However that plan is now up in the air because its principal architect, then-Mayor Marc Bureau, lost last year’s municipal election. Current Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin condemned the idea during the campaign, saying it wouldn’t succeed in bringing new visitors to the city en masse.

He instead campaigned on a $67-million plan that would spread the spending out across the city.

In the summer of 2012 the NCC invited ideas on how to animate the area along the Rideau Canal. Among those to set up shop on the canal was a licensed bistro called 8 Locks’ Flat.

See also: Ottawa’s boardwalk empire.

Organizations: NCC, Mayor Marc Bureau

Geographic location: Ottawa River, Gatineau, Rideau Canal Ottawa

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  • Les Gagne
    January 29, 2014 - 16:37

    WOW... this takes the cake. Why has it taken slow long to bring this to life? Seriously.. we have been sitting on prime land for 10, 20, 30... more years and now the geniuses at the NCC want to do something to animate the Ottawa RIver. Shame on you. You 're organization that has kept Ottawa and the National Capital Region hostage for so many years and now you have an idea. You are a joke. Imagine if I could run my organization like you do. You should all be ashamed for who you are and what you don't do for Canadians. btw: Feel free to email me, I'd be happy to engage. Les