CBC is reporting that the National Capital Commission (NCC) has decided to keep a key section of the Voyageurs Pathway closed throughout the summer of 2018.
This pathway runs next to the Ottawa River in Quebec. It appears that the section that will remain closed is located between the Portage Bridge and the Alexandra Bridge. This is an important cycling route that goes through the heart of the Ottawa-Gatineau urban centre, and it is well used by cyclists on the Quebec side of the river.
The reason for the closure is that more time is needed to repair the damage caused the severe flooding that took place in the spring of 2017.
It’s true that a lot of work was required to repair the widespread damage. But seriously, two summers to repair a ‘pathway’. What the situation really calls for is more resources to get the job done within a reasonable period of time. The alternative is to commit fewer resources, and let to work languish over a longer period of time. It seems that NCC has opted for the latter.
Consider what might have happened had the flood washed out a section of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, the four lane road that runs next to the Ottawa River on NCC land. I strongly suspect that as soon as the flood waters receded, emergency repairs would have been made within days to keep the traffic moving, and that permanent repairs would have probably been completed by the end of last summer.
It appears that the NCC still views its network of pathways as nothing more than recreational facilities, and as such, it sees no reason the commit the resources needed to complete the repairs in a timely manner. This is at odds with the fact that these pathways have become vital transportation links for cyclists, and it runs contrary to all the talk by governments about the need to get more people on their bicycles to encourage a more active lifestyle, and to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.