Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau has lifted the ban on boating on most of the Ottawa River.
Transport Canada issued a statement Thursday announcing that Garneau has lifted the “additional navigation restrictions” announced for the river two weeks ago.
That ban restricted boating on the full length of the Ottawa River from the Otto Holden dam above Mattawa south and east to Montreal.
The extended ban was put in place “as a result of requests from provincial governments, communities, emergency responders and other local officials,” Transport Canada said.
“This was done in order to protect the safety of people and vessels from dangerous and unpredictable navigation conditions, to minimize the impact of vessel wake on flooded shorelines and sandbag barriers, and to help first responders do their jobs in difficult conditions.”
“After further consultations with municipalities and law enforcement, we continue to see improvements in some areas, however the situation is not yet back to normal,” Garneau said in Thursday’s announcement.
“We understand that the impacts caused by navigation restrictions and speed limits have been challenging, and we will lift these restrictions as soon as it is safe for everyone.
“I thank all those who continue to comply with the existing restrictions as this helps minimize any damage to property and the environment.”
The boating ban remains in place on one stretch of the river east of Ottawa, from approximately Cumberland to Hawkesbury.
Transport Canada said that despite the ban being lifted, “we remind all waterway users in Ontario where the interim order has been lifted that they must continue to comply with subsection 2(7) of the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations, which requires power-driven vessel operators not to exceed a speed of 10 km/h within 30 metres of the shore.”
Meanwhile, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is defending the extreme low water levels seen above the Des Joachims dam.
While residents along most of the length of the Ottawa River have seen water levels reach historic new highs this spring, with widespread flooding causing millions of dollars in damages and untold heartache, that’s not the case from the Des Joachims dam north to Deux Rivieres.
As it has been for the past 10 years or more, May high water levels on the rest of the river have meant miles of muddy beach on Holden Lake, as water levels above the Des Joachims dam are kept well below normal summer levels (as in the photo from Old Mackeys Park above).
For the full story OPG’s response, pick up a copy of this week’s NRT…