Photos and video : HEXO Corp.
Gatineau, April 16th, 2019. As it has unfortunately become customary at this time of year, Ottawa Riverkeeper deplores the abandonment of several cabins, trailers and other debris on the frozen waterways of the region. Unless authorities intervene, they are doomed to sink when the ice is released, thus polluting our waterways and causing risks to navigation.
Removed just in time
The most recent example – an abandoned trailer on the ice in the Masson-Angers area, which could have ended up in the Ottawa River had it not been for the last-minute intervention of authorities last Friday. The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP), in collaboration with Ottawa Riverkeeper and HEXO Corp., whose facilities are adjacent to the river at this location, deployed a specialized team to remove the trailer and secure it on the banks. (video)
The City of Gatineau must regulate
For Patrick Nadeau, Executive Director of Ottawa Riverkeeper, this annual ritual has lasted long enough. “The MFFP does an excellent surveillance job, and sometimes even manages to save these huts before it’s too late. But why should Quebec taxpayers have to foot the bill for these complicated operations when the guilty parties are getting away with no repercussions? ”
According to Mr. Nadeau, the City of Gatineau must seriously consider regulating the presence of cabins and vehicles on the ice, as is already the case in Ontario. In fact, on that side of the Ottawa River, structures must have a registration number that is visible from the outside, so that owners can be found in case of abandonment. “It’s a shame because the vast majority of people who go ice fishing are doing it responsibly and pulling out their equipment on time. Unfortunately, the environmental impact caused by the careless minority is significant enough to need a response. This preventable pollution has lasted long enough”.
What to do if you see a structure about to sink
Avoid venturing on the ice, which can be very dangerous at this time of the year. Record the location instead, take photos if possible (from a safe location on the shore), and report it to Ottawa Riverkeeper’s Pollution Hotline at 1-888-953-3737. On the Ontario side, where regulations exist, call the Ministry of Natural Resources at 1-877-847-7667 with the cabin number if you are able to see it.
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About Ottawa Riverkeeper
Ottawa Riverkeeper works to protect your rights to swim, drink and fish the Ottawa River and its tributaries. We work collaboratively using science to guide our actions. Ottawa Riverkeeper is a licensed member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international coalition of grassroots water protection organizations headed by renowned conservationist Robert Kennedy Jr. There are over 300 Waterkeeper organizations working around the world to defend their local river, lake or bay.
For more information:
Matthew Brocklehurst, Digital Communications Coordinator
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