Blog: Ottawa Riverkeeper applauds the designation of the Ottawa River as a Lieu historique by the Quebec government

Today, Ottawa Riverkeeper celebrated an auspicious moment: the Ottawa River was officially designated a Lieu historique by the Quebec government.

You’ll recall that the river was designated a Canadian Heritage River last year, and we’re excited to see Quebec also recognizing its historical importance. The move comes after Ottawa Riverkeeper, with the help of many of our Québec supporters, nominated the river for the designation under Québec’s Loi sur le patrimoine culturel.

Fittingly, the designation was announced onboard a boat in the middle of the newly designated river, with representatives from three levels of government in attendance: Minister of Culture and Communications Luc Fortin, MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, representing the Quebec, Ontario, and Federal governments respectively.

It was an exciting moment, as we witnessed the power of collaboration in recognizing and protecting our river. We were reminded of the dedicated citizens from Ontario and Quebec, starting with those of the Ottawa Valley, who have been pushing for formal recognition of the historical value of the Ottawa River for years, including at the 2015 Ottawa River Summit convened by Ottawa Riverkeeper. Thank you to all of you.

We have long decried that there is no common vision nor common action plan for the Ottawa River Watershed. But today’s events proved that this can change. We will continue in this vein as we work towards convening a Watershed Council, which will bring together key players in our watershed, with a focus on cooperation between all sectors of our river. You can read more about this project here.

Looking for a great way to celebrate this announcement? What better way than on the river! Our Ride the River! Parade and Picnic is LESS than 3 weeks away! Register today before spots sell out!

2 responses to “Blog: Ottawa Riverkeeper applauds the designation of the Ottawa River as a Lieu historique by the Quebec government”

  1. John Savage says:

    The Ottawa River is to be abused by City of Gatineau’s policies and its harming our community. During the spring flood, they released a constant stream of sewage upstream along our street and didn’t inform the residents, nor did they take action to clean it up. Since the 1990s, they have consistently supported or sponsored the construction of hundreds of motor boat berths along the river, but not one non-motorized boat launch that is safe to use for canoes, kayaks, rowing shells, paddle boarders, or small sailboats. Even when residents of Gatineau’s residents along rue Jacques-Cartier petitioned the City for greater access for non-motorized boaters on our street, they ignored the needs of local paddlers and installed a dock that is unsafe to use except for fishermen and sunbathers. They didn’t consult with paddlers, nor did they respond to requests to meet with us. They removed docks of local Indigenous residents to launch canoes and kayaks, informing us that if they cater to our needs, they’d had to cater to everyone; despite the fact the only people that received special treatment were non-Indigenous business people and residents. When I tried to establish a new paddling club on behalf of schools and the Indigenous community, they “donated” unusable land for a facility, knowing that it was on a flood plain and therefore couldn’t be built upon. By sponsoring motor boating and not supporting paddling and rowing, the City of Gatineau is unilaterally killing off paddling along the river and increasing noise. Motor boats rip through in front of the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club despite it marked as a “no wake zone”. Gatineau police regularly harass paddlers, when motor boaters are the threat. Boat wakes are eroding Kettle Island and creating excessive noise for waterfront residents and wildlife. Until the City of Gatineau is called to account for its hostility towards non-motorized boaters and wildlife along the river, the Ottawa River is unsafe to use for healthier uses. A Lieu Historique designation is nice for photo opps, but is meaningless until the City of Gatineau is forced to accommodate non-motorized boaters too.

  2. John Savage says:

    It is time that the Ottawa Riverkeeper work with residents to develop a unified vision for paddlers along the river. We need to take action as a paddling and rowing community.

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