The little Marais du Canard Branchu bridge is blocked
Since mid-March, a chain and lock block access to the little wooden bridge over the Marais du Canard Branchu in Old Deschênes, near the Ottawa River. This closure doesn’t sit well with Howard Powles who takes this path almost every day. The Deschênes Resident Association (DRA) President believes this closure is exaggerated.
“The area is often flooded in the spring but people are smart enough to go around the water, and they are only puddles. There is no real danger,” stated Mr Powles, who holds a marine science doctorate. “In my opinion, any security measure must be based on a risk analysis, informal or formal.”
A city spokesperson noted that the closure is a prevention measure for the path along the river because of the river’s water level that overflows on the recreational path in many areas.
“During the spring high water stages, the Gatineau’s Bureau de la sécurité civile has regular contacts with the Quebec’s Bureau de la sécurité civile, as well as with Hydro-Québec and other hydrometric stations along the Ottawa River linked with Environment Canada in order to share data on the water levels,” said the spokesperson. “Data models enable them all to update the situation’s evolution simulations. The water level situation is analyzed to ensure public security and inform on the risk level.”
The City does not have compiled statistics regarding loss of life or accidents at this location that could contribute to justifying a preventive closure.
“Sometimes people who walk along this path venture too close to the river,” said the spokesperson, who added that the spring high waters can cause problems.