To fence or not to fence:
Future of Deschênes Rapids shoreline under debate
When the Ministry of Transport suspended its plan to demolish the ruins at Deschênes Rapids, many residents breathed a sigh of relief. Others in the neighbourhood went into high alert. “I hope the MTQ doesn’t build a huge fence along the shoreline now,” said one Park Madaire resident. “Safety will still be their concern, and a big fence would keep everyone away from the water’s edge.” The Deschênes shoreline is renowned as a slow-sloping rocky shoreline, a magnet for walkers, water-gazers and bird-lovers.
MTQ spokesperson Karine Sauvé told the Bulletin that a meeting is planned to discuss that piece of shoreline with groups involved in the area. “The Quebec and Ontario kayak clubs active on the river have a plan to suggest,” she reported. “There’s no decision, besides suspending the demolition of the ruins.”
While a fence may be considered, the MTQ has made it clear there is no rush to take action. Deschênes councillor Richard Bégin noted that the meeting is not public, but involves the residents’ association, kayakers, heritage associations, and city officials.
“Preserving this heritage and cultural landscape is central to increasing the touristic value of this part of the Quebec and the Outaouais Waterway,” Mr Bégin told the Bulletin, “With the new bike path coming down Vanier Road, from a user-friendly bike path along Lucerne, between Vanier Road and the Champlain Bridge, this section of the riverside bike path is even more important.”
“I am encouraged by this progress,” Mr Bégin added. “With the MTQ willing to work with the community, we will figure out a solution that works for everyone.” As for fencing off the shoreline, there was no comment from the councillor, at this early stage of discussions. He believes several meetings will be held before firm plans are announced.