Months of consultations with the City of Gatineau seem to be paying off for the local surfing and kayaking communities, as a plan has been presented to Gatineau City Council to spend millions of dollars turning the city into an outoor capital.

The Ottawa surfing and kayaking organizers have been lobbying the City of Gatineau to purposely upgrade the site of the Deschênes rapids to make them safe for use, rather than close access altogether. Now it seems the Gatineau City Council is getting on board, though there are still hoops to jump through before the money gets flowing.

British kayaker Seth Ashworth surfs the Ruins Wave with Ottawa in the background

“I am very impressed by what is presented, it is a complete, ambitious and avant-garde program,” said Councilor Audrey Bureau. His colleague Isabelle N. Miron spoke of a “gold mine” for tourism. As for the chairman of the board, Daniel Champagne, he said he was pleased with the efforts planned to make Gatineau the city’s outdoor urban capital. “The outdoors is the fundamental basis of Gatineau,” he said. 

This first part of the plan will focus on improving shore services, maximizing existing and future sites, and improving the supply of outdoor equipment. The Cedars Park, the Boucher Forest and the Brasserie Creek are identified as important sites to be included in the municipal offer. Three potential mountain bike and walking sites need to be developed. Two other action plans, 2023-2025 and 2025-2029, will also need to be developed and funded in the future

Last April, Le Droit revealed that this plan was intended, among other things, to make Gatineau a world-class destination for water sports in whitewater. Several stakeholders have been working for several months to plan a white water park that would use the ruins of the Deschênes Rapids on the Ottawa River. The plan presented Tuesday confirms that Gatineau will invest in planning the development of this park. Many discussions have already taken place with the Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ), owner of the ruins, and various key stakeholders in the field of water sports. 

As Le Droit also revealed in the spring, Gatineau will host the first-ever National Open Air Summit in 2020 . 

All in all, great news for those who make the most of the Ottawa River’s rapids and shoreline!

[With info from the Droit]

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