Aylmerite champions idea for a pedestrian footbridge connecting Deschênes and Britannia
Aylmer resident, Jean-Pierre Caron, has been exploring the idea of a pedestrian bridge connecting Deschênes to Britannia on the Ottawa side. He first got the idea ten years ago and, over the pandemic, he decided to revisit the idea. Caron is looking to assess interest in the project through an online survey. If residents are interested in the project, an association can be officially formed, “Rapides-Deschênes pedestrian bridge association”, to promote it.
Caron contacted University of Ottawa civic engineering students, who had a project to complete. They decided to use his idea and examine what the project would entail. The students looked into how the project could be possible with respect to engineering and price-wise. The end product is a 150-page project outline of how the bridge could be built.
The students estimated that the construction of this pedestrian bridge would cost between $45 and $70 million. Caron said this could be funded privately or through participatory financing, meaning various organizations would contribute to financing the project.
In Caron’s mock-ups of the potential pedestrian bridge, it would be 5 km from the Aylmer Marina, 5.4 km from the Champlain Bridge and would be accessible through the Sentier des Voyageurs in Deschênes. On the Ottawa side, it would be accessible near Mud Lake in Britannia and would be 1.1 km from the Ottawa River Pathway, 1.3 km from Britannia Beach, 2.3 km from the Lincoln fields OC Transpo Station, and 6.8 km from the Champlain Bridge.
Although it is a concept and could change in the future, the initial mock-up of the project details 795 meters long, 7 meters wide, S shaped bridge. There would be three support pillars along the bridge that would extend 53 meters above water level.
Caron has spoken with the National Capital Commission (NCC), who owns the five interprovincial bridges connecting Ottawa and Gatineau. The NCC said they would include the potential bridge in their evaluation on circulation and interprovincial travel needs in the area. The study should be complete next year.
Caron also reached out to politicians at various levels of governments as well as resident associations for neighborhoods of both sides of the river that the bridge would be close to.
“I met Mr. Caron when I organized a meeting with citizens and we spoke about his project,” said Caroline Murray, Deschênes Councillor. “I like seeing citizens thinking about Deschênes, especially after all the work related to saving the ruins. This is another example that residents want to show the value of the area and how incredible the site is. The project would need to be discussed with the provincial and federal governments as bridges like this are not municipal. I salute the initiative. Deschênes needs more projects like this to revitalize the neighbourhood.”
To participate in the survey, residents can visit the bilingual website created for the project https://deschenesrapidsbridge.org/. Caron plans to leave the survey open for the summer to gather opinions from residents on both sides of the river.
“I am hoping to get as many people as possible to answer the survey, whether their opinions of the project are positive or negative. All feedback helps guide how the project moves forward,” said Caron.
Photo Caption: Photo that Jean-Pierre Caron had made of the pedestrian footbridge from Deschênes to Britannia.
Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre Caron