Ottawa, Ontario, July 26, 2021— The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for Canadians to have access to more outdoor spaces and enjoy nature. Building networks of pathways and trails for cycling, walking, hybrid e-bikes and scooters, and wheelchairs gives everyone the opportunity to get out and get active. By investing in more pathways and linking them to public transit, the Government is helping to improve commutes for residents, get more cars off the road, create jobs and reduce emissions as we chart a path to net zero in 2050.
Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government, and Member of Parliament for Hull —Aylmer; His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa; and His Worship Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, Mayor of the City of Gatineau, announced joint funding for a new pathway for pedestrians and cyclists on the Chief William Commanda Bridge, connecting Ottawa and Gatineau. William Commanda served as Band Chief of the Kitigàn-zìbì Anishinàbeg First Nation from 1951 to 1970 and was an Algonquin elder, spiritual leader, and promoter of environmental stewardship.
The Government of Canada is investing over $8.6 million in this project through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. The City of Ottawa is contributing approximately $13.9 million towards the pathway and the structural integrity of the bridge and its piers.
The project involves the construction of a new timber deck on top of the existing rail track ties, creating a pathway on the south structure of the bridge, which spans from the Ottawa shore to Lemieux Island, as well as on the north structure, which spans from Lemieux Island to the Gatineau shore. A steel cable railing system and lighting will be installed, and the bridge’s major structural components will be rehabilitated to ensure safety and accessibility for all users.
Additional work will include the construction of three new multi-use path segments linking the south approach of the bridge to the City of Ottawa’s Trillium Pathway, linking the north and south bridge structures across Lemieux Island, and linking the north approach to the NCC Voyageurs’ Pathway in Gatineau. New lighting with high efficiency LED light sources will be installed along the pathway, as well as approximately 12 new benches which will serve as rest areas.
Once completed, the bridge will serve as a vital active transportation corridor linking residents of Ottawa and Gatineau to a network of pathways and public transit on both sides of the Ottawa river, providing them with more commuting options that reduce emissions and protect the environment.
Investing in active transportation builds strong communities across the country, creates good jobs towards the government’s commitment of one million jobs, and delivers a better quality of life for all Canadians. Together, we are building a cleaner, inclusive, and resilient country for generations to come.