Yesterday, Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced the lifting of additional navigation restrictions in certain zones previously identified in Interim Order no.4 Respecting Flooded Areas.
As a result of requests from provincial governments, communities, emergency responders, and other local officials, Transport Canada has put a series of interim orders in place affecting the Ottawa River. This was done in order to protect the safety of people and vessels from dangerous and unpredictable navigation conditions, to minimize the impact of vessel wake on flooded shorelines and sandbag barriers, and to help first responders do their jobs in difficult conditions.
Due to improved navigational safety conditions and following consultations with local authorities and law enforcement, Minister Garneau has removed all parts of the Ottawa River, in Ontario or Quebec, from the list of waters where navigation is restricted except in the part of the Ottawa River between the western point of Île Dubé in the Parc National De Plaisance and the Grenville lighthouse, where navigation continues to be restricted.
“After further consultations with municipalities and law enforcement, we continue to see improvements in some areas, however the situation is not yet back to normal,” said Minister Garneau in a statement. “We understand that the impacts caused by navigation restrictions and speed limits have been challenging, and we will lift these restrictions as soon as it is safe for everyone. I thank all those who continue to comply with the existing restrictions as this helps minimize any damage to property and the environment.”
This navigation restriction on the Ottawa River is near communities such as Wendover, Plaisance, Papineauville, L’Orignal, and Calumet.
The speed restriction of 9 knots for upriver traffic and 11 knots for downriver traffic remains in place between Ile des Barques and Batiscan, Quebec.
As previously stated, individuals who can access their property only by boat are exempted from the Interim Order and other restrictions for the purpose of going to and from their property. If citizens must use a waterway to access a property, they are urged to navigate at as slow a speed as possible. Public ferry services are exempted but are subject to review by Transport Canada to ensure safety.
Violation of these provisions (either speed above the maximum or navigation in closed areas) is subject to fines of up to $5000 through an Administrative Monetary Penalty, or in the case of summary conviction, up to $1 million and/or up to 18 months in prison, or the seizure of the vessel
We remind all waterway users in Ontario where the interim order has been lifted that they must continue to comply with subsection 2(7) of the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations, which requires power-driven vessel operators not to exceed a speed of 10 kilometers per hour within 30 metres of the shore.