Letter to Paul Dewar, MP, re NCC's closed gate

12 October 2011

Mr Paul Dewar, MP

Re Popular Preston Extension route closed by NCC

We would like to bring to your attention the recent unilateral closure by the NCC of the Preston “extension”. This paved route, a former NCC road, has been used by the community since the transitway opened in the early 1980’s, as it is the nearest and safest community access to the Ottawa River parklands and bikepaths. It is a popular route, used by hundreds daily.

The alternative routes are simply horrible: via Booth Street, a busy, unpleasant road that is much further from the River, and slated to undergo several years of major reconstruction ; or via Albert to Bayview, which unfortunately takes cyclists and pedestrians along one of the most unpleasant and ill-suited bits of road in the City, where Albert goes over the O-Train, and thence along the creepily deserted Bayview Road to the River.

Please inform Madame Chairman Lemay that she does have alternatives.

One, is to keep the current route open, like it has been for 30 years, until the very last day when heavy construction equipment shows up on the Flats to do something. At the present rate, this could be years away.

Second, restrict Flats remediation to be from the east side of the Extension over to Booth, rather than from the centerline of the Extension. Constructing a simple chain link fence down the east side of the extension could keep it open for another decade, while the Flats are remediated and maybe even built upon. Safe and legal truck access to the area to be worked can be had from Old Wellington, or Broad Street.

Third, insist that the NCC compensate the community for the loss of its direct River access by providing an alternative route, albeit an inferior and much less direct one. The City is constructing the O-Train corridor path from Gladstone to Bayview Station in 2012. The NCC could build their section from Bayview Station to the ORP. And they should do it in the early spring of 2012, not in December! And keep the old Preston Extension route in service until the new path is opened.

Thank you for listening to our concerns. We look forward to some action to re-open our access to the NCC lands.


Eric Darwin.


  1. Hi There,

    I use this path frequently and am unhappy about having to travel on Booth Street now. Is there someone I can contact with regards to this?


  2. send an email to Paul.dewar@parl.gc.ca as he is our MP; and Marie Lemay, head honcho at the NCC who closed the gate marie.lemay@ncc-ccn.ca; and also to Diane.Holmes@ottawa.ca.
    Send separate letters to each, do not send all three at once, as then each one can shrug shoulders and say, its the other guys problem.

  3. Victory!

    I am pleased to inform you that we have just received confirmation from the City of Ottawa that they will allow the public to cross the Transitway at Preston.

    The National Capital Commission will be re-opening the gate as of this weekend to all cyclists and pedestrians. We will have our contractor, Lafleur de la Capitale, clean the site and fill any visible holes.

    It is uncertain at this point however, whether or not this will become a more permanent path, because as you know, the LeBreton Flats site continues to be in transition. There are construction projects to come in the future. We will try and maintain the informal link as long as we can and will work with the community to inform you of necessary closures.


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