Minister Garneau announces changes to navigation restrictions related to flooding

From: Transport Canada

May 14, 2019 Ottawa Transport Canada

Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, issued a new Interim Order identifying zones in which navigation is prohibited due to flooding. The changes are necessary to protect the safety of people and vessels, and to help first responders do their jobs in flooding conditions.

In addition, the public is urged to continue to stay off flooded waterways in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick to ensure navigational safety, and prevent damage to infrastructure and the environment.

Due to the magnitude of this year’s flooding, and following consultations with local authorities and law enforcement, Minister Garneau has extended the areas covered by the navigation restrictions. To ensure vessel movements do not pose a risk to the safety of individuals or cause damage to the environment, properties and infrastructure, the Ottawa River between the Otto Holden Dam and the Deux Montagnes Lake, and the Mattawa River between Hurdman Dam and confluence of Mattawa River and Ottawa River have been included in this new Interim Order Respecting Flooded Areas. In the listed areas, navigation by non-emergency vessels is strictly prohibited. This includes pleasure craft and human-powered craft, such as canoes or kayaks. The Interim Order does not apply to public ferry service in the waters listed below.

This new Interim Order builds on the one issued on April 30 and now applies to the following waterways:

  • the Ottawa River between the Otto Holden Dam (near Mattawa, Ontario) and the Deux Montagnes Lake (near Hudson, Quebec);
  • the Mattawa River, between Hurdman Dam and confluence of Mattawa River and Ottawa River;
  • Deux Montagnes Lake in the Province of Québec;
  • the Mille Îles River in the Province of Québec; and
  • the Des Prairies River in the Province of Québec.

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.

Individuals who can only access their property 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.

Any violations of these provisions are subject to fines. Speed violations between Ile des Barques and Batiscan can go up to $1 million and/or up to 18 months in prison, or the seizure of the vessel.

Minister Garneau also announced that communities in Muskoka Region are no longer part of the Interim Order Respecting Flooded Areas due to improved navigational safety conditions including lower water levels and slower currents. However, all vessel operators are asked to be cautious on the waters, including watching for debris and adjusting vessel speeds to limit wake.

“Although we have expanded the area covered by the Interim Order, I am pleased to see the improved situation in the Muskoka area. We continue to work with municipalities and law enforcement to ensure the safety of our fellow citizens.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau

Minister of Transport

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