Pathway Rehabilitation and Flood Protection North of Westboro Beach

The recent flooding events in 2017 and 2019 have caused damage to the shorelines along the Ottawa River, threatening assets that rely on them such as pathways. As a result of the recent damage, the National Capital Commission will modify a section of the Sir John A. Macdonald pathway currently below the 20-year floodplain (the elevation on the shoreline which is likely to flood once every 20 years), in order to protect it from further erosion and damage.


This section of pathway, located just north of Westboro Beach, spans a length of approximately 300m. The pathway is a critical pinch-point on the Kichi Sibi Winter Trail, which is an important route used for cross-country skiing and summertime recreation. As the safety of users and trail volunteers and the long-term functionality of the trail are considered at risk, immediate intervention is required.


The National Capital Commission has decided to move a portion of the pathway alignment further away from the river in some locations where there is enough space, and to raise the pathway in other, narrower locations. This design will aim to minimize the amount of fill material required and will maximize the length of pathway close to the Ottawa River to maintain the best user experience during all seasons.


Ultimately, the project objective is to:

•           Rehabilitate flood-damaged sections of the pathway and shoreline;

•           Improve flood resiliency;

•           Raise the elevation of the pathway to the 20-year floodplain which surpasses the minimum criteria in the Ottawa River South Shore Riverfront Park Plan (ORSSRPP) and Capital Pathway Strategic Plan, which call for paths to be above the 20-year floodplain;

•           Ensure public safety and optimize the user experience; and

•           Ensure continuity of the Kichi Sibi Winter Trail network


The construction plan includes the following components:

•           Create a traffic management plan and communicate detours to the public;

•           Close the 300m section of the pathway to all users during the summer of 2022; the multi-use pathway closer to the parkway could remain open;

•           Remove trees and invasive species in areas where grading work and pathway re-construction work is to be performed;

•           Install tree protection measures for trees that need to be preserved;

•           Remove the existing asphalt and dispose of it at a recycling facility;

•           Remove a small retaining wall and granular material below the asphalt in sections where the pathway is being displaced away from the Ottawa River;

•           Replace culverts under new pathway alignment;

•           Create a thicker granular base in areas where the pathway is being raised;

•           Protect the pathway from erosion using rip-rap (rock fragments); and

•           Lay the final layer of asphalt for the new pathway

•           Place new soil and plant vegetation along the pathway to re-naturalize and enhance the user experience

•           Relocation of existing and/or placement of new benches


With the help of the National Capital Commission's biologists and environmental officers, as well as external environmental consultants and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the project team will develop a mitigation plan to avoid, reduce or compensate for any environmental effects caused by the project.


Latest update

April 19, 2022 – The National Capital Commission issued its Notice of Determination and determined that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.


Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
3 Notice of Determination - April 19, 2022
2 Example of similar pathway rehabilitation along the Sir John A. MacDonald Trail completed by the National Capital Commission in 2018. JPG (819 KB) February 15, 2022
1 Notice of Intent to Make a Determination - Start of Public Comment Period - February 15, 2022


National Capital Commission
Environmental Assessment
40 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5A8

  • Location

    • Pathway Rehabilitation and Flood Protection North of Westboro Beach (Ontario)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Other, not otherwise specified
  • Assessment Status

  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    The National Capital Commission
  • Authorities

    • National Capital Commission
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.

Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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