Pathway Improvements in Rockcliffe Park

NCC Hopes Contractors will Vie for the Job

According to an advertisement posted online on January 8, the National Capital Commission will be allocating somewhere between half a million to one million dollars annually to improving its system of recreational pathways – with one of its focal points in 2012 centred on Rockcliffe Park.

In its listing on MERX, (a hosting site for government contractual work,) the National Capital Commission states that it “has focused considerable efforts over the last several years in the rehabilitation/reconstruction of its existing network [of recreational pathways] and in the construction of new links and pathway segments. The Commission plans, over the next several years, to continue its pathway life cycle rehabilitation program and to proceed with the construction of key missing links and pathway segments.”

For Rockcliffe Park specifically, the NCC outlines its plans to upgrade to a system of universally accessible pathways, so that visitors with mobility problems can more easily navigate the trails.

Map of the recreational area, where most of the Rockcliffe Park trails are located

In my own observations, the trails and pathways of Rockcliffe Park aren’t always well-tended, with fallen trees and other debris often encroaching onto the footpaths. Certain trails taper off into narrow passages, some have very steep inclines, and many can be uninviting to even capable hikers, dogwalkers, and skiers. Some areas are relatively inaccessible through the city-sanctioned paths, and the boot prints of people who have forged their own paths are readily identifiable along the trails.

This wall of craggy rock is one example of the type of terrain found along the trails that might impede people with mobility problems

However, there are expansive open areas, including a field near the Rideau Canal where residents are allowed to unleash their dogs, and these are easily accessible to anyone, regardless of their level of mobility.

Rockcliffe community children decorate trees along the pathways for Christmas

Whether these city funds will be well-utilized in maintaining Rockcliffe trails, or ought to be transferred elsewhere will be a matter of debate. In this audio interview, Rockcliffe Park resident Lynne Murtagh offered me her opinions of the accessibility of the pathways near her home.

The NCC expects its prequalification submissions to be in by January 26.