News / Ottawa

Petition launches to keep the Prince of Wales bridge accessible

After a city councillor warned that the city staff were planning to spend thousands on closing off the bridge, community members are talking back.

Rebecca Marsan, 17, stands on the Prince of Wales bridge connecting Ottawa and Gatineau over Lemieux Island.

Haley Ritchoe/Metro

Rebecca Marsan, 17, stands on the Prince of Wales bridge connecting Ottawa and Gatineau over Lemieux Island.

Residents are worried about losing access to a “hidden gem” in the city after Coun. Jeff Leiper said the city was planning to spend over $100,000 dollars permanently blocking access to the Prince of Wales bridge.

His warning has prompted a petition to keep it open and, on Tuesday a group of teens visited the site for fear it could be their last chance to do so.

“It’s disappointing because it's one of the only water spots around. Everyone has so much fun,” said Rebecca Marsan, 17, who brought her mom and younger siblings to check out the bridge on Tuesday.

Teens aren't the only ones concerned about the future of the scenic spot.

“It's a hidden gem in Ottawa,” said Dennis Van Staalduinen, who often brings his children along on walks across the bridge.

"Rather than investing the few million dollars it would take to bring it back up to scratch, we're talking about restricting access to it? It's just ridiculous to me. Worst case scenario just leave it alone, don't block it off because people can make their own safety choices."

The site is accessible through a large hole a the fence and there's relatively little warning signage nearby. Signs that do exist have been spray-painted.

On Monday the city responded to the controversy with a statement from general manager John Moser.

"It is the city’s responsibility to manage public safety in that corridor," it reads. “A gate option has been proposed as an option to further secure the site. Its appropriateness and its cost are currently under review.“

Leiper called the vague wording an "encouraging direction" compared to his previous conversations with city staff.

More on Metronews.ca