Saturday morning, the protectors of the Ottawa River took a deep breath of air and jumped into the water – literally. For the third year, a hundred people swam 750 meters, 1.5 to four kilometers to promote the importance of preserving the river.
By 8 pm, almost 70 people have plunged to the Sailing Club Lac Deschenes in Nepean. Half an hour later, it was the 25 swimmers shorter distances that were throwing their own course. Around 9 pm the first participants in the 4 km from the Sentinel arrived, out of breath, but proud of kilometers they traveled to fathom the Ontario shore to Cedar Fair, or their shorter loop that began and aylmeroise ended on the beach.
The year 2016 has been the first year in which the participants had a choice of three distances. Previous editions, the only path offered was one that connects Ontario to Quebec. “There is a reason why swimming is interprovincial says the officer education and community action in the Sentinel of the Ottawa River, Brigitte Boudreau. It is precisely to show that it is important, communication between the provinces to better be able to protect the Ottawa River and the entire watershed. ”
It is the watershed of the Ottawa River flows through more than 200 municipalities, “all of which have different procedures with respect to water quality. “For example, Brigitte Boudreau recalls that the three levels of government had last year announced funding for the construction of an underground storage system $ 231 million that would prevent the discharge of sewage into the river.
In Gatineau, last June, the city had paid $ 300,000 to buy 50 overflow recorders, whose utility is to collect all raw data on the frequency of spills and the amount of water that s’ escapes when the underground network is overloaded. “The costs are so high that the city could not finance it alone. That’s why the communication and support of all the governments are very important, “she says.
Among the swimmers, Catherine McKenna was wet for a third year. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change took an hour and 17 minutes to cross the four kilometers between Nepean and Aylmer. “It’s not so bad, because I’m not driven me this year! “She says, laughing.
Ms McKenna said that the Ottawa River got it two weeks ago a heritage designation – protection which also relates to the Ontario portion of the river. “We know that the river knows no borders, so it is certain that we should have a designation on the Quebec side also. We work very hard with the Government of Quebec and with the Sentinel to have this designation. ”
4 km from the Sentinel has raised more than $ 15,000 to support the work of the Presidium of the Ottawa River.