Implementation of the 1996 Rideau Canal Management Plan
The 1996 management plan presented a comprehensive program to conserve and present the Canal and provide quality service to visitors. The plan was approved just before a major government wide review of programs which resulted in a substantial decrease in the resources available to implement the actions in the 1996 plan. Despite these reductions, the Canal has been able to move ahead on many of the actions in the plan by better use of existing resources and forging partnerships with a variety of Canal Corridor stakeholders.
The following summarizes the actions which were identified in the 1996 (in italics), and how they were addressed since the plan was produced.
Cultural Resource Management ( section 6.2, 1996 Plan.)
Preserve the existing historic engineering works and retain the manual operation of locks, bridges and dams.
The historic engineering works have been preserved to the extent possible with the available resources. The manual operation of these structures has not been altered and will remain so.
Develop a monitoring and maintenance program for engineering structure
The Canal has established a monitoring and maintenance program to ensure timely maintenance of engineering works. A Canal team carries out the necessary work in a manner consistent with CRM principles and practice. Other large scale work is carried out under contract. Examples of the work done include Merrickville, Beveridges and Old Slys Locks.
Undertake all work on major engineering structures according to original design and original materials.
The Canal maintenance team has undertaken repairs in a manner that respects the original design and materials.
Preserve buildings of national historic significance (level 1)
All level 1 buildings on the Canal have been preserved according to the principles and practices of CRM Policy.
Evaluate the historic qualities of level 2 building and preserve as much as possible of their historic material.
The level 2 Canal buildings have been maintained according to the principles and practices of the CRM policy. The only exception is the house on Colonel By Island which has not been maintained owing to a lack of funds. This building will be removed when it no longer can be maintained.
Maintain the evolutionary features of Canal buildings.
The evolutionary characteristics of Canal buildings are valued and will be retained.
Undertake an inventory of Canal buildings and develop maintenance guidelines.
An inventory of Canal buildings and maintenance guidelines have not been prepared. This will be done as part of the overall monitoring and maintenance program during the next 5 years. Maintenance guidelines will be prepared as part of Parks Canada’s commitment to ensure the commemorative integrity of the cultural resources of the Canal.
Establish an inventory of skills for Canal operations and maintenance.
The skills required to maintain the historic values of the Canal are in use and are passed on as part of the conservation of the Canal’s historic fabric.
Produce an archaeological resource management plan to protect archaeological resources.
While a plan has not been prepared, archaeological resources have been protected on Canal lands and excavations have taken place in advance of subsurface disturbance. There has been no inventory and evaluation of archaeological resources on Canal lands. This has been identified in the revised management plan as a low priority item. An inventory and evaluation of archaeological resources on the bed of the Canal has been completed.
Protect and enhance the cultural landscapes of the Canal lockstations.
Lockstation cultural landscape features have been conserved and new uses and activities protect the historic character of these places.
Undertake research, inventory and evaluation of lockstation landscapes.
This was not done owing to insufficient resources. The cultural resources of lockstation landscapes will be assessed whenever new facilities are proposed.
Examine the feasibility of re-establishing period landscapes at some lockstations.
This was not undertaken and will not be pursued in this management plan.
Develop business regulations to control commercial activities on the Canal.
The Historic Canals regulations have been amended to provide adequate direction for dealing with commercial activities.
Dispose of lands not required for the protection of heritage resources and Canal operations.
The Canal has had an active program of disposing of surplus and lands and will continue to do so.
Share expertise in cultural resource management, promote cultural heritage stewardship and ensure staff apply crm in decision-making.
As the lead federal heritage agency in the Canal Corridor, Parks Canada has shown leadership by managing the Canal according to the principles and practice of the Cultural resource Management Policy.
Municipal Planning and Shore-land development
Participate in the municipal planning and shore-land development process.
The Rideau Canal has used the policy statements in section 6.2.4 of the 1996 management plan to influence shore-land development and planning activities. The Canal has commented on municipal official plans, official plan amendments, zoning bylaws, minor variances, plans of subdivision and other municipal and private sector planning and development initiatives. This has resulted in municipal planning policies and development which recognize the need to protect the natural, cultural, scenic and recreational values of the Canal. The revised management plan will contain many of the same policies and makes a commitment to produce a comprehensive guide stating Parks Canada’s for shore-land development, marine works, road and utility crossings of the Canal. The policies in Appendix III and IV of the 1996 plan will be incorporated into the comprehensive guide.
Encourage protection of the heritage character of the Canal corridor by municipalities and private landowners.
The cultural landscape study, and involvement in the shore-land development review process has been the primary means through which Parks Canada has encouraged protection and sensitive development.
Protect wetlands along the Canal corridor through inventories, resource management plans, municipal plans and management agreements.
The provincial wetlands policy has resulted in enhanced protection for wetlands through official plan designations. Resource constraints did not allow Parks Canada to undertake any major studies. However, partnerships (Bio-diversity Study with the Museum of Nature and the Rideau valley Conservation Authority) have been formed to undertake inventory and monitoring programs. This has resulted in more information on the location and condition of critical wetlands and greater public awareness of their value.
Protect fish habitat on the Canal.
The construction of marine works, and dredging is strictly controlled to ensure the protection of fish habitat. Minor adjustments have been made to water management procedures to protect fish spawning. Through co-operative inventory programs, information on fish habitat has increased as has public awareness of the importance of protecting these features.
Manage submerged aquatic vegetation in the navigation channel.
The Rideau Canal has an annual control program to clear the navigation channel of submerged aquatic vegetation where it interferes with navigation.
Contribute to the improvement of water quality.
Parks Canada has contributed to water quality improvement by protecting wetlands, participating in the review of shore-land development and managing its facilities to the highest environmental standards.
Produce a water management study to reduce the impact of water management on fish and wildlife.
The Rideau Canal Water Management Study identified minor adjustments to the water flow control procedures to benefit fish and wildlife. These have been implemented.
Undertake environmental assessments where required.
All activities by Parks Canada and by the private sector on the bed of the Canal are assessed to ensure that there will not be any harmful environmental effects.
Establish environmental benchmarks to measure environmental change and cumulative impacts.
Benchmarks have not been established, the revised management plan has included this action.
Conduct visitor use studies.
The Canal has an ongoing program of undertaking visitor use studies to assist in determining the need for and use of facilities, services and programs.
Provide high quality facilities and services at lockstations.
Improvements have been made to maintain the high quality facilities and services at lockstations.
Promote the Canal corridor as a tourism area with other interests.
The Rideau Canal is actively engaged with the tourism industry to promote the Rideau Heritage Route as a tourism destination area.
Promote the Rideau Canal in co-operation with the New York State and Quebec canals and the Trent-Severn Waterway.
The four canals work together to promote boating in the canals of north-eastern North America.
Establish and maintain a working relationship with the British and European Canals.
The Rideau Canal has been twinned with the Caledonia Canal in Scotland and maintains regular contact with other Canal through the World Canal organization.
Encourage the private sector to develop tourism facilities and services to meet the needs of visitors to and residents of the Canal corridor.
Canal staff work with tourism interests along the Canal to identify opportunities for the private sector to develop tourism facilities and services.
Assess the impact of recreational activities, and manage through education and enforcement.
Some progress made in these areas. Specific issues remain and are addressed in the revised plan.
Undertake boater capacity studies where needed.
No boater capacity studies have been undertaken
Investigate the need for a speed limit on the Canal.
There are no plans to establish a speed limit for the Canal.
Establish speed and wake controls in narrow channels and congested areas.
Additional speed and wake zones were established in the last 5 years.
Barrier free access
Provide access for the disabled where required.
Most major visitor locations and services are barrier free access.