The Rideau Canal Headquarters Office, located at the centre of the Canal in Smiths Falls, is responsible for the overall administration of the Canal providing a range of specialized functions to deal with the complex demands of operating a historic canal. Three sector offices, in Elgin, Smiths Falls and Manotick are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Canal and supervise the lockstations, which are the primary points of public contact and the delivery of services. Lockmasters and their staff are responsible for operating the locks, maintaining the grounds and programs for visitors.
This section of the plan provides direction for the administration of Canal lands, and the provision of facilities for administration and operations. Canal lands consist of the bed of the Canal and all lands owned by Parks Canada consisting of lockstations, islands, dams, embankments, dikes and other lands required for the operation of the Canal.
Woods Mill, Smiths Falls, Rideau Canal Photo Collection
The largest surviving milling complex on the Rideau Canal and the site of the Rideau Canal Museum and the Canal headquarters.
10.2 Administration and Operations Challenges
- Resolving the unauthorized occupation of Crown lands by adjacent shore-land property owners in a fair and equitable manner.
- Regulating the use of the bed of the Canal for commercial and private activities e.g. marinas and private docks.
- The establishment of new agreements for the use of surplus water for hydro-electric generation consistent with the Historic Canals Policy.
- Enforcement of regulations regarding unauthorized encroachment on the Canal.
- Ensuring that Parks Canada conducts its operations in an environmentally sustainable manner.
10.3 Strategic Goals:
To manage the private use of Canal lands and the bed of the Canal in a manner that protects the cultural, natural and scenic values of the Canal, ensures appropriate public use and respects the interests of the occupant.
To ensure that all aspects of Parks Canada’s activities, facilities and services are guided by the principles of cultural resource management, environmental stewardship and sustainability.
Landscaping at Old Slys Lockstation, Rideau Canal Photo Collection
Lockstations are highly valued by Canal corridor communities as public parks.
10.3.1 Key actions by Parks Canada:
The management of Canal lands will be guided by the following criteria:
- The private use of Canal lands will be consistent with the protection of the heritage character of the Canal.
- Commercial use facilities must not compromise the commemorative integrity of lockstations, and must serve the needs of Canal users.
- Public safety and use of the Canal cannot be compromised.
- A fair return to the Crown where appropriate.
- Respect for existing legitimate private uses of Canal land.
- The acquisition and disposal of property will be governed by the need to ensure the commemorative integrity of the Canal, ecosystem health, public safety and use, and operational needs.
- Canal lands occupied by adjacent shore-land property owners which do not have cultural, ecological or scenic value and are not required for operational purposes may be sold.
- Parks Canada will inform landowners of the extent of Crown ownership along the Canal and the regulations governing the protection and use of Crown lands.
- Regulations regarding unauthorized encroachments on, and use of, the bed of the Canal and Canal lands will be enforced.
- Any new agreements for the use of surplus water for hydro-electric generation will be established in accordance with the provisions of the Historic Canal Policy.
- All maintenance and operations activities will be carried out in an environmentally sound manner.
- All construction projects, new services, facilities and activities on Parks Canada administered land over which Parks Canada has jurisdiction, or to which Parks Canada contributes funds, will be subject to an environmental assessment where required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
- The Historic Canal Regulations will be enforced.
- Messages about environmental stewardship will be incorporated into the Canal’s communications and training programs.