Westboro Beach closed for summer for renewal project – Kitchissippi Times

The beach will be upgraded as part of a redevelopment project this summer. Photo by Alvin Tsang.

By Alvin Tsang

Popular Westboro Beach will be closed to the public this summer.

On March 18, the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission (NCC) announced that the local beach will be upgraded as part of a redevelopment project.

Valérie Dufour, Senior Director of Strategic Communications at the NCC, said Kitchissippi weather that the final beach design will be voted on April 7 by the NCC’s Board of Directors.

“Westboro Beach will be closed for the summer of 2022 as we kick off this exciting renewal project and begin construction of a new pavilion that will be a highly sustainable, carbon-free building to serve the public year-round,” said said Dufour.

Design plans include a new modern restaurant and community space, historical site interpretation, river viewpoints, children’s play areas, outdoor showers and gender-neutral and fully accessible washrooms.

“We are excited to begin this important step in the implementation of the NCC’s Ottawa River South Shore Waterfront Park,” said Dufour.

The Ottawa River South Shore Waterfront Park will be a continuous waterfront park that will connect communities to the nine kilometers of waterfront land between LeBreton Flats and Mud Lake Conservation Area.

“Westboro Beach is a key hub on the Ottawa side of the historic Ottawa River, and we will create a more vibrant and active space that will improve the quality of life for residents and the experience for visitors,” said Dufour.

Westboro Beach with a cloudy sunset in the background.  The beach is covered with a small layer of snow.
Westboro Beach on a cloudy spring day. Photo by Alvin Tsang.

The beach is the main attraction at the Westboro site, with a tall grassy hill beside it well known for winter sledding. The beach and the hill will be left as is in the upcoming design.

The current Westboro Beach parking lot has 65 parking spaces. In the new design, this parking lot will be removed to make way for fun new facilities, such as gazebos, a picnic area and possibly volleyball courts.

Over the years in Westboro Beach there have been reports of collisions between cyclists and pedestrians on the multi-use path. The new design will improve pedestrian circulation, separating cyclists from pedestrians and ensuring that they do not cross paths with vehicles.

Dan Chenier, project manager and general manager of recreation, cultural and facilities services for the City of Ottawa, said in a statement that they recognize the importance of beach access for residents. The statement explained that the team had explored several possibilities to keep the beach open, but ultimately decided against it because it could not be safely developed with ongoing construction.

“Due to the large staging area required by the contractor and safety considerations, Westboro Beach will be closed for the 2022 season,” Chenier said.

A close up of a white "no admittance" Sign at Westboro Beach with a road and snow in the background.
The trail has been closed since Wednesday, March 23. Photo by Alvin Tsang.

The city’s main involvement in the project is managing beach operations while the NCC leads construction.

“Construction will take place on and around the site, and various detours will be in place to help the public navigate the area and help direct traffic if necessary,” Chenier said.

There is no set date for the start of construction, but some areas of Westboro Beach are already closed to the public.

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