Easter weekend rainfall washes out streets, paths around Ottawa-Gatineau

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Rising Ottawa River increases flood risk in Britannia, Cumberland

Streets and pathways have flooded and ferry operators are scrambling after nearly 30 millimetres of rain fell in Ottawa-Gatineau during the Easter weekend.

The water levels on the Ottawa River were so high Monday that they completely washed out the multi-use pathway behind Parliament Hill.

​Steve Colwill, meanwhile, shared this stunning photo on Saturday of flooding in Britannia Park during a rain storm. The pathway near Britannia Beach was also flooded Monday afternoon.

​"It's pretty high. Higher than usual in the spring," said Charles Muir, who has lived near Britannia Park near the Ottawa River since 1984. 

"I would think it's a couple of feet higher than usual. It's a good thing the city did some extension to the flood protection over here in Britannia Village last year. So it was a timely gesture."

The City of Gatineau said flooding is affecting the following areas:

- St-Louis Street is closed at the intersection of René Street. 

- Jacques-Cartier Street is secured in some areas with signage because of water has spilled out onto parts of the roadway and on the bike path.

- The Hull and Aylmer marinas are being monitored closely.

- Hurtubise Boulevard is partially flooded.

- The Lac Leamy parking lot is closed (near Lady Aberdeen bridge) as a precaution.

The city was also offering sandbags Monday to residents dealing with high water levels.

Meanwhile, north of Gatineau, flooding has also closed Highway 309 between Notre-Dame-du-Laus, Que., and Val-des-Bois, Que.

'Higher by the hour'

According to Environment Canada, 20 millimetres of rain fell in Ottawa-Gatineau on Saturday, while an additional eight millimetres came down Easter Sunday.

While Tuesday is expected to be sunny, the weather agency is forecasting a 60 per cent chance of rain on Wednesday, rain all day on Thursday, and a chance of showers on Friday.

Along with road and pathway closures, ferries across the Ottawa River are also being affected by the heavier-than-normal precipitation.

"The water level is getting higher by the hour," said Sylvain Lamoureux, assistant director with ferry operator Traversiers Bourbonnais, which runs the ferry from Cumberland to Masson-Angers, Que.

Lamoureux said the ferry — which carries between 1,200 and 1,500 vehicles daily — has never shut down due to water levels on the river, and they're taking precautions to ensure it stays that way.

Crews were out Monday afternoon building a secondary gravel ramp to the ferry, Lamoureux said, "just in case we need it."

Drivers also had to navigate pooling water to make their way onto the boat. 

"There's always people that are frightened just to get on the boat," Lamoureux said. "We just assure [them] that everything is safe."

The rain is also posing problems for people trying to take the ferry from Clarence-Rockland, Ont., to Thurso, Que. 

A spokesperson for ferry operator Ecolos told Radio-Canada that only vans were being permitted on board Monday as the road approaching the ferry on the Ontario side is currently underwater.