NCC says reopening Conroy Pit could take months after storm damage

·1 min read
An uprooted tree in the off-leash area of Conroy Pit in Ottawa's Greenbelt shows some of the damage that the National Capital Commission has to clean up before it  can safely reopen the park. (Christian Millette/CBC - image credit)
An uprooted tree in the off-leash area of Conroy Pit in Ottawa's Greenbelt shows some of the damage that the National Capital Commission has to clean up before it can safely reopen the park. (Christian Millette/CBC - image credit)

Dog owners may have to wait months to get access to the popular Ottawa off-leash area at Conroy Pit, which was severely damaged in last month's violent windstorm.

The National Capital Commission (NCC) said damage to thousands of trees is still being assessed and cleanup operations to remove hazards and reduce the risk of forest fires will still take a while.

Céline Caron, who manages a social media page for park users, she said it's been devastating to see the tree damage.

"I cried ... It's a nice place, you don't feel like you're in the city," she said. "There's still branches hanging, trees that are on the verge of falling. Dogs may get hurt."

Christian Millette/CBC
Christian Millette/CBC

Marc-Antoine Poitras, contract management officer with the NCC, led a media tour of the site Friday to demonstrate why it's been closed.

"We're not the fun police. We've closed this site because we feel there's a significant health and safety risk to people on the site," he said.

Poitras said Blossom Park, Pine Grove and Pinhey's Forest area were the hardest hit by the storm — with thousands of trees downed and damaged.

"It breaks my heart, certain sections, some of the trails that my wife and I go down on a regular basis, are destroyed," he said.

Poitras said site opening is determined based on risk of trees and branches falling, but also that fallen trees could provide fuel for a forest fire.

The NCC updates its storm recovery web page after 4 p.m., based on daily updates from its crews.

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