Protest against gates on Prince of Wales bridge tonight

_ (press release) _ Residents of Ottawa and Gatineau are gathering by the Prince of Wales Bridge tonight at 6:00pm to voice their opposition at the City of Ottawa’s plan to build a $250,000 gate on the Prince of Wales Bridge.

Supporters for keeping the bridge open were dismayed to learn that no new infrastructure spending was dedicated to revitalizing the bridge and turn it into a pedestrian/cycling bridge, or extend the O-Train line into Gatineau to serve the commuters who cross the river daily. Citizens are gathering by the bridge to enjoy a picnic and listen to live music.

“The Prince of Wales Bridge is used and loved by residents on both sides of the Ottawa River” says Aileen Duncan, co-organizer and founder of the petition .to keep the Prince of Wales bridge open. “We should be looking at ways to build bridges across communities, not building walls.”

The Federal government announced over $157 million in first round infrastructure spending for the City of Ottawa, but none of that was dedicated to the Prince of Wales bridge.  Today, organizers launched a crowdfunding campaign on Generosity to start raising funds for the renewal of the bridge, and started an organization, the Ottawa Rail Bridge Project (ORB) to advise on the proposed revitalization project.

The City of Ottawa, which owns the bridge, says it has no funds to refurbish the bridge.  “We believe that residents use the bridge and are willing to share the costs to keep it open and make it accessible for everyone,”  Duncan says.

The Prince of Wales bridge has long been out of commission to trains and was purchased in 2005 by the City of Ottawa.  The bridge connects to popular multi-use NCC paths on both the Gatineau and Ottawa sides of the rivers, as well as the O-Train path on the Ottawa side. The City of Ottawa cycling plan envisages the Prince of Wales Bridge to be  a pedestrian and cycling bridge by 2019, but the city has not invested any funding into the project.

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** Quick figures **

$10.5M -estimated cost to refurbish the Prince of Wales Bridge to make it a multi use path for pedestrians and cyclists

0 - the number of complaints filed to the City of Ottawa about the Prince of Wales Bridge.

$156M - the amount of first round Federal infrastructure funding for City of Ottawa projects.

$2M  - the costs of poor planning; the Booth Street bridge was not built with segregated bike lanes.  This is money that could have been diverted to the Prince of Wales bridge or other transit projects.

1880 - The year the Prince of Wales Bridge was built

2005 - The year the City of Ottawa acquired the bridge