Pincourt’s new electronic billboards warn residents of thin ice risk


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

A large area of unfrozen water along a portion of the Ottawa River has prompted the town of Pincourt to issue a warning to residents to be careful when venturing onto the ice.

The unusually mild winter has prompted the Town of Pincourt to issue a thin ice public advisory through its two recently installed electronic billboards informing residents to be extremely cautious when venturing out onto the partially frozen Ottawa River.

Mayor Yvan Cardinal, who spoke to Your Local Journal about the advisory following the Tuesday evening council meeting on February 9, said the warning was warranted after a 71-year-old man fell through the ice while ice fishing on Lac St. Louis near the shoreline of Pointe de Moulin in Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot on January 29.

While ice fishing huts have recently been placed and vehicles have driven atop what looks like solid ice on Baie Daoust adjacent to Bellevue Park at the intersection of Duhamel Road and Mgr Langlois Avenue, just a bit further downriver from 19th Avenue onwards towards 24th Avenue, a wide swath of unfrozen water stretches from near Pincourt’s shoreline across the river towards Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Cardinal said that in all the years he’s lived in Pincourt, he’s never seen such a large portion of unfrozen water at this time of the year. The recent spate of warm weather also has had an undermining effect on the present ice cover which can unexpectedly shift and destabilize the ice without warning.

Another danger that residents face is that strong underwater currents along certain portions of the river can suddenly also compromise the ice without warning and could put people at risk.

The two billboards, which cost $90,000 and are located on Boulevard Cardinal Léger and Boulevard de l’Île near 5th Avenue, have already proven their effectiveness in informing residents about the current thin ice warning that they otherwise could have missed unless citizens regularly check the town’s website or Facebook page, said Cardinal.

The billboards were installed to provide residents with information regarding upcoming activities and special events and provide special advisories when required. “The advantage of the billboards is that you can give important messages right away,” said Cardinal.

Emerald Ash Borer

The town adopted a resolution to hire a private firm at a cost of $20,000 to conduct an inventory of all its ash trees on public property to check for signs of the Emerald Ash Borer. According to Natural Resources Canada, the invasive species of beetle has killed tens of millions of ash trees in North America since its arrival in 2002. The decision to check trees comes after the town confirmed the presence of the destructive insect on one ash tree last year.

Cardinal said there’s a possibility that other trees may be infected and the inventory is meant to check whether other trees are infected so that they can either be treated or cut down and replaced with other species of trees. The program does not extend to ash trees on private property. Residents will have to take the necessary measures to make sure their trees are not affected.

Infrastructure upgrades

The town also announced that it will proceed with a major infrastructure upgrade to revamp the water and sewage systems and to repave the roads on 23rd, 24th and 25th Avenues after it adopted a loan by-law of $3.5 million to proceed with the work. Cardinal said the cost of the work will be absorbed by all Pincourt residents.

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