Super User

Super User

December 16, 2022

Amy Bachhuber

December 16, 2022

2022 RVCA Budget

December 16, 2022

2021 RVCA Budget

MANOTICK, Dec. 15, 2022 – Baxter and Chapman Mills conservation areas are fast becoming some of Ottawa’s most inclusive natural parks thanks to more than $429,000 in recent funding from the federal government. 

Nepean MP Chandra Arya announced the funding through FedDev Ontario's Canada Community Revitalization Fund on Dec. 15 at the Manotick headquarters of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), which it shares with its charitable foundation, the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation (RVCF).

Baxter Conservation Area in Kars will receive a total of $279,900 from the fund to help replace its decommissioned marshland bridge with a state-of-the-art accessible span over the Baxter marsh. The funding also supports wheelchair-accessible learning platforms attached to the bridge to make the site’s outdoor education programs more inclusive.

Chapman Mills Conservation Area in Barrhaven will receive $150,000 from the same fund to replace its north-end pedestrian bridge with a safer, more accessible span.

“These projects would not have been possible without this incredible federal support,” said RVCA Chair Pieter Leenhouts. “We are excited to reopen both bridges to so we can properly welcome people of all ages and abilities to our beautiful sites.”

Work has already begun on both projects. 

Nature For All

A dedicated volunteer committee has spearheaded the Nature For All project at Baxter Conservation Area, pursuing their goal to create Eastern Ontario’s most accessible nature destination. 

Those efforts have included liaising and advocating within the community to increase support for the project. We thank our valued community and corporate sponsors for their support, including generous financial contributions from: 

  • 100 Women Who Care
  • 1stGreely Cubs
  • City of Ottawa (Rural Community-Building Grant)
  • Fjällräven
  • Fedex Canada
  • Girl Gone Good
  • The Gosling Foundation

Being in nature is good for body and soul, but people with disabilities are disproportionately excluded from outdoor spaces because they’re inaccessible, unsafe or both. The RVCA has worked with renowned accessibility consultant Marnie Peters to create a matrix of the world’s best outdoor accessibility solutions and apply them to their infrastructure projects where possible going forward.

“Nature and wilderness should be for everybody,” said Mike Nemesvary, founder of the Nature For All committee and long-time accessibility advocate. He has been visiting Baxter in his power wheelchair for 20 years, after a training accident in his 20s left him paralyzed on his path to becoming a world champion freestyle skier. 

His motivation to transform Baxter began with “a sincere desire to share with everyone of all ages and abilities this underutilized gem of a local park with its 80 hectares of interpretive education centre, boardwalks, trails, sandy beach, camp site, wilderness and multi-layered ecosystems - all within Ottawa’s city limits,” Nemesvary said at the funding announcement on Dec. 15. 

“Every idea starts with a dream, and that dream must be manifested by bringing together the right group at the right time who share attainable objectives,” said Nemesvary. “We fundamentally knew it would be a challenge, but we plowed ahead methodically with our planning and research. Slowly but surely, others started to see how much more we could do.”

To learn more or donate to the Nature For All project, visit


December 02, 2022

Board of Directors

The RVCA Board of Directors is made up of appointees from the Rideau's 18 member municipalities plus an agricultural member appointed by the Minister. These representatives oversee the work of the conservation authority.

Councillor Kristin Strackerjan - Chair Municipality of North Grenville
Anne Robinson - Vice-Chair City of Ottawa
Deputy Mayor Adrian Wynands
Deputy Reeve Brian Dowdall
Councillor Susan Irwin Township of Central Frontenac
VACANT City of Clarence Rockland
Reeve Steve Fournier
Deputy Mayor Anne Barr Village of Merrickville-Wolford
Councillor Morgan Kenny
Councillor Riley Brockington City of Ottawa
Councillor David Brown City of Ottawa
Councillor Theresa Kavanagh City of Ottawa
Councillor Wilson Lo City of Ottawa
Councillor Gary Waterfield Town of Perth
Councillor Jeff Banks Township of Rideau Lakes
Mayor Shawn Pankow
Councillor Charlene Godfrey
Councillor Angela Pierman
Councillor Barry Card
Mel Foster Agricultural Sector



KARS-ON-THE-RIDEAU, Nov. 28, 2022 – The dream of turning Baxter Conservation Area into an accessible nature haven for people of all abilities is finally coming true.

After three years of planning and fundraising, work has begun to replace the park’s defunct marshland bridge with a new state-of-the-art span that embraces the gold standards of accessible design. This includes an extra-wide deck, appropriate sight-lines for people in wheelchairs and strollers, and a large education platform to help students of all abilities get up close and personal with the natural world.

“The outdoors should be accessible to anyone who wants to enjoy it: plain and simple,” said Dan Cooper, co-chair of the Nature For All committee and Director of Conservation Lands at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA). “We’ve done the work to ensure this bridge serves visitors of all ages and abilities.”

The bridge construction was made possible thanks to tireless fundraising efforts by RVCA’s charitable partner the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation, which garnered more than $800,000 in support from individual donors, community organizations, government grants and corporate sponsorships.

“We are thrilled and humbled by the community support for this project,” said Foundation director Diane Downey. “It really shows how much our visitors and partners value inclusivity at our parks.” 

Construction will continue throughout the winter and will not result in any new trail closures.

Inclusive Infrastructure

Being in nature is good for body and soul, but people with disabilities are disproportionately excluded from outdoor spaces because they’re inaccessible, unsafe or both. 

The people behind Baxter Conservation Area are trying to change this. The conservation area is slowly but surely becoming Eastern Ontario’s most accessible wilderness haven, with gold-standard accessibility features added each year throughout the park. 

Baxter has already invested in accessible equipment such as wheelchair-friendly picnic tables, a beach mat down to the water and wheelchair-accessible sleds for the winter months. Outhouses and change huts have been made more accessible, and this winter, new accessible washrooms will be installed at the interpretive centre thanks to a generous federal community improvement grant. 

The Nature For All committee also plans to upgrade the park’s five kilometres of trails to include wider, more comfortable boardwalks and more wheelchair-friendly graded stone-dust paths. 

These upgrades will allow us to welcome people of all ages and abilities safely and comfortably to our park. These groups include (but are not limited to): 

  • People with physical or intellectual disabilities
  • Seniors with mobility concerns
  • Students and special education classesMikeNemesvary.NFAchair
  • Groups from local day programs, assisted living facilities and long-term care homes.

“Nature and wilderness should be for everybody.
That’s where you begin to find yourself,” said Mike Nemesvary, founder of Nature For All and long-time accessibility advocate. He has been visiting Baxter in his power wheelchair for 20 years, after a training accident in his 20s left him paralyzed on his path to becoming a world champion freestyle skier.
“Baxter Conservation (will be) a model of accessibility for other conservation areas. People from all across Canada can come here and see how much effort and time was put into the planning, and that the planning has really paid off.” 

To learn more or donate to the Nature For All project, visit


Taxpayers, municipalities and our natural systems will bear the costs of the Province’s affordable housing legislation released last month. 

Email your MPP using our Sample Letter (Word Document)

While the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority strongly supports efforts to address the ongoing housing crisis, many of the proposed changes related to conservation authorities will have significant impacts and costs while doing little to increase housing supply.

Proposed changes and their impacts: 


  • Weakening the regulatory ability of CAs to protect people and property from natural hazards like flooding, erosion and slope failures - leading to greater risk of property damage and public safety.
  • Eliminating the CA’s ability to address water quality issues through planning and permitting, leading to increased nutrients and sediment in lakes and rivers. We know from the 1990s this causes excessive weed growth and algae blooms that have economic impacts on property values, agriculture, tourism, recreation, fisheries and sources of drinking water for many residents.
  • Reducing wetland evaluations and protections, leading to increased flooding, erosion and drought, as well as diminished groundwater, which is the source of drinking water in much of rural Ontario. Studies have shown the loss of wetlands in the Rideau watershed would increase flood levels by 10%.
  • Downloading more responsibilities to municipalities who have indicated will lead to inefficiencies, delays and increased risk and costs.
  • Freezing development fees, which will pass development costs to taxpayers instead of growth paying for growth. 

Take Action

To learn more or to provide input on the proposed changes, visit the Environmental Registry of Ontario for these Notices:

Or use our sample letter to email your MPP: 

More Resources:

RIDEAU VALLEY, Nov. 17, 2022 – More than 30 Eastern Ontario mayors have endorsed a Conservation Authority letter to the province expressing concerns with provincial Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act.

The letter, written by 10 Eastern Ontario CAs, was sent to Premier Doug Ford and relevant cabinet ministers earlier today. 

“We are overwhelmed and incredibly grateful for the support we have received from local municipalities,” said Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, General Manager of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. “It was disheartening that this bill only had a 30-day consultation period given the magnitude of the proposed changes and that this short consultation period fell during the turnover of municipal councils.” 

In their letter, the Eastern Ontario CAs outline six key concerns with the bill and how the changes will negatively impact local development review processes, download new responsibilities to municipalities, increase costs to taxpayers, increase the risk of flooding, erosion and slope failure and damage the local environment. 

But the CAs also provide recommendations to the province of how to improve Bill 23 and call for meaningful consultation with CAs, municipalities, and the development and agricultural sectors to identify real solutions that will increase housing without having unintended and irreversible consequences. 

It is well understood that water flows across municipal boundaries – and so do the impacts of development. That’s why over the past 70 years, municipalities have formed 36 CAs across Ontario to assess and understand the cumulative impact of development within each watershed. At a time when climate change is causing more frequent and intense storm events, the role of CAs has never been more critical.

Learn more:

Provide input on the proposed changes through the Environmental Registry of Ontario:

Consider sending our sample letter to your local MPP:


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Contact Us

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
3889 Rideau Valley Drive
Manotick, Ontario K4M 1A5

613-692-3571, 1-800-267-3504



Regular Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Member of: conservation ontario