Almonte Riverwalk Phase Two — the Millworkers Staircase — is to be installed this Fall thanks to tremendous community support

The Mississippi Mills Riverwalk Working Group met on the site of the soon-to-be Millworkers Staircase yesterday to officially kick off site preparations for Phase 2 of the Riverwalk. In their first meeting since March, masked committee members were proud to celebrate this key milestone together. 

The staircase will climb a steep bank past the Textile Museum, intersecting the rail trail.

Alex Gillis, Riverwalk Working Group Chair, shared his appreciation for the Municipality, the community, and committee members. “The Riverwalk Advisory Committee, now the Working Group, was launched in 2016 with a goal of fundraising. Since that time, the public and the municipality have shown a strong desire to support this Riverwalk extension onto Coleman Island, and especially the staircase.”  

The public has contributed $71,400 in just over 3 years through individual donations and fundraising events. This financial support shows tangible evidence of an engaged and supportive community. The committee also shared their appreciation of Mississippi Mills resident and business owner Mike Dupuis, whose generous offer to make his private bridge accessible for public use made this addition possible. The Mississippi River Power Corporation (MRPC) plays a critical role by permitting public access to their earthen dam.  The MRPC have also made significant aesthetic improvements to the area contributing to the project’s success.

Retired Councillor Alex Gillis has played a key role in advancing the expanded Riverwalk

The 9.5-metre steel staircase pays tribute to the municipality’s mill history and connects the Riverwalk on  Coleman Island to the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail. Mississippi Mills Council awarded the tender for the staircase to Premium Construction at a special meeting in April.

Premium has begun site preparations on Coleman Island and the staircase is under construction offsite. It’s is on schedule to be delivered, assembled, and installed in its permanent location late this fall.

Mayor Lowry speaks at the event

“The Riverwalk extension has come together much quicker than many of us expected and the timing could not have been better,” said Mayor Lowry at the ceremony.  “The last six months have been difficult for our community, and we know that this new normal of being apart will be with us for some time.  The Riverwalk extension is a beautiful reminder of how this community comes together. This project was created by the community, fundraised for by the community, and will be enjoyed and cherished by the community for generations to come. To Chair Alex Gillis and the entire working group, I thank every one of you for your hard work, your dedication and for bringing this jewel to Mississippi Mills.”     

The Mississippi Mills Working Group includes chair Alex Gillis, Joy Stratford, Lea-Anne Solomonian, Eric Schulz, Michael Rikley-Lancaster, Nancy Scott and Mississippi Mills staffer Tiffany MacLaren. Plans have begun for donor recognition, and for a grand opening celebration to take place in Spring 2021.