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Parks Canada makes $7.5-million investment in Rideau Canal

The federal government is spending up to $7.5-million on much-needed rehabilitation projects along the Rideau Canal.

Parks Canada will invest $4.3-million to fix up the Poonamalie Dam near Smiths Falls, while up to $3.2-million will be invested over the next two years on preventative maintenance projects and visitor facilities.

Merrickville-Wolford Mayor Doug Struthers told CFRA the money is much needed.

"The project in Poonamalie, not to put any scare tactics, but it has to do with public safety," said Struthers. "There is that dam aspect to the area and it's critical that that be maintained. The mayors on the Rideau corridor, we are very pleased that while, maybe there need to be more dollars over the course of time, that there are dollars committed by the federal government."

When Parks Canada cut operating hours along the Rideau Canal two seasons ago, communities like Merrickville raised concerns about what it would mean to their local economy, but Struthers said these investments show the federal government hasn't given up on the national historic site.

He added fixing up the visitor facilities would hopefully entice more tourists to visit.

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