A landmark on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River is set to be demolished, but not without a fight from community groups and the Gatineau mayor.

Transport Quebec (MTQ), who owns the land the dam sits on, has elected to tear down the ruins at the Deschênes rapids. The MTQ cites safety concerns as the main reason for the move.

In an email to CTV, a spokesperson says "As a result of a MTMDET safety study, it was agreed that the option of removing remains is the most appropriate way to ensure safety. The City of Gatineau and the partners (emergency services) did not oppose the solution envisaged by the MTMDET."

However, Gatineau mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin wants to keep the dam.

"I'm quite sure we can tackle the safety issue while we respect our heritage," he says. "It's part of our history, it's been there a long time."

Howard Powles is in the same camp. Powles is the president of the Deschênes Residents Association and says the community wasn't a part of the decision-making process.

"It would've been nice to have been consulted, and...governments don't sometimes," he says.

The dam was first constructed in the 1880s by the Conroy family to power saw mills. When the mills burned down, the dam was converted into a hydro station that was used to power an electric railway from Aylmer to Ottawa.

Transport Quebec says six people have died or gone missing in the area, but Powles contends they were all on the Ottawa side of the river and had nothing to do with the dam. The association used access to information requests to obtain police and fire reports from 2010 to 2015. They found just over 20 incidents in the area, but none directly related to the dam. 

"We don't see the need to take it down and spend all that money when it could be spent in other places more effectively," says Powles.

"We've destroyed too many things in Gatineau that were part of our history," adds Pedneaud-Jobin.

Transport Quebec won't confirm costs, but early estimates are around $5 million. Demolition could start as early as 2018.