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Outremont dog park users angered by planned demolition

WATCH ABOVE: Things got heated in Outremont as dog lovers called on city officials to reverse a development plan. In a few years, new condos and a University of Montreal expansion will take over the land. Global's Dan Spector reports.

People come from far and wide to enjoy the dog park in Outremont, which many call the nicest dog park in the city.

But, as Global News reported on Feb. 14, the park will soon be no more. In a few years, new condos and a University of Montreal expansion will take over the land.

People who use the park got a chance to meet with city officials Saturday to discuss its future. Things got heated in the packed room at an Outremont community center.

“This is an insult to our intelligence!” park user Serge Segal yelled at Outremont mayor Philipe Tomlinson.

Officials had just handed out diagrams showing how condos and a new road will replace the park when construction is complete. A much smaller green space will be retained.

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READ MORE: Outremont’s only dog park set to close

“A piece of paper with a little green square a quarter of the size of the original park in my eyes is not acceptable,” said Riva Lanicz, who regularly visits the park.

Some still hold out hope they can keep the current park alive.

“Whatever it takes,” park user Dan Rivan told Global News.

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“We’re going to bring our families in front of the tractors on the construction site. If they want to take us away, they can bring the police or whatever. Everyone will hear about it.”

The mayor of Outremont says there is no hope for the park to remain untouched. He’s trying to figure out where the borough can put a new dog park to replace it.

“For the park as is exactly, no. But there is hope there will be a dog park in Outremont, and it will be a really nice, big dog park,” Tomlinson told Global News.

Space is tight in Outremont. Park users, including Montreal Gazette restaurant critic Lesley Chesterman, are skeptical.

“Will they make a dog run as big? The beauty of the dog run in Outremont is it’s a big dog run. Dogs really get to run around and there’s less fights,” she said after attending the meeting.

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READ MORE: Pilot project underway at newly fenced-in Lauderdale off-leash dog park

Local dog owners say they plan to make sure the eventual new park that replaces the current run is up to par.

“We have thousands of people who use the park and we will mobilize,” said Serge Segal. “It’s a fight.”

The mayor came to hear what people want in a new park.

“I’m willing to fight for that and make sure we get that,” he said.

But he was instead met with anger at the meeting.

“We’ve been in office for three months, and this is a decision made 12 years ago. We’re the ones who have to take the heat, but that’s par for the course,” he said in an interview following the meeting.