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Verdun residents divided over future waterfront dog park

Proposed dog park sparks concerns in Verdun
WATCH: Residents near the Verdun waterfront are voicing concerns about a proposed dog park. Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines reports.

The waterfront location of a future dog park in Montreal’s historic Verdun neighbourhood has some nearby residents calling on the borough to reconsider the long-awaited project, while others are speaking out in support.

As of next spring, a new 2,400 square meter enclosed dog park project will begin construction off LaSalle Boulevard near Moffat street.

The park will be situated in an open green space overlooking the Verdun waterfront.

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Last week, some residents voiced their opposition to the new project in the form of an online petition.

Organizers behind the petition say they have already obtained more than 300 hundred signatures and have had more than 250 emails sent to the borough office calling for a relocation.

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Opponents to the project claim the new park will obstruct the view of the water and increase traffic in the area. Parents also have voiced safety concerns with a playground in close vicinity to the proposed dog park.

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Alyssa Spriggs who lives on LaSalle Boulevard, which would directly look out to the future dog park, says she cherishes her morning walks with the view of the water. She says the view is the reason she bought her house in Verdun and worries the park will ruin her experience.

“I appreciate the water and to be walking now and not see that view and instead see a fence it would change my quality of life,” Spriggs said.

Emmanuelle Lemenu, Verdun resident and owner of three dogs, said she would not want to see a park in the area either.

“It’s just going to ruin the view and create a lot of barking,” Lemenu said. “All these people will not  be able to sleep.”

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With only one official dog park in the borough, Verdun city councillor Sterling Downey says the park is needed to allow the growing number of dog owners access.

“An open-air park that is accessible is a service that is necessary and it has to be delivered,” Downey said.

“Its something that has been asked for, for over 15 years.”

Yannick Manuri, one of the petition organizers, agrees more dog parks are needed, but says Verdun is not the right place to put it.

“Yes, [I] definitely would like to have a new dog park, just not here,” Manuri said. He suggested a more suitable location should be found closer to 5 Avenue.
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Downey says the borough’s research indicates the proposed location of the dog park has a large population with a high density of dog owners.

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“I highly question people who are using a view as an argument,” Downey said. “We have a responsibility that is to offer services to all Verduners.”

Downey says the majority of Verdun residents support the new park, while only a small minority in the surrounding area are against it.

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“This is the most accessible place for all citizens,” dog owner Mathieu Lacombe said.

Lacombe frequently walks his dog in the green space and says having the park off Lasalle Boulevard is ideal for all owners and their dogs.

“It saves me a 40-minute walk to the closest dog park,” Lacombe said.

Lacombes says he regularly sees owners letting their dogs loose within the nearby fenced-in children’s playground, which he says is proof the dog park will be used.

Downey said the borough is aware of the concerns and complaints from residents and will do their best to mitigate any problems.

“But when you live next to the park, the reality is you will have the inconvenience of living next to a park,” Downey said.

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