Some La Prairie residents along Denise-Lemaistre Street are furious and are considering legal action against the city over a new dog park.
In early September, one of two new fenced-in parks was installed in the residential area’s public green space.
Residents who live on the street say they were never consulted on the project.
“I thought it was a park for the kids or something in regards to that but when I found out it was a dog park, that changed and I got concerned,” resident Tiffany McNeil said.
McNeil is one of many residents along the street who have voiced their concern with the project and what they say is a lack of transparency behind it.
“I never imagined they would install a dog park in the middle of a residential area,” resident Giovanni Giummarra said.
As a dog owner, Giummarra says he doesn’t see the need to have a park in the area.
“It’s a matter of principle: we don’t need this in my neighbourhood,” he said.
The new park has caused concern for residents.
Parents like McNeil, whose fence borders the park, worry about the safety of children in the area.
She believes the proximity of the park to homes on the street is unsafe.
“The noise that it will bring and the increased traffic in our residence, it’s a cause for concern and security for the kids around here,” McNeil said.
The loss of green space due to the new park has played a central role in residents’ anger.
“It was as if someone had taken away my place of solace,” said longtime La Prairie resident Margaet Cibiri.
They claim the space was used by numerous children and families in the area.
Cibiri said it’s the reason she and others chose to live in the area.
“If the city took the time to study, they would have found out no one would have wanted it,” Cibiri said.
“It’s the wrong spot. It’s not what we want here.”
Residents have started a petition that has garnered more than 500 signatures. They hope the city will change its mind and move the park.
The subject has caused a fracture among La Prairie city councillors.
District councillor Denis Girard disagrees with the location of the park.
Girard says it is one of the reasons why he left the mayor’s party and is currently sitting as an independent.
“There is so many people against it — you have to hear them,” Girard said.
“When I come here and when I see it, it’s obvious to me.”
A cease-and-desist letter has been sent to the city by Giummarra on behalf of residents concerning the project.
Giummarra says the city has yet to react to the legal letter. the city has seven days to respond according to Giummarra’s lawyers.
Global News reached out to the City of La Prairie on numerous occasions but the city has yet to respond to our request for comment.
Outdoor lighting and water fixtures are expected to be added to the space.
The park is scheduled to be completed by spring 2021.