A judge has granted a court injunction that temporarily closes a contentious dog park on the South Shore city of La Prairie.
The city has been forced to lock up the dog park situated off Denise-Lemaistre Street after a dozen residents contested the project.
In addition, the court issued a cease and desist order for any future development of the park, which remains unfinished.
“This is a small victory,” resident Tiffany McNeil said.
In early September 2020, the city installed two new fenced-in parks on municipal land.
Only the Denise-Lemaistre property is affected by the court injunction.
Residents who live on the street say they were never consulted on the project and never asked for it.
The loss of the open space due to the new park has played a central role in residents’ anger.
Children in the area can no longer play in the “beloved” green space, they say.
“Residents want to see the space moved to an area better suited for a dog park,” said Carl-Eric Therrien, lawyer for the residents.
The proximity of the dog park to nearby homes, Therrien said, is also an issue as residents say it would be unsafe.
While they have obtained the temporary injunction, the residents are hoping the underlying litigation will ultimately result in the permanent relocation of the park, Therrien said.
“Our clients want to see the dog park moved where it is not disturbing the residents,” Therrien said.
Last year, a petition started by residents garnered more than 500 signatures.
The subject has caused a fracture among La Prairie city councillors.
District councillor Denis Girard disagrees with the location of the park. He says it is one of the reasons why he left the mayor’s party and is currently sitting as an independent.
“It’s obvious, to me and to residents, this park shouldn’t be here,” Girard said.
“I don’t understand why the mayor doesn’t see it.”
In a statement, the city of La Prairie said the park installation was meant to preserve the neighbourhood greenspace and at the same time fulfill citizen demands for additional city dog parks.
“Citizens have been asking for such installations for several years now,” said La Prairie mayor Donat Serres.
“The choice to establish these dog parks on municipal land owned by the city significantly reduced costs, thus respecting residents’ ability to pay.”
A decision will have to wait. No official court date has been announced.