Beloved NDG curbside community garden sunflowers deemed a traffic hazard

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Sunflowers in curbside community garden in NDG deemed a traffic hazard
WATCH: A neighbourhood garden in NDG has been deemed too dangerous for motorists and pedestrians and must now be cut down. Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines has the story – Aug 4, 2021

The towering sunflowers along a popular Nôtre-Dame-de-Grâce street have been ordered to go.

Growing at an impressive rate, sunflowers on the corner of Harvard and Chemin de la Côte-Saint-Antoine have been deemed a traffic hazard by the borough.

Rooted in a curbside community garden, the flowers measuring nearly two metres tall obstruct the view on the busy street corner, city councillor Peter McQueen said.

“They are beautiful. I respect the initiative but they are a danger, there’s no question about that,” McQueen said.

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The size of the flowers came as a surprise for owner Jerome Lussier, who never expected them to reach such heights.

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“Last year we had sunflowers that only grew four feet. We were hoping for the same this year but it turns out they are of the Goliath verity,” Lussier said.

Lussier took over the curbside garden outside his house as a way to stay busy during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His pandemic project has blossomed into quite the talk of the street with a number of residents admiring his yellow beauties.

“They are my sunshine every day,” Patrick Mathurin said while running by the garden.

Allan Ptack, who walks in the area every morning, says the flowers brighten the area.

“It makes walking the dog more pleasant, reminds me of the country. It’s unfortunate the city won’t support that,” Ptack said.

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The borough says the flowers will have to be removed from the garden by Monday.

Many residents are sad to see the flowers go.

“I think that it is really unfortunate. I think they’re beautiful . I can’t really see how a sunflower is a risk for a pedestrian walking by,” Ptack said.

Curbside flowers, according to city guidelines, cannot exceed a maximum height of three feet, McQueen said.

Lussier says he can’t keep them. He doesn’t have the space nor the amount of sunshine need to take care of the plants in his garden.

In only a few hours after a post on social media, several people have already reached out to Lussier offering to adopt and take over the flowers.

“There is a lot of interest,” Lussier said.  “I’m just not sure they understand how big these flowers really are.”

Lussier says he is willing to help unearth the giant flowers for anyone who is willing to take care of them.

Lussier is not discouraged. He plans to plant new shorter flowers next year that will fit with in the borough guidelines.

“We will try something new and shorter next year,” Lussier said.

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