Gone to the dogs: New South Shore dog park sparks growing political fallout
MONTREAL -- Even dog owners in La Prairie are frustrated by the city’s decision to turn a once-accessible green space into a dog park.
"This used to be a very nice and quiet place to walk a dog or see the kids playing around from our neighbourhood, says nearby resident Giovanni Giummarra.
Now, the area on Denise-Lamaistre Street has been “transformed into a space that's been closed off to everybody," he said, "except for our dogs."
City workers recently installed fences around the quiet, popular park that used to be frequented by children with their families and with local daycares.
One resident called it “lost green space,” saying there's nothing they can do about it.
Some don't feel so hopeless. A petition circulated by residents who live next to the park has nearly 800 signatures.
Children in the area even made a video for the city explaining how much they enjoyed the park.
A city councillor for La Prairie said that he was just as displeased as local citizens with the dog park and the city’s lack of consultation. Denis Girard said he even left the area mayor’s party as a result -- he now sits as an independent.
"I'm here to represent the people from this neighbourhood," Girard said. “To me it was a matter of speaking on their behalf. I did feel the right decision would have been to reconsider this location."
Despite all the protest, the city hasn’t backed down. The mayor of La Prairie, Donat Serre, did not respond to CTV News' requests for comment or an interview.
Residents say they plan to keep up the pressure.
"We're not against dog parks. We're not against dog owners,” Tiffany McNeil said.
She says she just wants everybody -- dogs included -- to have access to the park once again.