Locked out: Fence divides Kirkland and Pierrefonds, causing contention
A fence dividing two West Island communities has become a source of contention.
The fence sits on a bike path that connects Kirkland and Pierrefonds, between Chateau Pierrefonds Ave. and Houde St. – but remains locked overnight as part of a Kirkland initiative to stop vandalism.
So far it's worked, said Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson.
"It cut down the vandalism by 100 per cent. There's no more vandalism, we don't have any more graffiti in that section of the city, so it resolved the problem," he said.
During the day, people can travel across, but it's closed from 7:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Pierrefonds resident Danielle Chouinard is bothered by the lock. Her children walk to school on the other side of the path and she said that sometimes in the morning it's not open.
"It's a safety issue to kids that have to access that school. And there's quite a big section of Pierrefonds that is zoned for the school in Kirkland," she said.
Chouinard doesn't want to see homes vandalized, but said she wants the fence to be removed.
"I'm not sure that the gate really prevents vandalism. I think that there are better options such as lighting and cameras," she said. "If it's locked and you have to cross somewhere else, you have to travel at least a kilometre or two in either direction."
Pierrefonds Mayor Jim Beis hopes the neighbouring communities can work out an agreement.
"We will plan to meet with (Mayor Gibson) and his council if he'd like and possibly even invite the residents that have complained about this to be present if Mr. Gibson is okay with that, and we can look at this together as a community and find a solution that's suitable, I think, for all," he said.
Gibson said he'll look into possibly extending opening hours.
"We'll probably look next year at extending it, probably by one hour until 8:30," he said.
Chouinard said she plans on taking her concerns to Kirkland's town council.