Issues at Westmount Park

There have been recent letters in the local media about the state of our beloved parks and there are several issues coming up for Westmount Park, the jewel in our midst inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted.

Many of you might not be aware that the new dog run, promised last October adjacent to the Junior Tennis Courts and partially on the roof of the WRC, is about to be constructed.

From what we have seen staked out in the park, the actual location of the dog run will be different from that proposed last fall.

The WMA is concerned about this for several reasons and so members of the board and some members who expressed an interest in this issue, met at the site today.

WMA Meeting

WMA Meeting in Westmount Park

These are the areas of our concern:

  • First of all, this area of the park will become the confluence of several different kinds of users, not all compatible. We have seniors and disabled people who use Contactivity. We have cyclists who use the main east/west artery into downtown Montreal. We will have dog owners and their dogs who will be forced to cross the bikepath at locations that are not regular junctions, plus we have regular park users and users of the soccer fields and new tennis courts.
  • There is already a problem in that the handicapped parking for Contactivity will be relocated to the west side of Lansdowne as the turning circle next to the Westmount Park United Church is too small – this also impedes City maintenance vehicles from accessing the park.
  • The bike path will be forced to deviate due to the location of the dog run now extending further north into the park as it will not occupy any space on the WRC roof. This will force the relocation of the footpath next to the Serpentine Pond and will necessitate the chopping down of several trees – several of which are currently marked with a large red X.
  • The relocation of both the pedestrian and cycle paths will encroach on the area currently used for Shakespeare In The Park as well as potentially disturbing the tranquility of the area next to the Serpentine Pond.
  • A further concern is that no due process appears to have been followed. A public consultation / poll was promised back at the end of Summer (see P47), but this never took place. The current plan – which, despite our efforts, the WMA was unable to secure a copy thereof, has not been revealed and we believe the tender for the contract to start construction will be awarded at Monday’s Council meeting.
  • Despite the rework of the bike path last year, parts of it will have to be redone. Already the elevation changes in front of the WRC required aggregate infill, but this is already eroding as it was not properly supported. The new route of the bikepath has a similar elevation change, plus there are visibility issues which potentially compromise safety. These will exacerbated by the crossing points required for access to the dog run. The scope of the work appears to be significantly larger than the previous plans and so we are concerned about the cost increases that this will cause.

We invite all members who are interested in this issue to look at the stakes that have been placed in the park and to attend Monday’s Council meeting to voice your opinions. The poll the WMA performed last fall had very clear results.

We believe this whole area of the park should be reviewed, with appropriate consultation, before any construction begins.

Your co-presidents:
Dr Paul Marriott
Dr Maureen Kiely

Two of several trees marked for removal

Two of several trees marked for removal

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