I just received an email from Albert Albala, the Verdun resident who spearheaded citizen opposition to the planned closing of Park Dupuis last spring.
Albala got wind of the plan to close the 4-hectare green space next to the Atwater filtration plant when he saw city crews quietly beginning to remove equipment like soccer goals from the site.
Hard to know what the real story is. It is either
A) Continued recreational use of the grassy expanse over the filtration plant's subterranean basins risks depositing soil and sediment into the water supply.
B) The city is worried about dog poop and pee leeching into the reservoirs.
C) Easy public access is a security issue that makes the water-filtration plant a potential terrorist target.
D) Verdun is tired of paying the bill to maintain a park that is technically located in the neighboring Southwest borough but is only accessible from Verdun.
E) All of the above.
It looked like a truce had been reached, with a promise from city hall that the status quo would remain in place. Now, it seems that the park will be closed next spring.
Here's what Albert had to say:
"Dupuis park is still set to be permanently closed next spring. The fence is being put up, and no entrance is planned for. Four hectares of prime green space is being lost in a neighborhood which badly needs green space!
Meanwhile, incumbent mayor candidate Gerald Tremblay says parks and green space are a cornerstone of his policy; concerning Dupuis park, the Tremblay administration says the park will be closed if citizens keep going there with dogs. But the city is making no effort to let anyone know (through signs, etc.) that dogs are not welcome. The dog issue seems to be a good excuse to close the park!
And closed it will be, unless citizens act now!
If you have the time and energy, here is what I propose:
(1) call 3-1-1 and ask city officials what is going with Dupuis Park (official name: "réservoir 3A de l'usine de filtration Atwater") and other water reservoirs in Montreal including McTavish reservoir.
(2) write, call your municipal representatives to let them know what you think.
(3) ***WEDNESDAY 7 OCT*** (TOMORROW) : go to the debate of Verdun mayor candidates in Nuns' Island.
(4) create and distribute leaflets to sensitize the population (you can put them up on the fence around the city's reservoirs).
(5) if you want to contribute to an eventual citizens' report on the park (and other reservoirs including other reservoirs in Canada), and ideas to keep reservoirs accessible while ensuring their safety, please write to me.
(6) any other ideas? Let me know!
(7) leave comments on http://4hectares.info
(8) get informed about the 14 reservoirs which will be closed in Montreal, and let us know what you have learnt!
Merci à l'avance!
4hectares.info citizens group
With a municipal election coming up on November 5, this might be our best chance to save Dupuis Park once and for all.