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Pet owners worry about future of Outremont dog park – Global News

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Dog owners in Outremont are concerned the City of Montreal will close its only dog park, beloved by locals.
“It’s the place in Montreal where he can run, he can play with other dogs and it is safe,” dog owner Genevieve Hebert said. “I do not believe in this administration. Sorry, I do not. They want to close Camillien Houde. I live close to that, so yes, we will put greenery there, less cars, but we are closing a dog park?”
The Mali dog park was founded about 25 years ago, and locals say it’s necessary and vital as the only place in the area where dogs can run freely. It sits underneath the Rockland overpass.
The city, along with the Town of Mont Royal, needs to rebuild the Rockland overpass. Last week city officials met with citizens at an information meeting and presented two possible plans for reconstruction of the area. The plans included a new, expanded overpass with room for bike and pedestrian lanes and 400 new residential units. The road accessing the overpass would cut through the current 8,200-square-metre fenced-in dog park.
The Association Parcs Canin Outremont collected 3,800 signatures on a petition asking the city to abandon plans to change the configuration of the park. They say they are not convinced of the city’s reassurances that a dog park will be maintained in the area.
“There are a lot of questions that beg to be answered,” said Celia Grimard, an administrator with the association. “Before we get this the administration can change. There will be costs associated to this. Down the road will they say we don’t have the budget anymore?”
Local Outremont city councillor Caroline Braun is fiercely opposed to the project. She says there are 80 mature trees that offer shade and green space to the community in the park. She also says there is a  program whereby older adults who live nearby get visits in the dog park by volunteer dog owners, and get to spend time with the animals, which gives them pleasure and something to look forward to. She is also not convinced the city will actually rebuild the dog park in its current form.
“I am not sure we will rebuild a dog park at that moment. I am not sure the city will say we will rebuild a dog park when there is new (residences),” Braun said.
The construction of the project is expected to begin in 2027 and will last three years. Another concern of locals is that during the construction phase, there will be nowhere for their dogs to go.
“What will happen with the dog park during the three years of the construction of the overpass?” Braun said. “If it disappears, we think the dog park will never be rebuilt.”
Robert Beaudry, the city councillor in charge of infrastructure for the Plante administration, insists the city will rebuild the dog park. He says plans are still in the early stages and need to be finalized. He admits the dog park won’t be the same, as a new road will likely run through it. But he insists a park of the same size as the current one will be rebuilt, likely farther north than where it is currently located.
“We know that the Mali park is really important, it’s an important part of the project,” Beaudry said. “But yes, we are going to invest and yes it will be a dog park of 8,200 square metres for the citizens of Outremont.”
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