Ogilvy/DeCastelnau fence issue raised at borough meeting
The borough held its regularly scheduled monthly borough council meeting last Tuesday evening, where city employees and elected officials meet virtually to answer questions from citizens and vote on borough initiatives.
On the docket for Park Extension this week were several issues important to residents, including updates to the schoolyard at Sinclair Laird Elementary school, changes to library fees and questions regarding the fence at the DeCastelnau and Ogilvy crossing.
The meeting takes place on the first Tuesday of each month and citizens can attend virtually by joining the live stream on the city’s website. Citizens can also send in their questions to be answered by the mayor and city councillors.
Present were Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli and city councillors Mary Deros, Sylvain Ouellet, Rosannie Filato and Josué Corvil.
Sinclair Laird Elementary
Both students of Sinclair Laird Elementary and residents in the area will be getting a refurbished yard on school grounds.
The borough voted to update certain recreational amenities including the construction of a mini soccer field, the addition of an obstacle course and the creation of an outdoor classroom for students.
The financial contribution amounts to a total of $25,000, with $7,476 coming from a marriage fund raised by Mary Deros.
Deros reminded people that this initiative was still active and encouraged people to donate. “The money we receive through these celebrations is put into a dedicated fund for youth,” Deros said.
“Long live weddings which also contribute to the embellishment of our yards and school grounds,” said Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli, thanking Deros for her involvement.
The remaining $17,524 is coming from the Bureau de la directrice d’arrondissement.
It was also announced at the borough council meeting that late fees on borrowed material at city libraries would be abolished.
This means that those who bring in a book past the due date will no longer need to pay a late fee.
“Tonight we are abolishing late fees,” said Mayor Fumagalli. “I hope this measure encourages people to read,” she added, saying that “access to culture is so important.”
The new rule will go into effect on Oct. 6, 2021.
The borough also accepted a donation of 350 new books from Les éditions Albin Michel and stated they would be distributed in the adult, youth and adolescent sections of the borough’s libraries.
Resources for young people
Funding for a variety of community organizations was also announced. A total of $107,879 would be distributed to 4 organizations as part of the Diversity and social inclusion fund for vulnerable children and families for the years 2021 and 2022.
$12,000 would got to the Jeunesse-Unie community center in Parc-Extension, $17,549 to the Corporation de gestion des Loisirs du Parc, $12,638 to the Parc-Extension Youth Organization and $65,692 to Espace-Famille Villeray.
“These programs promote the development of active and responsible youth,” stated Mayor Fumagalli, adding they were beneficial for youth in all three neighbourhoods.
Councillor Deros also added that Jul. 26 was World Youth Day and that she supported initiatives aimed at supporting young people. “We do everything possible to ensure that youth have a place in our parks, our sports centers and our libraries,” said Deros.
The contentious issue of the fence erected at the crossing between Ogilvy and DeCastelnau also came up during the question period.
Many citizens are frustrated that the passage has still not been opened since it was fenced off by the transit company on May 15, citing security concerns. The project is the responsibility of the city center and the borough can take no action in opening it.
“There is no need for expensive or lengthy construction and consultation,” said resident Meaghan Thurstone during the question period, adding that “what’s needed is to open the fence, which has been safely open for many months and years.”
“We need this crossing,” she deplored.
Claims of interference
Although borough officials have been pushing the city to open the crossing, no progress has been made since its closure.
“I am as shocked as you are on the delay regarding this file,” responded Mayor Fumagalli, adding that she had several conversations with the person responsible at the city but had not gotten any news in the past two weeks.
Councilor Deros agreed and pledged to continue pressuring the city, Exo and Canadian Pacific. “I don’t understand the delay, it’s not necessary to wait this long,” she added.
City councillor for François-Perreault and executive committee member Sylvain Ouellet said that the crossing was a priority at the city’s administration and that the blame was on Canadian Pacific.
“We’re not on our property which makes things much more complicated,” Said Ouellet, adding that even with the court decision to grant access for the passage the company had been interfering in the process.
The mayor and city councillors reminded citizens about the ongoing participative budget which allows people 12 and up to vote on city initiatives.
“We have many projects in the borough that deserve to see the day,” said city councillor for Villeray Rosannie Filato. “We hope that projects in the borough win,” she added
Citizens still have until Jul. 11 to vote for up to 5 projects on the city’s portal Réalisons MTL.
The next borough council meeting will be on Sep. 7.