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Ball lands on wrong side of soccer field
Article mis en ligne le mercredi 23 juin 2010
Photo Marie Cicchini
The soccer field was spongy and soggy and its turf in dire need of maintenance after the June 17 rainfall.

What are young soccer players and their families to do if the EMSB sells their soccer field on Somerled to developers?

The land south of Ecole Marc-Favreau includes several soccer fields that are used extensively by the N.D.G. Soccer Association and by many neighbourhood residents, young and old alike.

Now the EMSB needs the money and wants to sell the land to developers. The green space measures about 100 metres by 150 metres and is located between Terrebonne St. and Somerled Ave., just west of Madison Ave.

The Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) thought the land and the building located at 6310 Somerled Ave. had been sold to them as a single unit until the EMSB took the CSDM to court and won its case.

Mike Cohen, a spokesperson for the EMSB, said the government told the board to turn the school (fomerly Somerled School) over to the French school board in July 2000 due to low enrolment, but not the school yard.

“The CDN-NDG Borough Council is opposed to the sale of this public recreational space and feels that its current vocation should be maintained to avoid development on the land. Borough officials are encouraging the public to express their displeasure to their school board and provincial representatives, in order to preserve the park for public use and avoid selling it off to private interests,” said the borough council at its June 7 meeting.

“The borough doesn’t necessarily have any power in the outcome, but we can look at what can be done,” said director Stéphane Plante.

Cohen said EMSB chairperson Angela Mancini is scheduled to meet with Mayor Michael Applebaum to discuss the issue, and said the borough needs to consider all options.

N.D.G. Soccer Association president Eric Bonfanti said soccer is gaining in popularity and that fields in the borough are already overused for training and soccer games. Cote des Neiges now belongs to the association and their fields are scarce. “If we lose this one, we will think about playing on weekends, but that’s not ideal since families want to spend weekends outdoors doing other activities.”

[Marie Cicchini]

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