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Access at borders a sticky question
NDG dog park users say Montreal West uses the facility most
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 11 août 2011

Photo: Leila Lemghalef

Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce shares a border with TMR.

For Paul Si Magaña and family, living at the border of Hampstead means swimming at Hampstead Pool instead of travelling to Kent Park, where they used to go swimming before moving away. As a visitor to Hampstead, Si Magaña does not mind paying the pool’s $55 summer membership fee for each of his daughters.

“Compared to Kent Park, it’s like Beverly Hills,” he said. “Impeccable facilities, clean bathrooms, toilet paper, no swearing or insults to be heard all over the place.”

Many surrounding vicinities are much less vast and are more residential than this CDN-NDG. The borough shares its borders with three other boroughs (Outremont, Ville-Marie, the Southwest) as well as with five official cities (Westmount, Montreal West, Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Town of Mount Royal).

Dwarfing its smaller neighbours, Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is home to approximately 165 thousand people. It’s an indispensable axis of transit between the north and the south of the island, as well as a hub for businesses, schools, hospitals, tourist attractions and the country’s largest cemetery.

Its residents are easily outnumbered by the daily flow of people from outside its borders. Typically, the flurry of traffic and bodies is made up of professionals, students, professors, clients, patients, and delivery services.

NDG residents living near William-Bowie Park would add dog owners to the list. Several locals have complained about too many dogs from Montreal West nearby.

“Seventy five per cent of the dogs here come from Montreal West,” according to regular park user George. He says that during the past 24 years he has never been required to show proof of registration for his dogs. He would like to see vigilant inspection surrounding access to the area. Among other “irksome” concerns, residents have pointed out that the kennel community brings risks of allergies and dangerous situations.

Both official parties involved say they are not familiar with any such contentions, but Montreal West has confirmed that it has not yet addressed its own population’s dog-related demands.

Generally speaking, relations with neighbouring jurisdictions are fine, according to the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce office. Most communication takes place on an ad hoc basis, such as the year-long planning with the Town of Mount Royal leading up to U2’s recent appearance at the Hippodrome.

Another platform for interaction is the borough’s Corporation de développement économique communautaire, working for economic and social development. In 2004 it partnered up with parallel bodies in Westmount and Saint-Henri to create the Inter-Neighbourhood Coalition to promote the harmonious integration of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in the surrounding community, mostly from the standpoint of economic, employment, and healthcare matters, and not from a public works approach.

Brian Potter lives on the Westmount side of the border near the future installation and has noticed that the roads on the NDG side are “abominable. ” He wonders whether the incentive to take care of them now is low due to upcoming construction surrounding the MUHC project.

[ Leila Lemghalef ]

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