dimanche 27 juin 2010

City Hall listens

Le parc Percy-Walters

Ave Dr-Penfield, Montréal

Over the last 3 or 4 years, a parents group from the vicinity of this park has been campaigning to have a playground for the children.  The land was donated some 50 or 60 years ago by Mr Percy Walters, vice-president of the Imperial Tobacco Company, for family recreational activity.     However children and young family were scarce around there in that period.  Over the years, the park was taken over by dog lovers who came to believe it was a dog park and for their exclusive use.  
After some difficult negotiations, the borough council proposed a compromise: split the park between dogs and children. 
The north side, at the right, for dogs, the left side for the children, the solution is not perfect and not fully accepted by some, but most are adapting to the new setup.  This picture is facing west.
Today, the Parent Committee, my daughter in law and my son, are driving forces behind the Committee, has organized an initiation to archaeology.  Strangely enough, my son, an archaeologist at McGill University, volunteered for the activity.

Even Mr Sammy Forcillo, at left, the borough councillor responsible for the project was there and manipulated a 250000 years old artefact.
Maybe you can’t fight City Hall but you sure can bring it on side when you have a good project.  Parents care for the park, plant flowers and use it.  The Councillor believes it will shortly move from Pilot Project to permanent status.

20 commentaires:

  1. I love that approach, Paul: "Maybe you can’t fight City Hall but you sure can bring it on side when you have a good project."

    I wish more civic councils were bright enough to recognise a good project and get on side with citizens. Many are not, sadly.

  2. You are right. At Percy-Walters the Committee found a sympathetic borough concillor who worked for them inside the council. Unfortunately he was beaten in last November's election but the new councillor took up the cause, as you can see.

  3. My dad always said to kill the opposition with kindness

    What a clever way to draw the opposition in, especially with 25000 year old skulls.

    There's some symbolism there.

  4. The skulls were molded plastic replicas of the originals that range from 2 million years old to 30 thousand years, the white one, the oldest is light brown. They come from the University lab my son uses in his teaching and research.

  5. Win-win! Love how this turned out!

  6. Some people on both sides are dissatisfied. A few dog owners and some parents still want exclusive use of the park, They are, on both sides, a few isolated individuals fortunately.
    Some minor arrangements are still to be made such as reorienting some benches facing the wrong way and installing a permanent partition wall, otherwise all is fine and the borough seems happy.

  7. Why must the park be split between dogs and young families? After all, many a young family has a dog, and like to take it with them on outings.

    Require that all dogs are on a leash, take down the fence, and dogs and children could enjoy the park together.

    Looking at the fence in your photo, I saw a Berlin Wall of sorts.

  8. Problem is our dog owners do not want to leash their dogs. They want parks, dog parks we call them, where the canines can run freely. Hence the quarrel between parents and dog owners. The dog owners chased away families claiming the park to be theirs exclusively.
    The partition was the only solution...and so far it works. In other areas of Montreal you have enclosed dog parks, here it was wide open and children were at risk. The area is heavily populated by aging no kids rich Anglos who worship their dogs more than they do humans.
    The compromise has been arrived at through negotiations and nobody wants to go back to the status quo ante.

  9. Around here (Arlington, Virginia, USA) we have dog parks. The dog owners not only want their dogs to run free in the park, but they are so enchanted at the thought of an "off-leash" area that many just walk their doggie down to the park unleashed. "He's under voice control!" they assure me gaily as the &*(^%&# dog tries to bound up into my fricking face. I can't use our best local running trail any more because I never know what mutant Rottweiler is going to come hurtling out of the underbrush. I have learned to hate dogs and to hate their owners more, with a cold, stony, four-cornered hatred, because of these parks. Hold the line as long as you can. I recommend barbed wire.

  10. The dogs that I saw when visiting the park were very well behaved. I did not even heard a bark coming to think of it. I guess Percy-Walters won't need barbed wire.
    But then, of course, this is boring Canada.
    They say dogs adopt their master's character so it must reflect something down your way. I hate to say so but, in some areas of the US, when traveling, I am much more afraid of gun toting masters than of their dogs even Rttweilers or Pitbulls.

  11. We don't have as many people in this country packing heat as you might think. My British ex-fiance had the same misgivings. Inner cities and, perhaps, Texas would be places to avoid on those grounds. :)

    Arlington is a very "liberal" and gun-averse county, but I think people use the dogs for the same sense of personal power. And yes, our area is loaded with self-important people, feeling that they live in the World Center Of Power and can't be asked to do footling things like stop for red lights or leash their dogs.

  12. Living in or around Washington DC, I guess, can be a bit trying. All those people enjoying "immunity" plying your neighbourhood can create awkward situations. Yet that divine right to bear arms that was reaffirmed by your Supreme Court does bug me a lot.
    Lots of U.S. tourists are flabbergasted when their guns are seized at our border before they are allowed in. They just don't understand that Canada is not, yet, a U.S state.
    Given time, which I hope will not be given him, our Harper may achieve it.

  13. It's not even diplomatic-immunity types. The town is full of people whose biggest connection with the mighty engines of government is something like servicing a water-cooler contract for some civilian defense contractor, but to them, it's a reason to run red lights and complain about the service wherever they go. Don't even try to imagine the young people whose family connections have gotten them a job with some Congressman.

    Someday I'll tell you the story of why I studied Canada or at least Quebec on my own when I was 15 or so (bits and pieces, but I did sit poring over books). I admit that a lot of Americans couldn't name three Canadian provinces.

  14. Name three Canadian provinces, come on, 2 out of three USAers can not even point at Canada on a map. The third one thinks it is part of the US somewhere.
    To be honest, many don't even know that Washington is a city, a state and the first US president.

  15. And that the state and the city are on opposite coasts!

    Fun fact: If you look up a map of the Washington, D.C. area, Washington is a square with a corner cut off by the Potomac River, as the Potomac is the border of the state of Virginia. Arlington, which is where I live, is that corner. It's the smallest "county" in the whole nation, last I heard.

    British Columbia! Alberta! Ontario! Quebec! Nova Scotia! Saskatchewan! and Bob! (I really did hope that the Northwest Territories would end up being "Bob"; it's the name of a nice cat I know...)

  16. Bobcats roam the northern part of our country. The Northwesr Terrotories are now split between the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, the eastern part of of the N.T., along, and into Hudson James Bay.

  17. Paul, tell your son I want my skulls back.

  18. Is your skull a plastic moulding? The originals are priceless and don't roam the countryside.
    Besides you are much too young to own one of those.

  19. My wife sometimes wonders. That my skull is made of plastic.

  20. That, my friend, is a totally different topic tyo be investigated. I'll leave it to teacher and to your daughter.