Closing of the Paul Pelletier dog park
Aylmer canine club caught off guard
Gatineau residents who visited Paul Pelletier dog park on November 29 were surprised to be greeted by a blocked and excavated site as part of the construction work on Secondary School 040.
The closure of the region’s only off-leash fenced dog park was sudden, without notice and in direct opposition to an agreement between the Club Canin, Ville de Gatineau and the CSPO, which now owns the property.
The canine club, the organization that campaigned for the original creation of the park and managed the park’s closed area in partnership with the City of Gatineau, was informed in 2018 that plans were underway to build the new school. However, as André Lemay, the president of the canine club, assures us, this news came with repeated assurances that a replacement fenced dog park would be built before the closure of Pelletier Park.
“We knew the park was going to close one day, but we were told that there would be no service interruption for the park until the new dog park on Allen Street opened. I am extremely disappointed with how things were done and I am scorned by the opacity of the situation,” said Mr Lemay.
No public notice was posted at Pelletier Park until the Saturday following the start of the work and Mr Lemay, who made requests for information from the City on Monday, December 2, was still waiting for answers as of December 5.
“My members call me to find out what’s going on and I can’t tell them anything, the lack of transparency on the issue is extremely frustrating,” added Mr. Lemay in an interview with the Bulletin.
The president of the canine club was not the only one who felt this way. Steve MacSween, an Aylmer resident, expressed his frustration through an open letter that he shared with various media, including the Bulletin.
“Although most users of Pelletier Park were disappointed with the closure of the park, we did not raise any issues, as we mistakenly believed that the process would be conducted in good faith by all parties involved: the city, the school board and the construction contractor.”
“For many of us, Pelletier Park was the only urban recreation centre we used. We pay taxes to support pools, parks and playgrounds in other cities that others use and enjoy. We are only asking for the same recognition and respect as the users of the dog park, which, compared to other recreational facilities, costs the city almost nothing,” MacSween also said.
Mr MacSween also added that Pelletier off-leash Park is important to many dog owners who do not feel comfortable with the larger Boucher Park because of its wooded location, which is a significant barrier for people with reduced mobility and an element that makes it more difficult to identify and control dogs.
The Bulletin contacted Gatineau’s communications department, which did not want to comment on the situation, but maintains that construction of the new dog training area at Allen Park will begin in 2020 when weather conditions permit.
The CSPO was also contacted to obtain their views on the situation and its prior agreement with the dog club, but at the time of publication no response had been received.