Petition and legal action taken to move Community Garden

by Joseph Coppolino - EAP
Petition and legal action taken to move Community Garden
Rockland Tim Horton’s owners Nathalie and Yves Paris, along with their manager Heather Savard, decided their new holiday cookie fundraiser would go towards supporting the Rockland Community Garden. (Photo : File photo)

Residents in the neighbourhood of Patricia Charron Park are petitioning and taking legal action against the City to move the recently opened community garden, claiming the shared gardening boxes pose a “nuisance” and are causing a “diminution of property values.”

A petition launched by Melissa Mancinelli and signed by nearly 100 people in the area of the park on Patricia Street and as far away as St. Jacques Street, was submitted to the city on July 16. The petition asks Clarence-Rockland to remove the garden from their neighbourhood. At the same time, a letter has been submitted by Mancinelli’s legal representative, making similar claims.

Mancinelli said the community garden is causing illegal parking along Patricia Street and a loss of privacy for those whose backyards back on to Patricia Charron Park. She also claims people “stare” through her fence, speak loudly, and the space has become a “dumping ground” for tools and dirt.

“It encroaches on my backyard and my side yard,” she said. “They have enclosed us into the garden area using our fences as their barrier. I have to draw my curtains, and can no longer enjoy the comfort of my home.”

She and the other signatories are requesting the City to “move the community garden immediately to a new location or to its original location in Morris Village.”

When it was first approved by the council, the city administration was tasked with finding a suitable location. First slated for Alain-Potvin Park along Docteur Corbeil Boulevard, a review of the property and in consideration of the construction along St. Jean Street, the city deemed it an inappropriate location. The city then decided to move the garden to Patricia Charron Park where there is also a frequently used soccer field.

“Soccer is once a week and for an hour at maximum,” said Mancinelli. “I also purchased the house knowing full well there was a soccer field. The garden is every day all day.”

Signatories of the petition are also taking issue with the fact the city relocated the garden without public consultation, though once given the go-ahead to find a place for the garden, the city was not required to consult council again.

The garden’s construction raised the ire of many neighbours backing onto the public park, causing confrontations between the gardeners and residents. According to sources at the city, one neighbour has since been restricted from entering the park following an altercation with people tending to the community garden.

After what she said were several attempts to contact the city to no avail, Mancinelli hopes the legal action will make the city pay attention.

When reached for comment, Mayor Mario Zanth said he is unable to address the matter, nor comment on the petition, given the legal action being taken against the city.

Similarly, Rockland Community Garden organizers referred all questions to the city.

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