"Calling them out"

  • By Joel Ceausu The Suburban

Joel DeBellefeuille is appalled.
A hole in the fence at Confederation Park and the veritable jungle of overgrown weeds and bramble are left to linger as if nobody sees them, says the NDG resident. “It is so blatantly obvious…” he laughs, “a new park sign affixed to the same fence with a massive hole.”
A council candidate in Loyola for Mouvement Montréal, he's not talking about campaigning or politics. He's talking lawn care and putting the city on notice that it is in default of their obligations under the Montreal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, something he lays out in a letter to the borough.
He says CDN-NDG has failed to adhere to four Charter articles which outline the city's obligation to provide citizens with fairly apportioned, high-quality parks and facilities, ensure measures for security and parks and more. After a similar letter prompted rapid reaction by the city to clean up a neglected and unsafe city-owned property on Walkley, he was asked by local runners to try it for Confederation Park.
“Someone hung a brand-new sign on a ripped fence, and the shrubbery looks like the city is malnourished in terms of funding. Cutting grass and leaving the weeds to go unchecked is like going to a car wash and they only wash your windows.” He says ignoring the overgrown weeds, “which have become like small trees with thick stalks,” is purposeful neglect and suggests it's a cost-saving measure. “It's atrocious. It's unacceptable.”
Montreal’s 15-year-old citizens charter is a social contract he says, the forward reading in part: “It is for all intents and purposes a social contract that calls for the concrete commitment of Montréal and its entire personnel to the ongoing improvement of public services.”
“I’m calling them out on it. Abide by it or be called out on it. In his letter to Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery et al, he says by failing to provide simple lawn care and maintenance to the park the city has failed not only itself but residents too. “There is clear evidence and visible neglect to the park grounds, resulting in an absolute breach of the Montreal Charter of Rights & Responsibilities by the borough, as it is very apparent that this particular park is not “high-quality,” adding “The city has failed to provide adequate security with proper gating that locks access to the race track or proper lighting to illuminate the area that works” and suggests holes and ripped fencing are hazardous to children and small animals.
He gave the borough 10 days to resolve the issues, after which he “will have no choice but to file a complaint with the Montreal Ombudsman…” 
Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery did not respond to request for comment before press time.

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