'Lamb mowers' for Montreal parks? A former shepherd hopes so

Mathyas Lefebure, a longtime shepherd in France who recently moved back to Montreal, says grazing sheep is an environmentally-friendly way to maintain and fertilize parks.

Mathyas Lefebure of Biquette à Montreal says he has support of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie borough

Mathyas Lefebure is part of Biquette à Montreal, a group trying to bring sheep to the city. (Tim Wimborne/Reuters)

A Montreal man is hoping to bring flocks of sheep to the city to graze in its parks.

Mathyas Lefebure, who was a shepherd in France for a decade and now lives in the city, says grazing sheep is an environmentally-friendly way to maintain and fertilize green spaces. 

He also wants to use sheep to educate city dwellers about farming.

"That's the point of it, because if we want to brighten and educate, we will tour them around in different parks and even (boroughs) in Montreal," he said.

Montreal wouldn't be the first Canadian city to try something of this kind.

The Wascana Centre, a public park in Regina, did the same thing with goats this year to gobble up invasive weeds. Similar programs exist in Seattle, Paris and Lyon.

Lefebure has the support of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie.

The borough was set to vote on a sheep-grazing by-law on Tuesday evening, but decided to postpone the vote because Lefebure's non profit group was not able to come up with funding.

Lefebure says his group, Biquette à Montreal, would have to build a little barn and a moveable wood enclosure for the sheep.

If the project is approved, he also hopes to produce a Montreal sheep cheese in time for the city's 375th anniversary.

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