Plateau residents fight to keep backyard alley green
Residents living near St-Laurent Blvd. say that when bars close, their backyards become ‘toilets’
A group of neighbours in the Plateau who live near St-Laurent Blvd. say the alleyway behind their homes is supposed to be a green oasis — instead it’s become a dumping ground littered with empty bottles and syringes.
The lane behind Milton St., between St-Urbain and Clark streets, became one of the city’s first green-alley projects in 1981.
“ It was heaven, and now it's hell,” said resident Anne-Marie Boucher.
Boucher said that people leaving the bars at night seem to flock to the dark, quiet lane.
“If we have our windows open, we hear everything. We hear screaming at one point, we hear fighting, all kind of things,” said Boucher, adding that she’s seen drug deals and people having sex metres from her home.
Neighbour Georgia Dzakic told CBC she finds syringes in her garden almost every day.
“It's bad for everybody. It's dangerous for us, you know. They come here and you know, excuse the expression, but they use it like a toilet,” Dzakic said.
Neighbours start a petition
About 20 neighbours recently signed a petition asking the borough to lock the gate to the lane in the summer from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.
But city councillor Alex Norris said the borough can't block access to a public lane.
“That would require an employee. You'd have to have a system in place. Generally, it's not something that public authorities do -- close off public spaces,” Norris said, adding that borough officials are trying to come up other ideas.
“One solution that could be envisaged is to allow residents to become owners of the land and control access to it.”
But Boucher says that won't work for financial reasons.
“Everybody has to agree and it's impossible.”
For now, Boucher said she is taking matters into her own hands — every morning she scours the lane, picking up discarded syringes, bottles and used condoms.
“ I love the lane, I'm fighting for it … I need that green space.”