Nun's Island residents defend green space

Residents in Nun's Island are fighting the city to try and save one of their parks.
Residents gather in de la Fontaine park on Nun's Island in Montreal's Verdun borough Tuesday. (CBC)

Residents of Nun's Island are fighting the city to try to save one of their parks.

The small residential island just south of the Island of Montreal is part of the city's Verdun borough, which hopes to build an elementary school in de la Fontaine park.

But residents want the school to be built somewhere else to preserve their green space, and more than 1,500 people signed a petition which was sent to the mayor of Verdun.

"What they should have done was consulted us properly and not presented us with un fait accompli," said Jack Kugelmass of the Committee to Protect Parc de la Fontaine, a group made up of city officials, the school board, parents and residents.

Kugelmass said the group understands the need for a second elementary school on the island, but they want it built somewhere else.

Verdun Mayor Claude Trudel believes the park is the best option for a new school, and sent a letter to residents saying the school will only take up about seven per cent of the park.

A sign put up by residents protecting de la Fontaine park. ((CBC))
"I'm convinced that the site we've chosen is not only the best one but the only one," said Trudel.

But opponents say almost half of the park will be destroyed, including the dog park and a green space used for skating in the winter.

The project is currently on hold because of the opposition. Both the mayor and the Committee protecting de la Fontaine park are working on alternative plans which could still involve building the school in the park.

With files from Kristin Falcao