Parc Jeanne-Mance – Ensemble Montréal denounces the pretexts used to justify the demolition of a softball field


Montreal, june 11th, 2018 – The Leader of Ensemble Montréal, Mr. Lionel Perez, and the spokesman of the Official Opposition for sports and recreation and relations with the anglophone community, Mr Dimitrios (Jim) Beis, have strongly denounced the permanent closure and demolition without notice of the softball field located in the northern section of Parc Jeanne-Mance in the Plateau Mont-Royal borough.

The field had been closed for a year to permit redevelopment of the area. Last February, the players of the Jeanne-Mance park softball association had received assurances from borough mayor Luc Ferrandez that their field would be returned on May 28. Mr. Ferrandez chose instead to demolish the site, on the pretext that it was unsafe and that the City had been ordered to compensate a victim injuared by a ball from the playing field.

“This is ridiculous! You don’t deprive residents of a playing field that dates back over 50 years by demolishing it without having first done everything possible to make it safer. What we see once again with the Plante-Ferrandez administration is a clear lack of willingness to find a solution when it’s not consistent with their urban ideology. In addition, they showed a lack of respect for the neighbourhood and the users, who were given no opportunity for consultation or discussion. The mayor of the Plateau has his own brand of popular democracy: no need for discussions, just send in the bulldozers!” declared Mr. Perez

In support of his decision, Mayor Ferrandez referred to a study of ball trajectories at Parc Jeanne-Mance, presented in May 2017 by the consulting firm Groupe-conseil Structura international S.E.N.C. This study had been ordered, at the time, with the aim of finding solutions for improvement in view of redeveloping the park.

The report, obtained by the Official Opposition under the Act Respecting Access to Information, said that the backstop located above home plate and fences around the north field were not high enough to stop all the balls. In no way did it recommend eliminating the northern field.

“It’s normal: we’re talking about a field designed originally for children which is now used by adults. We could remedy the situation by raising the fences and the backstop to the same height as the south field. I believe they had no intention of finding a solution, because these changes embody the mayor of the Plateau’s own particular vision of aesthetics”, added Mr Beis.

“The saddest thing in this story is that the Projet Montréal administration didn’t just demolish a playing field; it attacked a diverse community of players of all ages and all origins who for over 50 years had come together playing softball. This is our vision of Montréal: Is it also Mr. Ferrandez’ vision?” concluded Mr. Perez.

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