For the fourth time since 2006, a move to close the walkway between 3065 and 3067 Sherman Dr. is on the agenda at City Hall.
The contentious path is under the microscope once again, after its potential closure was brought forward in a motion by Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edwards Monday night.
“For a lot of years there has been vandalism, there has been crime, there has been garbage left and the abutting neighbours are having troubles,” Edwards said.
In 2015, the path's fate was hotly debated at a Ward 6 neighbourhood planning session. A month later, however, council voted to side with residents who turned up in droves to keep the walkway open.
Resident Joel Perreault submitted a letter of support for the motion and, living alongside the path, has been a vocal proponent of its closure. He previously petitioned the city to close the walkway, which connects the street to Dent Park. In his letter, Perreault wrote he has lived at his current home since 2002 and has witnessed an increase in property crime directly attributed to the troubled walkway. He wrote he has “cut the grass, cleaned up garbage and maintained the walkway over the years to be proactive and deter crime.”
Most recently, Perreault wrote about an incident that occurred on the afternoon of Dec. 16. His home was broken into, and footprints in the snow found by police determined the culprit had allegedly used the path to break in.
“The walkway was used by this person, in the middle of the afternoon, to observe and enter the property undetected,” Perreault wrote.
Other letters submitted echoed his comments, citing increased crime and waste, but other residents living nearby argued to keep the path for multiple reasons. According to Edwards, some say Perreault and his neighbour are only trying to close the path to purchase more land for their property. Residents also say the path is convenient for them to access Dent Park.
While saying he “respected the people's opinion,” Edwards said closing the path would only add 60 metres to someone's journey to the park from Sherman Dr.
“This pathway is not necessary," Edwards said. "Some of the pathways are necessary; they join communities together. This pathway does not.”
Mayor Greg Dionne, who has been involved with each closure attempt, said previously that “a majority of the people in the neighbourhood have said 'no' to closing the path.”
“Last time it was very clear that the neighbours did not want it closed,” the mayor added, "but times change.”
Administration said there are more than a hundred walkways and easements throughout the city, and talks are underway to establish a consistent policy to deal with pathways.
As the motion was approved, a bylaw will be drafted and public notices for a hearing will be delivered to property owners who reside within 75 metres of the path.
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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