Park Ex residents not fans of fence that blocks major artery out of the borough

An offending fence is frustrating Park Extension residents, who say it's making it difficult to get out of the neighbourhood.

The fence runs besides the train tracks, blocking a path that links Ogilvy and De Castelneau that many use to get to Jarry Park or shops.

“I saw it in person on Thursday. I came to cross here to go to St-Hubert to do some shopping and I was very upset,” said Park Ex resident Molly Bower.

While the blockage might not seem like much, the borough is bordered by fences and train tracks, making the path a crucial artery.

“There's not that many ways to access our area and be mobile, so losing one of our access points is really a big deal,” said Bower.

The fence was originally marked by a sign from the Exo commuter train service saying access was prohibited, but that has since been removed.

For years, residents and elected officials have attempted to formalize the pathway, with the case even going before the Canadian Transportation Agency. The agency ruled the city was allowed to create a crossing over the CP rail tracks nearly two years ago.

City councillor Mary Dero said all it would take to do so is a bit of concrete to level the ground, but the work has been routinely delayed.

“It's a simple project. It shouldn't cost that much, we feel the city has a responsibility to accelerate and facilitate the crossing,” she said.

A spokesperson for Exo said the issue is between CP and the city and that the fence was erected to ensure the safety of passengers until a better crossing is built.

A spokesperson for the city told CTV News that efforts to rectify the situation are underway and involve Exo, CP and Transport Quebec.

“We are very surprised by this about-face from Exo, which made a decision in a vacuum without notifying its partners,” they said. “Our intention remains firm: we will ensure that this passage not only re-opens, but also that it is laid out in a safe and universally accessible manner.”

But resident Rachel Shugart said any attempts to speak to someone in authority about the path has been useless.

“Everyone we've talked to has basically passed the buck on to somebody else, saying it's somebody else's responsibility,” she said. “No one has come out and said 'It's us, we're the ones who have failed to allow the citizens of the city legal access to a crossing.” 

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