A notice of trespass for cutting grass for flag football league in Chatham-Kent

Jason Reynolds thought he and the municipality of Chatham-Kent were on the same page in their arrangement at Lark Park but when he received a threatening letter he realized he was wrong.

"It’s a letter that states that if I try to take care of the field for kids to play football, if I try to cut the grass they are going to charge me," said the 47-year old.

The letter is a notice of trespass citing Reynolds was in violation of the city’s park bylaw for continually using his lawn mower to cut grass for his flag football league. The maximum fine is $2,000 dollars and the letter warns Reynolds he could be arrested.

"It’s a legal issue and without proper liability of course in this bureaucratic world of regulation over regulation that you’re stumbling over every day these things, they’re problematic," said Chatham-Kent councilor Michael Bondy.

The league pays user fees for the park and Reynolds says the city cut the grass twice a month prior to the pandemic and once during.

"I would gladly give them more money. I would pay whatever needs to be done to have this grass cut once a week so these kids can come out and play once a week."

There is large support from many neighbouring residents. One of them interrupted her jog to give him a round of applause from across the street during his CTV interview.

"These kids are being active. They’re not in front of their screens. Mental health is a huge thing and I think these kids are being social out here. They’re getting exercise," said Terry Gillanders, who lives across the street.

Her sister Tammy added, "He’s all about the kids and he maintains the park, cuts the grass. He’s out here in any condition getting his football field ready to go."

Koby Mallett-Morry has played in the league for ten years and looks forward to being active again the league resumes play this year.

"He benefits us. He fights for us. He’s doing this for us. Kids over politics."

The municipality said in a statement to CTV News that several social media posts and comments to the media have been misleading and incomplete. A full report regarding the related issues at Lark Park will be posted on the city’s website Thursday and discussed at the next council meeting on May 10th.

Bondy supports Reynolds and is hoping council will work out the issues, "'cause this is not a happy story for Chatham-Kent but we can make it one. Hopefully."