A citizen from Arrondissement de Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles was complaining about various irritants deriving from the sporting activities going on in the Clémentine-de-la-Rousselière park, located near her residence.

She was complaining, namely, about the intensity of the lighting system of the softball fields, the light from it shining directly in her home. Our investigation revealed, however, that the intensity and layout of this lighting was consistent with the requirements of Québec’s Régie de la sécurité dans les sports, for softball fields: the borough could not, therefore, modify them.

Our investigation confirmed, however, that, in spite of the applicable municipal by-law, these projectors would often remain open until midnight and, sometimes, even later. Indeed, they were turned on and off manually by a municipal employee who, if he was retained elsewhere for an emergency, could not turn off the projectors before 11 p.m.

Following our intervention, Arrondissement de Rivière-des-Praires – Pointe-aux-Trembles accepted to install a timer that will automatically turn off these projectors at 11 p.m., every night: this timer will also be programmable “on demand” so that the projectors can be turned off earlier, whenever the planned schedule of games allows it. The borough undertook to have this timer in working order as early as the 2009 season and the Ombudsman will make the appropriate follow-up.

The citizen was also complaining about the speakers used during softball games, of the music that was sometimes incredibly loud and of the announcements made by the animators, all of which disturbed her peace and affected her quality of life. She was also contesting the fact that the borough was allowing the sale of alcohol in the park, during such games.

The use of speakers and the sale of alcohol are generally not permitted in municipal parks. The borough can grant a special authorization, however, during special events such as softball tournaments. Animation and music can, indeed, create more of an ambiance and contribute to the success of such events whereas the sale of some alcoholic drinks can ensure its profit-earning capacity: this income is often important for the concerned sports associations and for the continuation of these tournaments, in future years.

In light of these explanations, our office could not conclude that the special authorizations given to softball tournaments organizers were unreasonable, unjust or inappropriate, especially since such authorizations are only granted in a pin-pointed manner, during the summer.

Nonetheless, at our request, the borough contacted the different tournament organizers to ask them to limit the use of speakers during the evening, in order for the neighbours to be less inconvenienced.

The last aspect of the citizen’s complaint related to the fact that some people would sometimes urinate around the park and even on neighbouring private grounds. At our request, signs were installed by the borough, near the softball fields, in order to inform players and spectators of the existence of public restrooms, a little further away in the park, and to indicate the way to get to them. The idea of permanent chemical restrooms was not retained, due to the high risk of vandalism.

We followed up on these undertakings in 2009.

The timer is functional. The baseball field’s projectors are manually turned on before games, and they automatically turn off at 11:00 p.m.

The borough met with the various associations at the end of the 2008 season and at the beginning of the 2009 one and sensitize them to the importance of better managing the cleanliness of the park, rude behaviour, and the use of speakers.

The borough also took special interest in the activities taking place in this park and employees made regular rounds during these events.

The borough has thus respected its engagement and the citizen has declared herself satisfied in regards to the measures taken.

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