Cape Breton parents hit a wall in playground dispute
Published Saturday, July 15, 2017 7:15PM ADT
A group of parents in a Cape Breton neighbourhood who rallied together to buy new playground equipment may lose it all over a claim to land.
“We've actually fundraised all the money we need to purchase and install the equipment, however, we've run into a land issue," says Allison MacDonald of the Cantley Village Recreation Association.
The parents started fundraising four years ago and they’ve raised more than $130,000 to date. Their goal is to buy new playground equipment and build a skating rink at the Park in Cantley Village.
Many of the parents grew up in the area and played in the park as children. They say the park has aged and needs to be made more accessible.
MacDonald says the person who claims to own the land doesn’t want to give it up in a proposed exchange for another piece of property.
"The private landowner is not being very cooperative with the CBRM, in terms of giving us a joint-use agreement to be able to use the land,” she says.
Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor Steve Gillespie says he believes the CBRM has the deed to the property. He points out that the municipality has been maintaining the park for years.
While he says there have been talks with the developer, he remains hopeful the dispute can be resolved.
"Worst case scenario is this goes to court, it gets tied up a little bit and I believe that the outcome will be the same,” says Gillespie.
MacDonald says she’s fearful the money might expire if action isn’t taken soon.
"A lot of the grants that we've been awarded through the province, the federal government as well as others, there is a time stamp on them,” she says. “We do have to use them by the end of 2017.”
She also says the time crunch is made tighter because it would take about eight weeks for the equipment to arrive and then be installed.
“That all of our hard work might go down the drain is pretty frustrating,” she says.
CTV News reached out to the property owner and were unable to reach him by news time.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald