Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson said that while his city might be willing to adjust closing hours, the wrought-iron gate linking Houde St. to Château Pierrefonds Ave. in Pierrefonds will continue to be locked overnight despite recent criticism.The gate leads to a pedestrian lane that runs between two homes on Houde St. For the last 12 years, Kirkland public security agents have locked the gate daily at 7:30 p.m. and returned to open it at 6 a.m.“It was vandalism and drug transactions,” Gibson said of the persisting problems that led to the Houde St. gate being installed.“The vandalism was done all through (the) Château Kirkland (neighbourhood). Keep in mind it was the route some (young people) would use to go to the cinema (on Jean Yves St.).”
A metal gate is locked overnight, cutting off an area of Kirkland from a neighbourhood in Pierrefonds.
While some people might see it as a heavy-handed security measure, Gibson said that since the Houde St. gate was put in place, vandalism has significantly dropped in the area.“The gate is reasonable. We’re only closing it during the night,” Gibson said, adding that Kirkland might consider setting the evening lock time an hour later during the summer months. “It’s opened at 6 a.m. by our public security.”It’s not unheard of for West Island cities to squabble, though the conflict usually involves traffic flow. From 2010-2011, civic officials in Kirkland and Pierrefonds butted heads over rush-hour traffic coming from Pierrefonds and using Henri Daoust St. as a shortcut to access Brunswick Blvd. and then St-Charles Blvd. The cities each installed signs prohibiting turns on either side of Henri Daoust St. The standoff lasted for about a year before a truce was called and the no-turn signs came down.Motorists might also recall a barrier that once existed between two sections of Brunswick Blvd. at the border of Kirkland and Pointe-Claire, just west of the Fairview shopping centre. The impractical barrier, installed to mitigate traffic and noise, was removed in the late 1990s.While Kirkland seems determined to keep the Houde St. gate locked overnight, hopefully a compromise to extend opening hours will be forthcoming. Perhaps a pilot study could be done to see what happens if the gate is left unlocked 24/7. Kirkland officials could then determine if acts of vandalism remain a problem.