Montreal suburb backtracks on plan to charge for picnic table reservations

MONTREAL — A Montreal suburb is backtracking on a plan to charge members of the public to reserve picnic tables in two of its most popular parks.

The city of Dorval issued a notice today saying it will still move forward with a reservation system on weekends, but that it will be free and limited to residents.

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Dorval's city council caused a stir last month after it proposed charging $10 for residents and $25 for non-residents to reserve a picnic table for four hours.

A spokesman for the city said at the time authorities were looking for a way to manage a surge in demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that saw some groups hogging the tables all day long.

The proposal drew criticism from citizens and from a park advocacy group that worried the fee system would create a barrier for low-income people.

Dorval says the reservation system will only apply in two of the busiest parks and only on weekends, and that anyone can use a table that hasn't been reserved.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021.

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