07/19/2015 01:33 EDT | Updated 07/19/2016 05:59 EDT

Greenfield Park residents call out Longueuil over damaged flower bed

Several dozen residents of Longueuil, PQ staged a demonstration on Sunday over a bulldozed flower bed, saying the move was yet another sign the city doesn't respect their historically anglophone community.

The flower bed at the entrance to the borough on Montreal's South Shore used to spell out "Greenfield Park," but had recently fallen into disrepair. 

Last week, shortly after local residents made plans to plant new flowers, city workers bulldozed the area, explaining that maintenance work was required at the site.

Protesters say the bulldozing is yet another sign Longueuil doesn't respect Greenfield Park, which was amalgamated into the Montreal suburb in 2002.

Residents brought potted plants to the site on Sunday. Others held up signs that read English "is not a crime."

"People are really concerned because they feel like the City of Longueuil is slowly taking away their identity," said Greenfield Park borough president Robert Myles.

"We're losing bits and bits at a time. And people are upset. All these little things add up to a lot of big things."

The City of Longueuil didn't respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

The spat follows a language controversy that has been simmering at city hall since last month, when Myles butted heads with Longueuil Mayor Caroline St-Hilaire over the use of English at public council meetings.

St-Hilaire said she was fed up with Myles translating everything in English. 

​Longueuil is predominantly French-language. Greenfield Park, a traditionally anglophone area, is the only city borough with official bilingual status.

Pat Quesnel, one of the protesters and a Greenfield Park resident for the past 52 years, said she was saddened by the controversy, saying St-Hilaire was playing political games. 

"She wants attention so she put [the focus] on the language issue, but she should put it on something else," she said.

Borough councillor Wade Wilson said residents have made it clear they are upset about what is happening at city hall.

"Greenfield Park is a very proud community," he said.  

"We're over 100 years old. And to be treated like a second class citizen here is not acceptable. When the merger came together, we were told we were going to work as a team, and it's just been nothing."