Ban On New Places Of Worship Upheld In Montreal's Outremont Borough

A bylaw which is prohibiting new places of worship on one of Outremont’s main streets has been upheld. Residents voted on Sunday in a referendum whether they want to overturn the ban on Bernard Avenue, a tree-lined strip dotted with cafés,restaurants, and the residential buildings. The bylaw which was introduced last year, forbids new temples of worship of any denomination from opening on the street. But the borough’s fast-growing and sizable Ultra-Orthodox population feels targeted.It’s very disappointing for them.

According to the world newspapers Ekstein believes that the results will further divide the community of Outremont, adding that he is prepared to take the issue before the courts. Bernard is the last zone where they can build synagogues. During the campaign of the constitutional democracy, the majority does not have the rights to categorize the minority.

A sum total of 1,561 residents have voted in favor of perpetuation of the controversial bylaw, while 1,202 voted against it. Usually, the referendums on the municipal bylaws don’t attract much attention. However, the vote has received strong and powerful media coverage, and emerged as the latest flashpoint in the province’s and also continued debate over the religious accommodation.

Citizen groups on both the sides have both produced and created flyers to make their case and turnout at advance polls last weekend. In 2015, The bylaw was introduced, not long after the borough approved a permit for a synagogue on Bernard. Not long after, the borough had decided to pass a law to ban all new places of worship on two key arteries, Bernard Avenue and Laurier Avenue. All this was done with the aim of creating winning conditions for the local businesses.

Van Horne Avenue, The other major street has had a similar ban since 1990s. Therefore, a vote in favor of the Bernard ban would successfully block any new synagogues in the borough.

The Business Case

Several merchants have come out favoring the ban, arguing that other place of religious worship can hurt business. The co-owner of the Les Enfants Terribles, a high-end bistro on Bernard, Francine Brulée told Canada newspapers, most people of the Hasidic community don’t frequently visit the restaurants or the other businesses in that area. They just do their own thing according to her. But if this happens more and more on a large scale, then, the other restaurants and stores can suffer.

Long History in Outremont

According to the Canada newspapers  this isn’t actually the first time Outremont, which is home to a wealthy and large francophone population, has been the site of conflict with the Hasidic community. Earlier, the community has engaged itself in battles with the council over the charter buses if the residential areas.