Outremont could hold a referendum on bylaw that bans new places of worship
OUTREMONT – Council in the borough of Outremont voted Monday night to hold two registries on the issue of the bylaw that bans the construction of new places of worship on Bernard and Laurier avenues.
The register would ask citizens who are opposed to the bylaw change to come out and vote.
With enough votes the borough can call a referendum.
“But, at every step in the process, the borough can pull back,” said Councillor Mindy Pollak.
“The file is complicated and we would like a step back and re-evaluate things and come back with a better project. That’s my hope.”
Pollak was the only councillor to oppose the bylaw.
The borough adopted the bylaw back in December 2015.
It restricts construction of new places of worship to an industrial area, near the train tracks.
As of Monday, Pollak said the council has voted for a total ban.
“I was actually very disappointed with the rest of council’s decision,” said Pollak.
Human rights lawyer Julius Grey represents some members of the Hassidic community and insisted the bylaw ignores the community’s needs.
“The predicament of religious Jews is that they cannot take an automobile or a bus on a holiday,” said Grey.
“It’s obvious that what is being asked for – limiting synagogues to a very small geographic area – is unreasonable.”
Residents Global News spoke to had mixed reactions about the issue.
“It’s enough, we have a lot of churches,” said a resident walking by on Laurier Avenue.
“I don’t agree with that, even though I’m not a really religious person,” said another passerby.
The Outremont borough refused Global News’ request for an interview, but they are expected to announce details about the register on March 7.
When the time comes, Pollak insisted she won’t sit around and wait.
“I’ll be informing the citizens on the register day, and how to mobilize and where to come to sign the register for the next step.”
© 2016 Shaw Media