Outremont bus bylaw challenged over religious holiday

WATCH ABOVE: Outremont is proposing a zoning change that would stop the building of religious sites on its main streets. As Howard Cohen reports, it's an issue of deep concern to the borough's religious communities.

OUTREMONT – Abraham Hecht argued his community is being targeted by the Outremont borough.

“In 2015 Purim we had eight police cars on the road running around,” said Abraham Hecht, Director of the Belz Community School.

“The whole Outremont seemed like a crime scene, just trying to catch the buses.”

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During Purim, a religious holiday, Belz community schools transport kids to local homes in mini-buses.

This is a problem because a borough bylaw forbids buses and mini buses from driving in residential areas.

“The bylaw states an exemption of the busing issues of special events,” said their lawyer, May Chiu.

“We don’t understand why Purim is not considered a special event.”

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The school has launched a Charter challenge of the bylaw.

“We want the application of the bylaw to be recognized as being applied in a discriminatory manner against the community,” said  Chiu.

The bus company Belz works with has collected almost $2,500 in fines, but the community wants to see the tickets dismissed.

They also said the law discriminated against the Hassidic community and that the borough is refusing to resolve the dispute.

“She didn’t want to deal with the situation,” said Hecht, speaking of Outremont borough mayor Marie Cinq-Mars.

“She’s trying not to deal with the situation, which involves the community.”

This is not the only source of tension between the borough and the Hassidic community.

WATCH: A school and its bus service provider in Outremont are taking the city to court over a bylaw they say hinders their ability to celebrate the Jewish holiday Purim. Global’s Gloria Henriquez finds out why.

Last year, Outremont residents gathered to discuss a proposal about sukkahs, religious structures.

READ MORE: Outremont residents debate holiday accommodation

The borough wants to limit the number of days that the structures are allowed to remain on people’s properties.

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But for Hecht and the community he represents, it all comes down to one simple thing.

“Just imagine telling the kids they cannot celebrate Christmas this year,” said Hecht.

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“This is the same way the kids cannot celebrate Purim.”

Global News reached out to the borough, but no one was available for comment.

The case has been postponed until Feb. 22, 2016.