For the past month, fans of the online Pokemon Go game have congregated near the former Montreal Children’s Hospital and Cabot Square for a chance to level up, but players who come to the area at night are apparently leaving a lot of trash behind.
The reason why players like Patricia Magierowska come to the Atwater neighbourhood is an apparent abundance of Pokemon to catch.
“My little brother told me this is a great spot,” said Magierowska.
“He told me come to Atwater, it’s a good place to catch some.”
The pastor for the Evangelical Pentecostal Church, across the street from the Montreal Children’s Hospital, Norman Charlebois has been enthusiastic about the number of Pokemon Go players in the area.
His church has been giving free granola bars and water to Pokemon Go players, but he sees the mess it leaves behind.
“If you came this morning at six, when I came, it was very dirty over there, all the garbage was on the ground,” said Charlesbois.
Another problem Pokemon Go players seem to have is respecting boundaries.
At the former site of the Montreal Children’s Hospital on Tupper Street, police tape and signs indicate it is private property, but some players still insist on passing through.
The MUHC wrote in a statement that it is in the process of transferring ownership of the building:
“The process of transferring ownership of the Montreal Children’s Hospital legacy site is ongoing. In the meantime, security guards remain onsite to ensure that the building is secure. As such, the building at 2300 Tupper St. is private property and we would encourage Pokemon Go players to respect safety and property laws when playing.“
Montreal police spokesperson André Durocher also has security concerns.
“For us, the issue is not Pokémon – road safety is the issue, so whether they’re chasing Pokemon or they’re chasing butterflies, really makes no difference for us as long as people respect the various road safety regulations,” said Durocher.
“Is it worth putting your life at stake to catch a Pokemon?”
Pokemon Go is not all bad news for the neighbourhood; the Atwater Library is teaching seniors how to play.
Employees like Nicola Sibthorpe, who helped organize the event, wants to keep the location for its proximity.
“It would be great if people recognize that this is a space we’re using, all of us as community,” said Sibthorpe.
“We want to keep it available and we don’t want them to shut it off completely.”
In a statement, the city said it is monitoring Pokemon Go players near Cabot Square.
They also encourage everyone to use garbage bins, not trample on grass and to be aware of their surroundings when crossing the street.