A group of Hasidic Jews in a town north of Montreal will be forced to leave the residence where they’ve been staying following a Quebec Superior Court injunction, the town’s mayor said Sunday.
Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts Mayor Denis Chalifoux says the town sought the ruling in Quebec Superior Court because the group is using the residence as a place of worship, in violation of local bylaws.
Chalifoux alleges that up to 60 mostly young people come to stay temporarily in two or three duplexes or triplexes on the property each summer, where he says they hold loud gatherings that disturb neighbours.
“They create a nuisance, there’s garbage all around the house, they go to bed at 2 a.m. and bang drums,” he said in a phone interview.
Chalifoux said the neighbourhood is zoned for residential use only, and the rules do not permit buildings to be used as places of worship, dormitories, or summer camps.
He said the town has sent numerous letters, warnings and citations since 2015 to try to resolve the conflict, but had no success.
Representatives from the group could not be reached for comment.
But on Saturday, a report in La Presse quoted an anonymous member of the group as saying the problem wasn’t the group’s behaviour, but rather the fact that its members were Jewish.
Chalifoux, for his part, denies the eviction order is based on anti-Semitism, noting that the area is home to a large Jewish population and there haven’t been any similar conflicts with other groups.
“The Jewish community has been here (in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts) for 100 years or more,” he said.
“They founded the city with us, and we have a very good relationship with them.”
While the injunction originally required the group to leave by Sunday, Chalifoux said the city has extended the deadline and the community has agreed to leave by July 26.
“We gave them until July 26 to leave because there are young children with them and I imagine those kids need to go elsewhere,” Chalifoux said, adding that the city had a “good collaboration” with the group at the moment.
© 2018 The Canadian Press