The beach at Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park in Montreal’s Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough was teeming with people on Wednesday.
Many Montrealers opted to come to the beach for the mid-week Fête nationale holiday and cool off.
”There’s nothing we can do. It’s also really hot recently and the beach is open, so I think everyone just comes here,” said Toni Delgrosso, a West Island resident.
“As you know clubs are closed, it’s hard to party — we are here to have a good time and enjoy what we can this summer,” said David Lento, another area resident.
Some beachgoers said physical distancing wasn’t on their minds.
“We are already two inches from each other everyone here is already close. It doesn’t look like anyone is sick,” said Noah Myer Gray.
But others are more mindful.
“We have to respect the guidelines; it’s the best thing we can do. For ourselves, for the future, and for all the kids,” said Angela Chiropoulous.
“As both a mother and hair stylist I deal with kids every day. It’s the same precautions here as in my professional life.”
Montreal police were on hand to ensure beachgoers conducted themselves responsibly. One officer told Global News tickets will be issued if necessary.
Residents in the area say they are upset with the way their neighborhood has been treated recently and that they’re grateful for the police presence.
Residents who spoke to Global News agreed to only share their first names, as they worry about beachgoers flocking to their streets and properties again.
“There has been a lot of people entering our neighbourhood. Loitering, public urination, vomit, beer bottles; it’s been really disruptive to our neighbourhood,” said Arshia, a Pierrefonds resident.
“We are happy that the police have acted fast and are doing their best to keep us and the people in our community safe.”
Read more: Coronavirus — Is Quebec reopening too fast?
The neighbourhood has banded together to start a petition, asking the city to act. The petition has so far been signed by 35 people in the community, living in 22 homes.
The group has also sent a letter to the borough asking for more police patrols around Cap-Saint-Jacques.
They also want signage restricting parking to residents only, and additional stop signs on Gouin Boulevard and all intersecting streets.
The traffic-calming measures would also cut down on noise, according to Mauella, another Pierrefonds resident.
“You don’t need to scream when you get back to your car,” she said. “People are speeding on the main roads, which also contributes, to the noise.”
The borough has not yet commented on the issue.
Residents say they know the police presence is a short-term solution and they hope the city can come up with a long-term plan.
Global News also reached out to the borough for comment but did not hear back in time for this report.