At its May council meeting, Mayor Paola Hawa and her council passed a resolution seeking that “the same level of policing service be provided to its residents as is provided to the citizens of the City of Montreal and its boroughs.
“With the arrival of spring and rising temperatures, people are feeling the need to go outside, and Sainte-Anne Street is a popular place for pedestrians and cyclists to gather,” said Hawa,
“Unfortunately, we have been disappointed to see that people are not respecting basic social distancing measures and are putting the health and safety of others at risk,” the mayor said.
Ever since the weather started getting warmer, the city had to place temporary fencing to block visitors to the boardwalk after the sash barriers were easily ripped down. The city has reached out to the Montreal Police (SPVM) for an increased presence in the city but to no avail.
The resolution wants the Montreal Agglomeration Council “and the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) to immediately review the police deployment plan.”
“According to information obtained by the city, the majority of police officers are being deployed in the City of Montreal and its boroughs, particularly in Lafontaine, Mont-Royal and Jean-Drapeau parks, and are unavailable to enforce physical distancing measures in the demerged cities,” noted SADB Director General Martin Bonhomme.
The city contends that it is overpaying for services since 62% of all tax revenue is sent to the agglomeration, a cost of $6.5 million whereas a third of that bill, $2.1 million, is slated for police services.
“Proportionally, the citizens of the agglomeration’s demerged cities pay 62% more per person for agglomeration services, primarily for public transit and public security, than citizens of the City of Montreal and its boroughs, in return for a lower level of service,” Bonhomme said.
“The residents of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue are not second-class citizens,” Hawa said. “The Montreal Agglomeration Council has a moral duty to provide public security services that are fair to all citizens of the agglomeration. This double standard can no longer be tolerated. We pay more than our share for security services and have the right to insist that the SPVM be present in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.”
Bonhomme noted that measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus have been introduced like limiting “gatherings in its urban area as well as implementing an awareness campaign aimed at citizens and visitors. However, these prevention and awareness measures are not enough.”