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Registry opens on places of worship ban in Montreal borough

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Outremont borough councillor Mindy Pollak wants to change misconceptions about Chassidim JANICE ARNOLD PHOTO
Outremont borough councillor Mindy Pollak JANICE ARNOLD PHOTO

The Montreal borough of Outremont is holding public registries Sept. 8 in connection with a controversial bylaw that would prohibit the establishment of new places of worship on Bernard and Laurier avenues.

Under Quebec law, registries determine if there is enough support to hold a referendum on whether a zoning change will be implemented.

The bylaw, adopted by a majority of the borough’s council on final reading on Aug. 1, has been vigorously opposed by the chassidic community, which says it needs more space for its growing population to hold religious activities.

The borough says the restriction is needed to revitalize these commercial arteries.

READ: TENSIONS RISE IN OUTREMONT OVER PROPOSED BAN ON PLACES OF WORSHIP

The bylaw is slightly modified from the one initially passed by the council last December. The process had to be repeated, because errors were found in some of the maps the borough had shown during the first round of public consultation.

The sole dissenter on the council to the bylaw has been Mindy Pollak, who is chassidic.

The two registries – one for each affected zone – will be open at the Centre communautaire intergénérationnel, 999 McEachran Ave., from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A minimum of 367 signatures for Bernard and 176 signatures for Laurier are required in order to proceed to a referendum.

If those numbers are reached for either or both zones, the council will set a date for the referendum vote.

If the numbers are not reached, the bylaw will come into effect. Therefore, it can be expected that mainly opponents will sign the registries.

Residents of the affected zones, who can prove they are Canadian citizens and at least 18 years old, as well as property or business owners, may sign a registry. The zones also extend into parts of the adjacent Plateau Mont Royal borough.

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