Newsmaker: Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Mayor defends prostitution safe zone
Published Tuesday, June 19, 2012 8:39AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 19, 2012 9:21AM EDT
MONTREAL — The mayor for the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough created sparks last week when he announced plans to create a designated safe zone where prostitution would be tolerated.
Speaking to CTV News on Monday, the mayor of the up-and-coming borough, Real Menard, explained the rationale behind his decision.
"For two decades we have had prostitutes on Ste-Catherine St. For families, this means that when kids go to school they cross prostitutes. When people go to the market they cross prostitutes. People are upset with the situation," said Menard.
With a condo boom starting, new restaurants and new families moving into the area, Menard is under pressure to crack down on the problem of rampant prostitution.
The mayor's solution would create a zone of tolerance on an industrial stretch of Ste-Catherine St. between Moreau St. and Alphonse D. Roy St.
"What I am trying to propose at this time is not to remove prostitutes from Ste-Catherine St., but to move them from where we have families, housing and markets to another place we call the Parc industriel Moreau."
Menard says he will work with the commander of the local police station because "he understands the situation." However, some are asking how the mayor will bring about his plan, which seems to run counter to the criminal code.
"I realize that it isn't my prerogative to decriminalize prostitution, but we want a better situation," said Menard. "We know that we will have prostitutes this summer and the status quo on Ste-Catherine St. is not acceptable."
For the full interview, watch the video to the right.