Plateau borough acts on complaints about synagogues
Published Tuesday, June 4, 2013 11:28PM EDT
The Plateau-Mont Royal borough has taken measures to deal with complaints about a proliferation of synagogues in places without permits.
“Most of the synagogues in the last let's say 10 years have been opened not with a synagogue permit but with a community centre permit,” said Plateau-Mont-Royal borough mayor Luc Ferrandez.
The activities permitted at a community centre differ from what can take place at a place of worship; however the legal definition of a community centre isn’t entirely crystal clear, Ferrandez concedes.
“There's no constraint with it, as a result there are some problems sometimes of cohabitation,” said Ferrandez.
One area resident who lives near a synagogue on Park Ave. cites noise, garbage and congestion as problematic.
“We call it a minivan festival because all the space all the way from Van Horne to Bernard, it's all their minivans,” said resident Valerie de Gagne.
She believes the large gatherings violate borough rules.
Borough council has responded with a new, costlier synagogue application process, which will cost about $3,000 and will require such facilities to have a long list of requirements, such as ventilation systems, food management and garbage management systems.
Hassidic community leaders argue that they are being singled out.
“Does a synagogue or a community centre create more garbage and noise than a restaurant or a club or a theatre that you have just across the block? You have to wonder why our community centres calls for a dialogue about this, or complaints,” said Hassidic community member Hirsh Teitelbaum.