Jewish holiday of Sukkot causing strife in Outremont
A Jewish holiday that marks the end of 40 years of travelling through the desert is causing strife in Outremont.
The holiday of Sukkot is traditionally marked by building a 'sukkah' -- a small hut that should remain in place for up to ten days of the festival.
Current zoning laws in the borough allow the sukkahs to be in place for 15 days, while Outremont already bans construction on Sundays and observant Jews will not construct or dismantle the sukkahs on the Sabbath, which is Saturday.
That prompted councillor Mindy Pollak to ask for an extension, so that sukkas could be in place for seven days before and after the holiday.
With 30 complaints filed last year about sukkahs, councillor Celine Forget counter-proposed allowing them to be in place for three days before and after the festival.
About 200 people packed into the council meeting Wednesday to discuss the matter.
"For me the three days after and before would be fair but let's not go too far. What would be the next accommodation?" wondered one woman at the meeting.
Another woman argued that strict rules need to be in place.
"This is really not nice to see, so we would like to have rules. We don't want to take off their celebration but we would like to have rules," she said.
Borough mayor Marie Cinq-Mars said ultimately she would prefer that residents were able to get along.
"If the people from both communities could both be good neighbours, just that, that would help a lot," said Cinq-Mars.
Council is expected to vote on the matter in the near future.