West Islanders ask for increased police presence to help manage crowds
MONTREAL -- Now that there’s only one thing to do for fun—go for walks—it’s getting more and more crowded in pretty spots like Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.
Social distancing is getting so dicey there that the town is beginning to pressure Montreal police to step up enforcement, saying the small community is being neglected compared to the city.
“Our resources that are supposed to be assigned to the West Island are being reassigned to Mont-Royal, Parc Lafontaine,” said Sainte-Anne’s mayor, Paola Hawa, on Tuesday.
Sainte-Anne pays $2.1 million per year for policing. Monday night, the town’s council passed a resolution asking the SPVM to increase patrols.
The mayor of Beaconsfield, which pays $6.5 million annually for SPVM services, has a similar complaint.
“Demerged cities aren’t getting the quality of service they expect,” said mayor Georges Bourelle.
“We’re not getting our fair share of the services for the money we’re paying.”
He says Lakeshore Road is the biggest problem in Beaconsfield when it comes to crowds.
As of May 10, SPVM officers have handed out more than 2,200 tickets for not respecting COVID-related rules.
In a statement Tuesday, the police force said crowds have increased as the weather has gotten nicer, and said they’d be sending additional bicycle patrols to the West Island’s popular waterfront walkways.
Some people in Sainte-Anne say that might help clog up their main street, but it’s already pretty hard to maintain your personal space while walking.
“You have to be very skinny, let’s say,” said one local woman.