Christian Généreux says things in Montreal’s Village neighbourhood are worrisome.
“The drug dealers are coming back,” he said while speaking to members of Montreal police’s Community Consultation and Outreach Team (ECCR) Thursday morning.
“There’s a kind of the tendency to actually harass people on the terrasses that are still open. Everything it’s coming back.”
The city introduced measures earlier this summer to tackle problems of drug abuse, violence and homelessness after an outcry from people who live and work in the area. Now, Généreux, co-founder of the community group J’aime mon Village, fears with the end of the city festivals, those limited resources are being shifted elsewhere.
He points to one incident last Wednesday in which owners of the Yamato Dumpling restaurant on Ste-Catherine Street in The Village were assaulted by someone they believe was intoxicated.
“He dragged my husband all the way from the door to the terrasse and punched his face,” Emily Yu, restaurant co-owner, told Global News.
She added that she was terrified, called police and then tried to separate the two men.
“But then he kicked my foot, pulled me down and and kicked me again and I was knocked against the wall,” she indicated, pointing to the right side of her head.
The owners have now closed the terrasse.
“It’s not only about people asking money,” Yu pointed out. “People are becoming more and more dangerous now.”
Généreux says a plan to tackle the drug and homelessness problem is needed quickly since the situation is getting worse.
“But not only in The Village,” he stressed. “We see it now in Chinatown, we saw it in Villeray, Rosemont, in Quartier des Spectacles — it’s spreading everywhere.”
The opposition at Montreal city hall says one solution is to find ways to make homeless shelters better meet the needs of the clients. For example: open places where pets and people in relationships can be accommodated.
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“Obviously what’s done right now it’s not efficient,” opposition leader Aref Salem noted. “It’s not enough.”
A month ago the provincial government announced plans to fund safe injection sites in the city, but junior health minister Lionel Carmant said other programs are also in the works.
“We are going to be announcing, over the next few months, supervised housing,” he told Global News. “There’s about 200 doors which are supposed to open in that area.
In a statement, Mayor Valérie Plante’s office said the assault on the restaurant owners is unacceptable.
“We are extremely sensitive to the social climate in the Village sector and share the despair of some merchants and citizens,” the statement reads in French.
“This is why for months the SPVM, EMMIS, the City and the health network have been working together to improve security in the central sectors and in the Village. To residents and merchants: we will not let you down.
“Although we are told that efforts are beginning to be felt and that the SPVM remains proactive, we must continue the work and redouble our efforts. We are preparing to take stock of this summer and we are looking at how to improve our actions on the ground for the fall.
Généreux believes what’s needed right now, though, is more funding from the province for community organizations who are working on the front lines. Community groups are planning a demonstration in the neighbourhood to voice their concerns.
#Merchants #Residents #Montreals #Village #Sound #Alarm #Crime #Montreal #Globalnewsca
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