Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Residents of Outremont have pushed back against plans to build a new synagogue in their area – but the borough mayor says there's nothing he can do to stop it.
After more than three years of planning, the synagogue will occupy two floors of a building located on Bernard Avenue.
The Hasidic community in Outremont has been growing fast in recent years, now making up approximately 25 per cent of the borough's population.
Two years ago, Outremont held a referendum on whether to allow new places of worship on Bernard, and 56 per cent voted no.
But at a borough council meeting Monday night, Mayor Philippe Tomlinson was jeered when he announced the referendum results don't apply in this case, because the promoters presented and had plans approved before the referendum was called.
If city hall opted to halt the project, the promoters could, in theory, sue.
Tomlinson says the borough and the promoter reached a settlement out of court that limits the size of the synagogue to 7,000 square feet – the promoter, however, wanted 10,000.
The settlement also keeps the synagogues façade In the back of the building, and reserves three spots in the building for stores.
One opposition councilor criticized the mayor, saying it's a complex file and Outremont should have fought harder.
On the streets, residents say they feel they haven't been listened to.
For years, there's been tension between Outremont's Hasidic community and their neighbours.
The new synagogue, likely the last built on Bernard St., should be completed within a year.
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