The tension continues to rise near the refuge of the Hotel Place Dupuis, in downtown Montreal.
This hotel, transformed into a shelter for people in a situation of homelessness since the beginning of November, seems to have increased the number of altercations in the district, something which is pointed out by traders.
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“There are no rules here, it’s the jungle,” says a lady waiting to enter. There are incidents that happen when you wait in line. COVID is not respected, masks are not put on and people are piled up like sardines. “
The queues to enter the refuge are believed to be the cause of the increase in acts of violence and jostling.
“People decide to sneak in and go inside,” explains a man in the same place. It creates a great discord. There are others who will seek them inside. They don’t approve. It leads to probably physical gestures. “
The majority of traders in the city center also note an increase in violence since the creation of the refuge two weeks ago.
Sébastien Caron, co-owner of the Copper Branch restaurant, looks favorably on the creation of the refuge, but believes that the project is sorely lacking in supervision.
“Employees are afraid to come to work,” he says. The walk from the metro station to the restaurant is quite intimidating. We are screamed by the head, we are threatened. Customers tell me the same thing. ”
“While helping those in need, customers and employees have a right to a safe environment. And we can see that this is not the case at the moment, ”adds Mr. Caron.
“I see more fights. Of deals of drugs are easily observable, ”says J.-P. Loignon, co-owner of the restaurant La graine brûlée. The latter adds that a feeling of abandonment inhabits some traders in the city center.
“We observe that this village is left to itself. It is worrying and insecure. What we deplore is that there are no support resources. ”
The municipality said it was going to do its best to find a solution.
“There was a working meeting with the partners and there will be a citizens’ meeting on November 19 to present the intervention plan for social cohabitation,” says the press secretary of the executive committee Laurence Houde-Roy.
A social cohabitation brigade has also been set up by the City.
A respite stop at the Grand Quai to provide more resources has been installed. There will also be a shuttle service to reduce the pressure on Place Dupuis soon.
For his part, the general manager of the Montreal Gay Village Development Corporation, Yannick Brouillette hopes that the situation will be brought under control.
“The village of Montreal is a tourist tool on an international scale. We have to protect him. We have to secure it. We have to develop it. ”
See in the video above.