• Carmen Marie Fabio

End of school year celebrations sedate in Ste. Anne’s


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Station 1 Cmdr. Sébastien de Montigny (centre) and two officers patrol the end-of-school-year festivities in Ste. Anne de Bellevue that were significantly subdued this year following a successful public awareness campaign.

A strong police presence on the main drag of Ste. Anne de Bellevue the evening of Thursday, May 5, helped dissuade the traditional boisterous partying that typically takes place at the end of each school year.

“The citizens brought it up last year in September after ‘Frosh Week’,” said SPVM Station 1 Cmdr. Sébastien de Montigny. As reported in Your Local Journal, the week-long return to school festivities by John Abbott and McGill’s MacDonald College students led to complaints from residents about the lack of proper police presence. The behaviour included vandalism, loud parties in small apartments, and a street race that included the use of recycling bins as chariots.

“This year, we’re using the same plan we introduced last year,” said de Montigny.

The concerns led the department to develop and implement its ‘Visibility Plan’ complete with a poster campaign present in the area bars reminding revellers to be respectful of the neighbourhood and community members. A list of the town’s municipal regulations was also posted on both John Abbott and McGill websites and in student resident buildings.

“It’s important to determine where one’s rights infringe on the rights of another,” said de Montigny.

Police also acted proactively this year to visit at least 10 landlord addresses of previous noise complaint sites before the end of year parties even started.

“This initiative of Commander de Montigny is working and we couldn’t be happier about it,” said Ste. Anne de Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa who also commended the licensed establishments for their cooperation in ensuring a peaceful end of school year atmosphere.

Also in attendance last week in Ste. Anne’s was Benoit Langevin of the AJOI (Action Jeunesse de l’Ouest-de-l’Île) that works to improve the quality of life of young people in the West Island, an area often erroneously perceived not to be affected with the same challenges faced by youth aged 12 to 25 in other parts of Montreal.

“I’m here as an observer,” said Langevin, “but everything I learn has an impact on what I take as an orientation for the organization. I have to see every angle and tonight’s operation is just one of the angles.”

Last week, two officers on bicycle toured Ste. Anne Street while patrol cars and supervisory vehicles made the rounds, along with undercover officers from the morality division who were present in licensed establishments to ensure the clientele was of legal drinking age.

“The goal is to be visible,” said de Montigny of the many officers present, “not just on Ste. Anne Street but also on the periphery of the community.”

De Montigny reiterated that residents need to call 911 to complain about any disturbances, particularly loud parties, as Public Security members have limited powers of intervention.

“It’s great to come to our city and have a good time,” said Hawa, “but at the same time, there are people you have to respect in the neighbourhood.”

SPVM officers will be present in Ste. Anne’s every weekend, from Thursday to Saturday evenings, until the beginning of June.

For more information on AJOI, consult www.ajoi.info.

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