• James Armstrong

Cat control regulation coming to Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue


PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

Ste. Anne de Bellevue cat owners face purchasing permits for their feline friends in the near future.

Sainte-Anne-De Bellevue town council tabled a notice of motion regarding a regulation aimed at controlling the town’s cat population during the regular council meeting held Monday, January 21.

“We have an issue with cats,” said Mayor Paola Hawa following the meeting. “We think, we believe, that part of the problem comes from students and people who live here for a few years and then move away leaving their cats behind.” The proposed law limits the number of cats per household to four and gives the town the authority to neuter stray cats. “What we found last year, out of all the cats we caught, only two of them were actually strays. The rest of them had owners who had let them out.” Hawa was referring to the Trap-Neuter-Release and Maintain (TNRM) program organized by the Montreal SPCA in 2010. Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue joined the program in March 2018.

“People were saying we couldn’t neuter their cats,” she noted.

Hawa acknowledged that people have ownership rights and the wellbeing of the cats has to be considered as well. The proposed regulation stipulates that cats must be licensed either with a tag on a collar or with a microchip.

Enforcing the new law

“Hopefully, we can control them with the volunteers from the TNRM program. We don’t have an animal patrol officer,” said the mayor pointing out they have one public security officer for the town. According to the information posted on the town’s website, feral cats are un-owned domestic cats that have returned to a semi-wild state and cannot be handled or adopted into homes. The TNRM program ensures continuity of care for the cats providing food, water and shelter during the winter and offers guidance and information to residents for maintaining the cats’ wellbeing.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, it will take several years,” she said. Although a date has not been set, there will be a public consultation on the regulation.

THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK

Maison Michel-Robillard, also known as Braerob Farm house, became the property of the town of Ste. Anne de Bellevue this week.

Maison Michel-Robillard

Council approved an out of court agreement relative to the expropriation of the parcel of land containing the historic Maison Michel-Robillard located at 20345 chemin Sainte-Marie. The agreement grants the former owner of the land first right of refusal should the town decide to sell the property at a future time. The acquisition is intended to give the town future public access to the L’Anse-à-l’Orme forest.

“The proposed REM station is going to be right across the street from Maison Michel-Robillard,” said Hawa referring to the Réseau express métropolitain light rail station. The historic building, seriously damaged by fire in 2012, is included in the plans for access to the L’Anse-à-l’Orme forest situated behind it.

“We have been working on this for many years,” said Hawa. “All that you see now are the original stone walls and foundations.” She said the town is planning to have the building evaluated by professionals to see if any part of it could be salvaged and used as part of a proposed welcome centre to the forest. Construction of the REM station is expected to begin in the fall of 2020.

Preserving architectural integrity

Council adopted a resolution intended to preserve the historic buildings and archeological characteristics of the sector known as Vieux Sainte-Anne. Councilor Francis Juneau, however, voted against the resolution.

“I know we need to adopt a regulation like this but I find the way in which we apply it creates barriers for homeowners that want to improve their buildings,” said Juneau after the meeting. “For example, if you want to replace your windows, you have to follow very strict standards.” Hawa pointed out that town regulations have to conform to the legislative requirements of the Schéma d’aménagement et développement de l’agglomération de Montreal. “We have to ensure that future generations respect our heritage,” she said. A public consultation concerning the regulations is planned for Tuesday, February 5.

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