Quebec’s Superior Court has ordered a group of Hasidic Jews to vacate a house in a town north of Montreal, The Canadian Press reported Sunday.
Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts Mayor Denis Chalifoux said the town sought the court order because the group is using the residence as a place of worship, in violation of local bylaws.
Chalifoux alleges that up to 60 mostly young people come to stay temporarily in two or three duplexes or triplexes on the property each summer, where he says they hold loud gatherings that disturb neighbors.
“They create a nuisance, there’s garbage all around the house, they go to bed at 2 a.m. and bang drums,” he said in a phone interview.
Chalifoux said the neighbourhood is zoned for residential use only, and the rules do not permit buildings to be used as places of worship, dormitories, or summer camps.
He said the town has sent numerous letters, warnings and citations since 2015 to try to resolve the conflict, but had no success.
However, Montreal’s La Presse newspaper quoted an anonymous member of the group as saying the problem wasn’t the group’s behavior, but rather the fact that its members were Jewish.
Chalifoux denied any allegations of anti-Semitism, noting that the area is home to a large Jewish population and there haven’t been any similar conflicts with other groups.
“The Jewish community has been here (in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts) for 100 years or more,” he said.
“They founded the city with us, and we have a very good relationship with them.”
While the injunction originally required the group to leave by Sunday, Chalifoux said the city has extended the deadline and the community has agreed to leave by July 26.
“We gave them until July 26 to leave because there are young children with them and I imagine those kids need to go elsewhere,” he said, adding that the city had a “good collaboration” with the group at the moment.