In a meeting last week, the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Mayoress and Council sat down to hear what the merchants had to say about the town' sudden removal of garbage services as of May this year without any reduction in taxes. One thing seems clear, the merchants are bending over backwards to try to convince the city to delay, if not cancel, the new bylaw.
In a letter to the city after the meeting, the merchants defend themselves by stating that while a recent presentation to the agglomeration by the Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue council, the number are inaccurate and penalize the merchants.
The SDC is in disagreement with the numbers used in the agglomeration presentation, as it does NOT take into account the approx. 8000-10000 students who live in town and use all the services BUT are not considered citizens in survey. This skews the numbers, implying that citizens use more garbage than they actually use.
The letter to council also disagreed with the lack of consideration for the thousands of tourists that hit the small town each year.
The SDC is also in disagreement with the agglomeration presentation comparing us with other West Island municipalities who DO NOT have 10 000 students, nor do they have a Canal which has many thousand of tourists going through each year. This is comparing apples to oranges, which again, makes SADB look worse then it actually is per citizen.
According to Merchants Association President, Jean Claude Provost, a test study should be conducted before the merchants struggle through a summer of confusion and anxiety.
"We have had to pivot like many businesses in the past several years, it has not been easy,"Provost stated in an interview at Au Bout de L'isle restaurant this week. "We all want to do better when it comes to the environment, but we host tourists and our space is limited. The mayor and council need to get realistic with this. It is too fast and we simply are not prepared to do this properly."
According to one of the merchants who feared backlash from the mayor and council for speaking out,
"I will simply be taking my garbage home with me. I run a small business and the additional expense and effort to find a way to dispose of my garbage is not feasible. We can pretend to be a green town but we host a waterfront tourist attraction. How many tourist attractions consider themselves green while hosting large yachts all summer, not to mention the Sea Doos and other motorized recreational vehicles? Reducing garbage is always a good thing but we need time to get organized. This council is disconnected from what we are living."
West Island News reached out to the Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue council earlier this week with now response.