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Montreal Chinatown merchants calling on city to clean up drug use in neighbourhood – Montreal |


Montreal police raided an encampment on Brady Lane in Montreal’s Chinatown Friday morning, a site that business owners and residents describe as one of the most dangerous places in the neighbourhood.

“They’re not here that frequently, and this particular alleyway is known as the nice marketplace for purchasing drugs,” Chinatown business and property owner Vincent Lupien said while watching the operation.

Police made at least one arrest. According to some area merchants who’ve long complained, it’s about time.

“My first thought was, ‘How ironic,’” said Bryant Chang of the Chinese Association of Montreal.

Just minutes before the police operation, he and business owners met reporters to call on the city and police service to do more to curb the sharp escalation of drug sales and consumption on the streets in that area.

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They called the press conference after a Global News story about residents expressing fear about the drug and homeless situation.

“We have to make sure that Chinatown is safe and clean and now is the time to start putting plans in place,” Bill Wong, business owner and co-chair of the Chinatown Development Council, told reporters.

The merchants believe that the plans the city and the police implemented in the city’s Village neighbourhood earlier this summer to crack down on a similar problem there may have caused criminal elements to migrate to Chinatown.

“Right now they’re doing whatever they want, all day, all night,” Chang said, “and like I said, the vulnerable citizens in Chinatown are afraid to come out.”

The merchants want to meet with the city and the police to come up with a plan, as authorities did for the Village, and they say police raids like the one Friday aren’t enough.

Campers, though, say they need help too.

Mélanie Fanny Gallant, one who spoke to Global News after the raid, said people will trade anything for drugs.

“If you go to the dealer he’s going to say, ‘Yes, I take this and give you food, or crack if you want, or freebase,’ but you have to bring something to have drugs,” she said.

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Gallant said it’s also dangerous for the unhoused people in the neighbourhood, some of whom, she said, get robbed almost daily by people looking for stuff to trade. Some women, she said, even go into prostitution.

Montreal police say they’re still gathering facts about the location and that residents should turn to the local police station 21 if needed. The force told Global News in a statement that cohabitation is a priority, and that people in the area can count on teams like the Mobile Reference and Intervention Team on Homelessness, the Psychosocial Emergency Support Team and their Community Coordination and Outreach Team.

Click to play video: 'Montreal Chinatown residents, merchants alarmed by increasing drug use in neighbourhood'

Montreal Chinatown residents, merchants alarmed by increasing drug use in neighbourhood

In an email from the mayor’s office, the city acknowledges the problems expressed by the merchants and residents.

“We are working with the community, the SPVM, community organizations and other levels of government to find ways to improve the situation in the short term, while working on substantive solutions that will allow us to obtain the support needed by a growing number of vulnerable people on our streets,” the statement reads.

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Earlier in the week the city told Global News it plans to beef up the mobile mediation and social intervention team (ÉMMIS) to help tackle the drug and other problems in various neighbourhoods.

According to Lupien, ÉMMIS representatives have attended some community meetings, but he’s had trouble reaching them to address the problems in the neighbourhood.

“I’ve called the number five times in the past two weeks,” he said. “Not one single time have they answered the phone and they haven’t even returned the five messages that I left for them.”

The merchants say they expect to have a meeting with the police in the coming weeks.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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