The official opposition wants to hear the explanations from the Montreal Fire Safety Service (SIM) and the Ville-Marie borough to the municipal council, in connection with the closure of several terraces for safety reasons, in the middle of the weekend of Grand Prix.

In a press release, Ensemble Montréal affirms that this plenary session would be “crucial to guarantee accountability within the City of Montreal and ensure that our metropolis is never again discredited in this way”, deploring that Mayor Valérie Plante does not has so far “provided no answer to the numerous questions raised by traders about the chaotic management of this situation”.

Friday evening, four restaurants on Peel Street had an unpleasant surprise, when the SIM forced the closure of their terraces for security reasons, in the middle of the Grand Prix weekend. The terraces were able to reopen on Saturday, but without the marquees which protected them, thus leaving them exposed to the rain.

The mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, then said she was “sorry” that this intervention led to “chaos on Peel Street”, while insisting, however, on the importance of respecting safety rules. She said an “administrative post-mortem” would take place at the start of the week to sort out the events.

However, in the eyes of the opposition, several questions remain, including “how were the Ferreira Café and its neighbors able to obtain a permit from the Ville-Marie district if their terraces were non-compliant”, as well as the reasons for such a SIM operation “during the busy period at 9 p.m., rather than in the days preceding the festivities” of the Grand Prix.

“Were the mayor and her cabinet aware of these operations in Ville-Marie”, also asks the opposition, which sees it as an affair having “tarnished the image of the metropolis”.

In short, the time has come for transparency, says the opposition, which sees it as an opportunity to “restore citizens’ trust.” “Montrealers deserve answers, but given the slowness of its reaction to this monumental mess, we strongly doubt its ability to shed all light on this in a rigorous and transparent manner,” illustrated councillor Julien Hénault-Ratelle, economic development critic.

His colleague Adbelhaq Sari, spokesperson for security issues, added. “This boondoggle goes well beyond a miscommunication, and someone needs to be held accountable,” he said.