The mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, said she was “sorry” that the intervention of the Montreal Fire Safety Service (SIM) led to “chaos on Peel Street”, while insisting however on the importance of respecting safety rules.

“We must never skimp on security issues,” said the mayor during a press briefing on Sunday. Valérie Plante was reacting to the closure of terraces on Rue Peel deemed non-compliant by the SIM.

The mayor reiterated that it is the duty of the SIM to intervene if installations pose security risks. “Where I’m very concerned is the way it happened,” she continued.

Friday evening, SIM agents arrived at four restaurants on Peel Street to close their terraces, which had non-compliant canopies. Restaurateurs complained of excessive zeal, even though the SIM claims to have warned them 10 days before the intervention. The small marquees were removed from the terraces, which reopened on Saturday, exposed to bad weather.

As to whether she was apologizing to the restaurateurs, the mayor of the Ville-Marie borough did not want to say anything. “I am sorry […] that it led to chaos on Peel Street,” she acknowledged, adding that “yes, we have to party, but in a safe way.”

Valérie Plante said that an “administrative post-mortem” would take place to sort out the events. The mayor said she wanted to wait before pointing the finger at anyone. “For now, I mostly have the impression that there was a big communication problem,” she suggested.

The mayor said she also requested a meeting with the SIM, the Ville-Marie borough and the restaurant owners on Peel Street “so that we can have a frank conversation about what happened.”

“There is no question that a situation like the one that happened on Friday will happen again […], not during Formula 1,” she added.