Much Ado in Outremont about A Rotten Branch
Lire cet article en français "Beaucoup de bruit à Outremont pour une branche pourrie"
You never know how things are going to go at the monthly public meetings of the Outremont borough council. Yet, some things are very predictable. For example, you can count on Pierre Lacerte to denounce some action or behaviour on the part of the Hassidim. However, since he has publicly announced that he will run for office next November, 2013, he has not only begun a ”clean“ blog (as opposed to his other one, a Photoshop tutorial for 12 year olds), he is also posing questions that have nothing to do with the Hassidim. Or so it seems.
This month, it was all about a tree whose branch had been not only cut down “in its prime” but had been done on a Sunday (the Catholic Sabbath, he must be a religious man). Is such work allowed to be conducted on a Sunday, he asked. Furthermore, the tree was in perfect health. The branch was ”as big as me!” Why cut it down?
We couldn’t help but notice how angry and nervous he was through all this. He refused to leave the microphone, in spite of the Mayors repeated efforts to dismiss him. He brandished an 8 x 10 photo of the tree, gave the address out loud, and insisted that the borough fine the home owner and the tree cutter. “Don’t you care about the trees in your borough?” he asked incredulously. He insisted many times, in a loud voice: “They must be fined! Will the borough act on its own laws and fine these people?”
There was only one conclusion to make of all this: the home owner must be Jewish. Following the address on Durocher he had given publicly (which turned out to be wrong), we knocked on some doors. Sure enough, the owner of this stately backyard tree is a Hassidic family. We spoke to Mrs. K. and then to Stéphane Lebel of Services d’Arbes. Here is what we found out:
- The tree branch that had been removed in Mrs. K.’s backyard was rotten and Mrs. K. had received the opinions of two experts to confirm this. It was in fact dangerous, and was no choice but to remove it. The rest of the tree was left intact.
- The rotten tree branch hung precariously over a trampoline where many children play.
- Mr. Lebel made his own decision to do it on Sunday. Until this incident, Mr. Lebel never had issues cutting or trimming privately-owned trees on a Sunday.
- Lacerte (who lives on Hutchison) showed up with his camera in a Querbes street neighbour’s backyard, and began yelling at Mr. Lebel to stop.
- Within 10 minutes of starting to cut, there was a Police cruiser AND Securité publique d’Outremont at Mrs. K.’s door (looks like we’ve got a major crime scene here).
- Mr Lebel objected to having his photo taken by Mr. Lacerte, but the latter did not respect these objections.
- A neighbour across the street was chainsawing almost the entire time but was ignored by Mr Lacerte, the Police, Securité publique dOutremont. This neighbour had no permit publicly posted.
Mr. Lebel was handed by the police two infractions for a combined total of $344. He says he is going to contest and has kept two pieces of the branch to prove that it was rotten. “The man who took my picture, whoever he is, must be crazy”, said Lebel when we spoke to him. ”He was yelling all sorts of things. What kind of person does this?” As for the police, it wasn’t much better. He was so arrogant, Lebel said. He is not an expert in trees. How does he know that branch wasn’t rotten and about to fall?
Still not satisfied, Lacerte showed up at borough council on May 6th to further ensure that this act is denounced. Now we see his goal for what it is: To have the full weight of the Securité, Police and the borough council fall down on the shoulders of this Hassidic family.
Interestingly, the night before the tree cutting, Mrs. K. recounted how there had been a rowdy and noisy party till 3 am at the home of the neighbour where Lacerte had snapped the pictures from. ”Why didnt Mr Lacerte call the police about that”, Mrs. K asked. You could have called the police, we said to her. ”Why? Let them party. I just want to be a good neighbour.” she answered.
A good neighbour indeed.Follow @OutremontHassid