In a move that many will herald as decades behind schedule, the borough of Verdun has finally adopted a motion to allow bar owners to operate. The move to join the rest of Montreal comes with a predictable set of restrictions but the blockbuster takeaway is simply this: Verdun is no longer dry.
There is some debate on just how long Verdun has been prohibitionist. Exceptions aside, the teetotaler streak dates back to a referendum in 1919. Far too long for most thirsty residents who have had to trek to Point St. Charles, St. Henri or Downtown for a pint, in other words.
And while restaurants have been able to serve alcohol and the arrival of Benelux on Wellington in 2013 was tolerated thanks to a narrow and specific bylaw for brewpubs, this latest motion casts a much wider net.
The new bylaw will allow the establishment of licensed premises in commercial areas along Wellington, between Strathmore and 6e Avenue, as well as parts of Île-des-Sœurs. Moreover, bars must meet specific criteria and "be compatible with their host environment." Proprietors may not install video lottery machines, for example.
"By authorizing the establishment of licensed premises in limited areas and according to strict criteria, we fulfill a wish expressed by the population and reconfirmed in the citizen consultation sessions held on May 30 and 31," announced borough mayor Jean-François Parenteau (translated). "So we decided to move forward by implementing strict management and we will be particularly anxious to ensure coexistence with neighbouring residential areas."
Luc Gendron, president of the SDC Wellington, welcomes the change.
"We believe that the arrival of a few bars and bistros will increase foot traffic and buzz on Promenade Wellington, which will be good for business."