Côte-des-Neiges-NDG has the right to limit where fast food is sold, court rules

Permits for fast food restaurants can only be issued on St. Jacques Street, Decarie Boulevard, and Plaza Côte-des-Neiges.

Restaurant giants, including McDonalds, A&W and St-Hubert, challenged 2016 zoning bylaw

The Quebec Superior Court has ruled in favour of a bylaw limiting where fast-food restaurants can open in Montreal's Côte-des-Neiges-NDG borough. (Radio-Canada Archives)

A Quebec Superior Court justice has ruled in favour of a bylaw limiting where any new fast-food restaurants can be located in Montreal's Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough.

In 2016, the borough passed a zoning bylaw, restricting new fast-food restaurants to St-Jacques Street, Décarie Boulevard and Plaza Côte-des-Neiges.

The bylaw was part of a broader initiative to promote healthy lifestyles in the borough.

It was challenged in court by a number of restaurant giants, including McDonalds, A&W and Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert.

The restaurants argued that the borough did not have the power to limit where they can open, but Justice Marc St-Pierre ruled that the borough was within its rights to enact the bylaw.

Other boroughs urged to follow suit

Kevin Bilodeau, the Quebec director of advocacy for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, said in light of the obesity epidemic, the ruling is welcome news.

"Unhealthy eating is one of the first killers in Canada," Bilodeau said.

"A lot of people were waiting for this decision to be made, so now they are ready to take action on this," he said.

Bilodeau said now that the court case has been settled, he expects other Montreal boroughs to follow CDN-NDG's lead.

CDN-NDG Coun. Marvin Rotrand spearheaded the 2016 initiative to restrict the location of new fast-food restaurants. (CBC)

Borough Coun. Marvin Rotrand, who spearheaded the initiative, said he will be writing officials in other Montreal boroughs, urging them to adopt a similar bylaw.

"Let's expand what we do in terms of public health, which clearly is a provincial mandate," said Rotrand. 

"We have an ancillary role to play in promoting it, and I've always said that, and I'm going to continue to say that."

With files from Elias Abboud


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