When you're living on the streets without a home in Montreal, it's hard for life to get more difficult. One Montreal business has accomplished that feat, with the installation of anti-homeless spikes outside of their storefront, preventing any homeless person from using the store as a sleeping area.
Archambault, the book/media store on St. Cats and Berri, is the business in question, as reported by Le Devoir. Large metallic barbs line the storefront's sidewalk. While they aren't lethally spiked or inherently harmful, they do prevent anyone, homeless or otherwise, from lying down in front of the store or even just sitting on the window ledge.
No representative from Archambault has made an official statement as to the purpose of these random spikes, declining to comment when asked by Le Devoir. Given the large amount of homeless people who populate the area near Berri-UQAM station, it's hard not to make the logical leap that these are in fact anti-homeless spikes.
The exact installation date of Archambault's storefront studs isn't known, and notice was likely only made due to the major media attention paid to a similar story that occurred in London. A few days ago, twitter went ablaze with photos of a London apartment building that had anti-homeless spikes set up by the entrance, which, much like Archambault's, prevent any homeless person from lying down and resting there.
Thankfully, some Montreal city officials have spoken out against these anti-homeless spikes, promising they won't become the norm. Valérie Plante, Ville-Marie counsel person for Projet Montreal, has publicly stated an investigation will be conducted regarding the spikes, citing them as degrading. Serge Lareault, director of community group L’Itinéraire, has similiarly described the devices as indecent and plans to prevent their expansion.
We don't as-of-yet know the true purpose behind Archambault's metal barbs, so before we start accusing them of crimes against humanity, we should take a look at the whole picture. Unlike the spikes in London, Archambault's aren't right inside a sheltered doorway (where a homless person is likely to sleep for the night), instead they are right in front of the store's large windows. The spikes in question could just be preventative measure from many of the sketchy folk who frequent the area from smashing and grabbing.
Even the Montreal Mayor does not approve.
Les pics anti-itinérants sont inacceptables!!!!
— DenisCoderre (@DenisCoderre) June 10, 2014
What do you think?
For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte