Local Darksiders made conscious decision to associate with "dangerous motor bike club", mayor says
Bathurst's mayor says the city isn't against people who ride motorcycles or sport bikers' clothing, but says there's no place for a club that associates itself with what he calls a dangerous bike club "renowned for criminal activity".
This following a report that mayor Paolo Fongemie wanted to work with neighbouring communities to limit the activities of the Darksiders North Shore motorcycle club in the Chaleur region.
Fongemie says that council is in no way judging individuals and that it is not looking to ban those who ride motorcycles or who are part of recreational and social clubs.
He says he knows a number of the club's members personally and that they're "good guys", but says they "made the conscious decision to wear the letters “MC” on their jackets and associate themselves with a dangerous motor bike club."
A statement issued by the City of Bathurst on Tuesday, April 25th says it is not at liberty to discuss the specific number of complaints received but that concerns were expressed by citizens and the business community regarding the presence of the Darksiders in Bathurst.
Concerns were heightened, according to the statement, once members began wearing the "MC" patch, which stands for "Motorcycle Club", which is only allowed to be worn upon authorization by the Hell's Angels.
Fongemie says the city's police force fully supports council's stance on the matter.
He urges citizens not to be fooled by the club's fundraising initiatives and questions what money from the sale of its clothing line will be used for.
A statement from newly-appointed Police Chief Ernie Boudreau says the force is fully aware of the Darksiders North Shore club's presence in Bathurst and that it agrees with the mayor and Civic Authority concerning their preoccupations.
Boudreau says outlaw motorcycle gangs are a serious issue in any community and that combating the treat requires collaboration and partnerships with all levels of policing: municipal, provincial, and national forces.
He says the department will do its part to maintain the safety and security of citizens and that it will continually educate citizens on the differences between outlaw motorcycle gangs and support clubs versus recreational motorcycle clubs.
Meanwhile, Mayor Fongemie says being an elected official is not a popularity contest, but an obligation to make decisions for the greater good of the community.
He says Bathurst isn't the only city facing a similar challenge, but adds it's the only one where elected officials say it's not acceptable.
We've reached out to the Darksiders North Shore, and the Atlantic Confederation of Clubs & Independents for comment.