Côte Saint-Luc to name a park space after Alexandre Look and victims of the October 7 massacre

The City of Côte Saint-Luc will name park space in the memory of Alexandre Look, who was tragically killed in the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

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The late Alexandre Look.

Alexandre Look Place  will be dedicated in my District 2 in early summer, fittingly between Bialik High School and Beth Chabad CSL.

Alexandre attended Bialik and grew up in our community. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein knows the family well. His son was childhood friends with Alexandre.

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A photo taken in 2018 of part of the land that will be named after Alexandre Look.

Raquel Ohnona Look, Alexandre’s mom, told the CBC that she was on a video call with her son while he was attempting to evade Hamas gunmen on October 7. She could hear young women screaming and crying in the background. She told her son to listen to Israeli authorities. She told him to hide. "And then I heard him tell his friends, 'They're coming back. There's a lot of them. And then all I heard was a lot of gunshots, lots of rounds and then we heard nothing," she said.

Raquel strained to listen with her husband. The couple then heard sound of people chanting: "Allahu Akbar," an Arabic expression that roughly translates as "Allah is greatest," and which can be heard in video recordings linked to the carnage that has since been posted online.

"I knew," Raquel Look recalled to CBC. "I said, 'They're killing my son as we speak.'"

Alexandre, 33, was among thousands in attendance at an outdoor techno music festival near the Gaza-Israel border when it was attacked by the militant group, his family told CBC News in their Montreal home. About 260 bodies were removed from the festival following the ambush.

We have been seeking to name the greenspace for a few years now. It is city-owned land, but used regularly by Beth Chabad CSL for wedding ceremonies.

While I have consulted with both Beth Chabad CSL and Bialik a few times for a name, Sadly this opportunity was a natural choice when the mayor called and asked how we could properly memorialize Alexandre.

I should note that this space will honour the memory of Alexandre and all of the victims of the October 7 massacre.

Sarah Raskin from Beth Chabad CSL told me:" Alexandre grew up in Côte Saint-Luc. He spent countless of Friday nights in our home. We are extremely touched and humbled that Beth Chabad CSL will have the honor of having the park adjacent to our building."

Stay tuned for more information in the weeks ahead.

La Place Alexandre Look

La Ville de Côte Saint-Luc nommera un parc à la mémoire d'Alexandre Look, tragiquement tué lors de l'attaque du Hamas contre Israël le 7 octobre dernier.


La Place Alexandre Look sera inaugurée dans mon district 2 au début de l'été, à juste titre entre l'école secondaire Bialik et Beth Chabad CSL.


Alexandre a fréquenté le lycée Bialik et a grandi dans notre communauté. Le maire Mitchell Brownstein connaît bien la famille. Son fils était un ami d'enfance d'Alexandre.


Raquel Ohnona Look, la mère d'Alexandre, a déclaré à la CBC qu'elle était en communication vidéo avec son fils alors qu'il tentait d'échapper à des tireurs du Hamas le 7 octobre. Elle entendait des jeunes femmes crier et pleurer en arrière-plan. Elle a dit à son fils d'écouter les autorités israéliennes. Elle lui a dit de se cacher. Puis je l'ai entendu dire à ses amis : "Ils reviennent. Ils sont nombreux. Ensuite, tout ce que j'ai entendu, c'est un grand nombre de coups de feu, beaucoup de balles, puis nous n'avons plus rien entendu", a-t-elle déclaré.


Raquel s'est efforcée d'écouter avec son mari. Le couple a alors entendu le bruit de personnes qui scandaient : "Allahu Akbar", une expression arabe qui se traduit approximativement par "Allah est le plus grand" et que l'on peut entendre dans des enregistrements vidéo liés au carnage de samedi qui ont depuis été mis en ligne.


"Je le savais", se souvient Raquel Look à CBC. J'ai dit : "Ils sont en train de tuer mon fils en ce moment même".


Alexandre, 33 ans, faisait partie des milliers de personnes qui assistaient à un festival de musique techno en plein air près de la frontière entre Gaza et Israël, samedi, lorsqu'il a été attaqué par le groupe militant, a déclaré sa famille à CBC News dans leur maison de Montréal. Environ 260 corps ont été retirés du festival à la suite de l'embuscade.


Cela fait quelques années que nous cherchons à donner un nom à cet espace vert. Il s'agit d'un terrain appartenant à la ville, mais utilisé régulièrement par Beth Chabad CSL pour des cérémonies de mariage.


Bien que j'aie consulté Beth Chabad CSL et Bialik à plusieurs reprises pour trouver un nom, cette occasion s'est malheureusement présentée comme un choix naturel lorsque le maire nous a appelés pour nous demander comment nous pourrions commémorer Alexandre comme il se doit.
Je tiens à préciser que cet espace honorera la mémoire d'Alexandre et de toutes les victimes du massacre du 7 octobre.


Restez à l'écoute pour plus d'informations dans les semaines à venir.

 


Seeking a viable solution for the CSL Minor Hockey Association

In recent weeks the mayor and city council have been receiving a lot of communication from parents whose children are registered in the Côte Saint-Luc Minor Hockey Association (CSLMHA) regarding the amount of ice time they receive.

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Minor hockey players like this are seeking more ice time.

 

While I have responded individually to my constituents, it is important  for people to understand the role of elected officials. We do not focus our attention on operational issues. That is why we hire staff.  But of course, when our citizens are upset about something, it is our duty to look into the matter seriously. We have certainly done that and at our weekly meetings many hours have been devoted to  detailed briefings on the allocation of ice time.

I grew up playing minor hockey in Côte Saint-Luc. We had no arena when I started out so we rented space in Montreal West and had games  at the crack of dawn on weekends. The Samuel Moskovitch Arena opened in 1977 and over the past 47 years participation grew on all fronts, from hockey to figure skating not to mention rentals. An arena is an expensive facility to  fund and we have always devoted most of the available ice time to our own citizens.

Again, I will re-emphasize the fact that we have an experienced team of staff at the Parks and Recreation Department, not to mention some key individuals at City Hall, who oversee these dossiers.

“As elected officials our primary role is to help the individual, every individual; improving happiness and quality of life,” states Mayor Brownstein. “That's what we do and why we do it.  Balancing interests is a difficult task and favoring anyone is against our core values, so we leave staff to try to find the best fair balance. When we disappoint it saddens us.”

One parent wrote to tell me that he has  been made aware by the CSLMHA that the city   has not been supportive towards the program. I can speak on behalf of the mayor and council by saying this: if we could wave a magic wand and simply agree to every single demand of the CSLMHA we would. If money was no object (or we could find a very generous multi-million dollar sponsor) we would have a second indoor arena/ice surface.  But that is certainly not something that is happening tomorrow.

When I was a local hockey player, it was the staff of the Parks and Recreation Department that oversaw the programming, working of course with many volunteers.  The CSLMHA , just like the CSL Figure Skating Club, is an independent entity, and their volunteers put in countless hours of work.  However, it is their role to negotiate with the city over ice time, manage their own budget, oversee registration and other matters.

So here is what our staff do when it comes to ice time, as my colleague and Parks and Recreation dossier holder Andee Shuster emphasizes. For starters they review the requests from all the groups wishing to rent ice time and then they build a schedule. It is important to note that the CSLMHA is able to rent half of all prime-time ice time at the arena, plus another six hours at the Sports Annex. That is by far the most prime-time hours rented to any group. “The city doesn’t run the CSLMHA,” Andee reminded us. “Our role is to meet with it, listen to its requests, balance those requests with those from other groups, and then build a schedule—imperfect as it may be to the wishes and desires of each group—that is fair to all.”

The city is well aware that many residents observe Shabbat and this was taken into account when building the schedule. It is one of many factors we take into account, including, for instance, school end time.

The CSLMHA has told our staff that they  require 38 hours of ice time per week for the upcoming 2024-25 season, which would represent an increase in five hour per week.  Furthermore, they ask for an increase on days that are not Friday or Saturday; if it is an increase in weekday ice, then nothing before 6 pm and ending after 10 pm; and if it is an increase on Sunday ice time, nothing ending past 10 pm. This is not including Annexe time.

Our staff met with the CSLMA Executive in January, at which time it was stated that changes would be made to the current schedule to accommodate their requests, but it was unlikely that we could make this happen in  its entirety.

A meeting will take place in May to reach a final agreement for next season. The city’s objective remains to ensure that the global community is taken into consideration.

Cornelia Ziga, our director of Parks and Recreation, said it best when she explained that our mandate is to provide a wide variety of opportunities for a variety of sports and leisure activities. Our arena accommodates hockey (all ages), learn to skate, figure skating, and public skate. It satisfies the mandate. The casualty at the arena we are told is  public skating. Its time has been reduced significantly due to the increased demand from CSLMHA.

“In terms of valuing residents over non-residents, we do that with early registration, preferred pricing, and other access,” says Councillor Shuster.

The CSLMHA  is quite frankly a victim of its own success, having grown the program beyond its own mandate. So naturally that translates into a need for more ice time.    

In conclusion, we are all on the same team here. We have heard the concerns from individual parents who were encouraged by the CSLMHA  to e-mail their city councillors. Our staff have once again been asked to  make this dossier a priority and come up with the best  plan possible within our means.

There is no incentive for the mayor and council to dismiss these concerns. Let’s hope for a resolution that satisfies all parties.


Carol Rabinovitch's Re/imagined solo art exhibit to benefit Cats Committee

Bravo to Côte Saint Luc contemporary artist Carol Rabinovitch, who will be donating a share of the proceeds from her Re/imagined” solo art exhibit at the CSL Public Library April 8 to May 16 to the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee. The latter is indeed one of my longtime "pet" projects, run completely by volunteers. We work on rescuing homeless cats. Our budget was cut and expenses keep rising, so every dollar helps.
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Rabinovitch's creations are whimsical and colourful, incorporating her signature dots and swirls. Included are oil paintings, acrylic paintings, mixed media in “Marvelous Montreal”, collages and monoprints.
 
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Rabinovitch in front of one of her pieces of art.
Rabinovitch has participated in many juried group exhibits and several solo shows in Montreal and the United States where many of her artworks have been sold. She was represented in local art galleries and in Chicago. Never shy to step up before the media, she has been the subject of many interviews.

To see more of her images, visit instagram.com/carols.whimsy.art and www.artistsinmontreal.com where she won the Judge’s Choice Award for “Martini” in February 2023.
 

The return of a Steinberg grocery store: Peter Lipari to rebrand IGA Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre

As a self-proclaimed man of the people, Peter Lipari is beloved by those who shop at his Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre IGA grocery store.

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Last fall I presented Lipari with the Merchant of the Month Award.

On a daily basis Peter literally walks the aisles talking to customers and getting their feedback on a wide variety of topics. If people suggest he purchase a particular product not in stock, he will go the extra mile to find it. But now Peter has told me he intends to play out the ultimate request: bringing some major nostalgia back to the community. IGA Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre will now be renamed Steinberg CSL, which for 75 years was a mainstay on the Quebec grocery store scene.


Lipari met with former Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg. His late parents, Morris and Clara Steinberg, were part of the family-owned grocery store chain. Steinberg very much liked the idea of bringing back the name, which was so synonymous with food. He has consented for the Steinberg name to be used for a nominal fee plus a percentage of sales on all of the merchandise Lipari plans to roll out. William Steinberg’s son Craig, a social media and graphic arts specialist, will play a key role on the marketing side while wife Doris and daughter Tara will also be involved.

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A familiar brand is coming back.


“This will be the start of something big,” said Lipari. “I have been working on this for years. While we are starting out at my store, I have communicated with franchise owners from other brands across the island and they are on board.”

At the Côte St. Luc Road location, renovations will be done to build a small deli to be named Ben Ash in the corner end near the frozen foods. Ben Ash was also a mainstay at the centre.


Lipari said he will not mess with Quebec’s language police and try to call the store Steinberg’s. The family removed the apostrophe in 1961. Lipari even has the notable catchphrase which will even go over well with CAQ government. “Je fais mon Steinberg” did indeed become a phrase housewives used to use to signify they were going out to buy food for dinner.


When I was a child, my parents took myself and my two siblings to Steinberg at the CSL Shopping Centre. We shopped together and then had hotdogs at PikNik. The manager’s name was Mr. Caplan. We all got so excited to line up at the car order and have the bags packed in the trunk.


Isn’t this a great idea? Could it come true? Yes, indeed it can. But for now it is just an April Fool’s joke. However, knowing Mr. Lipari and Mr. Steinberg from this little article could become a real thing.


Tenants concerned about renovictions get advice at City Hall meeting

The concern expressed by the residents of five buildings on Kildare Road and Sir Walter Scott over the presence of new owners and a fear of renoviction has resulted in the formation of a tenants association, the engagement of a lawyer and clear line drawn in the sand.

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The audience at Monday's meeting.

When Groupe CLV sold the five buildings in February to a group Gestion Galleon, residents sounded the alarm over suspicious evening visits from company representatives offering some tenants cash incentives to leave. This triggered worries about potential renovictions. The latter occurs when landlords use non-urgent renovations as a pretext to force tenants to vacate.  Landlords may harass tenants to force them out, and some send illegal lease non-renewal notices.

Councillor Dida Berku (a tenants rights lawyer for 40 years ) and myself have been very active on the file since day one. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein has been following the situation closely. Now our Urban Planning Department has stepped in. This type of action is fairly unprecedented. I have been on council for 18 years and in my District there are 16 rental buildings (and eight high rise condos). Tenant-landlord disputes occur in all of these buildings and I hear about them. We always have to draw a fine line between by-law infractions which we can intervene on or a dispute between a tenant and landlord which precludes us from intervening. That being said, our involvement in working with tenants to help stave off any serious problems is not something we have done in my time in office.

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Catherine Plawutsky

On March  25, our library helped organize a special information meeting for tenants of the five building with  LogisAction,  which provides assistance to tenants in NDG and finds solutions to problems related to their rental situation. It was good to see some of the leaders of the tenants association. We provided the use of our auditorium for free. Attendees signed in when they arrived. Councillor Berku, myself and Mayor Brownstein made opening remarks. Lawyer Justin Demers was on hand and Catherine Plawutsky from Logis Action gave a very informative presentation. 

Earlier in the day, our Associate City Manager Tanya Abramovitch held a meeting with the Urban Planning Department.  It is very important to emphasize that the e-mail to address any infractions is  [email protected] 

According to Tanya, the great majority of complaints the department has received, through in person appearances, phone calls, and emails, have related to threats, the rent cheques, and things that are not ones the city can do anything about. Those are complaints for the Régie du logement or even the police, and we have told them that.

There are certain things that are in the purview of the city, and certain things that are not. Elevators, electricity, plumbing, and ventilation of buildings this size are under the purview of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ).  Things like emergency lights, blocked exits, sprinklers, fire alarms, imminent walls of bricks falling, and defective generators are under the responsibility of the SIM. It is always better for the tenants to call directly, since they see things at all hours and live the reality. The RBQ says they will respond within 30 days but it is never that long.  We can make a complaint (and did for the elevator), but us calling versus residents does not move things along faster. The elevator complaint has been deposited at the RBQ, and the property owners have been informed that it has

In our by-laws, permits are required for most work, including the replacement of floors, cabinets, opening a wall, things that touch Gyproc. This is different than in Montreal, where for minor interior work you do not need a permit. Tanya points out that this is fortunate, because it forces the property owners to apply for permits for even small work on one unit.  Our Urban Planning Department also proactively contacted the property owners and let them know that they need a permit to do basically anything, and that they can’t even change the sign outside without going through the city. As of today, not a single permit request exists for any of these buildings. The department will not issue any if one is requested until our director of Urban Planning returns anyway. Our renoviction bylaw, adopted last fall,  only applies in the context of a permit, not before.  Urban Planning will flag Tanya immediately  if any permit request comes in for any of these buildings.

At the information session I informed  tenants that it would be helpful if they can tell us if they hear any sounds of construction (sawing, hammering, etc). If they dothey should contact Urban Planning  by email and let them know right away. We   will then send an inspector to check it out. If it’s on a weekend, we will pick it up on Monday and do what  is needed.

In the past, when these buildings were CLV-owned, there were certain complaints that occurred.  CLV took care of them right away. Our Urban Planning team is concerned that new owners may let this slip. If, for instance, there is any vermin,   contact Urban Planning directly. The department is keeping a log of complaints about these addresses for things that pertain to us. If there is anything to note, it will be flagged.

We do not have the resources to go and visit these buildings on a daily basis if there is no cause to do so. As soon as there is cause, we will log it and go. Having a lawyer on their team compiling a list of complaints would be helpful.

The owners are very aware that we are watching them closely. If there is movement, we will be ready,

The city cannot intervene on everything that is going on. Tenants need to exercise their rights, organize and help each other.  

 .


Should Housefather cross the floor now and join the Conservative Party of Canada?

Last week I had the pleasure to address the Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club. There were about 30 people on hand at the Aquatic and Community Centre and another 80 or so watching online. With 770 members this is one well-oiled machine.

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Anthony Housefather


I touched on many topics which I will elaborate on later in this piece. But let me fast forward to the question period and the discussion I had with members when I departed. Many of the individuals wanted my take on the Federal Liberal Party, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and our Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather. These days they are all facing a common among Jewish residents of the riding in particular: not wanting to cast their vote in favor of Trudeau.


The next federal election is not expected to be held until the fall of 2025 as long as the NDP continues to blackmail the Liberals for their support. Billions of our dollars are being poured into NDP-supported programs like pharma care and dental care in order to ensure the Liberals do nor lose a vote of confidence. I am not saying that either of the NDP initiatives are bad for the population. However, with a bulging deficit can we really afford them at this time?

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With Charles Eklove and Bernie Green after my address to the Men's Club.

So what do people in Mount Royal do if Trudeau sticks around as leader? Do they still support Housefather, who is probably the best MP we’ve ever had? He was mayor of Côte Saint-Luc for 10 years, my first decade on council, so I know him well. Anthony thinks of his constituents first. He was never Trudeau’s choice for the Mount Royal nomination. Yet he beat his competitor handily. Mount Royal traditionally became the home of a cabinet minister. Both the late Sheila Finestone and Irwin Cotler were accorded those honors; not Anthony.


When the Liberals adopted new language legislation Bill C-13 last spring by a 301-1 to vote, Housefather was the only dissenter. That drew praise from his constituents. Rightfully so, he insisted that the federal bill took a wrong turn by referring to Bill 101, Quebec’s Charter of the French Language, which was extensively overhauled via Bill 96, our controversial law that toughens French language rules.

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Justin Trudeau

Soon after the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, followed by the war in Gaza, Housefather became an instant spokesperson for the Jewish State. While Trudeau has tried to walk a fine line between the Israeli and Palestinian positions, he has failed to satisfy either side. Housefather has found himself consistently speaking out against his own party. The straw that broke the camel’s back came when the NDP proposed a motion in the House of Commons calling on Canada to recognize the "State of Palestine." While a much watered-down position passed, only the Federal Conservative Party and three Liberals – Housefather, Marco Mendicino and Ben Carr- voted against it.


Housefather subsequently went public about how this left him feeling "isolated" and he is now "reflecting" on his place within caucus.


At the Men’s Club I was asked specifically why Housefather would not cross the floor and join the Conservatives. Leader Pierre Poilievre may have his faults, but like his predecessor Stephen Harper he supports Israel to the highest level. Over the last few months he has been visiting Montreal-area synagogues. His chief lieutenant Melissa Lantsman, accompanied by longtime Tory insider Neil Drabkin, was making the rounds last week. She is Jewish and the reception she received was warm. If Trudeau stays on, the Tories think they can take Mount Royal.


Now that Housefather has opened the door to reflecting on his future with the Liberals, and hanging his hat on the Israel issue, I believe his constituents would applaud a move to the Tories, Poilievre is going to win the next federal election. If Housefather makes the move now, he would all but be assured of being named to the cabinet – a dream come true.


I am sure this is a terribly difficult decision for Housefather to make. He has been a lifelong Liberal. But is this the same party that he first joined? Now is the time for his constituents to speak up. If enough of them tell him to cross the floor, maybe he will. I for one would strongly recommend it.

Let me conclude with some comments about my Men’s Club appearance. Thanks to President Charles Eklove and director Bernie Green for inviting me. My topic was A Man With Many Hats: City Councillor, Journalist and Education Sector Communications Official.


I touched upon my role with the English Montreal School Board and our battles with the Quebec government over Bills 21, 40 and 96; the constant attacks on the English community by the CAQ government; the lackluster performance of the provincial Liberals and our need to give the Canadian Party of Quebec some support for speaking up for us; The Suburban Newspaper and the important role it continues to play in the community; COVID-19 and the fact that if you feel sick these days up to date rapid tests are impossible to find and nobody seems to care about spreading germs to others any more; the local restaurant scene; and an update from Côte Saint-Luc city council.


Thanks again to the Men’s Club for having me. This is one influential voting bloc and there is no question, I’d say, that most of them would like to see Housefather free from the Trudeau regime. We shall see.


Library member Sarah Fremeth turned 100 and her family dedicated sensor panels to childhood corner

Thanks to a generous donation in centenarian Sarah Fremeth’s name, new sensory panels were
added to the early childhood corner of our CSL Public Library.

Sensory panels are bright, colourful, and stimulating for young children. Through visuals, touch, and sound, they engage the senses. They also help develop motor skills, balance, hand-eye coordination, and visual processing, which are all essential for young childrens' development. Through these toys which are designed to develop essential skills, children can also begin to learn about colour, pattern, gravity, and develop spatial reasoning.

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Sarah Fremeth is congratulated by librarian Antonella Lalli.

 

Sensory panels are beneficial for all children, but they are also wonderful for children with
sensory disabilities and children with autism. They can be very engaging for children who are
particularly sensitive to colour, sound, touch, etc. Sensory panels can help them learn about
their senses in a way that feels safe and comfortable for them.

It was an extra special gathering that day with group member Sarah Fremeth. In October, she
turned 100 and the group planned to throw her a small birthday party. Chief Librarian Janine West had arranged for the mayor to present her with a special framed commemorative certificate. Unfortunately, she was hospitalized days before the October date and was not well enough to attend until now.

We were finally able to present it to her in February.

Sarah Fremeth Sensory Wall
The sensory wall.

 

Mur sensoriel Sarah Fremeth

Grâce à une généreuse donation au nom de la centenaire Sarah Fremeth, de nouveaux panneaux sensoriels ont été ajoutés au coin de la petite enfance de notre bibliothèque publique CSL.
ont été ajoutés au coin réservé à la petite enfance de notre bibliothèque publique CSL.

Les panneaux sensoriels sont lumineux, colorés et stimulants pour les jeunes enfants. Par le biais de l'image, du toucher et du son, ils éveillent les sens. Ils contribuent également au développement de la motricité, de l'équilibre, de la coordination main-œil et du traitement visuel, qui sont tous essentiels au développement des jeunes enfants. Grâce à ces jouets conçus pour développer des compétences essentielles, les enfants peuvent également commencer à apprendre les couleurs, les motifs, la gravité et à développer un raisonnement spatial.

Les panneaux sensoriels sont bénéfiques pour tous les enfants, mais ils sont également formidables pour les enfants souffrant de handicaps sensoriels et les enfants autistes.
sensoriels et les enfants autistes. Ils peuvent être très attrayants pour les enfants qui sont
particulièrement sensibles aux couleurs, aux sons, au toucher, etc. Les panneaux sensoriels peuvent les aider à découvrir
Les panneaux sensoriels peuvent les aider à découvrir leurs sens d'une manière sûre et confortable.

Ce jour-là, Sarah Fremeth, membre du groupe, a participé à une réunion très spéciale. En octobre, elle
En octobre, elle a eu 100 ans et le groupe avait prévu de lui organiser une petite fête d'anniversaire. La bibliothécaire en chef Janine West s'était arrangée pour que le maire lui remette un certificat commémoratif encadré. Malheureusement, elle a été hospitalisée quelques jours avant la date prévue et n'a pas été suffisamment rétablie pour assister à la fête.

Nous avons finalement pu lui remettre le certificat en février.


Council adopts resolution supporting Quebec English universities and institutions of higher learning

Here is a resolution from CSL City Council supporting supporting Quebec English universities and institutions of higher learning. It was moved by Councillor Andee Shuster, who works in communications for McGill University.

 

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Councillor Shuster reads the resolution.

 

Whereas the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal states as of 2023, McGill University and Concordia University’s out of province students contribute $520 million annually to the greater Montreal economy;

Whereas these two major English language universities have contributed to Quebec society through higher learning, research innovation, publications, and through their output of highly educated and skilled students, graduates, and alumni throughout their
history which dates back to 1821 in the case of McGill and 1974 in the case of Concordia;

Whereas these universities have achieved top rankings for education excellence bestowed by established Canadian and global organizations and media outlets, and that these reputations attract students from more than 150 countries;

Whereas 24% of Concordia’s enrollment and 30% of McGill’s enrollment is international students;

Whereas 9% of Concordia’s enrollment and 22% of McGill’s enrollment is Canadian students from outside of Quebec;

Whereas in December 2023, the Minister of Higher Education (the “Minister”) Quebec Government imposed a plan exclusively for these two English-language universities that (a) significantly increases the tuition rate applicable to Canadian residents from outside Quebec, as of the 2024-2025 academic year; (b) regulates tuition fees for certain international students that results in a net loss of revenue as of the 2024-2025 academic year ; and (c) requires the francization of 80% of non-resident students (newly enrolled as of 2025-2026) in undergraduate programs taught in English by the time they graduate
(the “Decision”);

Whereas this Decision was followed by the adoption in January 2024 of a series of modifications to the budgetary rules to be applied to the Universities entitled Règles budgétaires et calcul des subventions de fonctionnement aux universités du Québec (les« Règles budgétaires ») which put this Decision into effect;

Whereas despite protests and attempts for negotiations from the universities and other organizations, the Quebec Government has refused to reconsider the Decision;

Whereas since the new reforms were announced, Concordia has seen a 27 percent decline in applicants from the rest of Canada and a 12 percent decline in the number of students coming from abroad, McGill announced a 20 percent drop in out-of-province applicants;

Whereas the Quebec Government rejected reasonable francization proposals from the universities and instead imposed requirements which are viewed by the universities as unreasonable, unachievable, and punitive;

Whereas the measures taken by the Quebec Government represent a clear and present danger to the missions of Concordia and McGill universities and will weaken their vital role within the province and their reputations as international draws;

Whereas the reduction in students applying and attending Concordia and McGill universities will lead to budget cuts that will negatively impact the education of local students from Quebec as well as students from out of province in addition to impacting
employment for academic and non-academic staff from the Greater Montreal area;

Whereas reductions in the number of out-of-province students attending Quebec universities will lead to reduction in tax revenue for all three levels of government and a decrease in the number of well-educated professionals, hurting the economic and social
development of the Island of Montreal and Province of Quebec;

Whereas the Decision was made in clear violation and in total disregard of the recommendations issued in January 2024, by the Advisory Committee on Financial Accessibility of Education (Comité consultatif sur l’accessibilité financière aux études, hereafter “CCAFE”), an advisory committee appointed by the government, composed of representatives of government and French-language universities and Cégeps, who have stated that the new regulations risk compromising access to quality education and depriving Quebec society of potential talent;

Whereas on or about February 23rd, 2024, McGill and Concordia Universities both filed separate legal proceedings in judicial review contesting and challenging the Decision of
the Minister of Higher Education and the modifications to the Budgetary rules;

Whereas, as per the court filings, the Universities submit that these measures from the Quebec Government:
• Constitute discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as
well as the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms,
• Were an unreasonable exercise of the powers of the Minister of Higher Education,
since they were incompatible with the mission assigned to her by the Ministry of
Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Act,
• Were adopted following inadequate and an unfair process,
• Constitute a disguised and illegal tax, which is being imposed without the authorization of the National Assembly,
• Create unconstitutional barriers to interprovincial trade thereby limiting student mobility, choice of university, and access to education,
• Limit the diversity of the student body at these universities by creating barriers for international students,
• Were designed to inflict harm on the institutions by reducing the number of students attending the universities, changing the demographic profiles, shrinking the revenues and weakening their financial positions.

Whereas these actions by the Quebec Government could lead to retaliatory actions by other provinces in Canada limiting the options available for Quebec students to study at universities throughout Canada;

Whereas the residents of Cote Saint-Luc value higher education and have a high level of level of scholarity with nearly 60% residents having some university education and 55% of residents achieving at least one university degree (according to the 2021 census);

Whereas Cote Saint-Luc's population is comprised of alumni, academics, scholars, and current students who take pride in the high standards and reputation of these universities;

Whereas the inevitable decline in the universities’ standing will prompt an exodus of our youth to pursue their degrees elsewhere, which will have a deep negative impact on our community;

It was moved “THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council calls on the Minister of Higher Education and the Government of Quebec to reconsider the Decision and reverse the tuition increases and new tuition regulations and revise the compulsory francization
requirements to a more realistic attainable level;

THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council calls on the Minister of Higher Education and the Government of Quebec to follow the recommendations of its own Comité consultatif sur l'accessibilité financière aux études, which Committee “strongly urges the
government to reconsider this decision;

THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council calls on the Minister of Higher Education and the Premier of Quebec to meet with representatives of the English universities and English-speaking community to renegotiate these changes which have been unfairly imposed and are not respectful of the English-speaking community of Quebec;

THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council directs its City Clerk to send copies of this resolution to all of members of the National Assembly of Quebec including the Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee, to all other municipalities in the Montreal Metropolitan Community, to the Member of Parliament for Mount Royal, to the Prime Minister of Canada, to the federal Minister of Official Languages, to the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, to the Union des Municipalités du Québec (UMQ), to the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités (FQM), to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), to the Presidents of Concordia and McGill’s Universities and to the members of the Quebec Advisory Board on English Education.”

I also added that the Canadian Party of Quebec should receive the resolution as well for they are indeed speaking out loudly for our community.

It was carried unanimously.


Two months of Hydro-Québec work slated for Rembrandt Ave.

As part of its rehabilitation program for underground structures, Hydro-Québec has announced that they will carry out civil engineering work to repair an underground chamber on Rembrandt Avenue,  between  Kildare and Merrimac.

This will impact the street in a number of ways:  the removal of parking spaces in the area; access to west side of the park will be blocked; the pedestrian crossing  will be removed; noise from machinery during certain manoeuvres; the installation of a detour and appropriate signage; and the  presence of flagmen (as needed) to facilitate traffic flow around the worksite

It is important to note  that there will be no interruption of electricity service  as a result of this work. Work will begin in March 11 and continue until May 17 from 7 am to 7 pm,

Hydroquebec

Nature des travaux

Dans le cadre de son programme de réfection des ouvrages souterrains, Hydro-Québec doit réaliser des travaux de génie civil afin de procéder à la réfection d’une chambre souterraine.

Secteur

  • Avenue Rembrandt, entre les chemins Kildare et Merrimac

Impacts

  • Entrave partielle de l’avenue Rembrandt, entre les chemins Kildare et Merrimac
  • Retrait de places de stationnement dans le secteur
  • Accès au parc côté ouest condamné
  • Traverse piétonnière enlevée
  • Bruit de machinerie lors de certaines manœuvres

Mesures d’atténuation

  • Mise en place d’un détour et d’une signalisation appropriée
  • Maintien de l’accès aux résidences en tout temps
  • Présence de signaleurs (au besoin) pour faciliter la circulation autour du chantier
  • Sécurisation du chantier pour la sécurité du public et des travailleurs et travailleuses

À noter qu’aucune interruption du service d’électricité n’est prévue dans le cadre de ces travaux.

Exemple de réfection d’une chambre souterraine

Calendrier de réalisation

  • Du 11 mars au 17 mai 2024
  • e 7 h à 19 h

Sales of five buildings on Sir Walter Scott and Kildare Road raises concerns

Five residential apartment buildings in District 2 have been sold for more than $40 million.

The buildings implicated are 5755, 5765 and 5775 Sir Walter Scott and 6565 and 6575 Kildare Road. They were previously owned by the CLV Group.

For Côte Saint-Luc, the good news is that at a time when our finances have been adversely affected by a lack of home sales due to high interest rates, inflation, city of Montreal transfers and more, we will net $1.2 million in welcome taxes. However, tenants of the five buildings have sounded the alarm due to the mysterious nature of the new owners. The company listed is Immeubles Galleons S.E.C. It is unclear who actually heads this enterprise. One name kept coming up; a developer I have worked with in my day job. When I reached him he insisted that he was originally a prospective buyer. “I flipped the offer to another investor prior to closing,” he stated.

Kildare apartments
Some of the buildings on Sir Walter Scott Avenue.

A letter advising tenants of the change was not printed on any kind of letterhead and rather than being delivered to each door, it was merely posted on some of the walls in high traffic areas.

Two property managers, Mr. David and Mr. Avi, are listed. They actually work for the person who denies he is the real owner. “They are helping the new owners with his renovations after hours,” he told me.

I was able to connect with Avi, who is a constituent of mine. I recommended that letters be delivered to each door with clear instructions of how to pay the rent. They cannot assume everyone will respond to a flyer posted on wall minus any stationary.

Tenants fear that the new company will proceed with renovictions - the eviction of all of a building's tenants on the grounds that a large-scale renovation is planned. Having represented District 2 for 18 years now, I know for a fact that in each building there are tenants who called these places home for many years. So I was not surprised to start hearing from some of them soon after the posting of the new ownership occurred. They immediately fired out letters to City Hall, getting the attention of the mayor, council as well as our legal and building inspection departments. Deputy Mayor and Councillor Dida Berku was a tenants rights lawyer for 40 years and last fall she was instrumental in drafting our first ever renoviction bylaw. It emphasizes that prior to the issuance of a permit for major works that require evacuation, written documentation must be provided demonstrating that affected tenants have agreed, in writing, to either temporarily relocate or voluntarily vacate their dwellings during the work. Tenants who have agreed to temporarily relocate must have been presented with a clear expected timeline for their return. The contact information of each affected tenant must be provided.

Councillor Berku and I met with tenants last Thursday night. There were representatives from each building. They are being proactive, having already engaged a lawyer.

One tenant told me the new owners state no dogs are allowed in the building. As the councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I have been told of such edicts before. A dog (or cat) is truly a member of one’s family. Such a clause by a landlord can only be used for new tenants.

Clearly this is a developing story which we will continue to follow.


One-on-one with newly appointed Police Station 9 Commander Stéphane Desroches

There is a new commander for Police Station 9, which covers Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Montreal West and NDG. It was a pleasure for me to meet Stéphane Desroches, who has been with the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) since 1997.

Commander Desroches began his new role in October, just days before the terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel and the start of the war. Needless to say this was a true baptism under fire. “I won’t lie; this was not an easy start for me,” he told me in an interview at his office in the Westminster shopping plaza Station 9 headquarters. “There was a lot of anxiety in the Jewish community, with the schools and synagogues. In addition, October is the time when there is a large turnover of staff at the stations. So let’s just say I got to meet the community leaders very quickly and my goal was to reassure all of them that Station 9 was there to support them.”

 

CommanderDesroches
Commander Desroches.


A married father of two, Commander Desroches grew up in Verdun where his first act of public service was to work as a lifeguard. He attended Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf for high school and CEGEP. He initially enrolled at the Université de Montréal to study information technology, but quickly realized this was not for him,. So he switched gears, signing up for police technology at CEGEP Maisonneuve.


“I always like teamwork and helping people,” the Commander said. “I think my experience as lifeguard played a role in this.”
Commander Desroches concluded his studies at the l’Institut de police du Québec. His first assignment as a police officer was in South Shore Laprairie before joining the SPVM (then called the Montreal Urban Community) where he spent time as a constable at stations in LaSalle and Verdun for the first five years. “It was nice to work in the area where I grew up,” he said. “Then again, it was also awkward when I’d go shopping off duty and run into somebody I arrested.”

Desroches and me in lot
In front of the headquarters with the Commander.

For Commander Desroches, the next assignment was in downtown Montreal investigating street gangs and organized crime. That was followed by six years with the arson and explosives division. “This is a small squad that is not very well known,” he explained, “Recently, in fact, I was called back to help with the investigation into the terrible fire in Old Montreal.”


More interesting assignments continued to come Commander Desroches’ way: car crash investigations, background checks on new officers and criminal investigations and a Detective Lieutenant for Lachine/LaSalle. Before arriving at Station 9 he spent two years as a commander for a special corporate section for road safety. “It was an interesting position that certainly benefits me today in my new role,” he said. “I oversaw car crash investigations, school crossing guards, protocols for back to school and driving under the influence, photo radar and traffic coordination,”


At Police Station 9, Commander Desroches has 118 officers and civilians working under him. I personally asked if he could look into whether we can find a crossing guard for the corner of Cavendish and Kildare. In addition, I pointed to the cars that speed excessively on Marc Chagall Avenue and motorists who blow stop signs on Kildare Road.


Commander Desroches agreed that like any other neighbourhood, there are concerns about burglaries and stolen vehicles. “Our investigators have been successfully in catching some of these criminals,” he said.


Given his own background, Commander Desroches says he does indeed place an important focus on road safety. “Our patrollers are out there giving out infractions for moving violations, “ he said. “For cars that speed or go through stop signs, our actions are all about saving lives. Not only does the motorist getting the ticket think twice; others driving by see us taking action and I hope it impacts them as well.”

Desrochesandofficers
Commander Desroches with officers Linardakis, Iacovella and Ménard.


Commander Desroches says he is pleased to be working with such a good team at Station 9. After our talk we went for chat with socio-community officers George Linardakis and Andrew Iacovella as well as traffic supervisor Kelsey Ménard.
We should all feel very fortunate to have Police Station 9 headquartered in our city. They do indeed have our backs.

Welcome to the community Commander Desroches!

 

Un nouveau commandant pour le poste de police 9 Il y a un nouveau commandant pour le poste de police 9, qui couvre Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Montréal-Ouest et NDG. J'ai eu le plaisir de rencontrer Stéphane Desroches, qui travaille au Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) depuis 1997.


Le commandant Desroches est entré en fonction en octobre, quelques jours avant l'attaque terroriste du Hamas en Israël et le début de la guerre. Il va sans dire qu'il s'agissait d'un véritable baptême du feu. "Je ne vais pas mentir, les débuts n'ont pas été faciles pour moi", m'a-t-il confié lors d'un entretien dans son bureau situé dans le centre commercial de Westminster, au quartier général de la station 9. "Il y avait beaucoup d'anxiété dans la communauté juive, dans les écoles et les synagogues. De plus, le mois d'octobre est la période où il y a un grand renouvellement du personnel dans les stations. J'ai donc rencontré très rapidement les leaders de la communauté et mon objectif était de les rassurer en leur montrant que la station 9 était là pour les soutenir".


Marié et père de deux enfants, le commandant Desroches a grandi à Verdun, où son premier acte de service public a été de travailler comme sauveteur. Il a fréquenté le Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf pour le secondaire et le CEGEP. Il s'est d'abord inscrit à l'Université de Montréal pour étudier les technologies de l'information, mais il s'est vite rendu compte que ce n'était pas pour lui. Il a donc changé de cap et s'est inscrit en techniques policières au cégep Maisonneuve.


"J'ai toujours aimé travailler en équipe et aider les gens", explique le commandant. "Je pense que mon expérience en tant que maître-nageur y est pour quelque chose.


Le commandant Desroches a terminé ses études à l'Institut de police du Québec. Sa première affectation en tant que policier s'est faite sur la Rive-Sud de Laprairie avant de se joindre au SPVM (alors appelé la Communauté urbaine de Montréal) où il a travaillé comme constable aux postes de LaSalle et de Verdun pendant les cinq premières années. "C'était agréable de travailler dans la région où j'ai grandi", dit-il. "Mais c'était aussi gênant quand je faisais des courses en dehors du service et que je tombais sur quelqu'un que j'avais arrêté."

DesrochesandmeinfrontofstationLe commandant Desroches a ensuite été affecté au centre-ville de Montréal, où il enquêtait sur les gangs de rue et le crime organisé. Il a ensuite passé six ans à la division des incendies criminels et des explosifs. "Il s'agit d'une petite brigade qui n'est pas très connue, explique-t-il. Récemment, j'ai été rappelé pour participer à l'enquête sur le terrible incendie du Vieux-Montréal.


Le commandant Desroches se voit confier d'autres missions intéressantes : enquêtes sur les accidents de voiture, vérification des antécédents des nouveaux agents, enquêtes criminelles et lieutenant-détective pour Lachine/LaSalle. Avant d'arriver au poste 9, il a passé deux ans en tant que commandant d'une section spéciale de l'entreprise chargée de la sécurité routière. "C'était un poste intéressant qui m'est très utile aujourd'hui dans mes nouvelles fonctions", a-t-il déclaré. "J'ai supervisé les enquêtes sur les accidents de voiture, les brigadiers scolaires, les protocoles pour la rentrée scolaire et la conduite sous influence, les radars photo et la coordination du trafic.


Au commissariat 9, le commandant Desroches a 118 officiers et civils sous ses ordres. J'ai personnellement demandé s'il pouvait vérifier si nous pouvions trouver un brigadier scolaire à l'angle de Cavendish et Kildare. En outre, j'ai attiré l'attention sur les voitures qui roulent à une vitesse excessive sur l'avenue Marc Chagall et sur les automobilistes qui ne respectent pas les panneaux d'arrêt sur Kildare Road.


Le commandant Desroches a reconnu que, comme dans n'importe quel autre quartier, les cambriolages et les vols de véhicules posent problème. "Nos enquêteurs ont réussi à attraper certains de ces criminels", a-t-il déclaré.


Compte tenu de sa propre expérience, le commandant Desroches affirme qu'il accorde une grande importance à la sécurité routière. "Nos patrouilleurs sont sur le terrain pour verbaliser les infractions au code de la route. "Pour les voitures qui roulent trop vite ou qui ne respectent pas les panneaux d'arrêt, nos actions ont pour but de sauver des vies. Non seulement l'automobiliste qui reçoit la contravention y réfléchit à deux fois, mais les autres conducteurs nous voient agir et j'espère que cela a un impact sur eux aussi".


Le commandant Desroches se réjouit de travailler avec une si bonne équipe au poste 9. Après notre entretien, nous avons discuté avec les agents sociocommunautaires George Linardakis et Andrew Iacovella, ainsi qu'avec la superviseuse de la circulation Kelsey Ménard.


Nous devrions tous nous sentir très chanceux d'avoir un poste de police 9 dans notre ville. Ils nous soutiennent vraiment.


Bienvenue dans la communauté, commandant Desroches !


Hydro project for the towers won't start now until 2027/Le projet hydroélectrique ne démarrera pas avant 2027

District 2 in Côte Saint-Luc will be part a major electrical system upgrade of the Hydro-Québec network. Work  was originally scheduled to occur between 2023 and 2026,   impacting homes on Merrimac Road, Marc Chagall Avenue as well as Bialik High School. The installation of towers will take place no earlier than 2027. Other work, however, will likely commence sooner

Hydro
A look at where some of the work  on Merrimac will take place.

Hydro will be converting three 120-kV substations to 315 kV. This includes the Hampstead substation (in Côte Saint-Luc) and rebuilding the 120-kV Aqueduc-Saraguay  overhead transmission line at 315 kV over a span of 18 km between LaSalle and Saint-Laurent. Known as the Aqueduc-Saraguay project, the cost is estimated at over $500 million. The project involves replacing aging equipment, maintaining the system’s reliability, meeting future electricity needs and supporting economic development.

Geotechnical surveys will be taking place over the next few months in the Hydro-Québec transmission line easement. These surveys are in preparation for the project, and are intended to complete the data required for the project's engineering study. This work will only last a day or two.   It will  involves taking soil samples with a drill.

Le district 2 de Côte Saint-Luc fera l'objet d'une importante mise à niveau du système électrique du réseau d'Hydro-Québec. Les travaux devaient initialement avoir lieu entre 2023 et 2026 et concerner les maisons du chemin Merrimac, de l'avenue Marc Chagall et de l'école secondaire Bialik. Ils ont maintenant été retardés et ne commenceront pas avant 2027.

Hydro convertira trois sous-stations de 120 kV en 315 kV. Cela comprend le poste de Hampstead (à Côte Saint-Luc) et la reconstruction de la ligne de transport aérienne à 120 kV Aqueduc-Saraguay à 315 kV sur une distance de 18 km entre LaSalle et Saint-Laurent. Connu sous le nom de projet Aqueduc-Saraguay, le coût est estimé à plus de 500 millions de dollars. Le projet prévoit le remplacement d'équipements vieillissants, le maintien de la fiabilité du réseau, la satisfaction des besoins futurs en électricité et le soutien au développement économique.

Des études géotechniques seront réalisées au cours des prochains mois dans la servitude de la ligne de transport d'Hydro-Québec. Ces sondages sont préparatoires au projet et visent à compléter les données nécessaires à l'étude d'ingénierie du projet. Ces travaux ne dureront qu'une journée ou deux. Ils consistent à prélever des échantillons de sol à l'aide d'une foreuse.

 

 

 


Celebrating Winter Carnival in Côte Saint-Luc/J'assiste au Carnaval d'hiver de Côte Saint-Luc depuis que j'ai grandi sur l'avenue Wentworth, juste à côté du parc Kirwan (qui s'appelait alors Wentworth). À l'époque, c'était la plaque tournante de t

HarveyMarleeRomy4onMarch31
With my constituent Harvey Finkelstein and his granddaughters, twins Marlee and Romy.

 

I have attended Winter Carnival events in Côte Saint-Luc since I was growing up on Wentworth Avenue, right next to Kirwan Park (then called Wentworth). At the time that was the hub for all major recreation activities in the community.

GroupFirepit
Mayor Brownstein and council at the firepit roasting marshmallows.

 

On Sunday, February 4  the 2024 edition took place at Trudeau Park and I do not think I can recall a more perfect winter day. It was sunny and about zero degrees, but no winds or chills. A nice crowd was on hand, mostly young families. They got to enjoy  horse-drawn carriage rides, tobogganing on the hill, ice sculptures, campfire and snow games. We also offered taffy on the snow and refreshments for a nominal fee, with all proceeds going towards our Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund.

OfficersAndrewIacovelllaandGeorgeLinardakis
With Councillor Steven Erdelyi, VCOP Suzie Schwartz and Officers Iacovella and Linardakis.

 

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein gathered members of council together to roast some marshmallows  over a hot fire. We hung out with the mascots and it was nice to talk with our two Police Station 9 socio-community officers George Linardakis and Andrew Iacovella.

ICe Sculpting
Ice sculpting is always fun.

 

It has not snowed in a while so the toboggan hill was a bit rough and for precautionary reasons we closed it during the festivities.

At the Samuel Moskovitch Arena it was "Hockey Day in Côte Saint-Luc" with a wide array of on ice competition over the weekend.

Bravo to all of our staff and volunteers who showed once again why Côte Saint-Luc is such a desirable place to live.

J'assiste au Carnaval d'hiver de Côte Saint-Luc depuis que j'ai grandi sur l'avenue Wentworth, juste à côté du parc Kirwan (qui s'appelait alors Wentworth). À l'époque, c'était la plaque tournante de toutes les activités récréatives importantes de la communauté.

MascotsGroup
Nous avons passé du temps avec les mascottes.


Le dimanche 4 février, l'édition 2024 a eu lieu au parc Trudeau et je ne pense pas me souvenir d'une journée d'hiver plus parfaite. Le soleil était au rendez-vous et la température avoisinait zéro degré, mais il n'y avait ni vent ni froid. Une belle foule était présente, principalement de jeunes familles. Ils ont pu profiter des promenades en calèche, de la luge sur la colline, des sculptures sur glace, du feu de camp et des jeux de neige. Nous avons également proposé de la tire sur la neige et des rafraîchissements pour un prix modique, tous les bénéfices étant reversés à notre Fonds de bourses pour les parcs et les loisirs.

Funinsnow
Des jeux de neige.


Le maire Mitchell Brownstein a réuni les membres du conseil municipal pour faire griller des guimauves sur un feu chaud. Nous avons passé du temps avec les mascottes et nous avons eu le plaisir de discuter avec nos deux agents sociocommunautaires du poste de police 9, George Linardakis et Andrew Iacovella.

Broomhockey
Jeux de ballon sur glace.



Comme il n'avait pas neigé depuis longtemps, la piste de tobaggan était un peu dure et, par mesure de précaution, nous l'avons fermée pendant les festivités.


À l'aréna Samuel Moskovitch, c'était la "Journée du hockey à Côte Saint-Luc", avec un large éventail de compétitions sur glace tout au long du week-end.


Bravo à tous nos employés et bénévoles qui ont montré une fois de plus pourquoi Côte Saint-Luc est un endroit où il fait bon vivre.

 


Snow Dump Letter from Constituent Bobby Gordon about the snow dump

I have repeatedly voted against allowing the Town of Hampstead to use our snow dump each winter. Yes, we do get valuable revenue and when the snow reaches a certain level during the season the agreement ceases. Nonetheless, I remain concerned by the number of large vehicles going down Marc Chagall Avenue and of course the messy mountain that accumulates in the winter and remains with with us through most of the spring.

Marc Chagall Avenue resident Bobby Gordon has been consistent in his concerns about the snow dump sharing agreement.

Here is the most recent letter he sent to city council,

I am sure that if I had showed up at the meeting for the vote on Oct 16, 2023 with half the residents of Marc Chagall and a marching band, the result of the vote would not have changed. 

SnowDump

Dida Berku seemed fixated on the $100,000 that Hampstead is paying CSL to use our dump. I guess money is the motivating factor over the concerns and safety of our residents. She made no mention of the negative effects such as the extra truck traffic, the dangers to pedestrians, air and noise pollution, and the wear on our road!  

I am convinced that the city councilors who voted to accept the money from Hampstead would sing another tune if the dump was on their street.    

 When I first voiced my concerns to all the city councilors, in an email response to me, Andee Shuster said she will study the matter. I doubt if she  really studied it so I am personally inviting her next time there is a snow fall to come with her fellow counlcilors to  Marc Chagall and stay for an hour. This way they could see the negative impact it has on our residents due to the trucks not being able to access the dump by Kildare Road.  

 From 6:30 am to 6 pm there is  constant truck traffic back and forth on our street every few minutes non stop! This goes on for days until the streets are cleared.  The trucks are very noisy and spew pollution all the while exceeding the speed limit. It is a miracle that nobody has been run over and that there has not been a major accident but it is only a matter of time until this occurs.  

 The fact is if we did not take the snow from Hampstead it would help alleviate some of the negative issues I have pointed out! 

I would really like to thank Mike Cohen and Oren Sebag for having the courage and decency to put their fellow citizens safety and concerns above the almighty $$ by voting against renewing the Hampstead deal. 

Bobby Gordon


Remembering one-time CSL Councillor Lionel Segal

While Lionel Segal earned his living as a notary and a senior director for the State of Israel Bonds, he really could have been successful as a standup comedian.

Lionel, also a former Côte Saint-Luc city councillor, passed away peacefully last Saturday. He spent the last few years of his life at the Waldorf seniors residence on Côte St. Luc Road and then the Donald Berman Jewish Eldercare Centre.

 

Lionel
Lionel Segal (right) in a 2012 photo with former Councillor Allan J. Levine and friend Mish Granik.

 

My late dad Lawrence Frederick Cohen (aka Larry Fredericks) was a lifelong close friend of Lionel’s. They went to summer camp together and enjoyed a lot of good times. My dad was  the public address announcer for McGill Redmen football games for years. Lionel served as his spotter. My brother Chuck and Lionel’s sons Lloyd and Brahm would always tag along.

Lionel and my dad were builders of the Côte Saint-Luc Slo Pitch Association. Lionel was a player, commissioner and then an umpire. However, his greatest moment would be serving as a speaker at the annual awards banquet in the fall.  Here he channeled his inner Rodney Dangerfield and Don Rickles. Many players attended just to hear his routine where nobody in the audience was safe. He poked fun at the players and the guests. I remember one event when a number of executives from the Expos joined us. This was at a time when attendance was low. “I called the Expos office for tickets and asked what time the game was,” he stated. “They responded, ‘What time can you make it?’”

When I met with Lloyd last spring he told me that the COVID-19 lockdowns had a negative impact on Lionel. When he initially moved to the Waldorf to be with his partner, he’d go for walks and always take enjoyable promenades through the Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre. Then came the pandemic and everyone had to shelter in place. It put him in a very bad place.

Lionel, it has been more than 11 years since my dad left us. I am sure Larry is rolling out the red carpet for your reunion right now with a huge "Hello Hiawatha!" greeting.

My sympathies to Lloyd, Brahm, daughter Donna and the rest of the family,


 Children’s Corner Daycare  negotiating to relocate to Kildare/Cavendish building pending consultation

A new daycare centre is poised to take up occupancy at the building at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare. City Council has adopted a notice of motion and first reading, with a public consultation likely to take place on Monday evening, February 12 prior to our regular 8 pm meeting.

 

MikeBitton
With Aaron Bitton at the building last summer.

Holand Leasing owns the building and over the past year Aaron Bitton and his team have been hard at work to give it a facelift.  The RBC branch remains an anchor tenant. On the way is some form of a medical clinic, a pharmacy and a café. News to come on all of that.  Now the Children’s Corner, an established daycare that has been operating at the Kildare Medical Centre for 45  years, is waiting for the necessary approvals to move in. Their current lease ends on June 30 and they are in negotiations with Holand.

We already had a dry run for another daycare that used the facility last spring and summer due to a problem at their regular venue and everything went very smoothly. In fact I visited the space with Mr. Bitton. In the warmer months they can walk the kids over to Rembrandt Park to enjoy the facility, notably the waterplay area. Drop off is scattered over a 90 minute period. Parents can park in the back lot, where there is another entrance or on Cavendish Blvd. We are also looking at some other new traffic measures to ensure  cars do not cause a backup if they attempt to enter the lot coming from Cavendish.

Staff will have indoor parking privileges. It is expected that about 80 children will be enrolled.

I am in favor of the continued revitalization  of this building.


Mourning the passing of Peter Kovac

Just over four years ago, longtime Côte Saint-Luc City Councillor Ruth Kovac left us following  a valiant battle against cancer. Behind her every step of the way was Peter Kovac, her devoted husband of 47 years.

Since his wife’s passing, Peter kept her memory alive by supporting  many of her causes (including a blood donor clinic in CSL that was named in her memory).

When I first met Peter and Ruth a few decades ago I thought that he closely resembled actor Dustin Hoffman. So whenever I’d see him, I  always said , “how’s Dustin?” He would respond with that infectious smile.

Ruth was a dynamic member of city council.  We initially connected when she ran for office in 1986, succeeding David Klinger. She  was a passionate  individual and Peter would often be in the audience for council meetings and accompany her to events and conferences. When she passed away, many thought he might succeed her.

Peter had a successful career in the garment industry, as a financial advisor and yes even as a restaurateur. For a number of years he was a partner in Le Biftheque Boucherville. One night he and Ruth took my friend and colleague Glenn Nashen and I out for a terrific steak dinner to celebrate her election.

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Peter and Ruth (middle) seated with city council, spouses and staff at a 2016 event.

 

Peter was a loving dad and grandfather.  He was only 76 years of age, like Ruth ( who was 69), he left us way too soon.

Even though he had health issues the last few years, Peter did not even share this with many who were close to him. So news of his passing came as a total shock.

My sympathies go out to his entire family.

Funeral service from Paperman & Sons, 3888 Jean-Talon West, will be  on Tuesday, January 2 at 2 p.m. Burial at the Congregation Shaare Zion Section, Eternal Gardens


My 2023 Year in Review as City Councillor For District 2 and portfolio holder

It has been 18 years now since I was first elected as the Côte Saint-Luc City Councillor for District 2. Each year at this time I provide my constituents with a review of my activities. Throughout the course of a given year, I communicate with the community at large via my blog, social media accounts (Facebook. X and Instagram), a Côte Saint-Luc-centric podcast and most importantly regular walkabouts in the district, phone calls and e-mails.

Each councillor is also assigned portfolios. Mine are: Library and Culture, Local Commerce, Animal Protection, Public Affairs and Communications and Toponomy.

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DISTRICT MEETING


There was not a lot of good that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it did bring us a relatively new way to communicate. Virtual meetings carried us through the shutdowns and allowed entities like our city council to keep the business of running a city in operation. Almost 18 years ago, when I was first elected to city council, I introduced the concept of District meetings---- meetings hosted by your local city councillor (only me at the time) to focus specifically on issues related to the District. Of course these meetings were in person. But they switched to virtual during the pandemic and due to popular demand, for now, we will maintain that format. Our city council does meet in public at least once a month and you can join those meetings in person or via Zoom/YouTube. On May 28, almost 100 people from about 50 computer screens joined my virtual meeting. For traffic issues, our Traffic Engineer Spyro Yotis was with us. Isabella Pietracupa from Public Works joined as well to talk about the snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue. I also spoke about our master plan and what the owners of the Quartier Cavendish may want to do. Next, was an update on Hydro-Quebec and news on some of their upcoming projects.You can watch it all here.

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Evaluating the park with Joane and Patrick.

 

REMBRANDT PARK


In August I did a walkabout at Rembrandt Park with some residents. I would like to repeat that over the  years, an enormous amount of improvements have been made here. Some critics, while meaning well, do not understand that this is one of many parks in the city; each councillor is pushing for parks in their district. I am proud to say we have gotten more than our fair share of financial allocations The use of Rembrandt Park has exploded in recent years. More activity results in further wear and tear.


Please keep in mind that soon after being first elected we added the water spray area and filled what was a giant pit, transforming it into what is now a well-utlilized field. During the pandemic we added soccer nets, something that was really appreciated. There have been issues of water not draining properly from this area and we will keep our eyes on that. The tennis courts were upgraded, including new lighting. We completely rebuilt the basketball court and even added a new half court for younger children. The Rembrandt chalet had its roof replaced and handicapped washrooms were installed. A permanent ping pong table was added, as were many new benches and picnic tables. Last spring one of the walkways was repaved. Play equipment has been upgraded. In the winter, we have a hill used for tobogganing.


With a challenging budget year upon us, I am very pleased that senior members of our Public Works team, Patrick Touchette and Joane Warren, toured the park with me in the fall and they made a commitment to ensure that urgent action items will be taken care of – notably those that relate to health and safety.. I want to thank the residents who approached and for the significant time Public Works took to go over all of the details with me. If anyone reading this would be interested in purchasing naming rights for the Rembrandt Park Chalet – a high visibility venue - these funds could be redirected for improvements and enhancements for the park that are not in our budget. This was precisely the case for the Max Margles Côte Saint-Luc Children’s Library.

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George Lubell and I inspect the faulty pathway.



REMBRANDT WALKWAYS

Earlier this year our Public Works Department completed some much needed repairs to one of the walkways at Rembrandt Park, pouring new asphalt to cover paver stones which represented both a hazard to pedestrians and a tendency for puddles to appear after rainfalls. The work was certainly welcomed by park-goers. Efforts have been made to fix the walkway closer to Merrimac from minor flooding after precipitation. However, this has proven to be a challenge. At this point we might just grass over that section.

TOBOGGAN HILL


Our Public Works Department did indeed respond to concerns raised by parents who take their kids sliding down the hill at Rembrandt Park. As we did the previous year, a snow fence was installed to prevent tobogganers from running into the trees. Also we asked that snow be blown in the area between the snow fence and the city sidewalk to prevent the tobogganers from reaching the road. The trees closer to the that were a problem in 2022 were relocated. This was something I promised residents I'd push for.


While our Public Works Department has deemed the site safe, we are not promoting it as a formal "toboggan hill." Rather, it is a hill children decide to use toboggans on. The sliding distance is very short and getting to the top could be slippery because there are no steps. That is contrary to a formal toboggan hill at Trudeau Park, steps and all.

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The Pool Committee at the Elysee.

 


ELYSEE SHOWS LEADERSHIP


Anyone who resides in a rental or condo building knows that issues can surface in regard to human behavior around the common pool area. I get many calls from constituents on this dossier. Last summer I consulted with a board member of the Elysee Condo on Rembrandt Avenue. The prevailing issue there had to do with co-owners, guests and "community guests" not respecting the rules such as: not showering before entering the pool , eating and drinking in the pool, swimming with street clothes, children under eight years of age with no guardian in the pool, use of water wings which are prohibited, babies with soiled diapers and more.


The Board sent an email to the co-owners and requested volunteers to join a new Pool Health and Safety Committee and five people answered the call. I believe this is a template other buildings and developments should follow.


The Pool Committee is comprised of a group of co-owners who have a vested interest in maintaining the pool and gym area so that the asset value of this space can be protected and all co-owners can use these facilities in a safe, clean and secure manner, all in accordance with the Cote Saint Luc municipal pool permit and Condo Elysee rules and regulations.

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The new speed hump.

 


SPEED HUMP


For many years now residents of Merrimac Avenue have been asking for a speed hump. I want to recognize specifically residents Arthur Cytrynbaum and Gregory Libman, as this measure was installed at the beginning of October across the street from the entrance to Rembrandt Park. Speed humps or bumps are not approved easily by our Traffic Committee. A lot of research goes into these decisions. This includes site visits and an analysis of the traffic. Speed humps are installed to reduce the speed of traffic, spaced evenly along a block, 50 to 90 metres apart, and are usually located 10 to 30 meters from an intersection. There is no question we have had vehicles moving too fast, notably when they make the turn at the curve from Rembrandt. In the case of Merrimac, it was decided to make this an elevated crosswalk. This ensures that cars are slowing down at the instant pedestrians may be crossing, hence it is the safest. Our Traffic Engineer will analyze the success of this measure next spring.

 

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Yair on his school bus.

 


YELLOW SCHOOL BUS


Over the summer I received a number of inquiries about a large yellow school bus parked on Rembrandt Avenue and Merrimac Road. In particular, there is one resident of Rembrandt who uses the adapted transport program. When the bus was parked on her street it caused great inconvenience. I was able to track down the owner, Yair Bensimhon. He is a relatively new resident on Rembrandt. Yair understood the plight of this individual and was also aware that given the limited parking spots on general it would be well advised to find another place to park. Since that time he has left the bus on the long stretch of Merrimac Road, which does not inconvenience anyone. He also made arrangements with Aaron Bitton to keep the bus in the parking lot of his Cavendish and Kildare building overnight.


CROSSWALK


The crosswalks at Kildare/Cavendish were repainted in the fall.

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Aaron Bitton and I at the building.

 


KILDARE BUILDING


Aaron Bitton has big plans for the office building at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare. Via his family’s company, Holand Leasing, he submitted two zoning amendment requests to city council to add a pharmacy and a café (with an outdoor terrace). Those have been accepted. There will also be a daycare included in the facility. Last year the Hebrew Academy daycare relocated there under emergency circumstances and there were no issues. Parents doing drop off parked on either Cavendish or the large rear parking lot. That being said we may still enact a new traffic measure in terms of prohibiting left turns into the lot coming from Cavendish along Kildare. In 2024 the building is expected to welcome medical offices. I am not at liberty to say more at this time.

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Bernie Gurberg and staff at the cinema.

CINESTARZ DELUXE


The CineStarz Deluxe Theatre at Quartier Cavendish marked its first anniversary last summer. When the Cineplex Odeon closed for good on November 2, 2020, it was during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Movie theatres were shut down and as a result not too many people expressed dismay. At that time I wrote a blog, expressing my personal hope that someone like Bruce Gurberg would come to the rescue. Bruce resides in the West End and owns the CineStarz chain, with locations at Côte des Neiges Plaza, in St. Leonard, Ottawa and the Greater Toronto area. He did exactly that and brought a state-of-the-art facility to our community. Besides the paying public, this venue has been used for community screenings such as the Federation CJA presented premiere of Golda last spring and the city’s Volunteer Night in June.

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This lot is available for a commercial project.

 

MARC CHAGALL COMMERCIAL SPACE


Noted realtor Marc Ezerzer has been engaged by the owners of the land at the corner of Marc Chagall Avenue and Kildare Road to seek potential interested parties who might want to take advantage of the existing two storey commercial zoning. Last year the owners proposed to our Urban Planning Department a seven floor, 28 unit apartment complex on the site at near Beth Chabad CSL and JPPSBialik right next to the snow dump. It was not approved for a number of reasons. I am eager to hear what proposals Ezerzer receives.


SPECIAL GREENSPACE NAMING


A few years ago the city developed an attractive section of greenspace directly between Beth Chabad CSL and JPPS Bialik. It has been used mainly for outdoor wedding ceremonies. This is city-owned land, so the plan has been to give the section a name. City Council has agreed to a very appropriate suggestion made by myself and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. Stay tuned for news on that in 2024.

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It was a festive occasion to name the park.

 

FINESTONE PARK

I was honored to preside over a formal dedication ceremony for a park named after former Mount Royal Liberal MP and Senator Sheila Finestone on Marc Chagall Avenue. located in my District 2, on August 14. Finestone was the Liberal MP for Mount Royal from 1984 to 1999, which had previously been held since 1965 by former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. She passed away from cancer at the age of 82 in 2009. I always felt that our city should name something after her. She served our community with great distinction and this tribute was a longtime in coming Finestone was a devoted community activist before entering politics. The new park is a lovely piece of green space, outfitted with benches, picnic tables, trees and pathways. It is a nice spot for visitors to gather. There is also space for people to toss the football or frisbee or kick the soccer ball. One of Finestone’s sons, Stephen and nephew Daniel, drove in from Ottawa for the ceremony while a nice entourage of family and friends, as well as those who reside in the neighbourhood were in attendance. Later on a Zoom link at our public council meeting, his siblings joined us. Also on hand were Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, members of council, present-day Liberal MP for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather, Finestone’s immediate successor, Irwin Cotler, former CSL Mayor and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Robert Libman and present day MNA Elisabeth Prass. Resident Sidney Margles, whose late wife Merle served as Finestone’s executive assistant, was there along with his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. He played an important role in advocating for the park naming.

 

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In the sandbox at Isadore Goldberg Park.

 


GOLDBERG PARK RE-DEDICATION


Isadore Goldberg was a city councillor for District 1 in Côte Saint-Luc from 1982 to 2001. He was unbeatable in any election for one reason: he gave constituents what they wanted, that being full customer service. This was before the internet era. What you got from Isadore was a return phone call or a personal visit. In February of 2020 Isadore passed away. In a strange geographic makeup, District 1 in Isadore’s day included the area of MacDonald Avenue, North of Hampstead, some buildings along Côte Saint-Luc Road and yes – Marc Chagall and Sir Walter Scott. The latter two became part of my District 2 in time for the 2005 election. It is for this reason that a park, located behind the apartments on Sir Walter Scott, was named after Isadore. At that time a sign was placed on Kildare Road, meaning for those who wanted to actually go to the park they had to navigate their way through a parking lot and a narrow strip of land. I made a promise to Isadore and his family that we would refurbish the park and more importantly make it accessible. We did that, with a paved pathway via Marc Chagall complete with nice lighting and the removal of messy bushes. The sign was relocated next to the pathway and last September, with his family members in attendance, we had a lovely re-dedication ceremony. Thanks so much to our Public Works Department for making this all happen.

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Luis and Berta.

 

TRIBUTES


Congratulations to a constituent of mine in District 2, Nina Cohen, who saved someone’s life. Nina, who lives on Rembrandt Avenue and works as a nurse’s assistant/PAB ( préposés aux bénéficiares) at the Jewish General and Royal Victoria Hospitals. She got her training at the Shadd Health and Business Centre, part of the English Montreal School Board. In the fall Nina and Rozanne Abramson were on the balcony overlooking Heywood when there was a car crash. They both headed towards the accident, with Nina swinging into action. The driver had no pulse. Two people removed him from the vehicle and she gave him CPR. When he regained consciousness it was clear he had been driving under the influence. Public Security, Urgences Santé, Emergency Medical Services and the police all arrived. The car was totalled .


Bravo to the husband and wife team of Luis Grinhauz on violin and Berta Rosenohl on piano of Musica Camerata for the wonderful concert they put on in December at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium. There was no admission charge, but people were asked to give donations as they entered in support of the children of Ashkelon, Israel. That is Côte Saint-Luc’s twin city which has been the victim of countless rocket attacks from Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Luis and Berta, longtime residents of District 2, performed some Hanukkah songs as well as pieces from the likes of Fritz Kreisler, Felix Mendelssohn, Enrique Granados, Jan Sibelius, Johanne Brahms, Maria Theresia Von Paradis, John Williamsm Astor Piazzolla, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaichovsky and Bedrich Smetana.


Edna Janco has certainly been one of my most active constituents since she and her husband moved into my District 2 a few years ago. The Jancos reside in a condo on Rembrandt Avenue and from the day she moved in "Lucky Edna" has taken particular interest in Rembrandt Park. An avid walker, she is always providing myself and city officials with tips on how to make the park better. Over the last number of years Edna has also taken the time each fall to purchase cloth material and make scarves. She then gives me a call so that I can put these scarves around the necks of young students who can benefit from this generous gift during the winter. Thank you Edna!

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Breaking down the snow dump.


SNOW DUMP


Anyone who passes by our snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue will agree that it is a hideous sight. There was a lot of snow last winter and as a result the dump is being called “Mount Chagall” by some people. Dating back a number of years now, I have successfully advocated members of council to vote in favor of a special allocation to bring in equipment to chop the remnants of the hard and filthy snow into pieces. We did so again last spring.

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Peter Lipari was just one of our merchants of the month.


LOCAL COMMERCE

Soon after the last election two years ago, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein handed me the Local Commerce portfolio. Since that time I have been interacting with a lot of our local business leaders and launched our Spotlight on Local Merchants feature. The latter has become a wonderful opportunity for businesses to get some unprecedented and well-deserved recognition. We publicize this by presenting them with a framed certificate from their local city councillor. A special section has been created on our website. In addition the announcement is publicized in The Suburban and on social media. Recently, I reached out to JPPS-Bialik to see if any students wished to do community service related to this project. A number have done so and some projects are underway. I look forward to publicizing early results in 2024. As well, I have some other new Local Commerce initiatives set to unfold in the new year.

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Honoring Nakuset.

                                                                                HUMAN RIGHTS WALKWAY

On September 27, fittingly on the eve of The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (also known as Orange Shirt Day), more than 100 people -many students and dignitaries- joined us on a beautiful fall day to induct Na’kuset into our Human Rights Walkway. Na’kuset is Cree from Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan. Born in 1970, she was one of the estimated 20,000 or more First Nations, Métis and Inuit infants and children taken from their families by child welfare authorities and placed for adoption in mostly non-Indigenous households from approximately 1951 to 1984. As a small child, she was taken from her home and adopted into a Jewish family in Montreal. The story of how she reclaimed her Indigenous identity, with help from her Bubby is something she shared with the audience at our ceremony while showing great emotion. Over the years Na’kuset has launched many programs, including the Miyoskamin second stage housing project, Saralikitaaq (a social pediatric centre open to Indigenous children and their families across Montreal), the Iskweu Project (immediate assistance to missing Indigenous women or girls), the Cabot Square Project (counselling, referrals, and liaison with other social services), and Resilience Montreal (food and shelter, mental health and medical support services).

                                                                            2024 BUDGET


In my 18 years on city council, this was the most difficult budget process I ever experienced and I know the mayor, the other seven elected officials and our senior staff feel the same way. Municipalities across the country are in the same boat, principally because of the Bank of Canada significantly increasing benchmark interest rates. For demerged suburban municipalities, we are faced with the triple threat: The Bank of Canada rate hikes, runaway inflation and the absolutely unfair Agglomeration Council controlled by Mayor Valerie Plante and the City of Montreal. What does this all mean for Côte Saint-Luc property owners? Regrettably, a higher average tax increase than we'd like to see. That would be an average of 5.95 percent. When we began this exercise we were at 9 percent. However, we cut $1 million in expenses and salaries and adjusted some tariffs while ensuring that our citizens will continue to enjoy the excellent quality of life, facilities and programs Côte Saint-Luc has become known for. Please keep in mind that in a normal year we net anywhere from $4.3 to $7.9 million in welcome taxes, funds directed our way every time there is a new property purchase. The Bank of Canada has increased lending rates to lower inflation. These hikes are holding people back from buying new home. We reached only $2.5 million in welcome tax revenue. The Montreal Agglomeration raised our contribution by $1.8 million. And yes inflation affected every facet of our operation such as over $400,000 more for snow removal.


I urge everyone to read our full budget presentation where we spell out the reasons for the tax increase in great detail right here.

In addition, here is the official statement from the city.

In its 2024 operating budget, the City of Côte Saint-Luc plans to spend $89 million including $52.1 million for local services and $36.9 million for island-wide Agglomeration of Montreal services.

While preparing the 2024 budget, our primary goal was to develop a sustainable budget, meaning that it realistically takes into account our expenses and revenues over the next few years. Cities in Quebec and beyond face similar financial challenges. Here are six problems we had to work around in preparing the 2024 budget:

  • A decrease in revenue from property transfer duties—also known as the welcome tax—because fewer homes are being purchased due in part to higher interest rates.
  • An increase in borrowing costs to pay for capital projects done in previous years.
  • An increase in the cost of purchasing materials.
  • An increase in the cost of services, such as snow removal, building maintenance and water management.
  • An increase of 3.5% in the amount we are required to pay to the Agglomeration of Montreal.
  • The cumulative surplus—which is set aside for financial emergencies—is not being used to fund the 2024 operating budget. By comparison, in the 2023 operating budget the City appropriated $2.1 million from that cumulative surplus.
  • Despite the challenges, the city was able to limit the property tax increase on an average residential home to 5.95% by increasing revenues from other sources and by cutting local expenses. Had the city not taken these steps, that tax rate would have been approximately 8%.

  • MASTER PLAN


During the year an enormous amount of time was spent gathering feedback from the public on the revision to the municipal Master Plan and Zoning By-law revision documents. We want to know how citizens imagine the future of our city. This very much ties-in to enabling us to bring in significant new revenue streams that will certainly benefit citizens at tax time and increase our population. That is because major development plans for our three shopping centers – Côte St. Luc, Quartier Cavendish and Decarie Square – are a central part of this entire initiative. A lot of public consultations will be held before any decisions are made and you will hear more of this in 2024.

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Canada Day in August worked out splendidly.

CANADA DAY


When rain washed out the July 1 Côte Saint-Luc Canada Day celebrations and our backup date two days later, our marvelous Recreation Department staff thought outside the box. How about celebrating this towards the end of the summer, just before Labor Day Weekend? On August 31 the show did indeed go on and wow, Mother Nature cooperated. This was a 4 pm to 9 pm format on the large back baseball diamond at Trudeau Park. It was huge success and if you ask me, we should rename this event “Côte Saint-Luc Day” and present it at this time each year. There games and bouncy toys for the kids, a petting zoo, live music and more.

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There is nothing better than a day of golf at Meadowbrook.

GOLF CLASSIC


Mother Nature tried to rain on our parade, but in the end the 42nd Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic was a big success. I co-chaired the event with Mannie Young, Councillors Dida Berku and Lior Azerad. We carried on with our luncheon on the originally date, recognizing Merv Middling and Joanne Cutler, raised money for our Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund (which assists families on low incomes and with children who have special needs gain access to some of our programs via discreet financial assistance) and did hit the links for our backup date on August 15 where once again we did experience and celebrate the beauty of Meadowbrook.

 

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The new mobile stage.

 

MOBILE STAGE


There are so many benefits to securing donations. In September 2022 we celebrated a $500,000 gift from Roslyn Margles for the naming of the Max Margles Children's Library after her late husband. While most of this money was earmarked for library services, Ms. Margles allowed us to put some of the funds towards a project of our choice. The Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library is known for a lot more than books. Culture is a big part of our mandate. When Director Janine West and I began developing a wish list, a mobile stage came up as a high priority. Besides all the library concerts, there was also Canada Day and other presentations where the city had to rent stages. We agreed that purchasing a custom-made stage that could be setup anywhere in the city would be an excellent investment and it was already well utilized for concerts and events last summer.

COMICCON


The first-ever Côte Saint-Luc Comiccon took place July 9 at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium, organized by teenagers via the Youth Advisory Group of the CSL Public Library. Having attended the Montreal Comiccon many times over the years, it was wonderful to see the enthusiasm and excitement generated by our youth. Ably assisted by staffers Maria Ressina and Bronwen Cathey, our Library and Culture Committee member Anna Shi came up with and ran with the idea. We are looking at organizing some other youth-oriented special events in 2024.

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The Fagen family at the dedication.


LIBRARY SECTION NAMING


Gary Fagen was a long-time member of the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library who passed away on, September 19, 2018. Throughout his life he was an avid Science Fiction and Fantasy reader, devouring everything the library had. He often made suggestions for purchase and as no one had the knowledge nor passion that he had, he became the library’s unofficial Science Fiction and Fantasy selector. We recently picked things up and I am pleased to report that the family has made a generous $7,000 donation to name the Gary Fagen Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Section. This will include the purchase of some new chairs for the reading section as well. We are always open to similar such naming opportunities.

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HYDRO PROJECT


Hydro-Québec hosted an information session and open house on Monday, June 5. Councillor Steven Erdelyi, our point man on the planned large-scale Hydro project, was our spokesperson. The meeting was conducted bilingually. This entire project will take over a decade to complete. Hydro is proposing installing pylons that will be twice as high as the existing ones but with a smaller footprint. Also, there will be a presentation of Green Corridor which is meant to compensate for the impact and inconvenience caused by the project. We hope to learn more concerning the timeline in 2024. This project will indeed encompass large parts of District 2.

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The Dog Run on Mackle Road is well utilized.

 

ANIMAL PROTECTION


I wish to extend a huge thank you to the City of Côte Saint-Luc Public Safety Department for doing such an excellent job overseeing Animal Protection in our community. In 2023 the city terminated our longstanding contract with the Montreal SPCA After performing due diligence, and surveying many of his public security colleagues, the city recommended that we switch to another supplier Contrôle animalier Vaudreuil Soulanges. If anyone calls the Montreal SPCA, they will be dispatched to Contrôle animalier Vaudreuil. The latter does have regular patrols in the West End already. The number to call is 514-485-6960 (our dispatch center) to request this service. Our volunteer Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee, headed by the tireless Diane Liebling, continued to rescue homeless cats, arrange vet care, assist feeders of outdoor cats, arrange adoptions and more. This is all done via a small subsidy from the city and external fundraising. The latter will become even more important in 2024 as our subsidy from the city was cut in half due to budget cuts. The Dog Owners Committee, headed by Anna Maria Racicot Katz and Jonathan Goldbloom, serves as our eyes and ears for the two dog runs and recommends new initiatives to me.

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Presenting Frank Palucci with his prize.


MAISONS FLEURIES

The 2023 Côte Saint-Luc Maisons Fleuries Contest Awards presentation took place at City Hall on November 13, showcasing some of the beautiful work being done by our homeowners, be it in single family dwellings, town houses, duplexes or highrises. This annual garden beautification initiative not only makes our city more beautiful; it also benefits the environment. By planting and maintaining trees, flowers and other plants, you help reduce air pollution, increase oxygen production, and contribute to saving the bees. Councillor Sidney Benizri and I co-chaired the program.


For single family homes, Frank Palucci on Ilan Ramon Crescent. There are not too many people who show the care for their property as much as Frank. The two of us spend a lot of time talking when I do my walkabouts from spring to fall and he is always attending to work outside of the home. He, his wife Sandra and their children are model citizens. In the Highrise category, Le Rothchild I condominium was selected. I dropped by to present the certificate to concierge Patrick Lacombe. Like Frank, their representative was unable to make it to the ceremony. Le Rothchild I is a beautifully maintained building. Finally, in the Town House category, Stephanie Zack and Marc Cowan from Cambridge Courts were chosen. They too are wonderful constituents and I have always admired the care they put into their garden.

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Deborah Lipstadt at City Hall.

 


MANDATORY HOLOCAUST EDUCATION


In October City Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the Quebec government to make Holocaust education mandatory in public schools. We invited the Ministry of Education to consult Ontario’s curriculum and mandate the Conseil supérieur de l’éducation and other stakeholders as to how to best introduce this new curriculum and how to provide training
for teachers.


Meanwhile, Deborah E. Lipstadt, described by Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather as the foremost expert on antisemitism in the world, made a private visit to Côte Saint-Luc City Hall on December 7. On March 30, 2022, she was confirmed by the United States Senate as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, with the rank of Ambassador. Mayor Brownstein gave a preview of our city’s impending action plan against antisemitism. “It takes a lot of people at all levels of government to make this happen,” he says. “And it can’t just be the Jewish community.”

2023 BILAN DE L'ANNÉE DU DISTRICT 2  

Cela fait maintenant 18 ans que j'ai été élu pour la première fois en tant que conseiller municipal de Côte Saint-Luc pour le district 2.   Chaque année, à cette époque, je présente à mes électeurs un bilan de mes activités. Tout au long de l'année, je communique avec l'ensemble de la communauté via mon blog, mes comptes de médias sociaux (Facebook, X et Instagram), un podcast centré sur Côte Saint-Luc et, surtout, des promenades régulières dans le district, des appels téléphoniques et des courriels.

Chaque conseiller se voit également attribuer un portefeuille. Les miens sont : Bibliothèque et culture, Commerce local, Protection des animaux, Affaires publiques et communication et Toponomie.

RÉUNION DE DISTRICT

 La pandémie de COVID-19 n'a pas apporté grand-chose de positif. Cependant, elle nous a apporté un moyen de communication relativement nouveau. Les réunions virtuelles nous ont permis de passer le cap des fermetures et ont permis à des entités telles que notre conseil municipal de poursuivre les activités de gestion d'une ville. Il y a près de 18 ans, lorsque j'ai été élu pour la première fois au conseil municipal, j'ai introduit le concept des réunions de district---- réunions organisées par votre conseiller municipal local (moi seul à l'époque) pour se concentrer spécifiquement sur les questions liées au district. Bien entendu, ces réunions se tenaient en personne. Mais elles sont devenues virtuelles pendant la pandémie et, à la demande générale, nous conservons pour l'instant ce format. Notre conseil municipal se réunit en public au moins une fois par mois et vous pouvez participer à ces réunions en personne ou via Zoom/YouTube. Le 28 mai, près de 100 personnes provenant d'une cinquantaine d'écrans d'ordinateur ont participé à ma réunion virtuelle.  Pour les questions de circulation, notre ingénieur en circulation Spyro Yotis était présent. Isabella Pietracupa, des travaux publics, s'est également jointe à nous pour parler du déversement de neige sur l'avenue Marc Chagall. J'ai également parlé de notre plan directeur et de ce que les propriétaires du Quartier Cavendish pourraient vouloir faire. Ensuite, il y a eu une mise à jour sur Hydro-Québec et des nouvelles sur certains de leurs projets à venir. Vous pouvez visionner le tout ici : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgDXtscHirQ

PARC REMBRANDT

En août, j'ai fait un tour au parc Rembrandt avec quelques résidents. J'aimerais répéter qu'au cours des 18 dernières années, un nombre considérable d'améliorations ont été apportées à ce parc. Certains critiques, bien intentionnés, ne comprennent pas qu'il s'agit d'un des nombreux parcs de la ville ; chaque conseiller municipal fait pression pour que des parcs soient aménagés dans son district. Je suis fier de dire que nous avons reçu plus que notre juste part d'allocations financières. L'utilisation du parc Rembrandt a explosé ces dernières années. L'augmentation de l'activité entraîne une usure accrue.

N'oubliez pas que, peu après mon élection, nous avons ajouté la zone de pulvérisation d'eau et rempli ce qui était une fosse géante, la transformant en ce qui est aujourd'hui un terrain bien utilisé.    Pendant la pandémie, nous avons ajouté des filets de football, ce qui a été très apprécié. Il y a eu des problèmes d'évacuation de l'eau dans cette zone et nous y veillerons. Les courts de tennis ont été rénovés, avec notamment un nouvel éclairage. Nous avons entièrement reconstruit le terrain de basket-ball et avons même ajouté un demi-terrain pour les plus jeunes. Le toit du chalet Rembrandt a été remplacé et des toilettes pour handicapés ont été installées. Une table de ping-pong permanente a été ajoutée, ainsi que de nombreux nouveaux bancs et tables de pique-nique. Au printemps dernier, l'une des allées a été repavée. Les équipements de jeux ont été améliorés. En hiver, nous disposons d'une colline pour faire de la luge.

À l'approche d'une année budgétaire difficile, je suis très heureux que des membres de l'équipe des travaux publics, Patrick Touchette et Joane Warren, aient visité le parc avec moi à l'automne et qu'ils se soient engagés à veiller à ce que les mesures urgentes soient prises, notamment celles qui ont trait à la santé et à la sécurité. Je tiens à remercier les résidents qui m'ont approché et à remercier Travaux publics pour le temps considérable qu'ils ont consacré à l'examen de tous les détails avec moi. Si quelqu'un qui lit ces lignes est intéressé par l'achat de droits de dénomination pour le Chalet du parc Rembrandt - un lieu à forte visibilité - ces fonds pourraient être réorientés vers des améliorations et des aménagements du parc qui ne sont pas prévus dans notre budget. C'est précisément ce qui s'est passé pour la bibliothèque pour enfants Max Margles Côte Saint-Luc.

ALLÉES REMBRANDT

 Au début de l'année, notre service des travaux publics a effectué des réparations indispensables sur l'une des allées du parc Rembrandt, en coulant un nouvel asphalte pour recouvrir les pavés qui représentaient un danger pour les piétons et une tendance à l'apparition de flaques d'eau après les pluies. Les travaux ont certainement été bien accueillis par les visiteurs du parc. Des efforts ont été faits pour réparer l'allée la plus proche de Merrimac contre les inondations mineures après les précipitations. Cependant, cela s'est avéré être un défi. À ce stade, nous pourrions nous contenter d'engazonner cette section.

COLLINE DE TOBOGGAN

Notre service des travaux publics a effectivement répondu aux préoccupations soulevées par les parents qui font glisser leurs enfants sur la colline du parc Rembrandt. Comme l'année précédente, une barrière à neige a été installée pour empêcher les lugeurs de se heurter aux arbres. Nous avons également demandé que la neige soit soufflée dans la zone située entre la barrière à neige et le trottoir de la ville afin d'empêcher les lugeurs d'atteindre la route. Les arbres situés plus près de la route et qui posaient problème en 2022 ont été déplacés. J'avais promis aux habitants d'insister sur ce point.

Bien que notre service des travaux publics ait jugé le site sûr, nous n'en faisons pas la promotion en tant que "colline de toboggan" officielle. Il s'agit plutôt d'une colline sur laquelle les enfants décident d'utiliser des toboggans. La distance de glisse est très courte et l'accès au sommet peut être glissant car il n'y a pas de marches. Cela va à l'encontre d'une piste de luge officielle au parc Trudeau, avec des marches et tout le reste.

L'ELYSEE FAIT PREUVE DE LEADERSHIP

Quiconque habite dans un immeuble locatif ou un immeuble en copropriété sait que des problèmes peuvent surgir en ce qui concerne le comportement humain autour de la piscine commune. Je reçois de nombreux appels d'électeurs sur ce dossier. L'été dernier, j'ai consulté un membre du conseil d'administration de l'Elysee Condo sur l'avenue Rembrandt. Le problème principal était que les copropriétaires, les invités et les "invités de la communauté" ne respectaient pas les règles telles que : ne pas se doucher avant d'entrer dans la piscine, manger et boire dans la piscine, nager avec des vêtements de ville, des enfants de moins de huit ans sans tuteur dans la piscine, l'utilisation d'ailes à eau qui sont interdites, des bébés avec des couches souillées et bien plus encore.

Le conseil d'administration a envoyé un courriel aux copropriétaires et a demandé des volontaires pour faire partie d'un nouveau comité de santé et de sécurité de la piscine et cinq personnes ont répondu à l'appel. Je pense qu'il s'agit là d'un modèle que d'autres immeubles et ensembles immobiliers devraient suivre.

Le comité de la piscine est composé d'un groupe de copropriétaires qui ont tout intérêt à entretenir la piscine et le gymnase afin de protéger la valeur de cet espace et de permettre à tous les copropriétaires d'utiliser ces installations en toute sécurité, conformément au permis de la piscine municipale de Côte Saint-Luc et aux règles et règlements de Condo Elysee.

RALENTISSEUR DE VITESSE

 Depuis de nombreuses années, les résidents de l'avenue Merrimac demandent un ralentisseur. Je tiens à saluer tout particulièrement les résidents Arthur Cytrynbaum et Gregory Libman, car cette mesure a été installée au début du mois d'octobre en face de l'entrée du parc Rembrandt. Les ralentisseurs ne sont pas approuvés facilement par notre comité de circulation. Ces décisions sont le fruit d'un long travail de recherche. Elles comprennent des visites sur place et une analyse du trafic. Les ralentisseurs sont installés pour réduire la vitesse de la circulation, espacés régulièrement le long d'un pâté de maisons, de 50 à 90 mètres, et sont généralement situés à une distance de 10 à 30 mètres d'une intersection. Il ne fait aucun doute que nous avons eu affaire à des véhicules roulant trop vite, notamment lorsqu'ils tournent dans le virage depuis Rembrandt. Dans le cas de Merrimac, il a été décidé d'en faire un passage piéton surélevé. Cela garantit que les voitures ralentissent au moment où les piétons peuvent traverser, et c'est donc la solution la plus sûre.  Notre ingénieur en circulation analysera le succès de cette mesure au printemps prochain.

AUTOBUS SCOLAIRE JAUNE

 Au cours de l'été, j'ai reçu un certain nombre de demandes de renseignements au sujet d'un grand bus scolaire jaune stationné sur l'avenue Rembrandt et le chemin Merrimac. Il y a notamment une résidente de Rembrandt qui utilise le programme de transport adapté. Lorsque le autobus était garé dans sa rue, cela lui causait beaucoup de désagréments. J'ai pu retrouver le propriétaire, Yair Bensimhon. Il habite depuis peu dans la rue Rembrandt. Yair comprenait la situation de cette personne et était également conscient qu'étant donné le nombre limité de places de stationnement dans la rue générale, il serait bien avisé de trouver un autre endroit où se garer. Depuis lors, il a laissé le bus sur le long tronçon de Merrimac, ce qui ne gêne personne. Il s'est également arrangé avec Aaron Bitton pour que le bus reste dans le parking de son immeuble situé entre Cavendish et Kildare pendant la nuit.

PASSAGES POUR PIÉTONS

Les passages pour piétons à Kildare/Cavendish ont été repeints à l'automne...

BÂTIMENT KILDARE

 Aaron Bitton a de grands projets pour l'immeuble de bureaux situé à l'angle de Cavendish et de Kildare. Par l'intermédiaire de sa société familiale, Holand Leasing, il a soumis au conseil municipal deux demandes de modification du zonage afin d'y ajouter une pharmacie et un café (avec une terrasse extérieure).  Ces demandes ont été acceptées. Le centre comprendra également une garderie. L'année dernière, la garderie de l'Académie hébraïque s'y est installée en urgence et n'a rencontré aucun problème. Les parents qui déposent leurs enfants se sont garés soit sur Cavendish, soit sur le grand parking arrière. Ceci étant dit, nous pourrions encore promulguer une nouvelle mesure de circulation en termes d'interdiction de tourner à gauche dans le parking en venant de Cavendish le long de Kildare. En 2024, le bâtiment devrait accueillir des cabinets médicaux. Je n'ai pas la liberté de partager les détails pour le moment, mais je suis impatient de voir les changements positifs pour cette structure.

Une réunion de consultation publique a été organisée le 11 juillet et personne ne s'est présenté. Ces changements seront officiellement adoptés le 14 août.

CINESTARZ DELUXE

Le cinéma CineStarz Deluxe du Quartier Cavendish a fêté son premier anniversaire l'été dernier. Lorsque le Cineplex Odeon a fermé définitivement ses portes le 2 novembre 2020, c'était pendant la première vague de la pandémie de COVID-19. Les salles de cinéma ont été fermées et, par conséquent, peu de gens ont exprimé leur désarroi. À l'époque, j'ai écrit un blog, exprimant mon espoir personnel que quelqu'un comme Bruce Gurberg vienne à la rescousse.  Bruce habite dans le West End et est propriétaire de la chaîne CineStarz, qui compte des cinémas à la place Côte des Neiges, à Saint-Léonard, à Ottawa et dans la région du Grand Toronto. C'est exactement ce qu'il a fait en apportant à notre communauté une installation à la pointe de la technologie. Outre le public payant, cette salle a été utilisée pour des projections communautaires telles que la première de Golda présentée par la Fédération CJA au printemps dernier et la soirée des bénévoles de la ville en juin.

ESPACE COMMERCIAL MARC CHAGALL

Le célèbre agent immobilier Marc Ezerzer a été engagé par les propriétaires du terrain situé à l'angle de l'avenue Marc Chagall et de Kildare Road pour rechercher d'éventuelles parties intéressées qui souhaiteraient profiter du zonage commercial existant sur deux étages. L'année dernière, les propriétaires ont proposé à notre service d'urbanisme un complexe de 28 appartements sur sept étages sur le site situé près de Beth Chabad CSL et JPPSBialik, juste à côté de la décharge à neige. Ce projet n'a pas été approuvé pour un certain nombre de raisons. Je suis impatient de connaître les propositions que recevra Ezerzer.

DÉNOMINATION SPÉCIALE D'UN ESPACE VERT

Il y a quelques années, la ville a aménagé une section attrayante d'espace vert directement entre Beth Chabad CSL et JPPS Bialik. Cet espace a été utilisé principalement pour des cérémonies de mariage en plein air. Comme il s'agit d'un terrain appartenant à la ville, il était prévu de donner un nom à cette section. Le conseil municipal a accepté une suggestion très appropriée faite par moi-même et par le maire Mitchell Brownstein. Restez à l'écoute pour des nouvelles à ce sujet en 2024.

PARC FINESTONE

Le 14 août dernier, j'ai eu l'honneur de présider une cérémonie officielle d'inauguration d'un parc portant le nom de l'ancienne députée libérale et sénatrice de Mont-Royal, Sheila Finestone, sur l'avenue Marc Chagall, située dans mon district 2.  Mme Finestone a été députée libérale de Mont-Royal de 1984 à 1999. L'ancien premier ministre Pierre Elliott Trudeau occupait ce poste depuis 1965. Elle est décédée d'un cancer à l'âge de 82 ans en 2009. J'ai toujours pensé que notre ville devrait donner son nom à quelque chose. Elle a servi notre communauté avec beaucoup de distinction, et cet hommage était une initiative de longue date, Finestone ayant été une militante communautaire dévouée avant de se lancer dans la politique.  Le nouveau parc est un bel espace vert, équipé de bancs, de tables de pique-nique, d'arbres et d'allées.  C'est un endroit agréable où les visiteurs peuvent se rassembler. Il y a également de l'espace pour lancer un ballon de football ou un frisbee, ou encore pour taper dans un ballon de soccer. L'un des fils de Finestone, Stephen, et son neveu Daniel sont venus d'Ottawa pour assister à la cérémonie, tandis qu'un bel entourage de parents et d'amis, ainsi que des habitants du quartier, étaient présents. Plus tard, lors de la réunion publique du conseil municipal, ses frères et sœurs se sont joints à nous. Étaient également présents le maire Mitchell Brownstein, les membres du conseil, l'actuel député libéral de Mont-Royal Anthony Housefather, le successeur immédiat de Finestone, Irwin Cotler, l'ancien maire de CSL et député libéral de D'Arcy McGee Robert Libman et l'actuelle députée Elisabeth Prass.   Le résident Sidney Margles, dont la défunte épouse Merle était l'assistante exécutive de Finestone, était présent avec sa fille, son gendre et ses petits-enfants. Il a joué un rôle de premier plan dans la consultation que nous avons menée l'hiver dernier pour choisir un nom pour le parc.

RE-DÉDICACE DU PARC GOLDBERG

Isadore Goldberg a été conseiller municipal du district 1 de Côte Saint-Luc de 1982 à 2001. Il était imbattable à toutes les élections pour une seule raison : il donnait aux électeurs ce qu'ils voulaient, c'est-à-dire un service à la clientèle complet. C'était avant l'ère de l'internet.  Isadore vous rappelait au téléphone ou vous rendait visite. En février 2020, Isadore est décédé.   Dans une étrange composition géographique, le District 1 à l'époque d'Isadore comprenait le secteur de l'avenue MacDonald, au nord de Hampstead, certains bâtiments le long du chemin de la Côte Saint-Luc et, oui, Marc Chagall et Sir Walter Scott. Ces deux derniers ont été intégrés à mon district 2 à temps pour les élections de 2005. C'est pour cette raison qu'un parc, situé derrière les appartements de Sir Walter Scott, a été nommé en l'honneur d'Isadore. À l'époque, un panneau avait été placé sur Kildare Road, ce qui signifiait que les personnes souhaitant se rendre au parc devaient traverser un parking et une étroite bande de terre. J'ai promis à Isadore et à sa famille de rénover le parc et, surtout, de le rendre accessible. C'est ce que nous avons fait, en aménageant un sentier pavé via Marc Chagall, en l'éclairant et en supprimant les buissons qui l'encombraient.  Le panneau a été déplacé à côté du sentier et en septembre dernier, en présence des membres de sa famille, nous avons organisé une belle cérémonie de re-dédicace. Un grand merci à notre service des travaux publics pour avoir rendu tout cela possible.

HOMMAGES

Félicitations à une de mes électrices de la circonscription 2, Nina Cohen, qui a sauvé la vie de quelqu'un. Nina, qui habite sur l'avenue Rembrandt, travaille comme infirmière auxiliaire/PAB (préposés aux bénéficiaires) à l'Hôpital général juif et à l'Hôpital royal Victoria. Elle a suivi sa formation au Shadd Health and Business Centre, qui fait partie du la Commission Scolaire English-Montréal. À l'automne, Nina et Rozanne Abramson se trouvaient sur le balcon surplombant Heywood lorsqu'un accident de voiture s'est produit. Elles se sont toutes deux dirigées vers l'accident, Nina entrant en action. Le conducteur n'a pas de pouls. Deux personnes l'ont sorti du véhicule et Nina lui a fait un massage cardiaque. Lorsqu'il a repris conscience, il était évident qu'il conduisait sous influence. La sécurité publique, Urgences Santé, les services médicaux d'urgence et la police sont arrivés sur les lieux. La voiture a été détruite.

Bravo au couple Luis Grinhauz au violon et Berta Rosenohl au piano de Musica Camerata pour le merveilleux concert qu'ils ont donné en décembre à l'auditorium Harold Greenspon. L'entrée était gratuite, mais les spectateurs étaient invités à faire un don à l'entrée pour soutenir les enfants d'Ashkelon, en Israël. Il s'agit de la ville jumelle de Côte Saint-Luc qui a été victime d'innombrables tirs de roquettes de la part des terroristes du Hamas à Gaza. Luis et Berta, résidents de longue date du district 2, ont interprété quelques chansons de Hanoukka ainsi que des morceaux de Fritz Kreisler, Felix Mendelssohn, Enrique Granados, Jan Sibelius, Johanne Brahms, Maria Theresia Von Paradis, John Williams, Astor Piazzolla, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaichovsky et Bedrich Smetana.

 Edna Janco est certainement l'une de mes électrices les plus actives depuis qu'elle et son mari ont emménagé dans ma circonscription 2 il y a quelques années. Les Janco habitent un appartement sur l'avenue Rembrandt et, depuis le jour où elle a emménagé, "Lucky Edna" s'intéresse tout particulièrement au parc Rembrandt. Promeneuse invétérée, elle n'a de cesse de nous donner, à moi et aux représentants de la ville, des conseils sur la manière d'améliorer le parc. Au cours des dernières années, Edna a également pris le temps, chaque automne, d'acheter du tissu et de confectionner des écharpes. Elle m'appelle ensuite pour que je mette ces écharpes autour du cou de jeunes étudiants qui pourront bénéficier de ce généreux don pendant l'hiver. Merci Edna !

BENNE À NEIGE

Tous ceux qui passent devant notre décharge de neige sur l'avenue Marc Chagall conviendront qu'il s'agit d'un spectacle hideux. Il y a eu beaucoup de neige l'hiver dernier et c'est pourquoi certaines personnes appellent cette décharge le "Mont Chagall". Depuis plusieurs années, j'ai plaidé avec succès auprès des membres du conseil municipal pour qu'ils votent en faveur d'une allocation spéciale afin d'apporter de l'équipement pour couper en morceaux les restes de la neige dure et sale. C'est ce que nous avons fait au printemps dernier.

COMMERCE LOCAL

Peu après les dernières élections, il y a deux ans, le maire Mitchell Brownstein m'a confié le portefeuille du commerce local. Depuis lors, je me suis entretenu avec de nombreux chefs d'entreprise locaux et j'ai lancé notre rubrique "Spotlight on Local Merchants" (Pleins feux sur les commerçants locaux). Cette dernière est devenue une formidable occasion pour les entreprises d'obtenir une reconnaissance sans précédent et bien méritée. Nous rendons cela public en leur remettant un certificat encadré de la part de leur conseiller municipal local. Une section spéciale a été créée sur notre site web. En outre, l'annonce est publiée dans The Suburban et sur les médias sociaux. Récemment, j'ai contacté JPPS-Bialik pour savoir si des élèves souhaitaient effectuer des travaux d'intérêt général dans le cadre de ce projet. Un certain nombre d'entre eux l'ont fait et certains projets sont en cours. J'espère pouvoir publier les premiers résultats en 2024. Par ailleurs, j'ai d'autres nouvelles initiatives du commerce local qui devraient voir le jour au cours de la nouvelle année.

LA PASSERELLE DES DROITS DE L'HOMME

Le 27 septembre, à la veille de la Journée nationale pour la vérité et la réconciliation (également connue sous le nom de Journée des chemises orange), plus de 100 personnes - dont de nombreux étudiants et dignitaires - se sont jointes à nous par une belle journée d'automne pour introniser Na'kuset sur notre passerelle des droits de l'homme. Na'kuset est une Crie de Lac la Ronge, en Saskatchewan. Née en 1970, elle fait partie des quelque 20 000 nourrissons et enfants des Premières nations, métis et inuits retirés à leur famille par les services de protection de l'enfance et placés en vue de leur adoption dans des foyers majoritairement non autochtones entre 1951 et 1984 environ. Petite fille, elle a été enlevée à son foyer et adoptée par une famille juive de Montréal. L'histoire de la reconquête de son identité autochtone, avec l'aide de son Bubby, est une histoire qu'elle a racontée avec beaucoup d'émotion à l'assistance lors de notre cérémonie. Au fil des ans, Na'kuset a lancé de nombreux programmes, notamment le projet de logement de deuxième étape Miyoskamin, Saralikitaaq (un centre de pédiatrie sociale ouvert aux enfants autochtones et à leurs familles dans tout Montréal), le projet Iskweu (assistance immédiate aux femmes ou filles autochtones disparues), le projet Cabot Square (conseil, orientation et liaison avec d'autres services sociaux), et Resilience Montreal (nourriture et hébergement, services de santé mentale et de soutien médical).

BUDGET 2024

Au cours de mes 18 années au conseil municipal, j'ai vécu le processus budgétaire le plus difficile qui soit, et je sais que le maire, les sept autres élus et nos cadres supérieurs sont du même avis. Les municipalités de tout le pays sont dans le même bateau, principalement en raison de l'augmentation significative des taux d'intérêt de référence par la Banque du Canada. Pour les municipalités de banlieue défusionnées, nous sommes confrontés à une triple menace : Les hausses de taux de la Banque du Canada, l'inflation galopante et le Conseil d'agglomération absolument injuste contrôlé par la mairesse Valérie Plante et la Ville de Montréal. Qu'est-ce que cela signifie pour les propriétaires de Côte Saint-Luc ?  Malheureusement, une augmentation moyenne des taxes plus élevée que ce que nous aimerions voir. Il s'agirait d'une moyenne de 5,95 %. Lorsque nous avons commencé cet exercice, nous étions à 9 %. Cependant, nous avons réduit les dépenses et les salaires d'un million de dollars et ajusté certains tarifs tout en veillant à ce que nos citoyens continuent de bénéficier de l'excellente qualité de vie, des installations et des programmes qui ont fait la réputation de Côte Saint-Luc. N'oubliez pas qu'au cours d'une année normale, nous percevons entre 4,3 et 7,9 millions de dollars en taxes de bienvenue, des fonds qui nous sont versés chaque fois qu'une nouvelle propriété est achetée.  La Banque du Canada a augmenté les taux d'intérêt débiteurs afin de réduire l'inflation.  Ces hausses empêchent les gens d'acheter une nouvelle maison. Nous n'avons atteint que 2,5 millions de dollars en recettes de taxes de bienvenue. L'agglomération de Montréal a augmenté notre contribution de 1,8 million de dollars. Et oui, l'inflation a affecté toutes les facettes de notre fonctionnement, comme l'augmentation de plus de 400 000 $ pour le déneigement.

J'invite tout le monde à lire notre présentation budgétaire complète où nous expliquons en détail les raisons de l'augmentation des taxes.

Voici la déclaration publiée par la ville:

Dans son budget 2024, la Ville de Côte Saint-Luc prévoit dépenser 89 M$, soit 52,1 M$ pour les services locaux et 36,9 M$ pour les services de l'Agglomération de l’île de Montréal. 

Durant la préparation du budget 2024, notre objectif principal était d'élaborer un budget durable, c'est-à-dire qu’il est réaliste vis-à-vis de nos dépenses et de nos revenus au cours des prochaines années. Les villes du Québec et d'ailleurs sont confrontées à des défis financiers similaires. Voici six défis auxquels nous avons dû faire face lors de la préparation du budget 2024 :  

  1. Une baisse des revenus provenant des droits de transfert de propriété — communément appelé taxe de bienvenue — puisque moins de maisons sont achetées, en partie à cause de la hausse des taux d'intérêt.  
  2. L’augmentation des coûts d'emprunt pour payer les projets d'investissement réalisés au cours des années précédentes.  
  3. L'augmentation du coût d'achat des matériaux.  
  4. L’augmentation du coût des services, tels que le déneigement, l'entretien des bâtiments et la gestion de l'eau.  
  5. Une augmentation de 3,5 % du montant que nous devons verser à l'agglomération de Montréal.   
  6. Le surplus cumulé - qui est mis de côté pour les urgences financières—n'est pas utilisé pour financer le budget de fonctionnement de 2024. À titre de comparaison, dans le budget de fonctionnement de 2023, la Ville a affecté 2,1 millions de dollars de ce surplus cumulatif. 

Malgré ces difficultés, la Ville a pu limiter l'augmentation des taxes foncières pour une maison résidentielle moyenne à 5,95 % en augmentant les revenus provenant d'autres sources et en réduisant les dépenses locales. Si la Ville n'avait pas pris ces mesures, cet taux d'imposition aurait été d'environ 8 %.

PLAN MAÎTRE

Au cours de l'année, nous avons consacré énormément de temps à recueillir les commentaires du public sur la révision du plan d’action municipal et du règlement de zonage.  Nous voulons savoir comment les citoyens imaginent l'avenir de notre ville.  Cette démarche est étroitement liée à notre capacité à générer de nouvelles sources de revenus significatives qui profiteront certainement aux citoyens au moment de la déclaration d'impôts et à l'augmentation de notre population.  En effet, les plans de développement de nos trois centres commerciaux - Côte Saint-Luc, Quartier Cavendish et Square Decarie - sont au cœur de cette initiative. De nombreuses consultations publiques auront lieu avant que toute décision ne soit prise et vous en entendrez parler davantage en 2024.

FÊTE DU CANADA

Lorsque la pluie a annulé les célébrations de la fête du Canada du 1er juillet à Côte Saint-Luc et notre date de remplacement deux jours plus tard, notre merveilleux personnel du service des loisirs a sorti des sentiers battus. Pourquoi ne pas célébrer la fête du Canada à la fin de l'été, juste avant la fin de semaine de la fête du travail ? Le 31 août, le spectacle a effectivement eu lieu et Mère Nature a coopéré. L'événement s'est déroulé de 16 h à 21 h sur le grand terrain de baseball arrière du parc Trudeau. Ce fut un grand succès et si vous voulez mon avis, nous devrions renommer cet événement " Journée de Côte Saint-Luc " et le présenter à cette période chaque année. Il y avait des jeux et des jouets gonflables pour les enfants, un zoo pour enfants, de la musique en direct et plus encore.

CLASSIQUE DE GOLF

Mère Nature a essayé de nous mettre des bâtons dans les roues, mais la 42e édition de la Classique de golf de Côte Saint-Luc a finalement été un grand succès. J'ai coprésidé l'événement avec Mannie Young et les conseillers Dida Berku et Lior Azerad. Nous avons poursuivi notre déjeuner à la date prévue, en rendant hommage à Merv Middling et à Joanne Cutler, nous avons recueilli des fonds pour notre Fonds de bourses des parcs et loisirs (qui aide les familles à faible revenu et dont les enfants ont des besoins spéciaux à accéder à certains de nos programmes grâce à une aide financière discrète) et nous sommes allés sur les terrains de golf pour notre date de remplacement, le 15 août, où, une fois de plus, nous avons pu découvrir et célébrer la beauté de Meadowbrook.

SCÈNE MOBILE

 Il y a tellement d'avantages à obtenir des dons. En septembre 2022, nous avons célébré un don de 500 000 dollars de Roslyn Margles pour baptiser la bibliothèque pour enfants Max Margles en l'honneur de son défunt mari.  Bien que la majeure partie de cette somme ait été affectée aux services de la bibliothèque, Mme Margles nous a permis de consacrer une partie des fonds à un projet de notre choix. La bibliothèque publique Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc est connue pour bien plus que des livres. La culture est un élément important de notre mandat.  Lorsque la directrice Janine West et moi-même avons commencé à dresser une liste de souhaits, une scène mobile est apparue comme une grande priorité. En plus de tous les concerts de la bibliothèque, il y avait aussi la Fête du Canada et d'autres présentations pour lesquelles la ville devait louer des scènes.   Nous avons convenu que l'achat d'une scène sur mesure pouvant être installée n'importe où dans la ville serait un excellent investissement et elle a déjà été bien utilisée pour des concerts et des événements l'été dernier.

COMICCON

Le tout premier Comiccon de Côte Saint-Luc a eu lieu le 9 juillet à l'auditorium Harold Greenspon, organisé par des adolescents par l'intermédiaire du Groupe consultatif jeunesse de la Bibliothèque publique de Côte Saint-Luc. Ayant assisté au Comiccon de Montréal à plusieurs reprises au fil des ans, il était merveilleux de voir l'enthousiasme et l'excitation générés par nos jeunes. Avec l'aide de Maria Ressina et Bronwen Cathey, membres du personnel, Anna Shi, membre du comité de la bibliothèque et de la culture, a eu l'idée et l'a mise en œuvre.  Nous envisageons d'organiser d'autres événements spéciaux axés sur les jeunes en 2024.

NOM DE LA SECTION BIBLIOTHÈQUE

 Gary Fagen était un membre de longue date de la bibliothèque publique Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc qui est décédé le 19 septembre 2018. Tout au long de sa vie, il a été un lecteur passionné de science-fiction et de fantastique, dévorant tout ce que la bibliothèque avait. Il faisait souvent des suggestions d'achat et comme personne n'avait les connaissances ni la passion qu'il avait, il est devenu le sélectionneur officieux de science-fiction et de fantastique de la bibliothèque. Nous avons récemment repris les choses en main et j'ai le plaisir d'annoncer que la famille a fait un don généreux de 7 000 dollars pour baptiser la section des livres de science-fiction et de fantastique Gary Fagen. Ce don comprendra également l'achat de nouvelles chaises pour la section de lecture. Nous sommes toujours ouverts à d'autres possibilités d'attribution de noms similaires.

PROJET HYDRO

Hydro-Québec a organisé une séance d'information et une journée portes ouvertes le lundi 5 juin.  Le conseiller Steven Erdelyi, notre interlocuteur sur le projet d'Hydro à grande échelle, était notre porte-parole. La réunion s'est déroulée dans les deux langues officielles. La réalisation de ce projet prendra plus d'une décennie. Hydro propose d'installer des pylônes qui seront deux fois plus hauts que les pylônes existants, mais avec une empreinte au sol plus petite. Il y aura également une présentation de Green Corridor qui vise à compenser l'impact et les inconvénients causés par le projet. Nous espérons en savoir plus sur le calendrier en 2024. Ce projet englobera en effet une grande partie du district 2.

PROTECTION DES ANIMAUX

 Je tiens à remercier chaleureusement le Service de la sécurité publique de la Ville de Côte Saint-Luc pour l'excellent travail qu'il accomplit en matière de protection des animaux dans notre communauté.  En 2023, la ville a mis fin à notre contrat de longue date avec la SPCA de Montréal. Après avoir fait preuve de diligence raisonnable et sondé plusieurs de ses collègues de la sécurité publique, la ville a recommandé que nous passions à un autre fournisseur Contrôle animalier Vaudreuil Soulanges. Si quelqu'un appelle la SPCA de Montréal, il sera envoyé à Contrôle animalier Vaudreuil. Ce dernier effectue déjà des patrouilles régulières dans l'ouest de la ville. Le numéro à composer est le 514-485-6960 (notre centre de répartition) pour demander ce service. Notre comité bénévole des chats de Côte Saint-Luc, dirigé par l'infatigable Diane Liebling, a continué à sauver des chats sans abri, à organiser des soins vétérinaires, à aider les personnes qui nourrissent des chats d'extérieur, à organiser des adoptions et plus encore. Tout cela se fait grâce à une petite subvention de la ville et à des collectes de fonds externes. Cette dernière deviendra encore plus importante en 2024, car notre subvention de la ville a été réduite de moitié en raison de coupes budgétaires.  Le comité des propriétaires de chiens, dirigé par Anna Maria Racicot Katz et Jonathan Goldbloom, nous sert d'yeux et d'oreilles pour les deux parcours pour chiens et me recommande de nouvelles initiatives.

MAISONS FLEURIES

La remise des prix du concours 2023 Côte Saint-Luc Maisons Fleuries a eu lieu à l'hôtel de ville le 13 novembre, mettant en valeur certains des magnifiques travaux réalisés par nos propriétaires, qu'il s'agisse de maisons unifamiliales, de maisons de ville, de duplex ou d'immeubles de grande hauteur. Cette initiative annuelle d'embellissement des jardins n'a pas seulement pour effet d'embellir notre ville, elle est également bénéfique pour l'environnement. En plantant et en entretenant des arbres, des fleurs et d'autres plantes, vous contribuez à réduire la pollution de l'air, à augmenter la production d'oxygène et à sauver les abeilles. Le conseiller Sidney Benizri et moi-même avons coprésidé le programme.

Pour les maisons individuelles, Frank Palucci sur Ilan Ramon Crescent. Il n'y a pas beaucoup de gens qui prennent autant soin de leur propriété que Frank. Nous passons beaucoup de temps à discuter lorsque je fais mes visites du printemps à l'automne et il s'occupe toujours du travail à l'extérieur de la maison. Lui, sa femme Sandra et leurs enfants sont des citoyens modèles. Dans la catégorie des tours, c'est le condominium Le Rothchild I qui a été sélectionné. Je suis passé remettre le certificat au concierge Patrick Lacombe. Comme Frank, leur représentant n'a pas pu se rendre à la cérémonie. Le Rothchild I est un immeuble magnifiquement entretenu. Enfin, dans la catégorie des maisons de ville, Stephanie Zack et Marc Cowan de Cambridge Courts ont été choisis. Ils sont eux aussi de merveilleux électeurs et j'ai toujours admiré le soin qu'ils apportent à leur jardin.

ENSEIGNEMENT OBLIGATOIRE SUR L'HOLOCAUSTE

 En octobre, le conseil municipal a adopté à l'unanimité une résolution demandant au gouvernement du Québec de rendre l'enseignement de l'Holocauste obligatoire dans les écoles publiques. Nous avons invité le ministère de l'Éducation à consulter le programme d'études de l'Ontario et à mandater le Conseil supérieur de l'éducation et d'autres intervenants pour déterminer la meilleure façon d'introduire ce nouveau programme d'études et d'assurer la formation des enseignants.

Entre-temps, Deborah E. Lipstadt, décrite par le député libéral de Mont-Royal Anthony Housefather comme la plus grande spécialiste de l'antisémitisme au monde, a effectué une visite privée à l'hôtel de ville de Côte Saint-Luc le 7 décembre. Le 30 mars 2022, elle a été confirmée par le Sénat américain dans ses fonctions d'envoyée spéciale chargée de surveiller et de combattre l'antisémitisme, avec le rang d'ambassadrice. Le maire Brownstein a donné un aperçu du plan d'action imminent de notre ville contre l'antisémitisme. "Il faut beaucoup de monde à tous les niveaux du gouvernement pour que cela se produise", a-t-il déclaré. "Et la communauté juive ne peut pas être la seule concernée.

 

 


Bank of Canada, Inflation and Valerie Plante: Three reasons why we can't avoid a tax increase

Next Monday night, December 18, Côte Saint-Luc City Council will adopt our 2024 budget. You can join us at City Hall at 6 pm or watch the live stream here.

In my 18 years on city council, this was the most difficult budget process I ever experienced and I know the mayor, the other seven elected officials and our senior staff feel the same way. Municipalities across the country are in the same boat, principally because of the Bank of Canada significantly increasing benchmark interest rates.

Tiff
When you see your tax bill think of Tiff Macklin.

For demerged suburban municipalities, we are faced with the triple threat: The Bank of Canada rate hikes,  runaway inflation and the absolutely unfair Agglomeration Council controlled by Mayor Valerie Plante and the City of Montreal.

What does this all mean for Côte Saint-Luc property owners?  Regrettably, a higher  average tax increase than we'd like to see. However, thanks to a lot of hard work, we were able to bring down the original forecast.

For months our Finance Department has crunched numbers and instructed each department to propose serious cuts.   This entire exercise has been done with city council. Let me commend Councillor Steven Erdelyi, who has the finance portfolio, for leading the discussions.

Here is what we are facing. In a normal year we net anywhere from $4.3 to $7.9 million in welcome taxes, funds directed our way every time there is a new property purchase.  The Bank of Canada has increased lending rates to lower inflation. While I understand the objective, there is a reason why our next Prime Minister Pierre Poilievre has been calling for the governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem to be fired. The interest hikes are holding people back from buying new homes. Some can’t even keep up with their mortgage payments. Municipalities have been forced into deficits. Besides cutting what we can, our only other option is to pass on the costs to taxpayers for Quebec law does not allow us to adopt deficit budgets. Experts do say Macklem's strategy is showing signs of working. But will the rates ever go down enough to help the housing market? If not his moves will in fact contribute to inflation. Property owners will pay higher taxes. This includes apartment building owners passing on the cost to tenants; businesses having to raise prices to keep up. So is this just one vicious circle?

This year, at best, thanks to Tiff, we budgeted for $4 million in welcome taxes. As the year draws to a close we expect to reach $2.5 million. So that represents a $1.5 million shortfall.

To clarify regarding the Welcome Tax, between 2019-2022, these transfer duties  ranged from $4.3M to $7.9M. See actuals below:

  • 2019      $4,317,237.23
  • 2020      $4,403,458.06
  • 2021      $5,671,587.34
  • 2022      $7,878,059.19

"Based on these numbers we had budgeted $4 Million for 2022 and 2023, which we had thought was conservative based on the actuals," said Councillor Erdelyi. "In 2020, when the pandemic hit, we were worried that people would stop buying homes as open houses and in-person visits weren’t allowed. We still had over $4 million in revenue from the welcome tax that year.  For 2023, we didn’t realize that the interest rates would stay this high for so long nor have such a detrimental effect on property sales."

The effects of inflation have hit all of society very hard. And yes that is what the Bank of Canada is trying to address. We have to pay more for everything. Snow removal costs alone will go up by $350,000.

As for how the interest rates affect us, we have to pay off our debt.  So the "Tiff effect" there adds up to another $230,000.

City-hall_1200px

When the former Liberal government, then headed by Jean Charest, permitted municipalities to demerge from megacities  nearly 20 years ago this was a double-edged sword. Yes, we got our city and town halls back, but in our case Montreal headed an Agglomeration Council whereby the taxes from demerged cities contribute about 21 per cent of the Agglomeration budget, but demerged mayors only represent about 17 per cent of the votes, a fraction lower than quorum. It is an unfair system that the Liberals were never willing to adjust. Fat chance the CAQ will help us out. Guess what our increase in payments to the Agglomeration are this year? An ugly $1.8 million.

We are not Montreal. Our staff do not travel around the world and order oysters for dinner. When we hold public consultations, we listen to citizens. Why should we have to contribute to Plante's obsession with adding bike paths and waging war against moving vehicles? Is it our fault that her administration has ruined downtown and made it unattractive to visit?

Add in some more inflationary  expenses and we were looking at an unprecedented $5 million deficit.

We spent countless hours being briefed by staff on every penny we could cut. At one point the proposed tax increase was not acceptable. So we entered an exercise. How could we arrive at the lowest possible average property tax rate with the least impact on residents in terms of services?  We cut $500,000; no easy task. This included staff cuts, also a challenge given union and contractual agreements.  Frontline services like the library and the Aquatic and Community Centre remain in place. Streets will be repaved, potholes filled and parks maintained. So will most activities, with some slight adjustments in terms of user fees. We all had to make difficult decisions. In my case, the all-volunteer Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (my true "pet' project) had its budget cut in half. We will try and fundraise to make up the difference.  Local winter skating rinks are affected as well. For years I worked hard to bring a rink to Rembrandt Park. That is one the ice surfaces that will not be back for 2024.

Like our mayor said at the last council meeting, this is like managing a household. If your personal revenue goes down for any reason, you have to tighten your belts. Maybe a vacation is cancelled or downsized or you go to less restaurants. Something always has to give. We are no different.


What I can assure residents is that Côte Saint-Luc will remain one of the best municipalities to live. And looking into the crystal ball, if major development projects for the Quartier Cavendish, Decarie Square and Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre occur in the next few years we will have a much needed new revenue stream which will benefit all taxpayers.

Go to the 33:40 mark  of our last meeting to see my remarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGhvdHXDkMo


CineStarz theatres add weekday afternoon hours for people affected by common front strike

Bruce Gurberg, the man behind the CineStarz movie chain,  is reaching out to everyone affected by the current common front strike impacting  public school unionized staff and nurses in the hospitals.

CinestarBernieEricaMolly
Erica, Molly and Bernie at CineStarz  Deluxe Cavendish.

 

Gurberg knows these are tough times, so for starters he has opened the doors of his Côte Saint-Luc Quartier Cavendish,  Plaza Côte des Neiges and Langelier Blvd St. Leonard locales weekdays. For now he is doing so one week at a time.   For parents and guardians looking for activities, they can bring the kids to a movie for the special price of $5 between 11 am and 5 pm weekdays; for adults, notably those on strike, admission has been reduced to $10.

I was at the CineStarz Deluxe Cavendish on Sunday to see The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds. Staffers Molly and Erica told me there have been a lot of families taking advantage of the "strike"  offer. At Cavendish, the added bonus is the presence of Bruce’s dad Bernie -best known for his days at the helm of the Dollar Cinema at Decarie Square. Bernie does not merely take your ticket; he always has some wisdom to share.  On this day, he was showcasing different bottles of wine. So yes parents,  Professor Bernie will provide a little bit of pedagogy.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds is the fifth in the series. However, this one is a prequel, taking place 64 years before the plot of the first edition. It is quite violent, so clearly not geared towards primary students. High schoolers, though, will be kept quite occupied as it runs two hours and 38 minutes. I was on the edge of my ultra-comfortable CineStarz seat!

Also showing at CineStarz Cavendish right now is Napoleon, Trolls Band Together, Silent Night, Wish, Beyonce’s Renaissance, The Marvels, Thanksgiving and Dream Scenario. Wonka opens Thursday

 

 


Luis Grinhauz and Berta Rosenohl perform to benefit the children of Ashkelon

Bravo to the husband and wife team of Luis Grinhauz on violin and Berta Rosenohl on piano  of Musica Camerata for the wonderful concert they put on Sunday at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium in Côte Saint-Luc.

There was no admission charge, but people were asked to give donations as they entered in support of the children of Ashkelon, Israel. That is Côte Saint-Luc’s twin city which has been the victim of countless rocket attacks from Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

 

Luisand Berta
Luis and Berta perform.

 

Luis and Berta performed some Hanukkah songs as well as pieces from the likes of Fritz Kreisler, Felix Mendelssohn, Enrique Granados, Jan Sibelius, Johanne Brahms, Maria Theresia Von Paradis, John Williamsm Astor Piazzolla, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaichovsky and Bedrich Smetana.

MitchellElaineGrandson
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, First Lady Elaine and their grandson were in attendance.

 

Married since the 1960s, Luis and Berta established Musica Camerata more than 50 years ago. Luis is from Argentina’s Entre Ríos Province, where Polish and Russian Jews found haven on farms and ranches after fleeing pogroms. Berta is from Buenos Aires. Both chose to study in the United States, at Indiana University. They arrived in Quebec in 1970, when Luis joined the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. I am proud to say that the couple are District 2 constituents of mine.

If you’d like to contribute to the Ashkelon fund go to https://cotesaintluc.org/Ashkelon


 


US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism makes private visit to CSL City Hall

Deborah E. Lipstadt, described by Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather as the foremost expert on antisemitism in the world, made a private visit to Côte Saint-Luc City Hall on December 7. On March 30, 2022, she was confirmed by the United States Senate as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, with the rank of Ambassador.

LipstadtMenorah
Lipstadt lights the Chanukah menorah with Mayor Brownstein, Mayor Levi and Councillor Sidney Benizri.

 

It was Housefather who arranged this extraordinary opportunity. He joined the meeting via Zoom, with many Parliamentary votes pending in Ottawa. Also in attendance were Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, some members of city council, Hampstead Mayor Jeremy Levi, Beth Zion Congregation President Charles Benedek, Montreal West Councillor Lauren Small-Pennefather, EMSB Commissioner Jamie Fabian, representatives for Housefather and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Elisabeth Prass, Montreal  filmmaker Beverly Shaffer (who confided she was Lipstadt's former college roommate) and several officials from the United States Embassy and Consulate. Bravo to our Director of Public Affairs and Communications Darryl Levine for the role he played in coordinating the gathering.

Housefather said he is calling upon the Canadian Heritage Committee to create a Task Force on Antisemitism at university campuses. He wants to see university presidents called to Parliament Hill and grilled.

Mayor Brownstein gave a preview of our city’s impending action plan against antisemitism. “It takes a lot of people at all levels of government to make this happen,” he says. “And it can’t just be the Jewish community.”

Lipstadt told the group that she had lunch at what she called a “Jewish deli in Montreal” that for years has placed a Chanukah menorah in its window. They did not do so this year, she confided, afraid of what the response might be.

“You are aware,” she said, “that we are seeing a tsunami of antisemitism. University leaders are at a loss. They don’t know what to do. For too many years university campuses did not take antisemitism seriously.”

Since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack in Israel and the ensuing war, Lipstadt said she has travelled the globe. “In every cases governments are taking this seriously,” she said. “It does not mean they are doing the right thing."

Lipstadt is a decorated scholar of antisemitism through history. She famously prevailed against Holocaust denier David Irving in a years-long trial in British courts. But even she said she is taken aback by the vitriol that has spiked after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which the Israeli government has called the biggest single-day killing of Jews since the Holocaust. “I find myself gobsmacked, flabbergasted,” she told the Washington Post recently. “ And I don’t flabbergast easily. You can’t be a scholar of the Holocaust and be surprised by things. And yet even I have a hard time. I don’t want to say uncomprehending, because I can comprehend, but I have a hard time absorbing all that’s going on.”

Lipstadt says she wishes to use the power of her office to draw attention to the issue and to push other governments to stay vigilant about protecting their Jewish populations. “We take this seriously,” she remarked. “Jews may not seem to present as other victims of religious ethnic, racial bigotry present, but it is to be taken seriously. So I think that that’s one of the messages that I transmit, that the United States government, this administration and previous administrations, both sides of the aisle of Congress, rarely do we get to use the word bipartisan concern, you know, but certainly on this issue, there is bipartisan concern.”


Hope and Harmony Concert Sunday to benefit our twin city of Ashkelon

Many years ago, on a Jewish National Fund (JNF) mission to Israel, our leader Yaacov Perez agreed to make a stop in Ashkelon. Since some of us were from Côte Saint-Luc, we wanted to see for ourselves our twin city in Israel. It was a very special experience.

Thumbnail_Ashkelon Fundraising Concert Poster

When war broke out in Israel on October 7, following the horrific Hamas terrorist attack, rockets were fired into the Jewish State and many hit structures in Ashkelon. It is only 13 km north of the Gaza Strip. A story in the Christian Science Monitor notes that since October 7, some 1,300 Hamas rockets have been fired at Ashkelon, with 200 of them falling in the city area. It has been an “absolute miracle” that only two people died under rocket fire, considering that 25,000 of its 158,000 residents have no access to bomb shelters.

Ashkelonbuilding
A scene of destruction in Ashkelon.

 

On Sunday, December 10 (2 pm) a   Hope and Harmony  fundraising concert will take place in tour Greenspon Auditorium to help support the children of Ashkelon during these difficult times so that they can continue with school in this time of war. Performing will be Musica Camerata, headed by my constituents Luis Grinhauz and Berta Rosenohl.

Registration is required for the event. You can register and donate online here: http://www.CoteSaintLuc.org/event and scroll down to December 10. Or just donate at https://cotesaintluc.org/Ashkelon

 


The 2023 Maisons Fleuries contest recognizes excellence in garden beautifcation

The 2023 Côte Saint-Luc Maisons Fleuries Contest Awards presentation took place at City Hall on November 13, showcasing some of the beautiful work being done by our homeowners , be it in single family dwellings, town houses, duplexes or highrises.

This annual garden beautification initiative not only makes our city more beautiful, it also benefits the environment. By planting and maintaining trees, flowers and other plants, you help reduce air pollution, increase oxygen production, and contribute to saving the bees.

Councillor Sidney Benizri and I co-chaired the program. 

Here is a nice video which provides an overview of the program and a look at the winning entries.

I would like to single out the winners in my own District 2

Palucci1
With Frank Palucci.

 

For single family homes, Frank Palucci on Ilan Ramon Crescent. There are not too many people who show the care for their property as much as Frank. The two of us spend a lot of time talking when I do my walkabouts from spring to fall and he is always attending to work outside of the home. He, his wife Sandra and their children are model citizens.

Patrick Lacombe1
With Patrick Lacombe.

In the Highrise category, Le Rothchild I condominium was selected. I dropped by to present the certificate to concierge Patrick Lacombe. Like Frank, their representative was unable to make it to the ceremony. Le Rothchild I is a beautifully maintained building.

Cowan
With Stepanie Zack, Marc Cowan and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein.

Finally, in the Town House category, Stephanie Zack and Marc Cowan from Cambridge Courts were chosen. They too are wonderful constituents and I have always admired the care they put into their garden.

Download This list of all the 2023 Maisons Fleuries Winners Here

Thanks to Recreation Department Director Cornelia Ziga, staffer Irene Lahaie and the rest of their team for the hard work. We had a lovely reception in the library, followed by the presentation of the awards and the showing our video at the start of our public council meeting.

La remise des prix du concours 2023 des Maisons Fleuries de Côte Saint-Luc

La remise des prix du concours 2023 des Maisons Fleuries de Côte Saint-Luc a eu lieu à l'hôtel de ville le 13 novembre dernier. Elle a permis de présenter quelques-uns des magnifiques travaux réalisés par nos propriétaires, qu'il s'agisse de maisons individuelles, de maisons de ville, de duplex ou d'immeubles.

Cette initiative annuelle d'embellissement des jardins ne fait pas qu'embellir notre ville, elle est aussi bénéfique pour l'environnement. En plantant et en entretenant des arbres, des fleurs et d'autres plantes, vous contribuez à réduire la pollution de l'air, à augmenter la production d'oxygène et à sauver les abeilles.

Le conseiller Sidney Benizri et moi-même avons coprésidé le programme.

Voici une belle vidéo qui donne une vue d'ensemble du programme et un aperçu des projets gagnants.

J'aimerais souligner les gagnants de mon propre district 2

Pour les maisons individuelles, Frank Palucci sur Ilan Ramon Crescent. Il n'y a pas beaucoup de gens qui prennent autant soin de leur propriété que Frank. Nous passons beaucoup de temps à discuter lorsque je fais mes visites du printemps à l'automne et il s'occupe toujours du travail à l'extérieur de la maison. Lui, sa femme Sandra et leurs enfants sont des citoyens modèles.

Dans la catégorie des immeubles de grande hauteur, c'est le condominium Le Rothchild I qui a été sélectionné. Je suis passé remettre le certificat au concierge Patrick Lacombe. Comme Frank, leur représentant n'a pas pu se rendre à la cérémonie. Le Rothchild I est un immeuble très bien entretenu.

Enfin, dans la catégorie des maisons de ville, Stephanie Zack et Marc Cowan de Cambridge Courts ont été choisis. Ils sont eux aussi de merveilleux électeurs et j'ai toujours admiré le soin qu'ils apportent à leur jardin.

Téléchargez la liste de tous les gagnants de 2023 Maisons Fleuries ici

Merci à Cornelia Ziga, directrice du service des loisirs, à Irene Lahaie et au reste de leur équipe pour leur travail acharné. Nous avons eu une belle réception à la bibliothèque, suivie de la remise des prix et de la projection de notre vidéo au début de la réunion du conseil municipal.

 

 

 


Edna Janco donates scarves for young students

  Edna Janco has certainly been one of my most active constituents since she and her husband moved into my District 2 a few years ago.

Lucky Ednascarves

 Lucky Edna tries on one of the scarves for me.

The Jancos reside  in a condo on Rembrandt Avenue and from the day she moved in "Lucky Edna" has taken particular interest in Rembrandt Park. An avid walker, she is always providing myself and city officials with tips on how to make the park better

Over the last number of years Edna has also taken the time each fall to purchase cloth material and make scarves. She then gives me a call so that I can put these scarves around the necks of young students who can benefit from this generous gift during the winter.

Thank you Edna!

Edna Janco fait don d'écharpes pour de jeunes élèves

Edna Janco est certainement l'une de mes électrices les plus actives depuis qu'elle et son mari ont emménagé dans mon district 2 il y a quelques années.

Les Janco habitent un appartement sur Rembrandt Avenue et depuis le jour où elle a emménagé, Edna s'est particulièrement intéressée au parc Rembrandt. Promeneuse invétérée, elle n'a de cesse de nous donner, à moi et aux fonctionnaires de la ville, des conseils sur la manière d'améliorer le parc

Au cours des dernières années, Edna a également pris le temps, chaque automne, d'acheter du tissu et de confectionner des écharpes. Elle m'appelle ensuite pour que je mette ces écharpes autour du cou de jeunes étudiants qui pourront bénéficier de ce généreux don pendant l'hiver.

Merci Edna !