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August 2008

July 2008

Marc Chagall Town Houses Back On

I am very pleased that a majority of city council has agreed to move forward with the 21-unit town house complex on Marc Chagall Avenue. A notice of motion to waive the reading of a bylaw and adopt a first draft to change the zoning from commercial to residential was placed on the agenda for the Mon. July 14 meeting. Provided everything goes according to plan, on Mon. Aug. 11 we will have a public consultation on the project prior to our public meeting and then adopt a second draft of the bylaw. Following this meeting public notice will be given asking those in the concerned and contiguous zones if they want a register. On September 8 a final version could be adopted.

This project has been in the hands of council, initially via the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC), for more than a year. Once the PAC gave its approval I held a special information meeting for residents of District 2 last December at City Hall. We had strong representation from the three highrise condominiums on Marc Chagall Avenue. By a wide majority they approved of the town house proposal, principally because the alternative would have been a strip shopping mall.

When we went back to council later that month we did not have a majority of votes to change the zoning. It was therefore delayed. During this time the developer, concerned that the town house proposal was not going to move forward, announced that he would proceed with a strip mall. I believed him, but others did not. Last month he put up a billboard inviting potential tenants to sign leases. He also published newspaper ads. Residents of the Marc Chagall Avenue highrise condos were up in arms. Last week I received a petition, signed by people residing mainly in those three buildings, against a strip mall. I explained to my constituents that I agreed with them – a strip mall was not an appropriate fit for this street.

I want to thank Mayor Anthony Housefather for his undying support on this issue and for the members of council who voted in favor of the zoning change. I realize some of them had concerns about the nearby Hydro wires. But the fact is, if the town houses were turned down – a strip mall would have gone directly under those same wires.

I will not get into the debate about the Hydro wires except to say that no studies have been conclusive about their potential dangers. Dr, Joe Schwarcz, a resident of Côte Saint-Luc and a highly respected scientist, had told members of council he does not for one moment agree with the Hydro wire argument.

This all being said, I look forward to moving the town house project forward. It will be a nice addition to a growing street which will soon include the Beth Chabad Community Centre. Bialik High School is currently working on phase two of its building expansion. As for the twin towers project at the corner of Marc Chagall and Mackle, I have no reason to believe anything will be happening on that spot anytime soon.

By putting a town house condominium project on Marc Chagall we are removing the threat of a strip mall, which has hung over us for years.

The Cavendish-Kildare Intersection

Traffic signals at the busy corner of Cavendish Boulevard and Kildare Road continue to represent a challenge for our engineering department. At the moment, at this particular intersection, the pedestrians at all corners are given a nine-second head- start (protected phase) before any vehicles waiting at the intersection are allowed to turn left or right onto either Cavendish or Kildare. After nine seconds, the pedestrians are halfway across the intersection and visible to the motorists, making it a safer situation than if vehicles and pedestrians were to start moving simultaneously, which would be the case if we removed the nine-second protected phase. Due to the programming capability of the controller we can either have protected left turns from Kildare onto Cavendish to go north or south, or the protected pedestrian phase. One is a safer option for motorists, the other for pedestrians, but unfortunately we cannot have both.

Our traffic committee has spent a lot of time examining this corner. We are looking at a possible redevelopment of the intersection , at which time a pedestrian refuge or overpass could be created in the middle of the street once we have widened Kildare at this location, as at present there is not enough space to create a pedestrian refuge. We would, however, still like to see some kind of pedestrian concrete or metal barrier on the centre median to increase pedestrians’ safety even in the meantime, though it is not possible due to space requirements.

Merrimac and Kildare Stop Sign

There is a stop sign at the corner of Kildare Road and Merrimac heading towards Cavendish. I repeatedly see cars going right through it. Police Station 9 have promised to keep a closer eye on this intersection. I worry about an accident happening there. This is only a block away from Bialik High School. I would ask that drivers be more careful.

My annual CSL Golf Outing

I was please to serve as co-chair, alongside Councillor Sam Goldbloom, of the 29th annual Côte Saint-Luc Seniors Golf Outing July 8 at Meadowbrook Golf Course.

This is a popular event which sells out early. Congratulations to Loretta Anisef, Ted Cox and David Taveroff from the Parks and Recreation Department and thanks to our sponsors, Bell Canada and Pharmacie Jean Coutu at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre.

I have been associated with this event for nearly 20 years as the awards banquet emcee. While I continued to fulfil that role when I was elected to city council, I also began to take part as a golfer. This has provided me with an opportunity to experience the beauty of Meadowbrook, a fabulous piece of greenspace we are fortunate to have in our midst.

Councillor Goldbloom and I played in a foursome with Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette and our own Public Security Chief Michel Martel. We had a terrific time. As for the weather, Mother Nature came through again. I do not recall this event ever being rained out. On this occasion, it was a hot one: more than 30 degrees celcius.

The awards banquet, held at our Seniors Centre at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre, is always a highlight of the event. Several trophies were handed out, as well as a slew of door prizes. We enjoyed some tasty party sandwiches, with danish for dessert.

Trophy winners were: Closest to the Pin on the 16th hole, Ruth Sheiner (female) and Joe Segal (male); Runners up, Patti Heller (female) and Morty Zafran (male); Longest Drive on the 17th hole, Patti Heller (female) and Jerry Shectman (male); and Runners up, Sylvia Shacter (fermale) and Maurice Greenberg (male).

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the Golf Outing.

If you like to golf, I strongly recommend you head to Meadowbrook. The prices are good and it could not be more conveniently located.

Parkhaven Pool

One of the great destinations for Côte Saint-Luc residents during the summer is Parkhaven Pool. I go there regularly with my family and we really enjoy ourselves. While I grew up in CSL, I never actually frequented Parkhaven. As a child my family had a membership in the old Blossom Pool, where my fellow city councillor Mitchell Brownstein once served as manager. I have a pool in the complex where I live and for the most part it was just fine. However, when I became a city councillor and the Fun Card was introduced -providing access to the pool, pedal boots, free play at the gym and public skating all for one reasonable price- I convinced the family to give Parkhaven a whirl. That was two summers ago and I must tell you it is now a regular stop. The grounds are vast and beautiful. Leo Skulnick and family run a great canteen. Councillor Brownstein, who chairs the Pool Committee, has instituted all types of special events and programs for kids. We expanded the grounds to include a volleyball area.This year kids are ecstatic about the new slide. I run into old friends and constituents there. If you have not been to Parkhaven lately, I highly recommend it.