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February 2009

January 2009

Water Main Breaks on Kildare Road Affecting Rembrandt


Fuite Kildare at Rembrant Jan. 15-09 008  A photo of our team at the site of the water main break.



Here is a copy of a letter I sent out to residents of Rembrandt Avenue with Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillor Mitchell Brownstein:

In the past two weeks, there have been three breaks in the pipe under Kildare Rd. near Rembrandt Ave. that deliver water to your area. This letter explains when we will repair the pipe and why the break happened.

During each break, our crews worked quickly to stop the leak temporarily. However, a permanent solution must wait until the spring as the kind of repair we will make to the pipe is only possible in warm weather. At that time, we will add a protective layer to the pipe, which end the water disruptions cause by this stretch of pipe. Should there be another leak before the spring, we will again try to patch the pipe in such a way as to prevent a leak from happening again.

The extreme cold weather that affected our region recently made the water in the St. Lawrence River colder than usual. When this cold water was sent to our water network in Côte Saint-Luc, it causes a sudden temperature change on the surface of the metal pipe. If the pipe is old or damaged, it can cause sudden breaks. The effect is similar to how a drinking glass might shatter if it is ice cold and you then put hot water into it. That said, we live in a cold climate and we must be prepared for such temperature fluctuations.

As you may be aware, before 2006 the City of Montreal was responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the underground water network in Côte Saint-Luc. Unfortunately, the network wasn’t modernized and repaired to the degree that we would today feel is acceptable. So, when the City of Côte Saint-Luc took over control of the network on January 1, 2006, we made water infrastructure a priority. We studied the state of the aqueduct and sewer system to determine how best to invest in our infrastructure. We also hired an engineering firm—Dessau—to respond to water main breaks quickly—usually within the hour—a response time that was unheard of when Montreal controlled the water network.

Côte Saint-Luc has spent or set aside more than $11 million for repairs, maintenance and improvements to our water infrastructure network from 2006 to 2009. We are also taking advantage a federal-provincial program to help fund municipal infrastructure, such as aqueducts and roads. When funds are available, we make sure to apply, which helps Côte Saint-Luc deliver more value to its taxpayers.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the repeated breaks to the pipe under Kildare Rd. Events like these, however, illustrate why we are spending so much to modernize our underground water network.

Teaming up with the Montreal Juniors


Côte Saint-Luc will kick off Winter Carnival Month on Monday, February 2 (7 p.m. ) when the Mayor, members of city council and our Minor Hockey Association will be special guests of the Montreal Juniors team of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. This will be Côte Saint-Luc Night at the Verdun Auditorium. Any of our hockey players who wear their jerseys will be admitted free. Parents, friends and other residents are being offered tickets for $15 each  (plus tax). It is  a real bargain. I have had the chance to attend a number of games this year and folks this is entertaining hockey. In addition you have a chance to see future NHL star Angelo Esposito  (pictured here with me) perform. Angelo, of course, scored the winning goal for Team Canada against Sweden in the World Junior Hockey Championships.  Tickets are available at the CSL Samuel Moskovitch Arena Pro Shop or by logging on to The Juniors are owned by Farrel Miller, who has played in the Côte Saint-Luc Executive Hockey League.

Supporting Our Twin City of Ashkelon, Israel

Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather and members of the city council presented personal cheques to Susan Szalpeter (centre) of Federation CJA on Monday, January 19, 2009 at city hall. The fund is in support of the people of Ashkelon, Israel, which is a twin city of Côte Saint-Luc. These were personal contributions from the nine council members, totalling more than $1,100. No public city funds were used. The mayor is encouraging residents of Côte Saint-Luc to donate to the fund. Residents can send cheques directly to Federation CJA made to the order of “Federation CJA Ashkelon-CSL Fund.” Ashkelon is a sea-side city of 109,000 residents. As early as July 2006, rockets were fired by Hamas from the Gaza Strip which landed in Ashkelon. Seven residents of Ashkelon were injured on March 1, 2008. There was also property damage. Today, longer-range Hamas rockets are able to reliably hit the city.  A number of years ago, in the company of Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, I had the opportunity to visit Ashkelon as part of a Jewish National Fund mission. This city is so dangerously close to Gaza. This is an initiative worth supporting.Ashkelon

Bureau En Gros Staff Not Talking - So Why a Liquidation Sale?

I have just returned  from the Cavendish Mall Bureau en Gros. I did not identify myself as a city councillor nor as a columnist for The Suburban Newspaper ( There are big signs in the windows and throughout the store screaming "Liquidation Sale." That is always a signal to me of "closure."

"When are are you closing?" I asked the manager.

"I don't know what you are talking about," he said, then quickly walked away from me.

I ventured over to the photocopy section and asked the same question. The two employees just looked at each other.

"You have a big liquidation sign on the windows," I noted. "Does this not mean you are closing."

"Oh," one of them responded, "that just means we have lots of stock we need to get rid of."

Well clearly this will require more investigation. I hope they are correct and that the store stays opened.

Bureau En Gros Leaving Cavendish Mall?

All of those "clearance sale" signs at the Bureau en Gros at Cavendish Mall are not good news for shoppers. It appears that my worst fears have been realized and the store will be closing. I cannot tell you how convenient I found Bureau en Gros to be. La Source at Circuit City (formerly Radio Shack) closed last year and over at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre Rona Hardware shutdown. So there goes the "only" three stores in the community that sells eletronics. Bureau en Gros represented the ultimate convenience for office supplies and electronics. Word has it that Pharmaprix will assume its spot.

Underground Garage Closed and Reopened on Cavendish

Following the tragic incident at a St. Laurent apartment building in November, when a collapsed underground parking garage killed a man  after his vehicle was crushed by a large slab of concrete,  the City of Côte Saint-Luc   "proactively"  undertook an inspection of all buildings with  two plus levels of underground  parking that are over 30 years old.
It must be noted that the  Regie du batiment du Québec   (RBQ) is responsible for building codes in the province. That being said, our Engineering Department inspectors highlighted seven  building garages that upon a visual inspection we thought might need a closer look. These cases were referred directly to the RBQ for follow-up.   While Manoir Camelia, located at 5875 Cavendish next to  City Hall,  turned out to be one  of the buildings our engineers  had not yet   visited (when they came by the janitor was not there to let them in) it appears that the RBQ had received calls from some residents. As a result, the RBQ did an inspection and ordered the garage closed. They insisted that the owner, Howard Szalavetz,   had to get an engineer's report attesting to the soundness of the structure.
Residents were advised  to move their cars and we made arrangements for them to park on Cavendish, between  Kildare and Wallenberg, until the matter was resolved. 
I spoke to Howard, a well respected landlord in the community who also owns Kildare Towers. He said he immediately enlisted the services of global engineering firm Genvivar. They filed a report to the RBQ and within 48 hours most of the garage was reopened to cars.   Howard noted that this is an  older building and given the climate following the St. Laurent incident the RBQ is being overly cautious. He insists the garage was safe before. But by installing a few support beams, it is now “beyond 100 percent safe.” Some work will be done in the coming weeks.
Is the RBQ being overzealous? Perhaps, but after what happened in St. Laurent nobody will fault them for that.
Hats off to Howard for being so responsive!

Bialik teams up with CSL

In another sign of continued progress towards an environmentally conscious and waste-free school, Bialik High School, in conjunction with the City of Côte Saint-Luc, launched an all-encompassing composting program on January 5 as part of its larger Green Initiative. Composting, or the natural decomposition of organic material, is a time-honoured way of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills while simultaneously producing a fertilizer that nourishes other vegetation.
Tye Hunt from  our Public Works Department visited each class individually and explained the value of composting as well as the methodology employed. The city   launched its own city-wide composting program for residents in the fall of 2008. The program for the municipal buildings and institutions (including schools) was scheduled to begin in the spring of 2009. However, due to the effort and enthusiasm displayed by the students and staff at Bialik, their plans were altered.
“We originally planned to begin the second phase in the springtime, but because Bialik was so eager to begin, we really pushed the button to get started sooner than later,” said Mr. Hunt
. Moreover, Mr. Hunt praised the uniqueness of the Bialik composting program stating that he believes that Bialik   is the first school on the island of Montreal to formally adopt a composting program in conjunction with their municipality. “Bialik will become the model for other schools to follow,” added Mr. Hunt. Bravo to Bialik and to Mr. Hunt, who is sadly leaving the employ of our city for another career opportunity.