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District Meeting of June 1, 2009 With Police Commander Bissonnette

MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2009

1. Introductions

Councillor Cohen introduced Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette, Sergeant France Denault, Director of Public Works David Tordjman, Traffic Engineer Charles Senekal and Councillor Glenn J. Nashen (responsible for Public Safety). Councillor Cohen thanked the more than 30 people in attendance for coming out to discuss issues specifically as they pertain to District 2.

Left to right: Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, Sergeant France Denault, Police Commander Sylvain Bissonette, Councillor Cohen, David Tordjman and Charles Senekal.

2. Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette

Commander  Bissonnette was introduced by Councillor Cohen as a most approachable individual who has developed such a wonderful working relationship with Côte Saint-Luc during his time in office. He spoke about issues related to traffic violations,   speeding, breaking and entering and summer cadets.  Just two weeks ago, Station 9 sponsored a soccer day at the Wagar Field in order to encourage youth about the model of fair play and teamwork. The station also has a new program called “Bounce.” Patrol cars have soccer and basketball balls in their trunks. When they see young people congregating they stop and give the group one of the balls, encouraging them to go off to a soccer field or basketball court. “It is important to keep the kids busy,” he remarked.

In regard to traffic, the Commander promised some major operations in the coming weeks to catch speeding vehicles, those going through stop signs and motorists using cellular phones without hands free devices.

Crime in Côte Saint-Luc is quite low, said the Commander. Last fall there were a series of breaking and entering incidents in the community, particularly in Hampstead. The perpetrators were caught and put in jail. “If you ever see something suspicious call us,” he said.

Recently, Police Station 9 held an emergency simulation day at Bialik High School.  The Côte Saint-Luc  Volunteer Citizens  on Patrol (VCOPs), Public Security and Emergency Medical Services were all involved. The day was a big success and a necessary activity to ensure the police are prepared to act with all of its partners in the case of an emergency.

The Commander said that he soon expects to welcome two to four summer cadets. These are usually young people training to become police officers who are assigned different tasks.

As for traffic, Sergeant Alain St. Marseille is responsible and he has overseen many operations in trouble spots. This has included looking for motorists going through the stop sign at Merrimac and Kildare and vehicles going to and from Bialik and incurring different traffic infractions. There have been several “blitzs” in the last couple of years.

Councillor Nashen spoke about the various traffic slowing methods employed by the city, such as the new middle of the road crosswalk signs and the planters on Marc Chagall.  He announced that on some streets, new speed cushions will be installed. Councillor Nashen spoke about the success of the VCOPs. There are presently some 65 members, most of whom are retirees.

Commander Bissonnette praised the presence of the VCOPs. He said that just a week ago a nine year old child went missing. He was immediately able to call upon 10 VCOPs to assist in the search. Within 90 minutes the child was found.

The Commander was asked some questions:

-What can be done about kids who drive their bicycles on the sidewalks? Jerry Weiss said he recently encountered youngsters doing so. When he told them they should be on the street, the kids swore and gave him the finger. The Commander said his station does it best to appeal to these children via visits by the community officer to schools.  If police catch kids driving on sidewalks they are stopped.  Councillor Nashen said that Public Security and VCOPs issue warnings.

-Can Police Station 9 enforce the fact that cars are not supposed to rest on the large yellow painted area in front of their parking lot on Kildare? During the Bialik High School drop off and pickup, it is extremely difficult for a motorist from Rembrandt to actually get onto Kildare. The Commander agreed that the yellow painted line is there for a reason, specifically for police to exit quickly in the event of an emergency. When school resumes in September (it is now exam time) he will consider having some operations to try and enforce this area.

-Sidney Margles requested that the cadets be assigned to work on foot at the Cavendish/Kildare intersection where cars are often crossing over too many lines to turn from Kildare on to Cavendish.

-Another complaint was registered about cars illegally using the 5790 Rembrandt condo driveway simply to turn around and get back on to Kildare.

3. Traffic 

Charles Senekal explained that the final phase of the Cavendish/Fleet construction is underway. The completed phases involved a double left turn from Cavendish to Fleet and some other modifications. This is working extremely well. Work is now focusing on beautification. Regarding all traffic issues, he encouraged residents not to hesitate to contact him with any concerns they might have.

David Tordjman said that in light of the major water main breaks on Kildare near Rembrandt last winter, an entire new piping system will be installed in the coming months and repaving will follow.

Bernice Shapiro complained about the limited time available at the crosswalk at Mackle and Cavendish. Mr. Tordjman said that there is 35 seconds from the time the green signal comes on. He noted that a lot of people are not aware that  you are really only supposed to cross when this countdown begins, not while it is in progress.

Eric Betito requested barriers be installed in the middle of streets, as in St. Laurent. It was explained that our streets are simply not big enough to accommodate this type of installation. If the Cavendish extension were ever to occur, then it is possible.

4. Rembrandt Park

David Tordjman gave an update on the park. There have been some equipment updates for children aged two to five. Some bushes were removed. A new water play area will soon be ready. Some painting needs to be done on the concrete and we must wait for the weather to get warmer and the rain to stop. There are plans to add more tennis courts, perhaps as early as 2010 and construct as many as 10 parking spots. The basketball courts will likely disappear. Eric Betito asked that a volleyball court be considered.

5. Sir Walter Scott  

This summer Sir Walter Scott Avenue will be repaved and have its sidewalks redone. Public Works and Engineering is now studying the feasibility of installing a crosswalk at either Sir Walter Scott and Kildare or Rembrandt and Kildare. This is to make the street safer for young families from Sir Walter Scott and Ilan Ramon going to Rembrandt Park.

David Smajovits of JPPS-Bialik speaks as his colleague Florian Gaudreault looks on.

6. Marc Chagall Update 

The Beth Chabad Community Centre will begin operating at its yet-to-be finished building on Marc Chagall and Kildare on July 1. They have no choice since the Cavendish Mall can no longer accommodate them.  It is their hope to have a more complete facility in time for the high holidays.

Sales at the Marc Chagall Town Houses are not going as well as the developer hoped. But the land has been rezoned from commercial to residential. Therefore we needn’t worry about any strip mall appearing in that spot.

Florian Gaudreault and David Smajovits were on hand from JPPS-Bialik. Florian noted that with 700 staff and students, naturally there is a  lot of traffic during drop off and pickup hours.  Just recently, Bialik assigned two staff people to work on traffic duty during these timeslots. This is a major step forward and a way to ensure more safety.   Furthermore efforts will be made to establish a new Student Traffic Committee this fall. David spoke about the multi-million dollar facelift the facility has received in recent years. He said work will soon begin on making repairs to the sports field, including a new paved track. Bialik is also proud of its green initiatives.

7.   Mike Cohen’s blog/email correspondence

Councillor Cohen  encouraged everyone to review his website and blog at www.mikecohen.ca  and feel free to correspond with him at mcohen@cotesaintluc.org

8. City at large 

New street signs are finally going up throughout the city. Talks between the city and the Cavendish Mall continue. The Mall wishes to demolish half of its present facility and replace it with a housing development.  Residents wishing to  engage in any naming rights opportunities (as simple as a bench dedication) need only call 514-485-8905

9. Comments/Concerns from residents

What is the law regarding barbeques on high-rise balconies? Councillor Nashen  went through the bylaw.  For apartments and condos use of an ‘open flame’ barbecue on a balcony is generally not permitted given that the smoke coming from the barbecue may create a nuisance to your neighbours. Also, you cannot transport a propane tank in an elevator and you are obligated to have a minimum of seven feet (7’) between the barbecue and any openings such as a door or window. 

What is being done about gardeners leaving grass cuttings on the street? Are gardeners being licensed? Public Security and VCOPs are  keeping their eyes open for such infractions. Work continues on a method by which to license gardeners.

Will there be public consultations when the Cavendish Mall project is approved by council? Yes, at least two such meetings will be held.

Can the streets be kept cleaner between fall and spring? Rembrandt Avenue was cited  as having not been properly cleaned before the first snow fall, as many leaves were still there. Residents were reminded to  call their city councillor if they notice such problems and not wait many months to report this.


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