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August 2010

Public Information Meeting on Aquatic Centre August 30

On Monday, August 30, 2010 at 7 p.m., the City of Côte Saint-Luc will hold a public information session on the construction of a new multipurpose aquatic centre on Parkhaven Ave.  Mayor Anthony Housefather and members of council will provide an update on the status of the project, including building designs, and services that will be offered.

The public information session will take place at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall, 5801 Cavendish Blvd. Residents are invited to watch the presentation and ask questions. Following several years of discussions, the Côte Saint-Luc City Council decided to build the multipurpose aquatic centre following a funding promise from the governments of Canada and Quebec totaling up to $11.57 million, which was equal to two-thirds of the total cost of the project. On Monday evening, August 23, we held a special council meeting and awarded an $18. 3 million contract to Pomerleau Construction. We hope to break ground soon on this magnificent facility, which will right next to our existing outdoor pool and gymnasium.


Support on Trap, Spay, Neuter and Release from B.C.

Here is a letter I just received following my public information meetings on cats. It is inspiring and comes from a former Montrealer now living in B.C.

Dear Mr. Cohen:
 
I live in Powell River BC on the Sunshine coast. I saw the CBC news item about your idea to spay and neuter feral cats and then release them back into the community.. The SPCA in Powell River has a policy of "no kill and release" since 2005. When I moved here in 2004 it was not so. I bought a house that came with a group of feral cats and decided to  use some of an inheritance I received, to spay and neuter all of them and also give them the necessary shots so there was less risk of disease.
 
 My next door neighbour pledged to feed them "forever" and another neighbour continued to provide shelters outside for them. The local vetranarian had me bring them in one or two at a time every two days. He also gave me a good discount as there were 15 cats and more than half were females. The cats were captured in a cage (rented from the SPCA) and then taken  in to be operated on. They had no problems with the surgery and were back on my property and released in the evening. ( Brought in early morning, operated on, kept by the vet until awake and alert.) They hid out for a day or two but came around when my neighbour put the food out as she usually did. Some of the cats survive to this day. They are healthy, nonaggressive and do not fixate on killing birds as they receive food from us. They do keep the rodent population in check, however. That for me is a good thing. 
 
We did lose some of the cats to the road traffic. Two others died of internal problems and some we were able to adopt out. There are five cats remaining. We have found that unneutered cats do not hang around, as there are no females to mate with. Female cats have never shown up. This could be because unspayed females have their own area and do not roam too far.
 
Our cats know us. They allow us to pet them and two of them can be picked up. These cats are a family and group together in the evening for food, socializing and other "cat affairs". I have learned much about the secret lives of felines from these animals.
 
After I did this, the SPCA decided to have a spay and neuter program for stray cats. They also offer free spay and neutering to low income folks. This is made possible by a  fund setup by a woman who died and left money for this purpose.
 
I hope you are sucessful with your idea. It does work. By not killing feral cats we make ourselves into better humans. These animals are there because someone   didn't care. I really beleive, that by not treating feral cats as throw away garbage we recognize their lives as beings. I have never regreted the action I took in 2004.
 
It did make a difference in my life, my neighbours lives and the life of my community.
Good luck to you........remember the power of one.
 
 
Yours Elizabeth Stuef ( former Montrealer: NDG, still have a cat lovng sister and brother there).
 

Kildare Road work completed and everything looks great

Short-term pain, for long-term gain. That is how I described the work that was carried out on Kildare Road during the month of July and completed in early August. Congratulations to everyone involved, specifically the city’s engineering department and the companies hired to carry out the work.

Two winters ago we had several water main breaks on Kildare Road. While the problems were repaired, it was clear we needed a more comprehensive solution. I gained the city council’s support to have this job moved up in the schedule at a cost of $426,000. Now that the work is completed the pipes shouldn't need to be repaired or replaced for approximately 50 years.Crosswalk SWSCOtt

There have been some bonuses added to this project. An additional $26,000 was secured to finally fix the stretch of pavement from Rembrandt to Cavendish. How many motorists justifiably complained about the bumpy road? Well, it is just perfect now.

We were also able to respond to the request from nearby residents to install a crosswalk and two stop signs at the corner of Kildare and Sir Walter Scott. I wish to thank Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, Mayor Anthony Housefather and Traffic Engineer Charles Senekal for their unconditional support on this matter. Charles, in fact, took part in two walkabouts with myself and residents of Ilan Ramon Crescent. Hats off to residents Lorne Lieberman and Boris Myschkowski who worked with me to keep this option open. This is a wonderful plus in the area of traffic safety in District 2.

I have been receiving a lot of warm comments from residents. Here is what Phil Matlin, a resident of Rembrandt Avenue and a new blogger (check out http://perfectmagic.wordpress.com/) had to say.

"A little note to tell you that I think the job done recently on Kildare should be used as an example to all cities, towns, boroughs, especially the City Of Montreal on how to plan and coordinate projects such as these. This major work was done with almost no inconvenience to the residents, at least on the Rembrandt side where I live. Personally, I suffered absolutely no inconvenience. You, the council, mayor, engineering department and whom ever else was involved, deserve our highest praise, thanks and kudos for a job well done."


Itcush to run for NDP in Mount Royal

Bialik High School teacher Jeff Itcush  (pictured below) will be introduced Monday, August 23 as the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in the federal riding of Mount Royal, currently held by Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.  NDP Leader Jack Layton and Deputy Leader Thomas Mulcair (MP for Outremont) will be at the announcement, which will take place at a Queen Mary Road restaurant.   Itcush

Itcush was brought up in southern Saskatchewan and has resided in Montreal since 1989. He has studied at universities in Saskatchewan and Quebec. Most of his professional life has been in the field of education. He isa former president of the Federation of Teachers of Jewish Schools and has worked in labour negotiations and advocacy. Itcush has worked with several community groups and has done political organizing at the federal and municipal levels in Montreal. In addition, he has been a candidate for elections at those levels, including other runs for the NDP.  He has a particular interest in First Nations culture.

Mount Royal has always been a Liberal stronghold. At the age of 70 Cotler is showing no signs of retiring. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has endeared himself to the Jewish community for his unqualified support of Israel. People are eager to see whom will run for the Tories in the next federal election. Itcush will give the NDP their most high profile candidate yet in this riding.


Standing Room Only Crowd For Cat Meeting

I hosted an unprecedented public information meeting on August 18 at City Hall about what residents can do to help control our cat population. It exceeded my expectations in terms of interest. A standing room only crowd of more than 100 people stretched into the hallway. Media coverage in advance of the meeting and on this night was exceptional. Alanna Devine, the director of animal welfare at the CSPCA, and Dr. Marlene Kalin, the director of the Côte Saint-Luc Animal Hospita,l were special guest speakers.

2010-08-18 Cat information meeting 009

Focus was placed on the Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) program, cat overpopulation, and responsible pet ownership. The TNR program humanely traps, sterilizes, then releases feral cats back into their original territory. Experts say that removing feral cats doesn't work because new cats simply move into the area. If the cat is adoptable, efforts are made to place it with a family. A cat can reproduce four times a year, beginning from six months old, and can give birth to from one to eight kittens each time. Two unaltered cats can, over a period of seven years, create more than 400,000 kittens. By sterilizing the cats, their numbers are brought down through attrition.

While the majority of the people in the room were from Côte Saint-Luc, we had some people from the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district of Montreal, Outremont, N.D.G., St. Laurent  and even Pierrefonds Borough Councillor Catherine Talbot. She is a member of Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay's party and agreed to share all of what she heard at our meeting with the mayor himself. That is certainly positive. The boroughs of St. Laurent and Verdun have TNR programs, but leadership on the part of Mayor Tremblay could be a real positive development.

Patricia Tulasne, from Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, told us that in her district stray cats are rounded up an euthanized. She wants the city of Montreal to make spaying and neutering mandatory.

There were many excellent suggestions at the meeting and willingness on behalf of a lot of people to sit on an actual committee. Should specific bylaws be introduced to make spaying or neutering a cat mandatory? Can the city help fund a TNR program? Can we require a license for outdoor cats? Can an education program in the schools be launched? What is the Quebec government's position on this? Can municipalities form a partnership on this issue? Are there fundraising opportunities for a TNR?

2010-08-18 Cat information meeting 001

Alanna Devine told us about a gentleman by the name of Bill Bruce, the city of Calgary's top Animal & Bylaw Services officer, The Animal and Bylaw Services department actually makes money, unlike the majority of animal-control facilities in the United States. Licensing fees — not tax dollars — fund the department’s volunteer, public education and animal adoption programs, as well as the operation of its animal shelter and its new low-cost spay/neuter clinic, where low-income pet owners can get their animals sterilized for free.

Dr. Kalin's clinic has spayed or neutered more than 300 ferel and abandoned cats over the past six years. She keeps them in an isolation room. They are humanely trapped in a cage, sedated, dewormed and vaccinated for upper respiratory disease, put back in their cage and ultimately brought back to where they were picked up. Most of these cats, especially the older ones, are too wild for someone to adopt.

The TNR program costs about $80 per cat. Dr. Kalin has done most of these procedures for free. But if a fund existed, more people would bring such cats in. She claims there are around 10,000 ferel and abandoned cats in CSL alone and similar numbers in other municipalities our size.

Shelley Schecter, who has volunteerd for years to do a TNR program in  Côte Saint-Luc, was on hand and got a well deserved cheer for the incredible work she does. There were many others in the room who do amazing things for cats. One lady who has lived in CSL for 45 years spoke about a neighbour who refused to get her female cat spayed. The cat kept reproducing and despite her pleas, the owner would not do anything. When the cat gave birth to one of her litters, this woman took her in and eventually got her spayed on her own. It is irresponsible for a cat owner not to have their cat spayed or neutered!

I will now report to the mayor and members of council on the results of this first meeting before making any announcements of where this dossier will go next. What I do wish to express is how happy I am that this first meeting was such an unqualfied success. We now have the momentum to continue seeking solutions.


Future Electronics Owner Robert Miller in Bitter Divorce Battle

Billionnaire Robert Miller once played in the Côte Saint-Luc Slo Pitch Association. I was a young scorekeeper at the time and twice, at the end of the season, he gave me his baseball glove. Robert was also a strong supporter of the West Luc Saints hockey organization, which played out of the Samuel Moskovitch Arena in Côte Saint-Luc. His son played on the team. He is best know as the man who created Future Electronics, the model of  a successful corporate entity. I had the occasion to meet his then lovely wife Margaret often.  As you will read here, in a story written by my old journalism school classmate Andrew Mcintosh he is in the midst of a rather bitter divorce.

Log on to http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/07/30/14874151.html.


From Librarian to City Manager--the rise of Tanya Abramovitch

I must admit that I was immediately impressed with Tanya Abramovitch when we first met almost five years ago, after I was elected to Côte Saint-Luc City Council. I had an idea to do a special commemorative edition of our Courier newsletter and Tanya showed up at my office, volunteering to spearhead the project. That she did and soon after, when it came time for us to appoint a director of Library Services, she was promoted from the post of refererence librarian.Tanya

Tanya has taken the best public library in the province and done the impossible - make it even better.Mayor Anthony Housefather had so much confidence in her that  he recently asked her to oversee the game plan for our strategic plan. It was good timing. Not only did Tanya do an outstanding job, it came just a bit before Ken Lerner announced that he was stepping down as our city manager. I salute Ken for a lot of the innnovative ideas he brought to the table these past four years and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

With Ken departing, the mayor and council were of the same opinion: Tanya Abramovitch was our runaway candidate to replace him.

At Monday evening’s monthly council meeting, we appointed Tanya as city manager and Nadia Di Furia as associate city manager. 

“Tanya and Nadia bring strategic vision, youth, and strong administrative abilities to their respective roles,” Mayor  Housefather said. “Each has shown outstanding initiative, sound judgment, and skills that make them ideal to lead our staff. They are also both in their 30s, which highlights the generational shift currently underway in our municipal government and across the city.” 

The city manager is the senior civil servant of the municipal government and works closely with the Mayor and City Council to establish the objectives of the city and to manage its daily operations. The Associate City Manager performs a similar function and works closely with the city manager and Mayor and City Council. 

Tanya began working in Côte Saint-Luc in 2001 as a reference librarian. She was appointed the Director of Library Services in May 2006. She has a Masters degree in history, and a Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree from McGill University. 

“I’m looking forward to this challenge,” Tanya said. “I loved modernizing our public library during almost five years and I cannot wait do the same across the entire city government with the help of our staff.” Nadia

Nadia started her career in 2005 in Côte Saint-Luc as a payroll clerk and, later, payroll manager in the Finance Department. She was appointed the Director of Human Resources in April 2007. She has a background in commerce. 

“We have an excellent team around our senior management table and I’m looking forward to working with our team to implement the vision of the City Council,” Nadia said. 

As for Ken, the mayor said it best: “Ken helped re-build our municipal government when Côte Saint-Luc demerged from Montreal and was re-constituted as an independent city on January 1, 2006.”

Tanya becomes one of only a select few women in Quebec to serve as a city manager and at the age of 34 is probably the youngest at the job.

 


CIJR fulfills important role in the community

I remember well the humble beginnings of the  Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR)  more than two decades ago.  Professor Frederick Krantz founded the organization at the time of Israel’s first intifada and placed a lot of energy on Canadian university campuses.FredKrantz

The CIJR began informally as a group of pro-Israel academics Krantz (right) got together in the winter of 1987, most of whom had already started to respond to the sudden negative media associated with the beginnings of the first  intifada  against Israel.  As CIJR reps were invited to speak at shuls and organizations, and spontaneous financial contributions began to be made,  the need for some support, secretarial and legal, access to a photocopier and a way impersonally to deposit donations and such came about.  Krantz turned to the various Jewish organizations and was frankly  stunned when they refused any help.

 Why this negativity was the case, given the situation being faced back then, remains a mystery to this day, but at a certain point, the CIJR had  to either cease functioning, or create its own independent organization.  It took the latter route, and the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, a non-profit educational foundation, was created, receiving government approval in late 1988.

The Sunday, August 15,  the CIJR will hold its an international conference in the morning at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount, followed by its 22nd anniversary gala in the evening at the same locale. “Israel, the U.S., and the Iranian Nuclear Threat”  is the theme for the business portion of the day. It  will bring together outstanding academics, specialists, jouralists, students, organization heads, and prominent members of Montreal’s business and Jewish communities. The high end conference is testament to how the CIJR has thrived based on its independence.

“The general, as well as Jewish, public must be awakened to the profound threat not only to Israel, but also to the Middle East, Europe and the world, represented by the fanatical, genocidal Iranian regime’s imminent possession of a nuclear weapon”, explains Prof. Krantz.  

The 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. conference has three goals: (1) to analyze American, Israeli and UN policy in relation to the Iranian threat; (2) to examine strategies, political and military, for countering it; and (3) to make the public and politicians aware of the serious implications of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

 

The conference will be opened by  Krantz. Scholars presenting formal papers at the two morning Panels include Clifford May (President, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies), John Thompson (Mackenzie Institute) and Prof. Asaf Romirowsky (Middle East Forum); Panel Chairs are Profs. Harold Waller (McGill U.) and Norrin Ripsman (Concordia U.).The evening gala will be opened by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center  and a  keynote address delivered by Bret Stephens, foreign affairs editor for the  Wall Street Journal. The dinner  will also feature several CIJR awards, and a special musical performance by the young Quebec singing sensation, Kathleen Reiter.    One late addition to the evening Gala: Andrew Roberts, the outstanding British historian and co-founder (with Spain’s former PM Jose Maria Aznar) of The Committee in Defense of Israel (his wonderful article, “What the World Owes the Jewish People”, appeared in last week’s National Post).

Here is something new from Krantz: CIJR is moving into using , beginning with students in their unique Student Israel Advocacy Program, its unique academic resources  - outstanding Academic Fellows drawn from Montreal, Canada, the |US and Israel-  to offer for-credit multidisciplinary courses. These will be in the fields of Jewish and Zionist history, the so-called ‘Arab-Israel Conflict,’ which should more properly be called the ‘Arab Conflict, maintained by the Muslim states, to destroy Jewish Israel,’  the diplomatic history and politics of the Middle East, and the history, politics and culture of modern Jewish Israel.

  

“The need for this international conference—to alert the community to growing regional and world peril in face of an Iranian nuclear weapon, and to gauge concrete steps available to avert it—speaks for itself,” said Krantz.

Registration  the conference is only $40  and free for student and must be paid  in advance. Persons attending the evening gala, at $500 per person (partially tax-receiptable), can attend the conference gratis.

The CIJR is indeed unique in the community. In the fall of 2000,  its daily Isranet briefing  e-mail service was launched  to counter anti-Israel propaganda, and to keep the public and subscribers  informed of daily issues affecting the Jewish people. Each daily briefing consists of multiple opinion pieces, articles, or documents, on current issues. A weekly French-language Communiqué Isranet bulletin is also available.  The CIJR’s  ISRAFAX quarterly magazine is distributed across Canada and internationally. The editors of ISRAFAX include key articles from major international newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, official documents, and websites with varying perspectives on important issues. The Israeli and Arab media are also scanned for timely reports, opinion, and documents. ISRAFAX, as the name implies, was originally sent out by fax machines two decades ago.  The CIJR also supports the student-written Dateline: Middle East magazine, distributed on campuses across Canada. It also offers several summer and academic-year student internships. 

For more information contact  Katrin Kraizgur,  at (514) 486-5544/katrin@isranet.org.


 


Public information meeting about the cat population in CSL and responsible pet ownership

We have issued this important press release on the Côte Saint-Luc website to publicize an unprecedented meeting about the cat population in CSL and responsible pet ownership. Please read and pass on to animal lovers. 

The City of Côte Saint-Luc will host a public information meeting on Wednesday, August 18 at 7:30pm at City Hall (5801 Cavendish Blvd.) about what residents can do to help control the city’s cat population. 

Alanna Devine, the director of animal welfare at the CSPCA, and Dr. Marlene Kalin, the director of the Côte Saint-Luc Animal Hospital will speak at the meeting and answer questions from the audience. 

“I am calling upon anyone who is a cat owner or has a love for animals to attend this meeting, which is the first of its kind ever held in Côte Saint-Luc,” said Councillor Mike Cohen, who will be chairing the meeting. “We are fortunate to have the likes of Alanna Devine and Dr. Marlene Kalin giving of their valuable time. Not only will their presentations be very interesting, I also hope they will inspire people to get involved with this issue.” Cleopose

The speakers will discuss the Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) program, cat overpopulation, and responsible pet ownership. The TNR program humanely traps, sterilizes, then releases feral cats back into their original territory. Experts say that removing feral cats doesn't work because new cats simply move into the area. If the cat is adoptable, efforts are made to place it with a family. A cat can reproduce four times a year, beginning from six months old, and can give birth to from one to eight kittens each time. Two unaltered cats can, over a period of seven years, create more than 400,000 kittens. By sterilizing the cats, their numbers are brought down through attrition. 

TNR programs have been proven worldwide, throughout Europe, the United States, parts of Canada, as the most humane and cost-efficient way of controlling and decreasing the numbers of homeless cats.   

Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather gave Councillor Cohen a mandate to organize such a meeting and return to council with recommendations regarding the TNR program. 

“As a cat owner myself I can attest to what amazing and loving animals they are,” Councillor Cohen said. “I know there are a lot of people out there whose lives can be given a real lift by bringing a feline into their homes. The Côte Saint-Luc Animal Hospital, for instance, has taken in many feral cats over the years and eventually found homes for them.” 

For more information about the meeting call 514-485-6945 or send an e-mail to mcohen@cotesaintluc.org.