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October 2010

Successful Trap, Neuter and Release Training Session

More than 40 people attended a special Trap, Neuter and Release Training session at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall recently, facilitated by Shelley Schecter and Dr.  Marlene Kalin. While the purpose was to get a team of volunteers in place in the hopes of launching a formal TNR Program in Côte Saint-Luc in 2011, there was a request from a number of residents of the Côte des Neiges-N.D.G. Borough to attend as observers as they wish to approach their mayor for support as well.  Pictured below, Shelley  and Barbara Hilliker give me some TNR pointers.

TNRShelley BarbaraMike 

I chaired the meeting and explained that my initial objective is for Côte Saint-Luc to include funding in our 2011 budget for a TNR Program. This way feral or abandoned cats can be brought directly to the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals to be spayed or neutered. Dr. Kalin explained that only a select few individuals should serve as her main contacts. A team of volunteers will be put in place.  Councillor Cohen said inquiries have been made with Canadian Pacific Railway for a contribution. Fundraising remains an option. Also, a licensing program for cats (probably outdoor cats) is also being considered. Revenue from this could also be directed to TNR. In addition, plans call for an education program via pamphlets, brochures, newsletter items, website posts and  school visits etc. We would like to make cat lovers out of more residents and encourage adoptions.

Shelley Schecter described how the Trap, Neuter and Release process works. She referred to the organization called Alley Cat Allies and their website, which is It is very comprehensive and includes a guide of how to conduct TNR. Shelley explained that Alley Cat Allies was established in the United States by two woman who understood that feral cats needs were not understood by animal control people, pounds and shelters Their only answer was to kill them. These two women believed that people of conscience can practice making a better life for homeless cats. Shelley said that there is an abundance of material that Alley Cat Allies will supply to you free of charge.

For a TNR program to succeed in CSL, the  group must have two people to serve as organizers.  All trappers would report to these people and they would be the contact between the trappers and the Côte St. Luc Hospital for Animals and the city.
The basic tools required to conduct TNR are  cages/ traps (available at Canadian Tire for $80 each), bait (mackerel. tuna, chicken) , a towel and a blanket/sheet to cover the cage.  Shelley brought along all of these tools, including two cages.

One does not just pick up any cat, you must know that the cat will be fed after it is neutered.  Usually a citizen calls and says that they are feeding a cat or cats in their neighborhood.   You ask them if they will be continuing to feed the cat after the sterilization.  It does not make sense to neuter and vaccinate a cat for $70 or $80 and then let it starve to death.  When someone calls, you bring them the trap and show them how to do it.  If they are unable to do it, find out what time the cat comes to the house and you (the trapper) must do it.

The cats should not be fed before the trap is set.  Ideally, the cat should miss a meal, but since this can be difficult, just don’t put out any food at the usual mealtime, but put some very smelly bait into the trap. Shelly usually uses mackerel. The bottom of the trap must be lined usually with a towel, not too thick or the trap will not close but thick enough that the cat does not feel the grid. Some people use newspaper, but Shelley says she has never been successful with that as the paper blows around in the wind.   And the trap must have a cover that is large enough to cover the entire cage- a white sheet in the winter and a green cover in the summer.  When setting the trap, be sure the cover is well secured so that it does not blow away in the wind.

Set the trap and put the juice from the bait down the towel until the end and put just a drop of fish inside another drop further in and a bigger amount after the spring.
Sometimes there is a problem and the spring doesn’t release. In that case you use a dish and lean it on the spring and when the cat eats the dish will release the spring.

Here is a crucial point.  As you can well imagine-the cat is totally freaked out by being trapped.  If the trap is left uncovered, you will further unnerve the cat.  Once the cat’s cage is covered, the cat will calm down immediately.  When Shelley sees people carrying uncovered traps with the cat running back and forth, she gets really annoyed.  Keep the trap covered with the cat inside! Put the cage where it is hidden in the trees or hidden in its surrounding.

Now it is time to take the cat to the Vet, open every day but Sunday. The rules are as follows:  only two people can have the task of delivery and pick up. If you need to use other people from time to time-be sure that they do not ask the vet a million questions-the two in charge get all the information.

Dr. Marlene Kalin makes a point

One of the main trappers  must be there outside the vet to meet the person who is bringing in the cat. Each cat requires a form.  On the form will be the date, the description of the cat and where the cat came from.  Take a picture of the cat and you can scan it onto her information sheet.

The vet will want to know the sex of the cat (we don’t always know), whether it is long or short hair, the color and age (they are usually about a year-year and a half) and the vet can figure this out.. Sign off that you have approved the cat to go in and then have some paperwork for the vet to fill out – the vaccines they are getting and the fact they are being neutered.

People who feed the cats can become very attached to them and want to call to find out about how they are.  This is strictly forbidden.  The contact with the people is done only by the trappers, they are not to call the vet at any time.  Imagine if everyone calls what chaos it would be.

The cat is usually ready the same day or the next day.  Pick up the cat and return him or her to the exact spot he she was picked up.

Do not put the cat anywhere, unless in a home, other than back where he she was found.
If the cat is put somewhere else, it will become disoriented, if it finds a place to feed, the colony may not accept it and the cat could perish.

Please tell the feeders that the cat usually stays away for a day or so, but will then return to resume feeding.  You should also suggest that they look into getting a cat shelter so that the cat can be protected from the elements.  The prices are from $35 and up.

One snag you will encounter. Trapping is not an exact science.  It really does not take long for it to happen, but it is not a certainly.  Cats are very wily and do not use the same bait if you go back to a place for a second time.  They remember it. But if you reserve space at the vet, they are not happy if you do not bring in as many cats as you said you would, so in that case, Shelley says she would try to get more that the amount you are setting out to get and you can ask if you can squeeze in another.  Better than none at all.

In the case of trapping kittens, you will need a net with a long pole or attach it to a hockey stick. If the babies are very young, you must leave the mother with them or get them all, which is not easy.  The babies are usually on their own by seven weeks and you should get them socialize them and get them adopted.  If you take them too young from their mother, it is very difficult to keep them alive. Kittens are very very delicate and they can just crash just like that.

You will come across feral cats, when I say feral, I mean, not socialized, and abandoned cats, cats that have either become lost or have been abandoned. Feral cats are not looking to get into your house.  Shelters should be provided to people who will continue to feed the cats outside. There should be an effort to have abandoned cats, looking to come in and that are socialized adopted.


It was recommended that Dr. Kalin mark the cats in some way so as to identify the fact they have been neutered. She agreed that some kind of ink tattoo might work. The question was also asked about what would happen if some person’s outdoor cat was picked up and brought to the vet for TNR. Councillor Cohen said this is exactly why outdoor cats should be licensed with a tag. The vet would determine if the cat is neutered If not, it would contravene the cat bylaw.

A team is in place and hoping to begin work on a formal basis in 2011.

The Calgary Model

The city of Calgary is seen as a leader in responsible pet ownership in North America. The elements of their strategy that can be easily implemented in Côte Saint-Luc are the following: (1) in the short term, adopt a new bylaw to require licenses for cats, (2) use fees from cat licenses to contribute towards subsidizing the neutering of cats, particularly for low-income households or else to fund TNR programs

The Department of Public Affairs and Communications has researched “the Calgary Model.”

In short, (1) Calgary adopted a new bylaw to require licenses for cats and dogs, to create incentives for neutering pets, and to stop owners from letting their cats leave their properties. (2) Calgary raised money through new licensing and a rewards program card with the business community (not taxpayer funds). (3) It used these funds to create services including free pet neutering for low-income households, education programs, and an animal clinic. (4) It created an Animal and By-Law Services business unit that providing info on the city bylaws and is responsible for anti-graffiti initiatives and so on.

Note: The city of Calgary does not itself have a trap-neuter-release (TNR) program. However, the Meow Foundation in Calgary does do TNR ( The city focuses instead of pets.

 New bylaw

The following are the guiding principles of Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw:

· Mandatory animal license for an annual fee (dogs: $52, $31) (cats: $30, $10) (vicious animal: $251)
· Fine of up to $250 for un-licensed pet that roams free
· Cat is obligated to wear an identification tag or have a microchip embedded under the skin
· Owners must keep their cats indoors or on their property
· Cats must stay on owner’s property (fine of $100 for cats found outside private property)
· Neutering of cats is not required but it is encouraged through message of responsibility, and incentive of a reduced licensing fee.
· The bylaw uses the term “animal” rather than “cat” or “dog” to address all animal owners equally and to alter the perception that cats are not as valuable as dogs

2. Services

Through the animal licensing program, the city is able to provide a number of useful services that promote responsible pet ownership:

· Free cat neutering and spaying for low-income families
· Reuniting lost cats with their owners (by placing photos of animals on website)
· Sheltering and feeding lost cats in a vet-operated facility
· Providing foster care for lost cats to make them adoptable
· Educating cat and dog owners about Responsible Pet Ownership (through pamphlets, newsletters and school lectures/visits)
· Helping neighbours resolve animal-related conflicts (eg, cats in neighbour’s yard, etc.)
· Encouraging residents to report stray cats
· Funding a city-run Animal Services Clinic (to give emergency care for injured or stray cats and run spay and neuter program


The Calgary model appeals to residents because it is funded not through tax payer funds, but through:

· Licensing fees from animal owners
· A rewards card program (The card gives discounts on a variety of products and services at over 40 partnering vendors. By using the card just a couple of times, pet owners can recoup the cost of their licensing fees and give the city funding from advertising.)
· Many of the animal services (i.e. education, foster clinics) are volunteer-run

 Noteworthy statistics

· The licensing program results in a very high return-to-owner rate for lost animals -- 86 percent for lost dogs, 49 percent for cats in 2009. Before the program started, only XX percent of cats were returned.
· Cats that are kept indoors reportedly live longer and healthier lives. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 12 to 15 years old while an outdoor cat averages from two to five years.
· More than 89 percent of animal calls are successfully resolved through voluntary complaints rather than enforcement options.
· 29 percent of stray cats were adopted to new homes in 2009.


The Calgary Herald newspaper wrote in its April 29, 2010 issue the following:

One doesn't have to go far to find outstanding reviews of Calgary's Animal Services. A quick search on the Internet yields multiple blogs and animal protection sites hailing the progressive thinking of director Bill Bruce and his team. Bruce is regularly invited to speak all over North America about his philosophy on protecting pets and their communities.

Calgary figured out that animal owners are the natural ally of cities in the fight against feral cats. They positioned animal licenses as a service from the city to pet owners -- a free ticket home if one’s pet gets lost. But not using regular taxpayer funds, Calgary has avoided public criticism from taxpayers who have other priorities. The city has also been successful at mobilizing volunteers, something which Côte Saint-Luc has experience in as well.


First photos of Cavendish Mall demolition

The historic demolition of  40 percent of  the Cavendish Mall began earlier this week. It will take at least another month to complete.  The sale of new townhouses is already underway. Joe Levine, president of Dubelle Developments Ltd,, did not even have to undertake a marketing campaign yet as potential buyers have been calling for months.


According to Levine, who has built such developments as Ilan Ramon Crescent and Cambridge Courts, the first 14 of 53 townhouses are already reserved. The entire project will be constructed in three phases. These three and four bedroom townhouses are selling for about $525,000. Eighteen four-bedroom semi-detached homes will go for about $650,000 each, And purchasing a four or five bedroom home will cost over $1 million.


This project will straddle Districts 2, 6 and 8. To see the video of what the new Mall project will look like in a few years click here











Saluting David Taveroff's Milestone

Côte Saint-Luc's  Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, David Taveroff (pictured below),, officiated his 1,000th game in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) on Sunday, October 17 in Verdun. That is a remarkable achievement. It's also quite impressive that he kept track of all those games.Taveroff

Taveroff  joinied only two other officials at the 1,000-game level. He has been officiating QMJHL games for 28 seasons. His first game was on September 25, 1983. His association with the league led to a career highlight when Taveroff officiated at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Sweden in 1993. He is also the video replay judge for the National Hockey League for half the Canadiens games played in Montreal. 

“People who know me, know how much I love sports in general and hockey in particular,” said Taveroff, who joined the City of Côte Saint-Luc in 2002. “Officiating games across Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and Maine has put a lot of kilomteres on my car, but rewarded me ten-fold with lifelong friends and wonderful memories.” 

Taveroff says officiating has given him invaluable experience in managing people and building consensus. 

“When you’re on the ice with young, strong players, you learn how to defuse situations quickly,” Taveroff said. “Hockey—like life—can be a tough, emotional experience and the job of the official is to make sure everyone feels they were treated fairly.” 

QMJHL teams are based in Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Maine. Many hockey greats have passed through the league en route to National Hockey League, including Mario Lemieux, Luc Robitaille, Patrick Roy, and Sydney Crosby. The Montreal Juniors and the Quebec Ramparts are two of the league’s 18 teams. 

“It’s been a blast watching the development of young players and of hockey in general over the past 28 years,” Taveroff said. “Officiating has allowed me to retain a passion for the sport of hockey and to participate at a high level.”

David certainly has his hands full these days in CSL, as he helps to oversee the construction of our new $18 million Aquatic and Community Centre.

Intercommunity Relations Committee Meets at Bialik


Côte Saint-Luc Intercommunity Relations Committee
Meeting of Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Bialik High School
6500 Kildare Road

Attendance: Councillor Mike Cohen (Chair),  Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Allan J. Levine,  City Manager Tanya Abramovitch, Director of Public Safety Jordy Reichson,   Shireen Butman (Principal, Bialik), Elizabeth Kennell (Director of Development, JPPS Bialik), Avi Satov (Dean of Students, Bialik),  Rabbi Yehuda Benoliel, (Cong. Juive Francophone Chouva Israel), Merle Kastner (Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal), Momy Bouzaglou   (president, Congregation Or Hahayim),  Roger Dahan (executive director, Congregation Or Hahayim), Leslie Blumer (Communications, Maimonides Geriatric Centre), Alanna Myerson, (Mount Sinai Hospital), Benita Golden (Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors), Rabbi Tuvia Hoffman  (Beth Zion Congregation), James Indig (Knights of Pythias), Michael Kutz (Knights of Pythias/Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre), Heidi Oppen (Regional Director, B’nai Brith Canada Quebec), Howard Szalavetz and Andrew Wise (Kazoo Digital), Roman Filkovsky  (Russian Jewish Community),  Ellen Tissenbaum and Christian Roy (Manoire Montefiore), Rebecca Levy (Agence Ometz), Sarah Kramer (CPE Hebrew Day School/Beth Zion),  Eva Cohen  (Beth Rambam/Hebrew Academy)BialikIntercommunity

1. Introductions

Elizabeth Kennell extended regards from JPPS Bialik Head of School/CEO Laurence Fhima, who was unable to attend due to an Association of Jewish Day Schools meeting.  Ms. Kennell introduced Shireen Deen-Butman, Bialik’s new  principal. Born in India, and having lived in Israel, Ms. Deen-Butman is fluently trilingual (English, French, Hebrew) and is equipped with over 12 years of teaching and administrative experience at two extremely reputable Jewish day schools in the United States. She arrived at Bialik via the Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton and  has deep roots right here in Montreal, having attended both Concordia University and the Université de Montréal, and moreover, having taught at both Akiva and at École Maimonide.   A parent of three children attending JPPS-Bialik, she said she is committed to surrounding herself with experienced professionals who are technologically savvy and employ teaching methods that are current, and where every opportunity is sought to permeate Jewish values into students’ education and core values.

Ms. Butman and Avi Satov, the dean of students, spoke about a number of issues including the mandatory community service students must perform. Representatives from a number of organizations expressed interest in having students perhaps undertake some volunteer work with them.  Both Ms. Deen Butman and Mr. Satov  welcomed any inquiries. They will be glad to post opportunities in their daily bulletin.  Secondary I and II students must perform five hours of work per year. The number goes up to 10 hours for Secondary III and 15 hours for Secondary IV and V. Everyone was given copies of some Bialik literature and urged to log on to

2. Director of Public Safety

Jordy Reichson briefly described his role as Director of Public Safety in the city, a position which was created in the past year. Mr. Reichson is responsible for Public Security, Emergency Measures Services, Emergency Preparedness, the Dispatch Centre and Volunteer Citizens on Patrol.  The Emergency Preparedness Plan, he said, will involve the participation of community organizations. Mr. Reichson was asked by Bialik about construction in the immediate area of the school lately and what can be done to help keep traffic flowing. He indicated that his service is monitoring the situation and that the construction is temporary. He was also asked about anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism which has occurred near synagogues. Mr. Reichson said that his service is always quick to respond to acts of vandalism of this sort, working with the police, FEDERATION CJA and B’nai Brith. Councillor Brownstein promised to look into the possibility of cameras. Heidi Oppen of B’nai Brith said that her organization has a 24 hour anti-hate hotline and that people and organizations should use it.

3. Tanya Abramovitch

Tanya Abramovitch was formally introduced as the new city manager for Côte Saint-Luc. She only recently took on this position, having previously served as director of library services – a title she also continues to hold. Ms.Abramovitch spoke proudly about the strategic plan of the city which is currently being put together. In her opinion, the city must attempt to renew itself at least every 25 years.  With the construction of a new $18 million aquatic and community centre, a major housing development planned for the Cavendish Mall site and an increasing number of young families settling here,  there is a lot going on.

4. Kazoo Digital

Howard Szalavetz and Andrew Wise introduced their business, Kazoo Digital (, which provides digital signage indoors and outdoors. Very shortly, their first outdoor full colour seven by four feet LCD digital signs will appear outdoors in Côte Saint-Luc. The first location will be the corner of Kildare and Cavendish, with a second planned for the spring at Westminster and Côte Saint-Luc Road.  There will be messages appearing for Côte Saint-Luc activities. Advertising space will also be sold and organizations interested in finding out more about this were invited to contact Howard or Andrew at 514.529.6655 or

Darryl Levine, Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Côte Saint-Luc, said he will soon be developing a detailed presentation of all the options organizations have to promote their events in the city, from banners and billboards to a google calendar.
5. Roundtable

Before the roundtable discussion began about what each organization is working on, Councillors Brownstein and Levine said a few words. Councillor Brownstein spoke about his Parks and Recreation portfolio and the excitement building for the $18 million aquatic and community centre.  In this facility there will also be a multipurpose room which can be rented out for events and seat about 370 people. Councillor Levine talked about his portfolios – tennis, seniors and bringing a public high school back to the city.

-Heidi Oppen of B’nai Brith welcomed organizations to call her if they were interested in having presentations on the subjects of reasonable accommodation and taking action against hate. The McGill Pro Bono Students are working on this project. Students, she said, might be interested in a new diversity initiative now being run as a pilot project out of Vanier College. It involves students writing a script for a film on diversity, with chance to win cash and be filmed for a short YouTube production. Her organization has also become involved in organizing singles evenings for adults and seniors at Beth Zion and is always seeking volunteers to pack food for holiday food baskets.

-Roman Filkovsky came to Canada from Russia six years ago and settled in Côte Saint-Luc.   He wants to hold gatherings of the local Russian community and have them integrate better into Côte Saint-Luc

-Elizabeth Kennell said that JPPS will mark its centennial in 2013-14 and activities are already being planned. JPPS-Bialik, she said, provides $1.2 million in tuition assistance each year. She spoke proudly about Bialik’s arts and music program, noting that a professional music studio is being constructed and will be ready in 2011. Music, she emphasized, will become an extra-curricular activity and ultimately be integrated into the regular curriculum.

-Christian Roy said that he has been with the Manoire Montefiore on Mackle Road for two years now. The 133 unit seniors residence is undergoing major renovations, as part of a five year plan. They will soon receive special certification in order  to have one dedicated floor to service  about 10 to 12 seniors coming directly from public hospitals. In addition he spoke about the Embrace Program, which will enable some seniors living in the immediate area of Manoire Montefiore to take part in activities, have meals  and even use the synagogue. Mr. Roy said he would like to reach out to the Sephardic French speaking community to let them know that they are welcome at Manoire Montefiore.

-Roger Dahan said that Congregation Sepharade Or Hahayim  invites groups to rent their hall (which has an exclusive caterer), come attend services and lectures. A new website is being established, as is a children’s choir.

- Merle Kastner said that the Jewish  Genealogical Society has its mailing address and executive meetings in CSL, but events are generally held at the Jewish  Public Library or the Gelber Centre.  Programs are publicized in the local press and she urged everyone to try to attend some.

-Rebecca Levy reminded everyone that Agence Ometz was established  two years ago, the result of a merger between Jewish Employment Montreal, Jewish Immigrant Aid Services and Jewish  Family Services. She said that Ometz  deals with many individuals either living or wishing to settle in CSL There is a lot of crisis situations involving individuals, from evictions to acts of violence.

-Sarah Kramer said that her CPE Hebrew Day School has 80 children in part of the Beth Zion and 70 more in a home they purchased a number of years ago next door and renovated. She said that the school continues to enjoy great success.

-Leslie Blumer said that Maimonides continues to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The popular Battle of the Bands fundraiser will take place soon. A new cook  book has been published and receiving excellent feedback. A mini-med program is now in progress, focusing on geriatric issues.

-Alanna Myerson reminded everyone that Mount Sinai caters to in and out patients, does  blood tests for the general public at specific times and is working with the Jewish General  Hospital on some exciting new projects.

-Benita Golden of the Cummings Jewish Centre  for Seniors urged everyone to go to, where important and valuable information can be obtained. The Centre will be getting some new funds from   the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which elderly Holocaust survivors can apply for to cover the costs of home assistance. Application forms must be filled out. There are also memory loss and different adaptive programs operating out of the Centre.

-Rabbi Hoffman just began his new role as spiritual animator of Beth Zion, succeeding Rabbi  Ira Ebbin who returned home to New York last spring. Rabbi Hoffman most recently worked for the Jewish Experience on the West Island. He has bought a home in Côte Saint-Luc and will move in soon with his family. In the past he has taught at Bialik. At Beth Zion he hopes to introduce many new and exciting programs.

- Rabbi Benoliel noted that his large congregation manages to do so many things in their small quarters on Parkhaven Avenue.  He has many young families and more than a dozen people studying to become rabbis. His congegation is involved with many charitable causes and even runs summer and winter camps for young children.

-Michael Kutz noted that the Knights of Pythias, based at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre,  services some 24 institutions in the city such as B’nai Brith House, Caldwell House and Mount Sinai and assists individuals who cannot afford cemetery plots. They are also members of the Inter-Service Clubs Council, which helps put on the Telethon of Stars.

-Eva Cohen is the executive director of Congregation Beth Rambam and the president of the Parents Association of Hebrew Academy. At Beth Rambam, she said, a second (earlier) minyan is being introduced for individuals who want more time to study torah. There are also special classes for women and a conference planned on education, where some of the organizations seated around this table might want to participate.

6. Conclusion

The meeting went over the intended 90 minute timeslot and as a result those on hand were unable to take part in the planned tour of the facility.

Fun-Tastica - The annual Senior Men's Club Dance

It was my pleasure to once again attend the annual  Côte Saint-Luc Senior Men’s  Club  dinner/dance at Le Crystal  in St. Laurent on October 14. The theme was “Fun-Tastica” and the hundreds on hand enjoyed wine, hor d’oeuvres, a full course dinner  and party animator extraordinaire George Thomas who really got everyone out dancing and singing. Mayor Anthony Housefather gave his usual upbeat speech while Liberal Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee Lawrence Bergman and Men’s Club President Sidney Margles also had some nice words to share. GeorgeAaronEsther

 Joel Sourkes was honoured as “Man of the Year”  for his 12 years of dedication to the group. He and his wife of an incredible 68 years, Rose, sat proudly at the head table. We hope that within the next year or two events like this will be held at our new Multipurpose Facility now under construction on Parkhaven Avenue.

                                            Pictured above (left to right) with George Nashen and Esther and Aaron Spector at the Men's Club Dance.

Below (left) , David Taveroff shares a laugh with George Thomas while  (right) Glenn  J. Nashen, his wife Judy and Sam Goldbloom dance up a storm.

TaveroffThomas GlennSam

Trap, Neuter and Release training session planned for CSL

Attention to all cat lovers!  As a followup my  highly successful public meeting in August, I will be   hosting a training session for those individuals who are interested in volunteering for the planned Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR)  program. This will take place on Wed. Oct. 20 (7:30 p.m.) in the Council Chamber of   City Hall (5801 Cavendish Blvd.).Cleolooksdown

Shelley Schecter, who has been leading a small group of volunteers doing TNR in the West End for a number of years, will lead the session. Alanna Devine, the director of animal welfare at the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  (CSPCA) and Dr. Marlene Kalin, the director of the Côte Saint-Luc Animal Hospital,  will also be on hand.

As Côte Saint-Luc begins to build our budget for 2011, the mayor and council are looking favourably upon financially supporting a TNR Program. Canadian Pacific Railway have also been contacted about making a contribution and they are considering this. In order for this program to proceed we need a dedicated group of volunteers who know and understand how TNR works.I am impressed already with the number of confirmations I have for the October 20 meeting. People do want to get involved

I am also looking into the introduction of a cat licensing program in Côte Saint-Luc Yes, there are many feral cats out there, but we also have cat owners who let their cats out. Some of these cats are not spayed or neutered and as a result they are  adding to the feral cat population in our community.

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.   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. 

For more information about the meeting call 514-485-6945 or send me an  e-mail at

Save Budning Pharmacy from Pharmaprix!

There are two pharmacies I frequent on a regular basis: C. Budning,  affiliated with the Proxim Group, on Westminster Avenue North in Montreal West and the small Pharmaprix on Caldwell Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc, now operated by Sarah Ettedgui and David Banon.  

I go back at least 25 years with C. Budning. Originally the “C” stood for Charles Budning and eventually included “Carole,"   as in Charles’s daughter (below right). When Charles passed away just over a decade ago, Carole carried on the family tradition in fine form. She followed in her dad’s footsteps, became a pharmacist and retained all of the clientele most because of her exceptional personalized service. Like Charles, Carole is caring when one calls with a medical problem. She will come from behind the counter and dispense advice. This is not a big box pharmacy, which has its advantages.

Well, there are some new developments which could adversely affect Carole’s business. Very recently Joel Weigensberg shut down the automobile repair station which was originally started by his dad Dave. It is located at the corner of Westminster and Sherbrooke Street West, virtually across from the  C. Budning Pharmacy. Pharmaprix immediately bought the property and made an offer to purchase the adjacent medical clinic. They want to construct a 20,000 square foot facility. What should Montreal West Town Council do? Is this fair to C. Budning, which has been in operation for decades and has a loyal following?Budningpic

Consider this scenario for a moment.  Two years ago Aziza Alaoui sold her pharmacy on Caldwell Avenue to Pharmaprix. Now this is a small strip small establishment and like Budning its strength is strong personal service. But there is a very large Pharmaprix located only a few blocks away at the Cavendish Mall. Everyone, from customers to staff, feared that the plan was to ultimately close the Caldwell location and shift all of the clients to the Mall. But very quickly, the new owner realized that if something like that would occur, customers would not necessarily go to the Mall. Sarah Ettedgui and David Banon are presently the owners of the Caldwell and Mall Pharmaprix locations. I have yet to meet them.  Ageless Saul Singer is the most regular pharmacist on hand. He is thorough, patient and pleasant. Bu the real stars here are Sheila Cohen and Thomas Virta (left), two technicians who process all of the orders. They know every customer’s personal history virtually by heart and will go the extra mile in terms of calling a doctor’s office or insurance company for you. When I call I do not ask for the pharmacist – Sheila and Thomas are flawless. Sheila recently broke her foot and came back to work within only two weeks, wearing a walking cast.

Pharmaprix should take a look at the Caldwell-Mall example. They aleady have a big box location a few miles down the road at Sherbrooke and Cavendish and a smaller one near Concordia’s Loyola campus. The Budning clients are loyal. They will not budge.

“Montreal West is a very unique town with its own character and personality,” says Carole. “ There is a special feel to our community that is shared by its occupants. This is a place where most everyone knows their neighbour, and more so wants to. On a walk down the street or into my store you are greeted by name and with a smile. Serendipitous rendezvous turn into wonderful reunions. In this town we are truly a family oriented community knitted by the townspeople’s exceptional interpersonal relationships.

“The building of a large Pharmaprix at the intersection of the town’s two main commercial streets threatens to erode the small town charm that sets us apart from other districts. Most residents would tell you that they settled in Montreal West because they were drawn in by its small town charm despite its higher taxes. They are here for the community and it has been my pleasure to serve as their community pharmacist for over 20 years following in the footsteps of my father who purchased the pharmacy in 1955.”

Carole reasons that currently there are many large format pharmacies just a short distance, even minutes away from the town core. “They are very easily accessible by those who wish to patron them,” she says. “The move against the establishment of a Pharmaprix in our town is to preserve the way of life that the just over 5,000 MoWesters have cherished since 1897.”

Interestingly, Montreal West Mayor  Beny Masella  is a pharmacist as well. His pharmacy is located in the Côte Saint-Luc section of Westminster Avenue.

What will his council do? It will be interesting to watch.

Public meeting Wed. Oct. 6 on new high school in Côte Saint-Luc

Wednesday, October 6 will be a unique day for me because my roles as the head of communications and marketing for the English Montreal School Board and city councillor for  Côte Saint-Luc will converge. There is a much anticipated public  information meeting  set to take place at  7:30 p.m.  about the possibility of establishing a unique public high school in Côte Saint-Luc.   It will take place at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall (5801 Cavendish Boulevard).

Momentum is building for this meeting and a large turnout is expected.

EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini notes while attention is being placed on the West End for October 6, she hopes that options and ideas for other parts of the Board’s territory will be explored at future meetings. Ms. Mancini appointed Commissioner Syd Wise as the chair of a special committee to look at possible focus schools.

“This  meeting in Côte Saint-Luc will provide an opportunity for parents of future high school students in the West End to provide their input into what kind of secondary institution they would like to see,” Ms. Mancini remarked.

“Initial feedback has indicated there is interest in a school with a heritage–academic program, as well as interest in a school with a sports concentration program,” added Dr. Wise, himself a one-time principal of   the former Wagar High School.

I am 1980 graduate of Wagar. At that time it was indeed considered populasr "local" school, with more than 1,000 students.

Wagar closed after the 2004-2005 academic year.  Enrolment had dropped below 300. That building on Parkhaven Avenue, renamed the Giovanni Palatucci Facility, in memory of the Italian diplomat whose efforts saved the lives of more than 5,000 Jews, presently houses the Marymount Adult Education Centre, the John Grant special needs high school and the EMSB Book Processing Centre. 

Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, who will speak at the October 6 meeting, has openly called for a public high school to be re-established in his city. He has appointed one member of his council, retired school teacher Allan J. Levine, to work as a liaison with the EMSB to see this through. The Town of Hampstead is also supporting this project and Councillor Bonnie Feigenbaum, who holds the community services and recreation portfolio, will be present on October 6.  She is even interested in the proposed news school for one of her daughters.

“We believe that the West End community, notably residents of Côte Saint-Luc and Hampstead, will embrace this option,” said Dr. Wise.

Dr. Wise  points out that the former Wagar facility is modern and spacious, featuring a double gymnasium, an auditorium, library, science labs, two large fields and tennis courts. Across the street is the Côte Saint-Luc outdoor pool and an indoor gymnasium. Construction will start soon on an $18 million multi-purpose centre attached to the gym which will contain two indoor pools, one for competitive swimming. Two blocks away is the Samuel Moskovitch hockey arena and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park, which has three baseball fields and a walking path,

The EMSB is calling upon parents of children presently in elementary schools – both public and private -- to attend this meeting and provide their thoughts of the type of high school they would like to see for their youngsters. The EMSB Long Range Planning Committee is expected to make recommendations next March for major school change.