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July 2011

June 2011

CSL to honour our Forces at Canada Day Fireworks

As co-chairs of Canada Day this Friday in Côte Saint-Luc, Councillor Allan J. Levine and I are pleased to announce that our grand fireworks presentation at 9:40 p.m. willl honour our Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan.

From the time this council was elected in  2005, we adopted a practice of paying tribute at the start of each public meeting to any of our troops who have lost their lives in Afghanistan.

It should be a very emotional rendition of O Canada as we introduce Lieutenant-Colonel Pierre Sasseville to an audience which will be in the thousands.

We take this opportunity to warmly thank the Hon. Irwin Cotler, MP from Mount Royal and Howard Liebman from the Mount Royal Riding Office and Mervyn Frame, Special Assistant (Acting MP Liaison) Office of the Minister of National Defence/National Defence Headquarters for assisting us in this endeavor.

Watch this tribute to our troops:



Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee seeking volunteers: come see us Canada Day

Nearly a year after a high profile meeting in Côte Saint-Luc brought the issue of feral cats into the public eye, more volunteers are being sought for a committee which is off to an excellent start.

I am  very proud of the new Côte Saint-Luc Cat Committee (CSLCC). Its main focus has been a Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) program. For 2011 this initiative has been supported financially by the City of Côte Saint-Luc and Canadian Pacific Railway.

An information booth will be set up at Trudeau Park in Côte Saint-Luc from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. during Canada Day festivities on Friday, July 1. At this time anyone interested in volunteering can stop by the kiosk, meet  committee members and find out the different roles available. A new CSLCC hotline has been set up at 514-485-6800 extension CATS (2287) where people can leave messages about any stray cats in their area.

There is a small and dedicated committee which has been working in specific areas of town where there are known to be colonies of cats. TNR humanely traps, sterilizes and then releases feral cats back into their original territories. The trappers bring the cats to the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals, where they are spayed or neutered.  Two members of the committee are allowing their home to be used as a place for the cats to recuperate before they are returned to the area in which they are found.

A female cat can reproduce four times a year, beginning from six months old, and can give birth to from one to eight kittens each time. 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.  

For more information call 514-485-6945 or  e-mail me at

For more information please see my flyer  on the Côte Saint-Luc website.

Honouring local Yiddish music legend David Botwinik

In his 35 years as a music teacher and choir director at Montreal Jewish day schools, Vilna-born David Botwinik taught more than 30,000 students. He has also written scores of Yiddish songs, which have been circulated around the world. Botwinik

Now 90 years of age, the longtime Côte Saint-Luc resident (right) was honoured on, June 17  at the second annual International Yiddish Theatre Festival at the Segal Centre of the Performing Arts.   For the first time  he actually witnessed a concert featuring his very own music performed by internationally acclaimed soprano Lisa Willson, pianist Elena Berman and special guest Philip Goldig.

This concert was in celebration of Botwinik’s new book, From Holocaust to Life (Fun khurbn tsum lebn), now in its second printing. The book, which was available for purchase, contains a collection of 56 original musical compositions. These are new Yiddish songs and solo and choral works, with lyrics by various Yiddish poets, complete with English translations, piano accompaniments, and chords

Lou Burko, the retired music director at Shaare Zion Congregation in Montreal, calls Botwinik’s book a “formidable opus " and “a musical biography of David Botwinik's life,”  
Botwinik retired in 1991 after a career at the Jewish  People’s and Peretz Schools  (JPPS) and United Talmud Torahs. But working closely with one of his three sons Alexander, now a Yiddish teacher  at the University of Pennsylvania in  Philadelphia, he has kept busy writing music and of course his book. He does not use a computer, so he writes everything by hand and sends it by mail to Alexander.

“I transcribed his handwritten scores onto the computer using music engraving software and painstakingly added the lyrics under the notes in both Yiddish and transliteration,” Alexander explains. “I also did the book design and layout and worked on translating the song lyrics together with my wife, Naomi Cohen and my brother Leybl. Since the book came out last summer, I have continued to be involved with publicity, arranging quite a few interviews and concerts devoted to my father's music.” 

David Botwinik came to Canada in 1956  with his wife Silvana, who had been hidden in a church with other Italian Jews during the German occupation of Italy. The couple still live in the same  Côte Saint-Luc home where they raised their family.

Botwinik says he is not finished yet. He plans to start working on a book about the Holocaust, including stories his own family may have not yet heard before.

I was pleased to be at the event and asked to say a few words about David Botwinik, whom I have known since childhood. My friends and I used to play street hockey right in front of his house.  Mr. Botwinik has been known to attend some Côte Saint-Luc city council meetings.  Last week I met him at the grocery store. He was purchasing a loto ticket.

Mazel tov to you David!

Scenes from the CSL Dramatic Society

Dr. Jerrold Rappaport was quite a find for the new Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society. Not only did he perform and assist the director for their well received debut performance at CityHall, he ha snow created a YouTube channel and is posting several scenes.

One of the quite hilarious scenes was adapted from this I Love Lucy episode:


Here is the CSL version.


And check out Councillor Mitchell Brownstein in Be a Dentist:


CSL Players enjoy successful first event

The newly formed Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society   presented  its first show last Sunday  at the City Hall Auditorium before a capacity crowd of more than 200 people. Dining Out included an evening of scenes, sketches and songs and a cast of more than 30 people, including Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillor Mitchell Brownstein.


“We got together a group of youth, seniors, residents, city staff and even elected officials to all participate as one family in a truly enjoyable experience,” commented Brownstein.  “One of the ladies in our cast told me this was the best activity she has participated in, for as long as she can remember.”

Brownstein credited director Anisa Cameron for allowing people to express their creative talents, “but teach each one of us how to work together as one family. The values you teach our youth in the many productions you have directed helps them become good human beings.”
Noted West End physician Jerold  Rappaport performed and acted as an assistant to Cameron. 

Here is a scene involving Brownstein from  the Little Shop of Horrors "Be a Dentist."


Construction of new roads and services to begin at Cavendish Mall

After months of approvals and hard work by Council, staff and the developers, it appears  as if the Cavendish Mall redevelopment is approaching the actual "redevelopment" stage. As of today, the access to the Mall from Kildare Road will be closed as the construction of new roads and underground services throughout the new housing project will be commencing in the coming days.

Preliminary timelines estimate this phase of construction taking approximately three months. During infrastructure construction, access to the Mall will be limited to the Mackle and Cavendish entrances. The Cavendish entrance across from Côte Saint-luc City Hall will also be closed towards the end of this process as it will be reconfigured with new sidewalks, pavement, lighting, etc. eventually continuing through as  "The Avenue."

As our Urban Planning Manager Jeff Davey summed up quite accurately, "this is an exciting time for our city, but will be difficult on some esidents. We are doing everything we can to ensure the nuisances of large scale construction are kept to a minimum and ask everyone to be patient as the end result will have been worth the wait."

I have been in communications with the tenants of Kildare Towers, located just next to the Kellert entrance of the Mall. Many of these people are frail and elderly. They depended upon close entrance to the Mall. When  the demolition of the old facility began, a special path was made in order for them to walk to the center entrance near the food court. Now that has been cut off and they have to make their way up Kildare and down Cavendish.  It is a difficult commute and will be worse in the winter. I spoke to the building's owner, Howard Szalavetz about it. Can we do anything for these people? Regrettably for them we cannot do anything about the access as this is now an active construction zone.

For anyone who has not seen the video of what the Mall housing  development will ultimately look like take a look:


First specific details about Les Cours Marc Chagall

Developers Gerald Issenman and David Brown have reached out to one of the top real estate agents in the West End, Anita Benabou Rozenblatt, to sell their new 21 unit town house development on Marc Chagall Avenue. Pending some more approvals by city council, work is expected to begin on the project this summer.

Here is the information Anita sent me about the newly dubbed Les Cours Marc Chagall:

Architectural Specifications


  • 3 bedroom design with optional room In basement or open concept floor plan
  • Member of the new Home Warranty Program – APCHQ
  • Visitor parking provided


-Individual front entrance from a landscaped courtyard. 

- Individual rear backyard and patio.

- Two interior parking spaces within heated garage.

- Ventilated garbage/recycling room in the area.

- Forced air gas heating and air conditioning system including air exchanging unit.

-  Separate hydro electric meter and gas meter (where applicable). 

-  Underground Hydro electric infrastructure. 

-  150 amp Electrical entry with a 40 circuit breaker panel in each home.

-  Copper wiring throughout the town house.

-  Pre-wiring for telephone, cable.

- Fully sprinklered fire prevention system includes  semi recessed sprinkler heads and three in – line smoke detectors

-Standard electrical fixtures installed by builder

  1. All rough-in for five (5) appliances
  2. Red brick
  3. Front doors (black)
  4. Frame around Windows light taupe
  5. Gutters and drain-spout taupe
  6. Small roof over bay window black metal
  7. Stone trimming grey/sand concrete
  8. Shingles (shadding black, 2 tone)
  9. Top floor skylight
  10. Pre-wiring (considering videotron)

  MArc Chagall Photo



- Concrete foundations containing reinforcing steel bars.

- Asphalt shingles (25 YRS manufacturer guarantee) includes three feet of ice water shield roofing membrane at the roof perimeter. 

- Roof structure built with pre-engineered factory trusses, with 1/2 “plywood.

 - Roof:  R40 Insulation for thermal rating

- Walls: R20 Insulation for thermal rating

Exterior walls built in 2 x 4 studs at 16” c.c with an additional R10.5 of urethane insulation 

-   Interior walls built in 2 x 4 studs at 16 “ c.c  (Separation walls provide proper fire rating and above standard sound proofing)

-   All floors are built with pre-engineered floor joist system, covered with factory fabricated high performance subflooring.


-   Town houses are clad in clay brick with a stone and brick facade

-   Pre-cast stone trim around windows on facade 

-  Windows: PVC frame, double thermal panes and low – E argon glass.

-   Patio doors off basement to 12 foot X 12 foot rear terrace

-  Sliding patio doors off family room to treated wood balconies,

-     Insulated metal doors with side light, mail box and door knocker. 

-      Bay window off living room.


-    “Coloniale or Modern” style interior doors and trim, paint grade.

-  One (1) coat of primer and two (2) coats of off-white throughout the town house.

- Pre finished ¾” oak strip flooring on the main and bedroom level.

-  Pre-finished oak staircase and railing from ground floor to bedroom level.

-   Pre-finished oak staircase  and railing from main level to basement.

-    Carpeted basement

-    Ceramic floors in vestibules entrance, master en-suite and family bathrooms, powder room, basement bathroom, kitchen and laundry closet

-  Ceramic tile backsplash in the kitchen.

-  Kitchen cabinet doors are in “regal style wood” or “woodshaker”, with a granite counters

-    Double stainless steel sinks with vegetable spray and levered faucet in kitchen.

-Master bathroom will include shower with prefabricated glass door frame, sink with 4 “c.c, faucets and elongated toilet.

-  Family bathroom & basement bathroom include bathtub (shower head and temperature controlled faucet) 4 c.c, sink faucet and elongated toilet.

-  Pedestal sink and elongated toilet included in the powder room.

-   Granite top vanities will be included in the master en-suite and family bathrooms.

-    Rough in Central Vacuum.

-Fire rated wall separating basement from garage area.

-Double glazed clear acrylic skylight.  

 -8 foot 9 3/4 inches ceiling clearance on the ground floor and 8 foot ceilings at bedroom and basement level.

  - Finished basements with choice of utility room ( 10 foot by 6 foot) or bedroom of 10 foot by 10 foot 6 inches. Bedroom includes window.  

-Approximately 2300 square feet living space – Open Concept floor plan

  21 Townhouses

6 Corner Units with an additional bay window offered at $495,000 tax in

 15 Attached Units offered at                                         $485,000 tax in


For more details about Anita, who is one dynamo of an individual, go to or call her at 514-502-6627. A sales trailer is expected to go up once the proper permits are in place.





Rembrandt Park, traffic and snow dump dominate District 2 meeting

1.     Introduction  

Rafi Zeira (right),  a District 2 resident, was introduced. As people entered the room they heard Rafi’s Accordion, a new CD he has just released with his wife Fay and their collaborators Michel Tordjman and Larry Hughes. All four were on hand to showcase the Jewish medley, which took a year and a half to produce. Rafispeaks I also introduced special guests Councillor Steven Erdelyi, responsible for public works and the environment; Beatrice Newman, manager of customer service and administration;  Charles Senekal; manager of engineering; Mohammed Ali, project manager in the engineering division and a CSL resident;  Harold Cammy, manager of sports and facilities for Parks and Recreation.  I explained that these meetings have been held once or twice annually since I was elected. Everyone was reminded that they can always call me at City Hall or send an email to

Left to right: Mohammed Ali, Charles Senekal,  Beatrice Newman, Harold Cammy, myself and Steven Erdelyi.

 2.     New Town Houses  

Gerald Issenman (pictured below)  was introduced as the developer of new townhouses on Marc Chagall Avenue. He is reviving the 21 unit complex which Jerome Winikoff had previously attempted to build. The same architects have been retained from the original project. Picture 177 Landscaping has been upgraded. If all goes well he hopes to starts building sometime in July, with units ready for occupation in December. Mr. Issenman owns the Côte Saint-Luc Building Corporation. Among his properties are the Bonaventure Arena, apartments on MacDonald Avenue and many more.  Units will cost about $425,000 for an interior and $435,000 for an exterior.

 3.     Digital Signage

 I expressed my appreciation for the Kazoo Digital signage we have up at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare. CSL gets a certain amount of promotional space and Kazoo sells the rest. It is working out nicely and Kazoo might add one or two more digital signs elsewhere in the city.

 4.     Rembrandt Park/Tennis Courts

Last year Harold Cammy was at the District 2 meeting, at which time he unveiled plans for us to build three new tennis courts at Rembrandt Park. There was a lot of opposition to this move and we took the time to consult. First and foremost, people were worrying about a lack of parking spots in the immediate area. In the meantime, all park renovations in the city were put on hold as we focused our financial objectives on the new $18 million Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC), two thirds of which will be paid for by the provincial and federal governments. In the meantime the city began negotiating a new lease with the English Montreal School Board for the five courts on the premises of the former Wagar High School. An agreement was reached and for the summer of 2012 those courts will be completely revamped. Mr. Cammy explained this will be far more cost efficient than constructing new ones at Rembrandt. There have been discussions at the council table, inspired by new city manager Tanya Abramovitch, to create a “cultural park” with picnic tables and space for performing arts. Over the years a lot of money has already been poured into this park. Mr. Cammy called on residents to send their ideas for  what they would like to see the park used for to Councillor Cohen.

 Comments and Suggestions

  -There were suggestions that more benches be added. While this will be looked into, benches are costly. The option of sponsoring a bench on behalf of a loved one was raised. (The following day Beatrice Newman reported to me that some new benches had been delivered and installed.)

-Replace the sand near the swing areas with bark chips or recycled rubber. Councillor Erdelyi cautioned there may be health hazards with those options.

-Replace the old skateboard pit with a picnic table area.

-Fix the wet patchy spots in the area where the soccer pit once sat.

-Close up the cement garbage containers next to the benches

-Install a speed bump at Merrimac and Rembrandt where cars are making quick turns. (Manager Senekal said that if such a suggestion or complaint comes in writing it will be looked at by the Transportation Committee.)

-For the “No Dogs Allowed” sign adjust it to include the cost of a fine if you are caught as  people continually ignore this rule.

-Introduce outdoor exercise equipment at parks (Councillor Erdelyi indicated that will in fact be occurring soon at a number of spots.)

-Bring back the rosebushes to Rembrandt Park (The following day Beatrice Newman confirmed that the bushes disappeared because they were dying and diseased. An order has been placed to plant new ones.)



5.     Traffic Matters (Kildare and Cavendish)

 I indicated that  many of my calls are about this corner and there is no simple solution. I lauded Charles and Mohammed for how responsive they are in general to citizens, particularly in regard to Kildare and Cavendish. A lot of time and money has been devoted to this corner over the years. It is not an easy fix. Mr. Senekal explained that attention is now being devoted to the reconfiguration of Cavendish Boulevard and the new road (The Avenue) which will lead to the Mall housing development. Once that is in place phase two will involve some significant proposals vis-à-vis Cavendish and Kildare. Mr. Senekal and Mr. Ali have developed some impressive options to really improve the situation. People will have to be patient as this must be discussed at the council table first. There were many suggestions of how to fix the situation, including Shirley Rosen (below) who has been on top of this situation for a long time. A common complaint was that Police Station 9 should be giving out more tickets to cars which are repeatedly not waiting for a green arrow to turn left on Cavendish coming from Kildare. There was a request for me to address this concern to the local police commander. I then took the opportunity to announce that I wish to invite all residents of District 2 to submit their own ideas as to how to fix the problem.

Picture 180

There was a suggestion that we put cameras mounted at the corner of Kildare and Cavendish to help give out more tickets.

 On a related issue, one resident of Marc Chagall suggests that the traffic pots – meant to slow down speeders – be painted yellow so they are easier to see.

 6.     Public Works

 A main topic of discussion here was the height of snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue. Dr. Paul Weinstein, who resides at Le Marquise next door, said that he is less concerned about the aesthetics than the amount of garbage there which he fears can spread disease. He also said that the state of the dump is leading to increased pigeon droppings on balconies. Across the street from Le Marquise, on part of the land where the new town houses will be built, he noted that proper grass cutting was not done and as a result white dandelions are growing. Beatrice Newman explained that someone from Public Works mistakenly thought that area was private property and this is why it was not attended to immediately. Dr. Weinstein also repeated a request he had about the planting of trees inside or directly outside of the fence of the dump. He reasons that eventually these trees might grow high enough to block the snow hill. We spoke to our horticulturalist, René Lapointe, who said that trees were in fact planted where he asked a number of years ago but they will never grow high enough to cover the hill. Furthermore, we did look into planting more but there simply is not any more sufficient fertile land to do so.

 Dr. Harry Shizgal and other asked whether we could try to bring in equipment to cut down the size of the hill. I have asked for this to be done, but as Councillor Erdelyi interjected the estimated cost to do so is somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000. For budgetary reasons, he explained, the city will likely wait until the snow melts. Dr. Weinstein asked that we investigate any alternative options which perhaps were not looked at in the past such as covering the hill with something to make it melt quicker.

 7.     Cavendish Mall

Many people have been asking when construction will begin on the new housing development at the Cavendish Mall.  Charles Senekal said that the first thing which needs to be done is the demolition of the pavement. Work will then begin for the infrastructure for the various streets. If all goes well, that phase could be completed  by early fall.

  8.     Beth Chabad

 I communicated with Rabbi Mendel Raskin of Beth Chabad last week. He can only say at this point that he hopes to see some progress on the first phase of the project soon, which would allow them to relocate from their temporary trailers and the space they rent at Bialik into their new home.


Mohammed and Charles chat with Aubrey Zelman, president of the Meadows Condominium Association and the owner of 




Rafi's Accordion CD launch at CSL CIty Hall

Côte Saint-Luc City Hall was the site of  a CD launch on June 6, prior to my District 2 Information meeting. Rafi Zeira, his wife Fay and two  friends – Michel Tordjman and Larry Hughes -were on hand to present their catchy CD as quiet background music as people entered the room to talk about matters such as traffic, new construction, parks and keeping the streets clean.

RaffiCD launch

The CD is called Raffi’s Accordion. It is a medley of Jewish songs of six tracks and 38 minutes long.

“My parents sent me to study acordion at the age of nine,” says Zeira, a native of Israel. “I played on and off through the years, but only in family gatherings. When I met Michel, we played together for charity in and around the Jewish community. I decided to make a CD so that future generations will remember me and the songs. We worked for about a year and a half on it.”

 Fay has worked in photography and design as a hobby and designed the CD cover. Tordjman  has been playing drums for 40 years.  “I play many different styles of music and have recorded a few CDs,” he says. “One of my dreams was always to produce an artist. I also enjoy working on music and theory. Rafi being such a great musician and friend of mine, was someone I wanted to produce. What made it exciting for me is that this would be his first CD.  He trusted me and gave me all the freedom I needed to be myself. I am looking forward to producing his second CD.”

As for Hughes, he  has been a musician in Montreal for the past 41 years. “I played with some of Montreal's and Canada's top acts,” he says. “ I currently own and run a recording studio on the West Island. I am very impressed with Rafi’s expertise on the accordion and I enjoyed engineering his first CD.”
To get your copy email Here is an interview with the team: