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September 2011

August 2011

A proud day for Côte Saint-Lucers as our ACC Opens

After breaking ground on the future site of the Aquatic and Community Centre only last October, the City of Côte Saint-Luc has completed construction of the facility and proudly welcomed the public to an open house on Sunday, August 28.


Despite the presence of Hurricane Irene, huge crowds came out to see for themselves our newest pride and joy. The ACC is located at 5794 Parkhaven Ave. (corner Mackle Rd.). There was music and entertainment for kids, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and water polo and synchronized swimming exhibitions.  Also, the public was invited to tour the building.

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Conservative Senator Judith Seidman, Liberal  Member of Parliament for Mount Royal Irwin Cotler and D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman were among the dignitaries who joined us. They are pictured with Mayor Housefather and I at the left, with the pools in the background.

“Getting the ACC built on time and on budget is a tremendous accomplishment for our city council,” our Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “I have no doubt that this facility—both the aquatic side and community side—will become a community hub together with the adjoining gymnasium and outdoor pool. I certainly plan on spending a lot of time there myself.”

The ACC will open for business on Tuesday, September 6. Regular building hours will be weekdays from 6 am to 11 pm, and weekends from 8 am to 10 pm.

ACC Open House / Portes ouvertes CCA from CSL TV on Vimeo.

 

The $18 million ACC took just 11 months to build. The ACC was designed to promote and facilitate active lifestyles and promote wellness, in the holistic sense of the term. People will be able to benefit from an indoor competition pool, an indoor recreation pool, a fitness room, a teen lounge, a games rooms, a kids room and babysitting service, a large rentable space for parties and conferences, a dance and aerobic studio, senior lounges, a library branch, an art studio and more.

The governments of Quebec and Canada gave Côte Saint-Luc grants totaling up to a maximum of $11.57 million, which equals two-thirds of the costs of building the facility. The City of Côte Saint-Luc funded the other third. The City of Côte Saint-Luc appreciates its partners who worked closely with council and staff on the ACC. MHPM Project Managers Inc. oversaw this building project and design plans for the new building. Pomerleau was the design builder and the arch.

As a city council we are so proud to bring such a magnificent facility to our community. I would like to single out our City Manager Tanya Abramovitch, Director of Parks and Recreation David Taveroff , Project Manager  Anthony Palumbo and co-chairs of the ACC Committee, Councillors Ruth Kovac and Mitchell Brownstein.

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Walking through the building today was a surreal experience. Having visited during the construction phases, it is hard to believe it is now a fully funtioning facility which I know will become a draw for more young families and retired senior citizens to move here.  At the right, Councillor Brownstein and I admire some of the machines in the workout room.

Sidney Margles, the one-time broadcaster and TMR councillor, now chairs our Senior Men's Club.  He proudly welcomed visitors to their new headquarters. No longer will they have to rent the second floor of the Côte Saint-Luc Shoppping Centre.  Sid told me that the Men's Club's annual Dinner Dance will take place at the ACC on October 30, instead of at a rented hall in St. Laurent as has been the case in recent years.

You can go to our special website setup for the ACC for more details. Also, read Councillor Glenn J. Nashen's excellent blog posting.

 


CSL ACC Open House and Inauguration on Sunday

Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre Open House

The community  is  invited to the Aquatic and Community Centre Open House in the City of Côte Saint-Luc on Sunday.  We will proudly unveil our magnficent $17.5 million facility.

WHAT:                Aquatic and Community Centre open house 
WHERE:             5794 Parkhaven Ave. (corner Mackle Rd.) 
WHEN:                Sunday, August 28, 2011, ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 pm 

For more information about the Aquatic and Community Centre, visit www.CoteSaintLuc.org/en/ACC.


A "BeautiFeel" visit to Côte Saint-Luc

Last week my  colleague on Côte Saint-Luc City Council, Dida Berku advised me that her husband Jacob Kincler would be picking up a special friend from Israel at the airport and bringing him over  to City Hall to meet with elected officials. This "friend" was Ami  Bar Nahor, the owner of BeautiFeel Shoes in Israel.

Ami Bar Nahorcouncil1

Today,  the BeautiFeel brand enjoys recognition through more than 1,000 high-end stores in  17 countries, including Israel, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Bar Nahor was in Montreal  for  three days to meet with his distributors, Irving Brownstein and Sylvain Valois, spend time with  his close friends  Jacob   and Dida   and most importantly visit the shoe store which has given his shoes worldwide attention for all of the wrong reasons. He is pictured above with some members of council and Jacob Kincler.

Last fall Kincler and his wife Berku were on holiday in France when they received an email  from BarNahor inquiring about a campaign back in Montreal to boycott the purchasing of his shoes. Kincler, a native Israeli who actually met Bar Nahor by chance in 2008 while vacationing in  Italy, made some calls and found out that such a campaign had indeed been launched. Boutique Le Marcheur, a shoe store in the heavily French speaking  Mile End District, had become the target of protesters from  a group called PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity) in condemning the fact that it carried  BeautiFeel shoes. Amir Khadir, the rebel anti-Israel Member of the National Assembly for the separatist Québec Solidaire, through oil on the fire by joining in the call for a boycott.  The protesters, carrying placards, began marching in front of the store each Saturday. Yves Archambault,  the owner of the store, refused to back down. Given the fact BeautiFeel  accounted for no more than three percent of his inventory that would  have been the easy approach.

Kincler was incensed. So were other members of the Jewish community, notably activist Sharon Freedman, Suburban Newspaper editor Beryl Wajsman and a list of personalities which grew each week.  Before long there were counter protests, with high ranking elected officials from all  political stripes stepping forward in  support of Archambault. Following many months of this activity and condemnations continuing against the protesters, Khadir finally backed off while PAJU turned its attention across the street to the Naot shoe store, which sells shoes almost exclusively made in Israel.

Bar  Nohar paid a visit to Boutique Le Marcheur last week.  Regrettably, Archambault and his wife were on vacation so their face to face meeting will have to wait for another day. However, as he discussed the boycott campaign with me, Ben Nahor grew angry. “What these people did was completely wrong,” he said. “They took a store hostage for no good reason. There should be a law against such activity. This is not the first Israeli product to be the target of a boycott and it won’t be the last. I have lived in Israel all of my life. I know the kind of tricks these people try to  play. It is disgusting.”

Last week Bar Nahor also walked across the street to Naot to express solidarity with them. While it has not received a lot of publicity, Kincler said that some PAJU protesters continue to march each Saturday in  front of Naot and calling on people to boycott. “We won the round with Le Marcheur and now we have to do the same thing for Naot,” he said. “I think that this  is already happening. They are down to about four or five protesters each Saturday while we have 25. Ami is right. There should be a law on the books that states stores must be allowed to conduct business in peace and harmony.”

Bar Nahor met with Mayor Anthony Housefather and members of council. Driven by the profound conviction that "women deserve shoes that feel as beautiful as they look, for any time of the day, in any season, or for any occasion,”  Bar Nahor established BeautiFeel  in 1989.  He bought a small factory, on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Accompanied by only five employees  he kicked off the development and production of this innovative idea, giving birth to a whole new concept in the comfort shoe line – "Dressy Comfort Footwear.”

This is one smart guy!

 

 


The incredible true story of Steve Acre's escape from Iraq

Steve Acre is a distinguished constituent of mine in District 2.  The Rembrandt Avenue resident is a successful insurance executive. I must say that one of the best things about being a city councillor is having the opportunity to meet and interact with people like Steve. We have been in frequent touch during this my second mandate on a wide variety of issues.
 
I am attaching a fascinating article which just appeared  in AMI Magazine about Steve and his memories of hardship growing up as a Jew in Iraq. He was just nine years old when he witnessed the horrible massacre of Jews, known as the Farhud.
 
 
There are photos of Steve in different attire. The one in Arab clothing was taken just before he escaped in 1949.
 
This is an important story to tell about how minorities were treated in Arab lands.
 

 


CSL signs graffiti information sharing agreement with police

ADOPTION OF AN AGREEMENT WITH THE SPVM TO PERMIT THE SHARING OF INFORMATION
 
A few weeks ago I met with residents of a condominium complex in District 2 of Côte Saint-Luc whose property was vandalized with graffiti.
At the August 8, 2011 council meeting, we adopted this resolution:

WHEREAS the Service de police de Montréal (SPVM) obtains information
(‘’Information’’) while conducting police operations which may be relevant to assist in the prosecution of certain offences to municipal by-laws as well as to assist the City of Côte Saint-Luc (‘’the City’’) to collect damages to municipalproperty ;
WHEREAS the City wishes to obtain the said Information so that it can
invoice offenders to recuperate the costs associated with the aforedescribed
damages as well as to prosecute infractions to municipal by-laws such as the
removal of graffiti and tags;
WHEREAS the law permits the sharing of certain information that would
be produced as a result of the foregoing,
It was
MOVED BY COUNCILLOR Ruth Kovac
SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR Mike Cohen
AND RESOLVED:
THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council (‘’Council’’) hereby authorizes the
City to enter into an agreement with the SPVM entitled “Protocole d'entente sur la communication des renseignements aux fins de l’application de la
réglementation municipale et de la réclamation des dommages causés par des graffitis” (‘’Agreement’’) consisting of three (3) pages plus two (2) annexes;
THAT Council further authorizes any of: the City Manager, the Associate
City Manager, the City Clerk and Director of Claims and Litigation, or the Director of Public Safety to sign the Agreement that gives effect to the foregoing.’’
CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

Calling on provincial government to end suffering of dogs and cats

For two and a half years ago, the Ministere de l'Agriculture, des Pecheries et de l'Alimentation du Quebec (MAPAQ)  has been working together with animal welfare experts, veterinarians, and industry representatives to update the Quebec Animal Welfare Act regulations.

Cat&dog01

Despite the implementation of some improvements, the MAPAQ  has failed to address a number of key areas. necessary to alleviate the suffering endured by tens of thousands of dogs and cats.

Some of the most critical items not dealt with in MAPAQ regulations include veterinary care, maximum number of breeding dogs per facility, enrichment for dogs or cats confined to cages for extended periods of time, and loopholes in authorized euthanasia methods.

Sadly, we have heard many stories recently in Quebec about abandoned and homeless  companion animals  being tortured and abused. Last spring Radio-Canada’s investigative television show, Enquete, went undercover at the Berger Blanc shelter and  shot explosive video that raised questions about how animals should be euthanized. In the video, animals were seen living in tiny, neglected cages and are injected with what appears to be drugs.

Here is the Radio Canada report on Berger et Blanc. A warning - some images will be disturbing:

 

As the city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc who oversees our new Cat Committee, I feel it is my duty to represent the views of animal lovers in our community.

At the August 8 Côte Saint-Luc City Council meeting, I asked that our city support a call by Humane Society International Canada and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA ) to   urgently request members of the public to write in to MAPAQ requesting that the regulations they announced be dramatically improved before an August 26, 2011 deadline they have put forward.

The MAPAQ will not accept any emails, so you must fax or mail your comments to:

Ms. Madeleine Fortin
Sous-ministre adjointe, Direction générale de l'alimentation 200, chemin Sainte-Foy, 12e Étage Québec (Québec) G1R 4X6
Fax: 418 380-2171


See this link for more details.


The tragic passing of Alain Ohana

I first met Alain Ohana more than 20 years ago.  He was a young dentist with a dynamic personality. At the time, a number of friends and I were involved in an organization called the Association of Young Jewish Adults. It was originally called the Jewish Adult Programming Society, but many people soured on the acronym JAPS so we made a change. This was a social group, with parties usually once a month. Our motto was: bring a boyfriend, bring a girlfriend; find a boyfriend, find a girlfiend. 

While I did not meet my wife via AJAY/JAPS, I made many good friends through this group. Alain Ohana was one of them and he became part of my social circle for many years. This was an interesting time in my life. I had just moved out on my own, was single for a lot of these years, and happily enjoyed a growing circle of friends. We went to dinner and movies together, organized events and just had a lot of fun.

Alain, whom we called “Doc,” was the kind of guy you could not help but like. OhanaHis laugh was infectious. He was always up on current events, so there was never dead air when he was around. As a dentist, he had a practice in Lachine where most of his clients were on social assistance. Alain  told me often how good he felt that he was making sure these individuals and their families were enjoying healthy smiles.

" The private  practice where Dr. Alain Ohana worked is a well established clinic that saw everyone, no one was ever refused, " a colleague of his told  me. "He showed a lot of devotion to his patients. Dr.Ohana double booked his days to accommodate everyone; rarely a break was ever taken.   His knowledge in surgery, endodontics, and dentures to try and accommodate his patients were always his main concern. He also  gave so much back to the community with his volunteer work.

As we all got married and had families, I did not see Alain that often. But whenever I did, he ALWAYS had kind words to say. He would allude to a particular column I wrote or chat about the Montreal Canadiens.

Alain married interior designer Sandy Mamane (pictured with him above). The couple had three young children and settled in Hampstead. A few years ago at Christmas I saw Alain by the pool at a family condo building I was staying at in Florida. His mom was a co-owner there. For about four years in a row, we would see each other at Christmas. I watched how his family grew and a new baby was born two years ago.  His two older children were full of personality, just like their dad. Alain I would sit in or by the pool for hours, talking about old times.

This past Christmas we did not go to Florida. Neither, I later learned,  did Alain. Just a few weeks ago a friend told me that he was not well. Then on August 3, I came home from holiday and got a message from our mutual friend Paul Melnick that Alain had died, a victim of bone cancer.

As the story goes, soon after I last saw Alain in Florida he returned home and began to experience pain in one of his legs. When it did not go away he went to his doctor. Tests were done and bone cancer was detected. The pain became so bad that he could not even walk.

Alain would lose his battle with cancer, only weeks before his 49th birthday. I attended his funeral and it was standing room only. When his son Jordan came to the podium and eulogized his father in French and English, there was not a dry eye in the room. Alain’s best friend Serge Rimok spoke about their incredible 32 year old friendship, the amazing trips they went on, Alain’s extraordinary sense of direction and his ability to pull out a full course meal from his ski jacket as the  lift was bringing them to the top of the hill.

I looked around the room and saw so many faces of our mutual friends from the good old days.

Life is not fair! Alain had so many years left.  He had already lost his own father at the age of four.

Alain will not be able to see his three beautiful children grow up.  All one can say is that he left a legacy of generosity, good humour and intelligence (he spoke seven languages). His children will indeed carry on the Ohana tradition.

Rest in peace Alain. You will be terribly missed!





Rembrandt Park tennis courts to be part of consultation

I recently attended a meeting of the Côte-Saint-Luc Tennis Committee, at which time the subject of Rembrandt Park was on the agenda. More than a year ago we were looking into adding new tennis courts at Rembrandt. The matter was discussed at a public District 2 meeting and followed up by months of consultations. There was a definite discomfort with the plan. For that reason, plus the fact that quotations for the expansion came in way over budget, we put the project on hold.

As you can read on Councillor Glenn J. Nashen's blog, the city has entered an agreement with the English Montreal School Board to bring the courts at the former Wagar High School back to life. That will occur next year and address the issue of adding more courts in the

At the Tennis Committee we came up with some new proposals regarding Rembrandt. My hope is to have a special placemaking session, whereby some area residents will be invited to be part of the process. New lighting will be part of any proposal that comes forward.

Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Put simply, it involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular space, to discover their needs and aspirations. This information is then used to create a common vision for that place. The vision can evolve quickly into an implementation strategy, beginning with small-scale, do-able improvements that can immediately bring benefits to public spaces and the people who use them.

Stay tuned for more information.