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December 2011

City Councillor for CSL District 2: my 2011 look back

As the year 2011 draws to a close, I would like to take a look back in my capacity as the Côte Saint-Luc city councillor for District 2. 

In November 2009 I was acclaimed for my second term in office. The electorate, in fact, returned Mayor Anthony Housefather and the same eight councillors who were voted in after the demergers with Montreal in 2005. I think we make a good team.  One of Mayor Housefather’s first acts was to assign portfolios to each councillor. This is a system that works well as we are all responsible for different aspects of how the city functions. In my case I handle communications, corporate identity, intercommunity relations, sponsorship and now the Trap, Neuter Release (TNR) program for cats.

Here is my look back at some 2011 highlights.

Rembrandt Park

Plans to construct new tennis courts at Rembrandt Park and move the basketball courts to another section were put on hold after the city came to an agreement with the English Montreal School Board for a long term lease of the tennis courts at the Giovanni Palatucci Facility (former Wagar High School). They had not been operational for the previous two years and could only be brought back to life with a total makeover. Council decided to allocate funds to rebuild those courts since they are centrally located. That will be completed next May. 

I am very pleased to say that since my election, there have been many positive developments at Rembrandt Park. We flattened the former soccer pit there. For years we had problems with youth rolling benches down the hill and using the area as a kind of hideout. Incidents of people throwing rocks late at night under the cover of dark were plentiful.  

We have added new park equipment and introduced a much appreciated water spray system. This winter we are introducing something completely new: a synthetic ice surface. It will be enclosed within the gates of one of the tennis courts. Synthetic ice is a solid polymer material designed for skating using normal metal-bladed ice skates. Rinks are constructed by interlocking panels. District 2 resident Steve Stein is the man behind the concept and we will have a formal opening of the facility in early 2012.

Rembrandt Park will be back on the agenda for some changes in 2012.  I know that we must deal with the lighting system there and we will determine if there is sufficient funding to do something. I will be consulting with residents before that happens.   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.  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.

Graffiti Issues

Residents of Les Villas Merrimac, a small town house development located at the corner of Merrimac and Rembrandt (with some units fronting on Cavendish), contacted me regarding a rash of graffiti appearing on their property. I arranged a meeting with the residents and had three officers from Police Station 9 and Councillor Glenn J. Nashen (responsible for the public safety portfolio) join me. We surveyed the area and gave them tips on how to help us identify the perpetrators. Some residents believe they actually caught the culprit, a young teen, but when he was apprehended no spray paint could be found.  The main message here is that we hope the perpetrators know that people are on the lookout.

Traffic

I held my annual June District 2 Information Meeting. This is a concept I campaigned on whereby residents can sit down with their elected official with the focus on specific concerns in the immediate neighbourhood. Representatives from Public Works and Engineering joined me. We engaged in discussion and dialogue regarding the Cavendish/Kildare intersection, traffic issues, construction at the Cavendish Mall and Marc Chagall and the municipal snow dump.

Beth Chabad

Beth Chabad finally moved into its new community centre on Kildare Road and Marc Chagall. The facility is not completely ready. While much work needs to be done over the winter months, when Rabbi Mendel Raskin (pictured with me here) gave me a personal tour of the sprawling facility I was incredibly impressed. This facility was almost two decades in the making. Beth Chabad RabbiRaskinMikeoperated out of the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre, the Cavendish Mall, Bialik High School and trailers in their parking lot. Our Building Inspection Division  devoted a lot of time and energy to ensure the facility was up to code and all safety measures were adhered to, enabling them to move in for the high holidays. Rabbi Raskin remains a golden ambassador to our community. He remains active year-round, with his wonderful wife Sarah,  organizing high profile events and inviting the community at large to take part. It is this type of attitude which will no doubt contribute to a healthy membership at his shul.

New Town  Houses

Les Cours Marc Chagall, the 21 unit town house complex on Marc Chagall Avenue, began to take shape. New developers Gerald Issenman (pictured) and David Brown enlisted real estate dynamo Picture 177Anita Benabou Rozenblat and most of the units are already sold, with occupancy expected  for next summer.

Quartier Cavendish

The Cavendish Mall was renamed Quartier Cavendish. Developer Joe Levine moved forward with his new development, Centrepoint Homes, http://centrepointehomes.com/go/  which when completed will be a thing of beauty. A number of the homes will be in District 2. It has been very exciting to see the progress made since half of the Mall was demolished. New roads were constructed in recent months and we will introduce new street names – The Avenue, Jubilee and Park Place.

Bialik High School

I continue to work with Bialik High School, specifically in regard to ensuring that parents dropping off their kids abide by traffic bylaws and not block local driveways. When I welcomed new principal Ken Scott to the community last summer, that is the first subject we addressed.

Aquatic and Community Centre

In the city at large our gorgeous $18 million Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC) opened in September, only 10 months after construction began. Two thirds of the funding came from the provincial and federal governments. We had an exciting opening ceremony and a few months later Minister of Municipal Affairs Laurent Lessard came for a tour. There is 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 (something which community organizations were particularly interested in), a dance and aerobic studio, senior lounges, a library branch, an art studio and more. We are also now open for business in regard to  naming rights. If a family or company wishes to have their name associated with any part of the complex, they should approach me.

When I was first elected and received the Intercommunity Relations portfolio I decided to develop a data base of every community organization operating within the confines of Côte Saint-Luc. Once that was in place I began holding meetings, where representatives from these organizations would come together and report on their activities. This turned out to be an excellent networking opportunity to begin with. In between meetings, we started to email them information about activities we thought they should know about.  Each meeting is, in fact, hosted by a different organization. This past fall we convened at the ACC, recognizing that many groups will probably want to use/rent this facility.

Canada Day

CupcakedistribI co-chaired 2011 Canada Day festivities with Councillor Allan J Levine. It was a perfect day in terms of the weather and by the time the fireworks display began there were thousands of people in Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park. During the evening we had a citizenship ceremony, a human rights walkway installation, music and dancing from Fresh Entertainment and The Directors Showband, games for kids and much more. The fireworks were dedicated to our Canadian troops overseas and a member of the Canadian Forces  joined us as a special guest. At the left we handed out Canada Day cupcakes.

Seniors Programming

Councillor Sam Goldbloom and I co-chaired the annual Seniors Golf Open at Meadowbrook. I also emceed the event’sd awards banquet. This is an event I always enjoy. The same goes for the Senior Men’s Club Gala Dance, which took place in November in the ACC’s new multipurpose room.   Dynamic Men’s Club president Sidney Margles, with an assist from D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman, arranged for Quebec Finance Minister  Raymond Bachand to come address the group. (Bergman also brought Premier Jean Charest to CSL for the annual Yom Hashoah commemoration at the Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation).

Cats Committee

The city’s Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) program for cats officially got started. City council provided $5,000 in funding and Canadian Pacific Railway added another $2,000. I decided to establish an actual Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC). We have a small, but dedicated, committee which had a busy year of trapping.  Our mandate will expand to a lot of education in the community. I represented the city at a major animal welfare conference in November. We need more people to work with us so please give us a call. The provincial government and the City of Montreal finally appear to be taking some important initiatives where animal welfare is concerned and we will follow this closely.

Dance Championships

Côte Saint-Luc’s Gymnasium was chosen as the venue for a major provincial Dance Championship. It was an absolutely fabulous event to attend. Celebrity television judge Jean-Marc Genereux was on hand to watch. His son was among the competitors.

In Passing

Rabbi Reuben J. Poupko of Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation walked down the aisle with prominent makeup artist Mindy Shear…The  Israeli Consul General of Israel, Joel Lion, moved to Côte Saint-Luc with his family…Star singer Ranee Lee came to our annual Blood Donor Clinic in May as a special celebrity guest….Côte Saint-Luc remained  a leader in social media, via our CSL TV and Facebook pages and a new app for smart phones. We produced a monthly calendar of events, mailed to each home, produced a special e-newsletter and our Côte Saint-Luc Courier tabloid newspaper twice during the year….The annual Maisons Fleuries contest  showcased the wonderful work our residents do with their gardens. An awards ceremony was held at City Hall in November…Finally, in December we adopted our 2012 budget, with an average 2.87 percent  

There are a lot of good things going on in Côte Saint-Luc. It is why I chose to live here for most of my life! Please subscribe to my blog at www.mikecohen.ca. Read me in The Suburban Newspaper, The Jewish  Tribune, The Montrealer, The Montreal Jewish Magazine, Sandboxworld.com and others


Rabbi Hershel Schechter honoured by Manoire Montefiore

Rabbi Hershel Schechter was honoured on December 18 by friends, families and admirers of the  Manoir Montefiore  family. He has been the spiritual leader of the beautiful retirement residence, located at the corner of Cavendish Boulevard and Mackle Road, since it first opened for business 23 years ago.

Manoire Montefiore is part of Revera Living, which operates retirement residences across Canada and the United States. Le Waldorf on Côte Saint-Luc Road is among them.

Was this a retirement party? “Absolutely not,” Rabbi Schechter smiled, when I asked the question. “Let’s say I am semi-retired. But I still plan to be here most days.”

There was a full house in the main dining room. A singer belted out tunes from the past and staff were busy preparing a delicious looking dessert buffet. Many members of the rabbinical corps were on hand.

Newly arrived executive director Len Goose was please to tell one and hall how Rabbi Schechter (pictured with me below) has been and continues to be an integral part of this seniors’ residence.  Lifestyles Consultant Louise Salhany also could not say enough about the impact Rabbi  Schechter has with residents.

Rabbi Shectermike1

Manoir Montefiore, which is situated in Electoral District 2, has a lovely synagogue and Rabbi Schechter is always there to lead services. Two former longtime staff members of the residence, Howard Modlin and Ellen Tissenbaum, were among those on hand for the celebration.


Mourning the passing of Eva Silverman

Côte Saint-Luc has lost another one of our leaders. The dynamic Eva Silverman, former president of the Côte Saint-Luc Senior Social Club, passed away on December 15. She was 94 years young and active in the community until her final days. I always appreciated Eva's passion for our city. She loved nothing more than to chair a meeting and keep everything and everyone in order.

Born in the village of Dubova, near Uman, in the Ukraine, Eva  was the daughter of Miriam and Velvel Deutchman. In 1919, Eva and her brother were rescued after a pogrom by their maternal grandparents, Sarah and Mordecai Packer, who then immigrated to Bucharest and, in 1928, to Montreal. Here, Eva led a long and fruitful life as a bookkeeper, wife and homemaker, and latterly, for several decades as a leading member of the Cote St. Luc Senior Social Club.Eva is pictured below (bottom right) at the 2008 installation ceremony, at which time she stepped down as president and handed the duties over  to Barbara Akerman.

SrSocialCLubInstallation

Funeral service from Paperman & Sons, ( 3888 Jean Talon St. W) will take place  on Sunday, December 18 at 11  a.m.   The shiva will be at her son's home, 1605 Dr. Penfield #202. Contributions in Eva’s memory may be made to the Israel Cancer Research Fund, (514) 481-2723, or to the charity of your choice.


Celebrity wedding: Rabbi Poupko and Mindy Shear tie the knot

Rabbi Reuben J. Poupko, the charismatic spiritual leader of Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation in Côte Saint-Luc, is no longer the most eligible bachelor among the local Jewish clergy. He recently walked down the aisle with the gorgeous Mindy Shear, a high profile makeup artist/entrepreneur  in the community. The happy couple are pictured below at their nuptials.

MIndyPoupkocolour

In 1986 Pittsburgh native Rabbi Poupko, then   27, arrived via New York . From the start, everyone who met him knew he was not your average spiritual leader. At the pulpit his tremendous oratory skills, both in praise of Judaism and Torah and in the defence of Zionism and the modern State of Israel, provided audiences with a tremendous lift. He also showed an extraordinary sense of humour, prompting many to suggest he should consider a sideline as a standup comedien. In fact, he got rave reviews for his performance in the nationally televised Schmelvis: The Search for the King’s Jewish Roots, a documentary investigating Elvis Presley’s supposed Jewish roots.

From the moment he arrived in Montreal, students turned to him for guidance and leadership. So did the community at large and over the past 21 years he has served in some high ranking leadership positions. He remains a media darling in this city, with the press constantly at his doorstep for what they know will be a catchy soundbite. He has been on more than a dozen March of the Living trips and visited Israel  more than 100 times.

I have known Mindy since she was a teenager and was part of the  same mission to Israel with her about 20 years ago. That just happened to mark her first trip to the Jewish homeland and from that point on her devotion to Judaism grew. In 1987  she established Mindy Shear Makeup Studio with the aim of bringing superior performance and elegance to the daily ritual of make up. After extensive beauty industry training and of her completion of a fine arts degree, she  set out to approach the make up business with an artist’s eye.  Over the years she  has had the opportunity to work with various actors, models, photographers and fashion designers in different countries.  She now has her own line  of makeup products. 

While Rabbi Poupko's five children and  seven grandchildren all live out of town, he now has a new youngster in his life: Mindy's young son Shalev  Shear Yaacov.

"We've known each other for many years as we are both involved in community,"  said Mindy.  "We had a long friendship, but we lost touch for a few years.  About a year ago we ran into each other and went out for dinner to catch up.  Slowly over time, we started spending more time together and our friendship blossomed into a more serious relationship. And the rest is history!"

Good luck to the happy couple!



 


Hockey legend Dickie Moore visits CSL Arena

It is not every day that Côte Saint-Luc's Samuel Moskovitch Arena gets a visit from a professional hockey legend. Yet there was Dickie Moore, the former number 12 for the Montreal Canadiens,  on hand to watch the CSL Bantam "A" Canucks take on their competitors from St. Laurent.

DickieMoore Arena

CSL and District 2 resident Steve Stein and his family took Dickie out for dinner on the occasion of the special date that evening: 12/12 - December 12.  Steve's son Mathew is a member of the Canucks, who lost the game 3-2. Dickie was quite the hit, signing autographs and posing for photos.

Here is more about Dickie from the website Our History.

An energetic and tireless left winger, Moore held the record for points in a season for seven years, earning him two Art Ross trophies.

Pride, skill and determination are all attributes that come to mind when Dickie Moore’s name is mentioned. An outstanding all-around player who approached the game with unmatched ferocity, he spent 12 years with the Canadiens, emerging from his time in the hockey world as one of the greatest wingers in Habs history.

A standout junior who played on Memorial Cup Championship teams in both 1949 and 1950, he broke in with the Habs midway through the 1951-52 season and was assigned two veteran linemates. With Elmer Lach at center and Moore’s boyhood idol, Maurice Richard, on the right side, the rookie picked up 33 points in as many games and continued to shine in the postseason.

Injuries kept Moore from full-time duty over the next two seasons but he answered the call come playoff time, showing the fire and the poise of a veteran when the stakes were at their highest. The Habs won the Stanley Cup in 1953 and the subsequent spring, Moore’s 13 points led all playoff scorers.

Toe Blake’s decision to place rookie Henri Richard between Moore and “The Rocket” the following year resulted in a forward line that was one of the NHL’s best for the next nine years.

All three men were among the most combative players the game has ever seen. Maurice Richard was still the most dangerous man in the hockey world from the blue line in. His younger brother had very few peers when it came to carrying and controlling the puck.

Five consecutive Stanley Cups came Montreal’s way as the tough kid from a rough Montreal neighborhood continued to establish himself as a star. Moore had all the tools at his disposal and he used every one of them effectively. He was a strong skater, smooth stickhandler, crisp passer and had a strong accurate shot.

An offensive threat as much as anyone on the roster, Moore’s greatest asset lay in what he didn’t do. The 5-foot-10, 168-pounder refused to back down from anyone and he refused to lose. Whether it was a race for a loose puck, a battle along the boards or a round of fisticuffs, Moore usually emerged victorious.

Moore’s scoring numbers climbed each year and he became a consistent 20-goal scorer, hitting the mark in six of his last seven years with the Canadiens.

Netting 29 goals in 1956-57, Moore tallied three more in the playoffs, including that year’s Cup-winning marker. In 1957-58, his 36 goals and 84 points topped the league and earned him the Art Ross Trophy, a feat Moore accomplished despite playing the last three months of the campaign sporting a cast on his broken wrist.

He repeated as scoring champ in 1958-59, leading the league with 55 helpers and establishing a new league record with his 96 points. Having toppled Gordie Howe’s previous mark, Moore would see his record stand until Bobby Hull surpassed it in 1965-66.

Moore’s body paid the price for his spirited approach to the game but he refused to slow down, playing through injuries that sidelined lesser competitors. After 12 years of rugged play, his body had had enough. Moore retired after the 1962-63 season to concentrate his efforts on his growing business interests, but he couldn’t stay away from the game he loved.

After playing 38 games for Toronto in 1964-65, Moore moved to St. Louis in 1967-68. The 37-year-old went out with a bang, picking up 14 postseason points as the Blues made it to the Finals in their inaugural campaign.

Moore’s on-ice success ranks among the Canadiens top scorers of all-time; his 254 goals and 340 assists place him in 12th and 13th place, respectively. The man who routinely lifted the level of his game in the playoffs, appeared in nine consecutive Finals. He is 10th for all-time postseason points and assists, and ranks ninth for goals.

Dickie Moore was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974. On November 12, 2005, his number “12” was retired and raised to the rafters of the Bell Centre.

 


Budning Pharmacy now offering services...for your pet

With a new Pharmaprix franchise being built right across the street, despite umteen protests t o Montreal West Town Council, Carol Budning is doing her best to show her devoted clientele from the Town, Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead, NDG and beyond that her "personal" service cannot be outdone.

As a customer of Carol and her late father Charles for three decades now, I can attest to this.

Carol is now sending out a regular newsletter by email. Takes a look  at the file below (Download Budning)  and you will see that she is now offering prescriptions for your pets.  Read all about!

Download Budning 2011-12


Quebec government makes important announcements about animal welfare

I am very pleased to report that the Quebec government has made good on its promise to act on necessary changes to animal welfare. This has been something animal welfare activists such as myself have been calling for. It was a major focal point at an animal welfare conference I attended recently in Montreal and reported on here.

Minister Pierre Corbeil makes important announcements about animal welfare

QUÉBEC CITY, Dec. 6, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Pierre Corbeil, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Minister responsible for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region and the Nord-du-Québec region, and MNA for Abitibi-Est, announced two major courses of action in response to the recommendations of the pet welfare task force: tabling of a bill in the National Assembly to amend the Animal Health Protection Act, primarily with regard to animal safety and welfare, and passing into law of the Regulation respecting the safety and welfare of cats and dogs.

Bill to amend the Animal Health Protection Act

The bill to amend the Animal Health Protection Act provides for stiffer fines and penalties. For example, the current fine ranging from $200 to $5000 for a first offence could go as high as $25,000 or even $75,000 in the case of certain repeat offences.

To better address citizens' concerns, new powers will be added to the Act to enable the Minister to:

  • Require permits for certain owners or custodians of cats and dogs and for operators of a location where dogs and cats are kept, i.e. shelters, pounds, and locations run by individuals or organizations dedicated to  animal welfare;
  • Set standards for dog or cat euthanasia and for prescribing or prohibiting certain methods;
  • Determine the skills or qualifications required of permit holders or their employees;
  • Determine the maximum number of cats or dogs that can be kept at a single location or by any one individual.

The bill is slated for study by a parliamentary committee this winter.

Regulation respecting the safety and welfare of cats and dogs

The Regulation respecting the safety and welfare of cats and dogs has been passed into law and will be published in the Gazette officielle du Québec on December 14. It will come into force on June 14, 2012.

The regulation includes standards for keeping animals and will make the job of inspectors easier.

"I'm convinced that these new measures, combined with the efforts of all the partners, will make us even more effective in fighting abusive practices and strengthening pet protection. Better treatment of animals requires everybody's cooperation. It all starts with greater accountability by everyone who acquires a pet," said Minister Corbeil.

Minister Corbeil went on to say that as soon as the amendments to the Animal Health Protection Act are passed, he will table a new draft regulation with Cabinet making a permit with pre-conditions mandatory for keeping certain numbers of animals.

Lastly, some aspects of the issue remain especially sensitive, including euthanasia, overpopulation, spaying, and dogs kept tied. To help him in his deliberations, Minister Corbeil will ask the Kelley task force on animal welfare, which is continuing its excellent work, to produce recommendations on the action to take, in collaboration with the partners.

For further information about the proposed amendments, go to www.mapaq.gouv.qc.ca/securitebienetreanimal.