Pictured below: Public Works Director Patrick Raggo, Director of Parks and Recreation David Taveroff, Director of Urban Planning Charles Senekal, Councillor Cohen and City Manager Tanya Abramovitch.
1) THE LOT OF LAND ON MARC CHAGALL
Residents have expressed concern over the fact that the vacant land on Marc Chagall Avenue, between La Marquise and the Rothchild I, recently had all of its grass removed and replaced with earth. It was explained that owners of vacant land are required to maintain their property, which means cutting the grass in the spring and summer months. This land was supposed to be used for two large condominium towers a number of years ago. The project never occurred and in the interim council rezoned the land so that only 14 storey buildings could be erected. CSL’s Urban Planning Department contacted the owners to express concern that they took away the beautiful grass and left just earth behind. The owners maintain they are preparing the land in order to indeed build there in the near future. The city has been presented with no plans at the present time.
2) TRAFFIC MATTERS – KILDARE AND CAVENDISH
Director of Urban Development Charles Senekal indicated that an objective remains in place to totally reconfigure the busy cross section of Kildare and Cavendish. This will take time and money. A recent analysis of the area brought forward the discovery that there would be a rather large piece of work required by Hydro Quebec before the section could be enlarged – an essential component to any reconfiguration. Residents are encouraged to give their feedback about present issues at the corner. Many efforts have been made to accommodate drivers and pedestrians. It is not an easy fix, especially during rush hour with the Bialik High School traffic mixed in. Mr. Senekal listened to suggestions and indicated that he will assign someone from his staff to do some new testing. We will also alert Police Station 9 to some of the concerns expressed regarding cars which do not follow traffic regulations. There was mostly favorable comment vis-à-vis the Cavendish – Fleet section, with the double left turn and automatically going straight from the right lane. Mr. Senekal said that more signage may be posted – mostly to alert non-residents who are not familiar with the regulations. Pictured below, Rembrandt Avenue resident Evelyn Matlin makes a point.
3) REMBRANDT PARK
Director of Parks and Recreation David Taveroff recalled that at previous District 2 meetings, discussion revolved around potentially adding new tennis courts to Rembrandt Park and removing the basketball courts. Following further consultation with residents, it was decided to take a step back. An investment was made to refurbish the tennis courts on Caldwell Avenue. The idea of making improvements to Rembrandt has not been abandoned. Over the last number of years the soccer pit was levelled off, new park equipment was installed as well as a popular water spray section. New benches were also added. Efforts will be made to improve the lighting. City Manager Tanya Abramovitch shared her vision for making Rembrandt a “culture park,” where the arts could be celebrated via outdoor theatre, movies and public art. The park is already configured in such a way as it would lend itself nicely to this. It was explained that this is only a vision at the moment. We intend at some point in time to undertake a place making session whereby we actually meet in the park and explore this vision together. The mayor and council have already been part of such an exercise. What is place making? Read this.
Comments from the audience:
-Make food available at Rembrandt Park. Ms. Abramovitch told the audience that a new food policy will soon be proposed to city council which would enable mobile food vendors –hotdogs, falafel, ice cream etc – to operate at our parks and special events.
-Remove the basketball courts. This was actually on the planning board when we were looking at adding more tennis courts. During our consultation, those people living on Rembrandt wanted the courts removed. However, anyone living in the area with kids or grandchildren wants the courts to remain in place. When the next round of renovations to the park does take place, consideration will be given to a compromise – a half court.
-Send Public Security more frequently to the courts to ensure people are not using it after 11 p.m.
-Build a fence around the basketball courts, complete with a lock and key. David Taveroff took note of this idea.
-Add more “No dogs allowed” signs at Rembrandt Park and include the fact there is a $40 sign. Public Works Director Patrick Raggo took note of this.
-What plans are there for Isadore Goldberg Park, which is predominantly used by residents of the Kildare Road and Sir Walter Scott apartments? Some residents of the new Marc Chagall town houses wanted to know whether any improvements are planned for Goldberg Park. We did share our vision of moving and recreating the park to an area next to the Chagall town houses.
4) CAVENDISH MALL UPDATE
Director of Urban Development Charles Senekal explained that about one more month of infrastructure work remains at the Mall project. That means the asphalting of roads, irrigation, sprinklers, tree planting, cross walks, line painting and the grassing of certain lots. Bell, Gaz Met and Hydro Quebec have completed their work. In regard to the housing units, Phase I of the town houses on Kellert Avenue is 85 percent complete. It should all be done by the beginning of August. Phase II is expected to be ready by January. Town houses on Kildare will go up for sale soon, with the foundation possibly being poured by 2013. As for semi-detached, six are being built and should be ready by the fall. Eight more are planned for Kellert and four more for Mackle (no timeframe). For single family homes, plans for five have been approved; one has been erected.
5) HYDRO QUEBEC PROJECT
Patrick Raggo explained that Hydro-Quebec plans to install a new underground infrastructure system on Merrimac Road and Rembrandt Avenue. Plans called for the project to begin this summer. Following power outages almost two years ago, it was determined that the underground network currently in place has served its useful purpose. Hydro is now looking at starting the work by spring or summer 2012. They promise minimum power disruptions and a comprehensive communications plan. This will be done over two years. During year one, they will install the underground infrastructure. During year two, they will pull the new cabling in and get the new system started. Mr. Senekal said that Hydro will cover the costs of any damages made to property (roads, sidewalks, lawns). He noted that plans call for Merrimac Road to be repaved and he wants this to be done after Hydro has done its initial work.
Mr. Raggo maintained that the work is essential and that it will increase the reliability of the grid, make the grid more environmentally efficient and result in the area being safer and cut down on the many service calls received.
Councillor Cohen said that Hydro has agreed to send representatives to a public meeting before the project begins.
6) MARC CHAGALL TOWN HOUSES
Anita Benabou Rozenblat happily reported that all 21 town house units at Les Cours Marc Chagall have been sold. A year ago at this District 2 meeting, developer Gerald Issenman introduced the project. Construction began a few months later. Ms. Benabou Rozenblat spoke of how delightful it is to have so many young families as part of the new development.
7) SNOW DUMP
Councillor Cohen noted that at the 2011 District 2 meeting he pledged to do whatever possible to have the large, dirty hill chopped up and removed in the snow dump. With the support of Mayor Anthony Housefather and three other councillors (four voted against), $10,000 was allocated to do the job. This delighted in particular residents of La Marquise. Mr. Raggo said that the actual cleaning of the area continues, as a lot of trash surfaces during the clearing process. Dr. Paul Weinstein repeated a suggestion to plant poplar trees so that one day the hill can be completely covered. Public Works maintains that trees were planted a number of years ago for this exact purpose.
Councillor Cohen made a Public Service Announcement for the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee, which he oversees. He urged people to get involved in the Trap, Neuter and Release process and the Trap, Neuter and Adopt. He urged animal lovers who would like a pet to let him know as many beautiful kittens are being born in our territory and in need of a home. At least one family did come forward.
Councillor Cohen urged everyone to log on to his website at www.mikecohen.ca for updates on what is going on in the District and the city at large and to subscribe to his blog. He can also be reached by phone (514-485-6945) and email (email@example.com).