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December 2012

My 2012 CSL District 2 Year in Review

As the city councillor for District 2 in Côte Saint-Luc, I am pleased to deliver my annual highlight package for the year that was.

Your mayor and city council work very hard. We meet face to face on a very regular basis, attend numerous community functions and most importantly makes ourselves readily available to respond to the concerns of our constituents. If someone calls the City Councillor’s Office, we will get back to them right away. Most constituents, though, contact us via email. On any given night, I will have dozens of emails to respond to.  I urge residents to stay tuned to my website (mikecohen.ca), where I publish frequent updates on community activities. Interestingly, it is when I take my walkabouts in District 2 or do my shopping at the local IGA, where constituents approach me in any aisle they see fit.

Here is my look back at 2012.

New Town Houses on Marc Chagall

The 21-unit town house complex, Les Cours Marc Chagall, was completed on time and I am pleased to welcome the new residents to the District. Located on Marc Chagall Avenue, this project was many years in the making. History will note that the land was originally zoned commercial. A few years ago a developer approached council for a zoning change to residential. It was clear from dialogue I had with residents in condo buildings in the immediate vicinity and through a public information session, town houses were far more preferable than a stripping shopping mall.

MArc Chagall Photo

 When council initially refused the zoning change, the developer began to promote a strip mall. Residents were concerned. Once again I worked with council and the zoning change was granted. While the first developer was not able to see the project through, a new consortium soon arrived on the scene. They were very successfully, selling out within six months.

The Snow dump

For years residents of Marc Chagall, specifically at La Marquise, complained about the large dirty hill of snow that remained in the snow dump into the early summer. With the support of Mayor Housefather I was able to secure enough votes for a special allocation to break the hill apart in early spring. I will endeavor to do the same after this next winter.


Not only is there is aesthetic problem with the snow dump, it is also dangerous. The previous summer I saw people climbing over the fence and walking up the snow dump hill. I had to call Public Security on several occasions to get these people down. The snow also attracted different birds and wild animals, from racoons to even coyotes.
I wish to thank Mayor Housefather for his strong support on this matter. He agreed to put the $10,000 in our 2012 budget. We needed five votes for this to pass. Besides myself, Councillors Allan J. Levine, Sam Goldbloom and Mitchell Brownstein supported the motion. It was a 4-4 tie, with the mayor casting the deciding vote.

Beth Chabad Thrives

Last May I was thrilled to attend Beth Chabad CSL’s 26th anniversary gala, which was highlighted by the debut of a gorgeous new social hall. Officially known as Beth Chabad Hechal Menachem, the building is home to the Maurice and Nicole Benisti Youth Centre. At the gala, Max and Sigy Laredo received the Tree of Life Award; Jacob and Therese Attias, the Builders Award; and Michel and Perline Amar, the Anshei Chesed Award.

RabbiRaskinMikeThe new social hall can accommodate close to 600 people. “This will fill a large void in the greater Montreal area where few halls can boast the capacity to hold events of this magnitude,” Rabbi Raskin told me “It will be equipped with state-of-the-art audio equipment and screens to hold community wide Jewish educational conferences, community lectures, symposiums and seminars throughout the year. This will be a place to hold holiday celebrations, weddings, brit milot, bar/bat mitzvahs in addition to many other occasions.

More Construction?

There may be some more opportunity in 2013 to construct something else new on Marc Chagall. Stay tuned.

Bialik High School

At Bialik High School, across the street, efforts have been successful to improve longstanding traffic congestion. A combination of working with the school administration and local Police Station 9 has resulted in much better conduct by parent motorists.

As the co-chair of the Côte Saint-Luc Human Rights Walkway project, I was happy to organize an event at Bialik to mark the 100th anniversary of righteous gentile Raoul Wallenberg`s birth. We invited students from a number of local public schools, the Consul General of Israel, the mayor and some members of council, community leaders and a gentleman whose family was saved by Wallenberg.   

VE  Day AND REMEMBRANCE DAY

District 2 is also home to Veteran’s Park, a piece of land directly beside City Hall, which serves as a fitting venue for VE and Remembrance Day activities specifically.

GroupMike

The annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration ceremony in Côte Saint-Luc took place in May. The City of Côte Saint-Luc and the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion organize the V-E Day event, which commemorates the victory of the Allies over Nazi Germany. We generally do not have a large Remembrance Day ceremony, especially when it falls during the week. This year it fell on a Sunday. Weather conditions were also quite nice. These two factors resulted in a larger than usual turnout.

Kildare Road Parking

For many years parking on the southern side of Kildare Road, between Rembrandt and Merrimac, had been prohibited on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Residents                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          approached me numerous times to try and get this changed and for various reasons approval was not within reach. Last winter I worked with our head of engineering, Charles Senekal to come up with a resolution to this problem. Many residents of the condominium town houses on Kildare Road like to leave their cars on the street when they come from work, rather than park in their garage. The city, however, has always needed to allocate some time for street cleaning.

 The compromise I was able to reach, with Mayor Anthony Housefather lending a helpful hand, was no parking on that strip between 7 a.m. and Noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since most of the residents I spoke to indicate that it was late afternoon when they generally wanted to park on the street, I believe this is a winning solution. I would like to thank District 5 Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, who as head of the city's Transportation Committee, set the wheels in motion for this development.

Hydro Project

I have met with senior officials from Hydro-Québec and we are in discussions to undertake a project which will improve the power grid on Rembrandt. Hydro plans to install a new underground infrastructure system. Work could begin by spring or summer. 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. We are told Hydro will cover the costs of any damages made to property (roads, sidewalks, lawns). Plans also call for Merrimac Road to be repaved and we want this to be done after Hydro has conducted its initial work.

Stay tuned for more to come on this.


Cavendish Mall∕ Quartier Development

The new Cavendish Mall development is beginning to take shape. Many of the homes are already occupied. The new streets of The Avenue, Park Place, Jubilee and an extended version of Kellert are part of District 2 at the present time. We have come so far in the last seven years. When I was first elected in 2005, we began meeting with the Mall administration over their desires to demolish at least half of the shopping centre and have housing built. We were very diligent in dealing with their proposals, refusing options which would have resulted in unreasonable traffic congestion.  I believe we agreed on a win-win project for everyone concerned. It has been wonderful to see the new streets take shape and the Mall lot reconfigured. When this is all completed, we will have a beautiful look.

It should be noted that the Mall is now known as Quartier Cavendish. Instead of having a shopping centre with a 40 percent vacancy rate, the facility is now full.  Valet parking is available on certain days. The CLSC René-Cassin offers blood tests that are sent directly to the Jewish General Hospital. We will be having a ceremony in the spring for Jubilee Avenue to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Oakridge Tenants

In August, I was pleased to attend a barbeque held behind City Hal organized by the Oakridge Tenants Association. This is the apartment building located at the very end of Sir Walter Scott Avenue. It is a well established facility, with a pretty steady clientele.

Rembrandt Park

Rembrandt Park continues to be a well used facility in the spring, summer and fall seasons, from the tennis courts, the water spray section and the play areas. People enjoy taking leisurely walks there and sitting on the benches. We continually consult with residents regarding any changes to the park.  I am excited to announce that the long awaited upgrade of the tennis courts at Rembrandt, including the lighting, is expected to be done in 2013. I will know early in the new year what exactly we can expect and the proposed timing. Last summer the courts behind the former Wagar High School were refurbished. Because of that Rembrandt was placed on the waiting list.

District Meetings

I continue to hold at least one District meeting a year, bringing constituents together at City Hall to talk specifically about issues of a very local nature. There is always a good turnout. This year I had City Manager Tanya Abramovitch on hand to talk about a number of issues. City Engineer Charles Senekal and Public Works Director Patrick Raggo also added their expertise.

Miketalks

We always hear from people about traffic concerns, especially at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare. Our traffic experts continue to look at ways to make the traffic and pedestrian flow to move at a better pace.  I will announce a new mode of consultation sometime in 2013.

Volunteer of the Year

District 2 resident Sidney Margles, who has done an outstanding job as president of the CSL Senior Men’s Club, was named the 2012 Volunteer of the Year at a Sunday Brunch we held in September at the Aquatic and Community Centre.  It was a well deserved honour.

Community at Large

Portfolio Report

Each member of city council has specific portfolios to deal with. I am responsible for communications, sponsorship, naming opportunities, intercommunity relations and the CSL Cats Committee. I chaired the Human Rights Walkway Initiative (The Raoul Wallenberg centennial mentioned earlier) and the annual Seniors Golf Outing.

CSL  Website

In 2012 we continued to upgrade the CSL website at cotesaintluc.org. It has a lot more interesting content, is updated frequently and remains the  “go to” place for instant information. We have a facebook page, locally produced videos and an e-newsletter. The Côte Saint-Luc Courier Newspaper and district newsletter continue to be produced. We began publishing a monthly calendar of events in The Suburban Newspaper while councillor columns run in the Free Press Paper.

Cats Committee

The CSL Cats Committee continues to be a labour of love for me.  I cannot say enough about my loyal crew of volunteers. We continue to trap, neuter and release or seek the adoption or fostering of  homeless cats. Every effort is made to have them adopted, especially the many baby kittens we rescue. During the year we held our first big fundraiser, a concert in August with the Musician of the World Symphony Orchestra where we honoured the CSL Hospital for Animals. 

Presentation

In addition, after many months of work on the part of staff and some committee members, we adopted our first ever cat licensing by-law. Outdoor cats now require licenses in Côte Saint-Luc. We still need more volunteers to come aboard. You can check out our special section on the CSL website at www.cotesaintluc.org∕cats.

Red Fisher and Gary Carter

In terms of naming opportunities, I was pleased to oversee the naming of the Red Fisher Sports Section in the Eleanor London Public Library. Red, the legendary sports writer, has lived in CSL for 56 years and is a devoted member of the library. We also named the main field at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park after former Montreal Expos star Gary Carter, who lost his battle with cancer in 2012. A beautiful ceremony was held during our Canada Day celebrations, with former Expo Warren Cromartie on hand.

  Fisher



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Serious fire on Sir Walter Scott Avenue

Côte Saint-Luc Director of Public Safety Jordy Reichson provided me with the following report  on a fire at 5775 Sir Walter Scott Avenue, a highrise apartment building in District 2.

This call came in around 5:35AM and when the Montreal Fire Department  arrived, smoke and flames were already visible from outside. They immediately called a 10-07 and 10-09 (first alarm with propagation likely). At 5:55AM, CSL  received a call from the Fire Department that the call had gone to 10-12 (second alarm). 

The blaze started in a fourth floor apartment due to an oil fire on the stove top. It caused extensive damage to the apartment, as well as three other units on the floor and the units directly below.
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All residents were taken in charge by the Red Cross (as per Fire Department policy for displaced persons), which made arrangements for those affected to stay with family or friends. The residents of the fire apartment were transported to hospital with smoke inhalation and minor injuries.
The Montreal Fire Department intervention prevention teams, CSL Public Safety and CSL Urban Planning were on scene to work with the building owner on any required follow-up, including barricading broken windows and the roof  (which was cut open for ventilation) and other matters. CSL Public Works   was informed to clear the catch basins in the area to allow for drainage of water.
20121218_085929
Around 10AM, all resources were liberated and the building was left in the care of the superintendent, who was in contact with the building owner. The Montreal Fire Department will follow up with the building owner and Urban Planning as required as there were some issues.

Our wonderful Côte Saint-Luc Courier Newspaper

While I will be posting my own District 2 Year in Review shortly, a  magnificent 2012 look back edition of the Côte Saint-Luc Courier Newspaper will soon be delivered to every door. I am proud to serve as the chairperson of this publication. Hats off to editor Darryl Levine  and graphic artist Ruth Farrugia  for a fantastic piece of work.


You can read it by clicking on the link below.

Download CSL Courier Dec2012_EN-web


Côte Saint-Luc adopts important resolution on ``bilingual`` status

Côte Saint-Luc City Council has every intention of retaining our bilingual status, something that is threatened by the PQ government`s Bill 14.

Here is a copy of the resolution:

RESOLUTION
ON SECTION 29.1 “BILINGUAL” STATUS

 

Whereas  the Charter of the French Language (“Charter”) was adopted by the Quebec National Assembly in 1977, and  over 80 municipalities throughout the Province of Quebec were recognized as having “bilingual status” pursuant to the provisions of Section 29.1 of the Charter; and

Whereas the original provisions of the Charter allowed those municipalities that had a majority of residents who spoke a language other than French to be officially recognized under Section 29.1; and

Whereas the City of Côte Saint-Luc has been recognized as having bilingual status under Section 29.1 of the Charter since 1977 and wishes to retain such “bilingual status”; and

Whereas currently the Charter does not allow the recognition of “bilingual status” under Section 29.1 to be removed from a municipality orborough except at the request of such municipality or borough; and

Whereas the Quebec National Assembly adopted Bill 170 imposing forced municipal mergers on municipalities in 2000 and simultaneously adopted companion legislation Bill 171 which drastically changed the criteria to obtain recognition under Section 29.1 of the Charter, from a majority of
residents of a municipality or borough who spoke a language other than French to a majority of residents whose mother tongue was English; and

Whereas the revised criteria,  under Bill 171, was imposed without consultation with municipalities
recognized under Section 29.1 and adopted the narrowest and most inaccurate definition of the English-speaking communities within said municipalities or boroughs; and

Whereas the current Quebec Government has now proposed Bill 14, which would allow for the removal of Section 29.1 recognition from municipalities or boroughs by decree and against the will of the municipality or borough concerned,  its duly elected council and its residents; and

Whereas the City of Côte Saint-Luc is firmly opposed to the proposed amendments to Section 29 of the Charter as set out in Bill 14

It was moved by Mayor Anthony Housefather, second by the entire city council and  resolved:

  • THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc hereby declares that it wishes to retain its “bilingual status” recognition under Section 29.1 of the Charter now and in the future and wishes to do so irrespective of any fluctuations in its population shown in census numbers now or in the future.

 

  • THAT The residents and Council of the City of Côte Saint-Luc view the recognition of our municipality under Section 29.1 as fundamental to the character of the municipality and as a testament of the historical presence of both the English- and French-speaking communities in the municipality;

 

  • THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc  vigorously opposes the proposed modifications
    to Section 29 of the Charter set out in Bill 14 and demands that the Quebec National Assembly continue to recognize the acquired rights of all municipalities and boroughs that currently possess such status and refrain from adopting any legislation that allows Section 29.1 recognition of bilingual status to be removed from a municipality or borough except at the initiative of and express request of said municipality or borough.

 

  • THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc calls upon all of the members of the Quebec National Assembly to remove the provisions of Bill 14 that propose to amend Section 29 of the Charter or to vote against and defeat such provisions since we view such provisions as an attack on the fundamental rights and intrinsic character of all municipalities and boroughs that currently possess Section 29.1 recognition.

 

  • THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc directs its  clerk to send copies of this resolution to
    all of members of the Quebec National Assembly, to all other municipalities in Quebec officially recognized under Section 29.1 of the Charter and to the local federal member of Parliament and the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and the UMQ, FQM and FCM. 

Chabad lights giant menorah at CSL City Hall

On Wednesday evening December 12   I joined my fellow city councillors and Mayor Anthony Housefather for the annual Menorah Lighting ceremony in the front of City Hall.

 Rabbi Menachem Raskin and his team from Beth Chabad of C.S.L. lit up our streets with the giant menorah. Councillor Steven Erdelyi braved the climb via a hydraulic lift, said the prayersand lit the candles.  

ChabadChanuk2012mikeruth

Joel Lion, the dynamic Consul General of Israel and a CSL resident, joined us for the ceremony. The mayor and each councillor brought greetings. There was a raffle for a limousine ride as part of a parade of  70 cars with menorahs on their roofs.

Prior to the ceremony,   in the basement auditorium of the City Hall, there was an interactive carnival for children ages two to 10. They  help build a six ft foot "Bizzy Bitz" menorah,created chanukah sand art, decorated a wooden dreidel, and much more. Doughnuts and chanukah gifts were handed out. 

Thank you Rabbi Raskin and Beth Chabad for your 25th menorah lighting in front of our City Hall.