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July 2014

June 2014

Another exciting Canada Day planned in Côte Saint-Luc; now we pray for no rain

The Canada Day celebration in the City of Côte Saint-Luc on July 1 will include ceremonies honouring former South African President Nelson Mandela and former Member of the National Assembly Lawrence S. Bergman (pictured).
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“Our Canada Day event attracts thousands of people and it’s an opportunity to honour people who have made a difference, whether somewhere else in the world or here at home,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “We decided to induct Nelson Mandela on the Côte Saint-Luc Human Rights Walkway because of his fight against the abhorrent system in South Africa of forced segregation based on race and because he chose reconciliation over revenge when he was freed from prison and was elected President.
 
“We are naming Chalet 1 of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park for Lawrence Bergman because of his huge contribution to the City of Côte Saint-Luc during his 20 years as MNA for D’Arcy McGee. He has been an incredible partner in many respects including through his dedicated work with us to secure a law protecting our unique EMS service and through his extraordinary efforts to assist us in obtaining the grants needed to build our magnificent Aquatic and Community Centre.”
 
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All Canada Day activities take place at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park on Mackle Rd. The Nelson Mandela induction takes place at 7:45 pm. The Lawrence S. Bergman Chalet 1 unveiling takes place at 9:30 pm.
 
Canada Day will also feature a Canadian citizenship ceremony for new Canadians, live music by Airport 77 and Lorraine Klaasen. Kids will enjoy storytelling, inflatable games, the children’s train, the roaming magician, arts and crafts and more. Other activities include free pedal boats on Centennial Lake, a model airplane show, a model boat show, free cupcakes, and the closing fireworks at 9:45 pm.
 
 
 
See the Canada Day schedule at www.CoteSaintLuc.org/CanadaDay2014.
 
The masters of ceremonies are Dan Laxer and Laurie Betito of CJAD. The event co-chairpersons are Councillor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Sam Goldbloom.
 
Event sponsors include Canadian Heritage, Qualitifruits, Domino’s Pizza, The Suburban, Maac.ca, Quartier Cavendish, RBC, Scotiabank, Gravel, Chartwell Castel Royal, Witt Realty and West Island Music Academy.
 
In case of sporadic rain, the majority of activities will take place in the covered Confederation Annex of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park, with the exception of the Canadian citizenship ceremony, which will take place at the Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Ave.) and the fireworks display, which will be postponed to Wednesday, July 2 at 9:45 pm. 
 
In the event heavy rain is forecast all day and the city cancels Canada Day on July 1, all planned activities will be cancelled or postponed (except for the Canadian Citizenship Ceremony, which will take place on July 1 at the Aquatic and Community Centre as listed above). The postponed activities will take place on July 2 starting at 9:30 pm and include the Human Rights Walkway Ceremony honouring Nelson Mandela, the Lawrence S. Bergman tribute, and the fireworks.


 


Mourning the passing of former CSL Mayor Bernard Lang

We are all in mourning today with the news that former Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Bernard Lang has passed away at the age of  88.

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In this 2011 photo I welcomed Mayor Lang (far right) to my Cats Committee.

Lang was the mayor of Côte Saint-Luc for 22 years. Prior to that he was a city councillor for 13 year. He attempted a comeback in the 2005 election and ran against Anthony Housefather. I had a long history with “Mayor” Lang. No, he was not the present-day mayor. But just as they refer to President Clinton, President Bush and  President Carter in the United States, it was difficult to address someone as “Mr.” Lang when he held the mayoral post for so long.

I go back many years with Lang, notably to my years as the Côte Saint-Luc beat reporter for The Suburban, The Monitor and briefly The Weekly Herald. We  never lost contact.

The arrival of Lang's first  and only grandchild Dylan some 13 years ago rejuvenated him. He was the youngest and most fit looking 87 year old I know. Soon after his crushing defeat in 2005, Lang began calling me at least once a week as that election coincided with my debut as a city councillor. He was not bitter. It was clear that he chose to run again because of his undying love for the city. He questioned me on various decisions of the city, but out of general interest and concern that the right thing be done. As time went on I sensed a genuine support for the current council. He and Mayor Housefather began to speak. At a VE Day ceremony in the year following that election, Mayor Housefather acknowledged Lang in a very positive way. Afterwards, Lang thanked him warmly.

When we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Côte Saint-Luc Eleanor London Public Library, Lang was profiled prominently in the special edition of our Courier newspaper. He was also brought on stage and saluted by Mayor Housefather at our ceremony. It was on that night it became clear to me that we needed to find a place for him at the committee level.  He agreed to sit on our library committee. He and his devoted wife Miriam were cat lovers. And so they joined my Cats Committee.

Bernard Lang was a full-time mayor, spending virtually every weekday at City Hall. He had a successful business which he had his sons run. Lang was an articulate spokesman who brought credibility to the city. He stood up against any wrongs coming to the city and was noted for taking on the City of Montreal and winning after then Mayor Jean Doré reneged on a pledge to extended Kildare Road into CSL. Lang went all the way to Quebec City and came back with a multi-million dollar ruling in favor of our city and  the awarding of the North of Hampstead area and Decarie Square to our tax coffers.

Lang bitterly opposed any talk to extend Cavendish Boulevard. "We don't need it, we don't want it, we can't afford it," he would always say.

His feud with then Hampstead Mayor Irving Adessky was legendary.

Under his watch the present-day City Hall and Library Complex was built. When he retired, it was named the Bernard Lang Civic Centre - a fitting honour.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday, June 15 (2 p.m.) at Paperman and Sons. Ironically that same afternoon, a demerger celebration concert featuring Bowser and Blue will take place at Trudeau Park - another facility like the arena which came into being under his leadership. Lang was very much part of the demerger issue. And so, there will no doubt be a nice tribute to him.

May you rest in peace Mayor Lang.

 

 

 


Library launches new Demonstration Garden

Chalk up another impressive initiative for our city and  the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library.

On Sunday, June 8 we inaugurated the CSL Library Demonstration Garden and at the same time held our Second Annual Great Tomato Plant Giveaway. The newly constructed demonstration garden is  located behind the library. Mayor Anthony Housefather and members of council were  on hand for the official ribbon cutting ceremony. A representative from the  TD Friends of the Environment Foundation was on hand to present a $2,250 grant for the project to our amazing librarian and new grandmother Janine West.

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Receiving a cheque from the TD Bank.

“This garden is an important component of the city-wide urban agriculture initiative launched last year and it is a perfect fit with the library’s mission of discovery and exploration”, says Mayor Housefather. “This vegetable garden is a space where people can learn a variety of gardening techniques through hands on experience.”

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Young Matthew Erdelyi helps with the ribbon cutting.

 

As the councillor responsible for the library,  I am  very proud of this initiative.

Plants were distributed to the first 400 residents to visit the Demonstration Garden (one plant per household and proof of CSL residency required). Residents were able to sign up for gardening classes offered at the library, a space at the community gardens, learn about the seed library and take a tour of the demonstration garden. Kid-friendly activities were also planned.

Lining Up Plants
Lining up for free plants.

“After the difficult winter we have just endured, urban agriculture is a wonderful excuse to spend more time outdoors”, said Councillor Allan J. Levine, who is the councillor responsible for urban agriculture. “We are hoping that all residents participate in this activity, in whatever manner suits them. And if someone isn’t sure that urban agriculture is for them, they can start by volunteering to help maintain the demonstration garden. They   they can start by volunteering to help maintain the demonstration garden. They will learn all the essentials while helping out their community.”

"The timing is perfect to do so because this past week was Canadian Environment Week, a time for grassroots action to help preserve, protect and restore our environment," said Carmela Lo Dico, the branch manager at the Quartier Cavendish TD Bank. "It is important to remember that every effort counts, big or small. And getting involved is the first step towards preserving our environment. The Côte Saint-Luc demonstration garden proposes ideas and activities that we can do that will make a difference.``

 


Catch Me If You Can The Musical: catch it while you can in CSL

A couple of years ago my colleague, Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, had a dream: to bring musical theatre to Côte Saint-Luc. Obtaining the services of a first class director in Anisa Cameron was the first step to guaranteed success. Rotating between comedy and musicals, we have been treated to two top-notch shows annually. Last year's presentation of Fiddler on the Roof was sensational.

On June 5  I attended a special VIP showing of their latest efforf, Catch Me If You Can The Musical. I saw the movie of the same name at least half a dozen times, but never did catch the Broadway musical. Well the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society now goes into the books as presenting the Canadian premiere. The storyline revolves around Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a teenager who runs away from home in search of the glamorous life. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer - living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. But when Frank's lies catch the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, Carl chases Frank to the end...and finds something he never expected.

By the time the run ends on June 22, there will have been 14 shows. 

Cameron assembled an excellent cast, with Brandon Schwartz turning in an outstanding performance in the lead role. "We’ve assembled a wonderfully talented cast including Brandon , a very gifted 17-year-old singer and performer,”   Cameron said. “Brandon has a remarkable voice and if he chooses to stay in Montreal, he’s going to be a fixture in the professional theatre scene for years to come.”

Schwartz has been performing since age six and is now studying music with a specialization in jazz voice at Marianopolis College

Hats off as well to  Mike Melino, Matthew Mckeown, Marieve Guerin, Megan Magisano, Elvi Dalgaard, Craig Dalley, Alexandre Iannuzzi, Shaun Nishmas, Jason Szwimer, Arielle Buch-Frohlich, Bailey Cohen-Krichevsky, Stefanie Demberg, Raquel Herscovici, Samantha Leibgott, Natasha Lilliman, Einav Ne'Eman, Ilana Nyveen, Noam Shalev, Shy Shalev, Ariel Sterlin, Elyssa Stock , Michael Goldwax, David Taveroff and of course Mitchell Brownstein.

 

Goldwax, a Hampstead town councillor and director general of Le Waldorf Senior Residence, played a railroad agent, a doctor and show business host. The man has some versatile acting chops.

Musical Direction was handled masterfully by David Terriault, choreography by Alexia Gourd, technical direction and lights by Scott Drysdale and  costumes by Elyse Malo.   Ariel Sterlin was the assistant choreographer;  Alexa Burak the stage manager and  Reesa Rosenfeld heading production.

This no small thing to produce. How lucky we are to have a theatrical group of this calibre within our own midst. And now of this would be possible, I might add, without our tremendous staff - notably the likes of Cornelia Ziga, Ryan Nemeroff and Harold "Kid" Cammy.

 Tickets are on sale online at CSLDramaticSociety.com or at the Côte Saint-Luc library (5851 Cavendish Blvd.), the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Ave.), or by telephone at 514-485-6800 ext. 2024. Tickets for evening performances are $27 for adults, and $24 for seniors/students. Matinees and preview shows are $18. Taxes are included in the price.

 

 

 

 


District meeting report: Stein recognized; Cavendish extension discussed and more

I like to tell the story of my first election campaign more than eight years ago, when I was the candidate for Côte Saint-Luc City Council in District 2.  There were a number of objectives on my agenda, but chief among them was the introduction of District meetings, whereby very local issues would be discussed.

These meetings, held once a year (or more often if need be), have been very well received. On June 2, 2014, the most recent such gathering dealt with a number of issues.  Mayor Anthony Housefather joined me at the podium along with our point man on traffic, Eric Ibey, and Police Station 9 Sergeant Bryan Cunningham.

Award of Merit - Mathew Stein

For the second year in a row, I handed out a special Award of Merit. It went to 16 year old Mathew Stein, who is completing Grade 10 at Bialik High School. Mathew was recognized for stepping up on his own and cleaning up the neighbourhood – specifically the streets and sidewalks of District 2.

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Mayor Housefather, Mathew Stein and myself.

 

 “Every year, as part of our commitment to personal growth, I must do a certain amount of community service hours,” Mathew explained. “In my case I have been very upset at the lack of respect and responsibility that t residents   have shown to their community. I walk my dog and have noticed that people think that our city is a personal garbage dump and have acted accordingly. So after having consulted with my dad, I took it upon myself to clean up my city, one piece of garbage at a time. It was difficult during the winter months, but now that the weather is nicer I am getting out with my garbage bags and picking it up. I have been told that even my small effort has made a difference in how our streets look and hopefully people will take notice and stop dumping their trash on the ground.  Maybe we can even set up a continuous effort to keep my initiative going, and get more people involved.  And if we make it fun, more people will do it.”

Bravo Mathew!

Mathew attended the meeting with his parents  Steve and Arlene, brother Jessie (a member of the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society) and his grandfather Victor Ades.

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Steve Stein

I also took the opportunity to announce that  Steve Stein has agreed to serve as the acting chair for a special Dog Owners Advisory Committee. As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I am getting a lot of proposals thrown my way. Steve’s group will try and put various objectives in order.

Mayor Housefather

Mayor Housefather spoke glowingly about the growing population in Côte Saint-Luc. He spoke about how blessed we all were with the results of the April provincial election, which saw the divisive PQ minority government go down to defeat. Côte Saint-Luc, he reminded everyone, played a leading role lobbying against proposed laws on language (Bill 14) and secularism (Bill 60).

Developments at the Quartier Cavendish and soon on Parkhaven are welcoming new young families to Côte Saint-Luc. The former project is pretty much sold out. We will be adding integrated green space to the project and building up The Avenue – the appropriately dubbed main road going into Quartier Cavendish – with hopefully some shops and cafes to join Yeh! Yogurt as a reason to stick around our town.

On the extension of Cavendish Boulevard, the mayor maintained his optimism that this will become a reality – an extension that goes from Cavendish in Côte Saint-Luc to Royalmount in TMR and then to St. Laurent.  One of the goals of our city, since Bernard Lang left office as mayor in 1998, has been to see Cavendish extended. There is now a committee in place, a mayor of Montreal (Denis Coderre) who favors the move and a Liberal government which we believe will finally make this happen.

On a final note, the mayor reiterated his wish to keep Meadowbrook Golf Course green.

Police Matters

Bryan Cunningham (do not let the name fool you as he is a francophone from Ahuntsic) told us how pleased Police Station 9 is to have their Bike Patrol back in operation. Two police officers are now regularly patrolling our parks on two wheels.  I am very pleased to hear this, especially where Rembrandt Park is concerned. We repeatedly get calls of people congregating there during late night hours and creating disturbances. The Bike Patrol should put a dent in this.

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Bryan Cunningham

We opened the floor to questions. Sergeant Cunningham listened to concerns about streets where speeding occurs and traffic and parking infractions are a problem.  Josef Brody of Sir Walter Scott Avenue made a point of saying how a better eye needs to be kept on the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre where cars frequently ignore the no stopping and no parking rules.

Alex Halpern of Merrimac Road asked for the police to better monitor the crosswalks on the  Heywood circle. On Saturdays specifically, with people going to and from synagogue, it is very difficult to cross the street as cars zoom by. He asked for adjustments to be made to the crosswalks and sidewalks and for there to be a better police presence. Sergeant Cunningham agreed to assign some officers to observe.

Shirley Rosen said it is time again for the police to crack down on Bialik High School parents who block driveways and go in no parking zones. Sergeant Cunningham said that Police Station 9 does give attention to problematic matters related to Bialik, but they have a fair number of schools to cover in their territory. Tickets are issued and problems exist at all schools. The police are doing their best.  I have personally met with successive Bialik administrations and I wish to assure everyone that the situation is vastly improved to what it was years ago.

Steve Acre asked if cars are being ticketed if they rest on the zebra like "no stopping" line in front of the police station parking lot on Kildare Road. He recommended closer attention be paid to the area. 

Cavendish and Kildare  

We all agree that the corner of Cavendish and Kildare is problematic. Pedestrians complain that there is not enough time to cross the street; motorists insist that the light turns colours too quickly. We have undertaken a number of measures over the years: introducing double left turns on Kildare heading to Cavendish and on Cavendish to Fleet; synchronizing the traffic lights along Cavendish; maintaining a crossing guard there year-round.  Can we undertake any additional action?  There are some possible solutions, which we have discussed. Not only would they be very costly, but given the changing dynamics of that corner it would only serve as a stop-gap measure and frankly not a good investment at all.

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Eric Ibey responds to a question.

Both Mayor Housefather and Eric Ibey explained that no significant changes are being considered at the present time given the new reality of a Cavendish extension, as well as the developments at Quartier Cavendish and Parkhaven. The mayor added that there is actually less traffic at that corner today than during the glory days of the Cavendish Mall.

When work does begin on an extension, the mayor said, the Cavendish-Kildare intersection will be an important component of the changes made to traffic patterns. At that point something elaborate will occur.

Some people did have suggestions as to how to make some improvements now. He has agreed to do walkabouts with those individuals so they can show him personally what they have in mind.

Rembrandt Park

At a District 2 meeting two years ago, we discussed in great detail the future of  Rembrandt Park. Would we redo the tennis courts? Should the basketball courts stay? Follow up consultation was done and it was determined that the true wish was for the courts to be resurfaced, new lighting to be installed and for the status quo to prevail otherwise.  Well it was timely for me to announce that the refurbished Rembrandt courts are in operation. Ditto for the new lighting. We even did some repairs to the fencing. Because of the unfriendly spring weather we had, delivery was a bit delayed. But everyone should now be very pleased.

Final Word

The final word went to Dr. Paul Weinstein, who complained about the state of our sidewalks during the winter. Better effort needs to be made, he said, to break up the ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

while it is looking very promising for the land once occupied by the Griffith McConnell.

The mayor reminded everyone about the efforts I have made to have a special allocation of $10,000 made these last few years to have the snow dump reduced to rubble, as opposed to the days when a mountain like structure essentially remained intact through the summer months. At the present time we are still working on the procedure, which is not as easy as it looks. Strong machinery is required to chop up what used to be a mixture of snow and dirt and has now evolved into thick mud.

While on our respective vacations last Christmas, both the mayor and I were alerted to excessive noise coming from the snow dump. We spoke each day, communicated with staff and arrived at solutions such as having a barrier of snow to be formed almost like a wall to shield some of the noise and for as much work to occur deep the dump as possible. We closely monitored the trucks making unnecessary noise, even posting our own staff there. It seemed to improve matters. We worked closely with residents of the still relatively new Les Cours Marc Chagall Town Houses.