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January 2016

Anthony Housefather makes impressive speech in the House of Commons

Former Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather is already enjoying his new job as Liberal Member of Parliament for the Mount Royal Riding. He is a fabulous public speaker and he demonstrates this once again in this Reply to The Speech of The Throne in the House of Commons.  He speaks about many things, including the extension of Cavendish Boulevard.

You can see it here and below.

 

 

 

 

 


West-End Gym moving to Cavendish Club; MCC in limbo?

The very well established West-End Gym,  at one time known as Vic Tanny's, is moving from its location in the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre and setting up shop on February 5 at the Cavendish Club. So where does that leave Multi Club Cavendish, the gym presently in that spot? Only a few weeks ago they announced that their operation was moving into the former Bureau en Gros at Quartier Cavendish. However, a letter sent out to its members places that very much in doubt.

"MCC is doing everything in its power to finalize plans to move into a suitable location for its members," the letter states. "However, MCC's  priority is to ensure members uninterrupted service. MCC has no other alternative but to inform you that it must cancel your present membership agreement effective upon reception of this notice. Be assured that MCC will use its best efforts to relocate the gym to a new location and will inform you of its new location as soon as possible."

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Dennis Ambalapady

This does not sound promising for MCC members. But it is great news for the West-End Gym. I dropped by there today and met with co-owner and manager Dennis Ambalapady. He has been at this gym for 25 years and is one of the reasons why members know they can put their trust in this operation. "It is a great opportunity for us," he said. "We are moving into an excellent facility and we fully expect our membership to increase."

According to management analysis, Ambalapady says that demand for the new club location will exceed its capacity. "Although the club is 30,000 square, we plan to limit the number of members to only 2,000," a letter from the West-End Gym states. "If the demand exceeds 2,000, priority will be given to existing West-end gym members."

Ambalapady reasons that Cavendish Club is a mere four minute drive from the CSL Shopping Centre. "The new club will be one of the finest facilities in the city and far superior to our existing premises," the West-End Gym letter says. 

While fees at the new location will be increased, existing members are being offered to transfer at no charge.

Ownership will be be investing heavily in new equipment. As for the Cavendish Club facility, Ambalapady says it offers the following options:

Parking - There are currently eight outdoor tennis courts all zoned for parking by the city. Four of these courts will be used to park between 80 and 100 cars. There is also parking lot for 30 cars at the entrance.

The Four Remaining Courts (upon obtaining proper permit) - They will be used as a multi-sport surface, possibly for tennis,soccer,volleyball,badminton and jogging.

Swimming Pool - There is a 50 foot indoor pool which will be available for different activities (aquafitness classes, mom & tot class, free swim etc..)

Spa - There is currently a Spa with massage tables for which owners  are looking for an operator. 

Restaurant/ Lounge - There is a large restaurant/lounge area  of 2,800 sq/ft with patio doors leading to an outdoor terrace and also to the pool. The restaurant will be serving a healthy menu consisting of a variety of salads,wraps,shakes etc.. The restaurant would also be available for rental  for private parties.

Locker Rooms - There are two large locker rooms with ample shower stalls and toilets and two large saunas in immaculate condition. There is also a lounge area in the locker rooms.

Three Squash Courts - Additional fees  will apply.

Women’s Only Workout Room - It  comes in fully equipped with a 20 foot ceiling.

Aerobic Floor - The aerobic floor has a 20 foot ceiling and natural light. Although the current size is smaller than the existing one at the West-End Gym, it will be doubled in width by removing a wall.

Main Gym - This has a large floor to ceiling windows running along two opposite walls and it is very bright and spacious, equipped with state of the art Hoist equipment.

Spinning classes, Shotokan karate,  Kudoki/kung-Fu, Sambo, Aquafit classes and  Cross-fit will continue to be offered by outside providers. You do not need to be a member to enrol. The gym can be reached at 514-489-6879. 

So what happens to the old Bureau en Gros?  The Quartier has that huge empty spota as well as the old Yeh! Yogourt spot. I would like to see a deli established there. We have not had a replacement for the legendary Delly Boys, which closed a few months ago. I am also hearing talk about Winners setting up shop at the old Bureau en Gros. We will wait and see.

 


Meeting with our new Police Commander

The City of Côte Saint-Luc has always maintained an excellent relationship with our local police commanders.

Since I began serving on council in 2005, we have had four commanders for Police Station 9- which covers Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West: Réne Allard, Sylvain Bissonnette, Marc Cournoyer and now Jean O`Malley.

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Commander O'Malley at our council table.


Commander O`Malley began his tour of duty here recently. And because Police Station 11 in NDG is presently without a commander, he is covering that area as well until the post is filled. We invited him to meet with council in caucus, a traditional move on our part.

Most recently Commander O`Malley was  the head of  Police Station 45 in Rivière-des-Prairies. Prior to that he was stationed downtown and at one time even worked for the Ontario Provincial Police. He is a resident of the South Shore and takes great pride in his past time as a tennis pro.

We are very fortunate to have the actual police station in our community - and in District 2 - at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare. A number of years ago the Montreal Police Department was looking at abolishing our local station and merging it with Station 11. Along with Hampstead and Montreal West, we lobbied successfully to ensure that did not happen.

Commander O`Malley inherits a hard working team which has a real presence on our streets. They work hard on traffic enforcement, combat criminal activity and try to keep us safe in many different ways. Their Coffee With a Cop Program at the local McDonald`s Restaurants, in which citizens are invited to sit down and chat with their neighbourhood police officers, has really helped promote good community relations. Commander O`Malley said that he plans to expand this program and have members of his team take the coffee with them and go into seniors residences. "We want to sit down and meet with people who cannot necessarily get out to come see us," he said.

Good luck Commander. We look forward to working with you.

Oh yes, the Rembrandt Park Tennis Courts are only a short walk away from the station, so perhaps you'd like to join us one day as a guest instructor?


Our transformed library lounge at the ACC will be open until 10 pm

The Côte Saint-Luc Public Library has transformed the library annex at the Aquatic and Community Centre into the new Library Lounge, which includes the popular take-a-book-leave-a-book concept.
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The very popular concept of Little Free Libraries has been gaining momentum in North America over the last few years. People bring books, magazines, CDs, or movies they no longer need and take ones already there. There is no need for membership cards and no associated fees. Items are not part of the regular library collection so they don’t need to be returned and there are no due dates to contend with.
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Our Aquatic and Community Centre is located at 5794 Parkhaven Ave. The Library Lounge will be open from 6 am to 10 pm. The space is loaded with thousands of donated items. People can also use the space to read, relax, play a game, do a puzzle and use the public computer. There is also an outdoor return slot where official library items can be returned 24/7.
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Material and monetary donations are welcome and can be made in place.
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For more information you can contact Justin Burnham at jburnham@cotesaintluc.org
 
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Cavendish extension gets some attention at Housefather consultation

There is no question about it. Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather has begun his first term in office no differently than his previous two decades in public office – as a man of the people.

On January 7 I attended a consultation meeting hosted by Anthony at the Irving L. Adessky Community Centre in Hampstead ahead of the Liberal government’s inaugural budget.

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Anthony Housefather gets budget feedback.

“As promised during the election campaign, I want to hold regular public meetings throughout the Mount Royal riding,” Anthony stated. “I am pleased that, as part of the new Liberal government’s commitment to openness and transparency, our Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, has shown a strong interest in receiving feedback from all Canadians.”

Anthony said that consultation meetings like this will allow him to solicit constituents’ opinions and relay the priorities for our riding.

Anthony plans to have quarterly Town Hall meetings. The next one will be on March 30 in Town of Mount Royal, followed by one in the summer in Côte des Neiges, a fall session in Côte Saint-Luc and back to Hampstead in the winter of 2017.

One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau`s election pledges was to pour money into infrastructure programs across the country. Anthony wanted to hear from audience members as to what they thought some of the riding priorities might be such as roads, water rehabilitation, sewers and aqueducts or the extension of Cavendish Boulevard. Unquestionably the latter solicited the most interest. Côte Saint-Luc City Council is solidly behind such a project, which would be an indirect link from Cavendish via Royalmount in TMR and then reconnecting with Cavendish on the St. Laurent side. Anthony gave some history behind this issue, noting that former mayor Gerald Tremblay appeared to be backing the extension during the merger days. He backed off when the suburbs demerged, but it appears as if present-day Mayor Denis Coderre wants it to happen.

Anthony believes it will take about $44 million each from the federal, provincial and municipal governments to make this happen. He intends to advocate immediately for the federal government to commit for the project. Christopher Savard from D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum’s office was in attendance and listening attentively. And as Anthony reasoned, residents of the Côte des Neiges – NDG borough want this to happen before major development occurs on the former Blue Bonnets land.

I am more optimistic than ever that I will live to see the Cavendish extension become a reality. At the age of 53, I sure hope so.

Anthony`s team is now settled into its office in Montreal where Irwin Cotler and before him Sheila Finestone were based, at the corner of Kent and Victoria. His local staff consists of Bonnie Feigenbaum, Izabel Cujoz-Shulman and Sonny Moroz while Alex Gray and Ariel Shapiro oversee the Ottawa office. All of them except Gray were at the January 7 meeting.


“With respect to actions we have started to respond to immigration and other federal files in the constituency and very much appreciate the support of the provincial members offices who have given us good information and support,” said Anthony.


On the national side Anthony wants to advise constituents about the Canada Summer Job Program where applications are now being accepted until February 26. This is a program under which full time students between 15 and 30 can be hired by non-profits, governments such as municipalities and enterprises with 50 employees or less. For non-profits the federal government pays the full cost of minimum wage for the employee and for municipalities and small businesses they cover 50 percent. “We have doubled the program this year so should be able to hire twice as many students as last year and we have a right to establish local objectives to go along with national ones,” he said.


We are lucky to have a man like Anthony representing us in Ottawa.


The decision to modify library hours

In December, Côte Saint-Luc  City Council completed an exhaustive budget process in which certain cuts had to be made in order to balance our books.

The way this works is  that department directors review their own budgets and come back to us with recommendations. In the case of our fabulous library, we wanted to ensure that its first class service was maintained and that any measures taken would have the least effect possible on the membership at large---some 15,000 people.  We were told by the library director that on weekend evenings there are an average of 10 to 25 people on site and that the cost to maintain those hours was $125,000 a year.  Council subsequently agreed that the library hours would remain 10 a.m. to 10 p.m Monday through Thursdays, but that on Friday,Saturday and Sunday evenings we would close at 6 p.m. Library

Naturally we are saddened when there are any cuts to library service. However the city has looked at a variety of ways to cut costs across the city with the overall goal of keeping taxes down. Cutting library hours and aligning them with the hours of other suburban municipalities was a way to allow the other great services that the library provides to continue such as home delivery; catering to children, families, schools and daycares; outstanding cultural programming, including concerts, exhibits and support for CSL artists; literary programs, and the many other things that we deliver to the community.

I believe our city should be commended for focusing our attention on continuing to deliver these outstanding services that have high impact value to many rather than focusing on low attendance hours that deliver service to a few.

I have personally received a number of calls and emails on this subject. I responded to every one of them. Only a small few refused to engage in a dialogue with us, choosing to utter threats instead. All of the others were polite and once having digested our explanation agreed that under the circumstances we made a logical decision.

“Thanks so much for your detailed reply and for the time and effort you put into kindly providing me with the detailed financial rationale for the cuts,” wrote one woman. “Having worked at Batshaw Youth and Family Centers for the Quebec Ministry for Health and Social Services, I have experienced first-hand the kind of necessity that drives decision-making on budget cuts. I acknowledge that the detailed context you describe does speak to a principled rationale for the cuts. As for using the library on a weekend evening, I have in fact often dropped by late on a weekend evening, if only to drop off books or quickly browse the new arrival shelves. But with such a price tag, thank you, I know I can do without."

Can we assist those individuals who consider it important to have somewhere to go on weekend evenings? I am certainly open to exploring that. Our Library Lounge at the Aquatic and Community Centre remains open most nights until 10 p.m.as a quiet place to read every day as well.

In December, as he completed his term as acting mayor, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen wrote this piece about the library on behalf of the entire council. I believe it covers all of the bases.

From Florida, former Men’s Club president and one-time Town of Mount Royal councillor Sidney Margles shared his perspective on the revised hours at the library.

Hello from Florida


I have just read the open letter from Sharon Zajdman and would take this opportunity to spell out a few facts of life for her. The Côte Saint-Luc Library stands out among city libraries and it is supported almost entirely by taxpayers as a place to borrow and obtain books, records and films for use in our homes. And even after what I feel are minor changes, the Library is an example of a prime service. Every so often, as is the case in most well-administered communities, services must be reviewed and updates implemented as necessary. For those of us who use the library, and I take out an average of 3 books a week when in Côte Saint Luc, the cutting off of a few hours on week-ends, particularly in the evening when very few citizens but many staff could be found on hand, the decision to curtail some hours was no surprise. I would have thought it should have been done several years ago.

Ms. Zajdman feels that the library is for people with nowhere to go. That is not the object of a library. Regrettably, there may be the odd person who has spent the week-end evening sitting around at the library, but at what cost? Additionally, Ms. Zajdman errs when she refers to the A.C.C. as having cost $22 million when in fact the total was less than $17 million, of which the city paid only one-third.


If a person has nowhere to go on Saturday or Sunday evening, he/she could always go to the A.C.C. to sit around in the unattended library reading room there, or maybe catch swimmers or basketball players in action.As for those who have been laid off, yes, it is unfortunate and the timing might not be the best, but they were temporary workers and had to know there was always the possibility that their positions would be eliminated. I have made some inquiries and learned that the anticipated saving is about a quarter of a million dollars and that other necessary compressions have also taken place in other municipal government areas. Hopefully none should adversely affect the terrific public service rendered by Côte Saint-Luc’s managers, staff and elected officials. At a time when many costs are rising and revenues are not necessarily keeping up with the times, even with some cuts, a mild increase in our property taxes had to be implemented.


Would Ms. Zajdman have preferred that all our residents pay more in their property taxes instead of acting responsibly as they did?

 

 


Local residents Sklar and Chandler present unique exhibits at our library

Two District 2 residents currently have some interesting exhibitions at the Côte Saint-Luc Eleanor London Public Library. I have been to see them a few times already and would recommend you do the same.

Stanley Sklar’s Three Dimensional Art


Stanley Sklar, who resides on Mackle Road, is presenting a lovely display of three dimensional art. Stanley has been involved in the arts his entire life. Whether it be through painting, studying, or a career as an award winning fashion designer. This culminated in his newest art form. His 3D sculptures engage the audience. Meticulous attention to detail; from the hand-crafted bricks, worn stairs, to the people who inhabit each neighbourhood, makes this art unique. Stanley is keen on sharing his knowledge and vast experience with students as a teacher at the Cummings Centre. It can be viewed in the fiction section of the library.

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Stanley’s passion for art began at an early age. He was an award winning fashion designer and studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) in New York and at Ecole Contoir Caponi in Montreal. He then pursued his studies in Fine Arts at Ecole Des Beaux Arts . Stanley also taught the art of draping at the former Saidye Bronfman Centre.
Throughout his career he always continued painting and evolving as an artist, working often on glass. Fascinated by reflections that light cast on his images, he continued creating three-dimensional architectural sculptures. This culminated in his latest art form. His imagination transforms his houses into homes. Meticulous attention to detail; from the hand-crafted bricks, worn stairs, to the people that inhabit each neighbourhood,makes this art unique. These sculptures are encased in clear lucite boxes. They may be displayed free standing or hung on a wall.


This art may be purchased or commissioned to capture everlasting memories of your home to be shared for generations.
“I retired from my career in the fashion industry three years ago and I decided to focus on my art full-time,” he said. “I am being called by people to do these type of architectural sculptures of their homes and businesses. I did one of St. Viateur Bagel. The owners not only bought and displayed it, but they have now moved it to their new location in Laval. A lot of my work has been showcased in galleries. As a Côte Saint-Luc resident this is my first time doing so at the library and the response has been wonderful.”

Sklar3Recently Stanley was contacted by noted sculpture artist Shalom Bloom, whose magnificent work will be part of our revitalized Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park in 2017. He wants Stanley to work with him on that project.


See  http://www.stanleysklar.net/about.html and this YouTube video.

David Chandler

David Chandler resides on Sir Walter Scott Avenue. His exhibit runs until January 31 and is titled "Antique Maps from the Holy Land to New France.” It can be viewed in the Community Art Space section of the library.The exposition consists of 56 maps printed between the late 16th and late 19th centuries that depict either the Holy Land and surrounding areas, or early North America (including Montreal). In the 1980s David began using antique maps as aids while teaching history and geography classes. Since this time, David’s collection has grown to include thousands of maps from all parts of the world.

Lotter - Nouvelle France

David is a retired teacher. He spent 32 years at Rosemere High School as a geography, history and economics teacher, as well as doing clean-up duty in several other subjects. “I began using using reproduction antique maps in my classes in the 1980s and in 1987 I began openly buying and selling them by becoming an antique map dealer under the name Ptolémée Plus Antique Maps,” he told me. “Although maps are often found in used book stores and antique shops. Ptolémée Plus is the only company dealing exclusively in antique maps. My interest in maps has been life-long: when I was aged 14 and knowing nobody upon arriving in a new town I undertook to draw a map of the place using my bicycle. I also host a group of map/history aficionados known as Café cartographique , which I hope to bring to the library in January.”

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