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June 2017

CSL Men's Club raises $400,000 for Magen David Adom

The Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club continues to outdo itself year after year. Now 620 members strong, it welcomes residents age 55 and older. Founded in 1987, the club welcomes local, provincial and national speakers every Thursday morning at 9:30 am. The club also organizes activities like fitness, bowling, bridge, golf, choral and discussion groups.

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Syd Kronish sits on the scooter his family donated.

Under the leadership of District 2 resident Syd Kronish for the past three years, the Men’s Club held a gala evening June 27 to benefit Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel (CMDA). Since 1976 CMDA has been the sole authorized fund-raising organization in Canada dedicated to supplying ambulances, medical equipment, supplies and blood testing kits to support the lifesaving efforts of MDA in Israel. All of CMDA's assistance to MDA has been made possible solely through  generous donations.

Mike KronishesElaine
I took the time to congratulate Syd and Elaine Kronish, two of my distinguished constituents.

With its Head of Operations in Montreal and supporting Chapters across the country, CMDA's commitment to this cause runs deep with over 100 dedicated volunteers and a permanent staff of full-time professionals. Our newest city councillor, Sidney Benizri, is the executive director. In addition to providing ongoing support for the people of Israel, CMDA has contributed 20 percent of the funds required to build the national headquarters of MDA's Blood Bank located in the Tel-Ha'shomer complex just outside Tel Aviv, supplied 100 of the 800 ambulances in service today and 25 of the 200 emergency First-Responder Medical Scooters with plans to purchase another eight this year. Two of the Mobile Blood Units and $1.2 million in annual contributions to purchase specialized blood testing kits have all been possible due to your generous donations.


MDA is not a government agency, and therefore,depends heavily on donations, primarily from the Diaspora. In order to continue safeguarding lives in routine times and in times of emergency, MDA requires constant support.

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CMDA President Michael Levine, Mayor Brownstein and Mannie Young thank the Spectors for their donation. (Charles Eklove photo)

The event held at the CSL Aquatic and Community Centre began with the announcement that two ambulances and four medical scooters had been donated. More than 400 people attended, raising an incredible $400,000 for CMDA. Some of the proceeds from the event will be used to provide essential medical equipment for MDA Israel paramedics and first responders.

Standard Ambulances were donated by Simon and Fagey Rossdeutscher and Judith and Harry Rossdeutscher in memory of their families who perished in the Holocaust and by Derek and Richard Stern and Families from Olymbec. The Medical Emergency Scooter were purchased by Sheila and Nat Agensky in memory of Brian Agensky, Marion and Lazarus Caplan, Elaine and Syd Kronish/Steven, Etty, Samantha and David Kronish and The Spector Family. Harriet and Harry Fried made a donation towards medical equipment.

Pomerantzsings
Cantor Yossi Pomerantz sings.


Mayor Mitchell Brownstein served as the master of ceremonies for the evening, which featured performances by Cantor Yossi Pomerantz (accompanied by Joseph Milo) and humorist Al Kustanowitz.


“Just having returned from a visit to Israel, where a group of us visited MDA’s Medical Dispatch Center, I can tell all of you that it truly is an amazing organization which responds to all types of emergencies,” Kronish told the audience.


CMDA President Michael Levine also spoke. “The pride we all feel in being part of Magen David Adom exists on so many levels,” he said. “Saving lives, mitigating the suffering of human beings whoever they may be, supporting the 15,000 volunteers and 2,300 employees in Israel that, too often, knowingly put themselves at risk to care for others, and MDA involvement around the world, are just a few. There is so much more.”


The audience was moved by this video  of a young boy whose life was saved by MDA


The entertainment was superb. Afterwards, a dessert reception was held in our gym. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to speak to so many of our constituents,


Local authors salon at CSL Public Library showcased three impressive writers

As the city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc  responsible for Library and Culture I take great pride in everything this iconic institution provides.

I always like to say that we are a lot more than just loaning books. Programming makes up a good portion of our agenda. A case in point was our June 28 Local Author Salon at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium.

LIbraryauthors
Prior to the program I met with (left to right) authors Ravit Rose, Amy Sands Brodoff, Harry Rajchgot and Librarian Janine West.

Ami Sands Brodoff (In Many Waters), Harry Rajchgot (Gravitational Fields: A Novel of Peacetime & War) and Ravit Rose (Unwanted Nasty Divorces) shared from their latest works. This was an opportunity for our audience to get inspired and learn first-hand what it takes to write a novel, have it published and be ready to share it with the whole world.  The eye-opening experience featured three distinct writing styles and paths to discovery, self-help and the art storytelling.

Ami resides with her family in NDG.   Ami Sands Brodoff is the award-winning author of  three novels and a volume of stories. The White Space Between centres on a mother and daughter grappling with the impact of the Holocaust and won The Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction. Bloodknots, a volume of thematically linked stories about families on the edge, was a finalist for The Re-Lit Award. Her debut novel, Can You See Me? penetrates into both the point of view of a young man with schizophrenia and his sister who struggles to help him. The novel was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and is a recommended book of NAMI (The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). A native New Yorker, Ami now makes her home in Montreal with her husband, children, and Brittany Spaniel. She recently completed her fourth book, the novel In Many Waters.

Harry, who is a neighbour of mine in District 2, was born in a displaced persons’ camp in Pocking, in what was then West Germany, after the end of World War II. He is the son of Holocaust survivors who spent the war years in the Soviet Union after escaping from Poland in 1939, soon after the war began.  In his day job as a dentist, he is a staff member of the McGill University Health Centre, and a faculty lecturer at McGill University. Gravitational Fields is his first novel. Formerly co-editor of the Harvest-HaAsif Literary Anthology, he is currently editor of JONAHmagazine, an online literary magazine. He amuses himself by writing musical plays for the Jewish festival of Purim, and is a founding member of the Greene Writers Collective.  He spent more than 20 years writing  Gravitational Fields, having started  at the time his father became severely ill in 1994. It gives a fictional account of a family of Holocaust survivors struggling to overcome their past, based on the stories of many individuals and families who went through similar experiences. The novel is historical fiction, a family epic that begins just before the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the event which resulted in the start of World War II. It is a fantastic read.


Ravit Rose is a deeply devoted mom to her two young sons and a former  Côte Saint-Luc resident. This is where her passion lives and breathes. Pre-divorce, she envisioned a successful career building her business dreams and actively making a contribution to her community. Her confidence and trailblazing spirit is evident in her keen work ethic and entrepreneurial acumen. She earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree specializing in Marketing and Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management along with a Human Resources Certificate. She continued to pursue her career path from the very first day of her separation despite the fact that it was often thwarted. She found the emotional impact her divorce was having on her and her children to be heartbreaking. She was also very much aware that her ex-husband was having a hard time. Often, she felt that she didn’t understand why and how matters seemed to go wrong all the time. So she went off on an adventure to find the solutions she needed to end her struggle. This took her to discoveries she had not expected- to common issues that affect parents around the world, regardless of the varied laws in their respective justice system. Her book speaks of the Quebec Justice System as a means of comparison for her readers around the world. With the help of hundreds of other divorced parents’ stories (majority of which were mothers), Ravit proudly authored her book, Unwanted Nasty Divorces, hoping everyone’s voice will encourage a chorus of others to engage in a much-needed dialogue in support of families everywhere. More importantly, she intends to ignite conversations about needless suffering families face because of inconsistencies in the family justice system and how these flaws are failing families far and wide to make way for monumental change.

This evening represented a great opportunity to encourage local talent.  Copies of their books were available for purchase at the event.


For more information about what’s on this summer at the Library, visit csllibrary.org or call 514-485-6900.


I officially declare my candidacy for re-election to City Council on November 5, 2017

I am pleased to formally announce that I will seek a fourth term as the city councillor for District 2 in Côte Saint-Luc. Municipal elections are on Sunday, November 5, 2017. The Director General of Elections has authorized my candidature and I am honoured to have Reuben Spector back as my official agent and campaign manager. I wish to thank my family for their continued support.

OPenHouseMikeAlFish
With Alvin Fishman at the new fitness room of the ACC.

Born and raised in Côte Saint-Luc, I have a long record of involvement in the community as a participant in municipal programming, a volunteer, a journalist and a consultant for city and borough hall. I attended elementary and high school in Côte Saint-Luc. In addition to my role on city council, I serve as the communications and marketing specialist for the English Montreal School Board and write for several publications including The Suburban, The Jewish Standard, Montreal Jewish Magazine and The Montrealer.

LevineUllman
With constituents Jason Ullmann and Brad Levine.


I was first elected to serve as the city councillor for District 2 in 2005 and won that election with 92 percent of the vote. Constituents subsequently delivered votes of confidence for me and as a result I was acclaimed to office once again in 2009 and 2013.


I work hard for my constituents, having been the first councillor to introduce annual District Town Hall meetings. I respond to numerous phone calls and emails each week and meet regularly with constituents, notably via my walkabouts within the district. I do not wait for an election every four years to knock on doors. This is done consistently throughout my four years in office.  I am fortunate to have a strong presence in the media, via my weekly columns in the newspaper (which includes my photo) and consistent media appearances via my role as spokesman for the EMSB. When I first knocked on doors 12 years ago, I did not have to introduce myself.

Dr Steinberg
With constituent Dr. Marvin Steinberg


L’amélioration du processus de communication


Quand j’ai été élu il y a près de douze ans, avec une majorité de 92 pour cent, un de mes premiers engagements visait l’amélioration du processus de communication entre la ville et les résidants. Nous avons commencé par mettre en place un service des Affaires publiques et communications dirigé de façon professionnelle. Un nouveau site Web a été lancé ainsi qu’un bulletin d’information en ligne. Le Courrier de Côte Saint-Luc, le journal qui était une tradition dans cette ville avant les quatre années de la fusion avec Montréal, a été ramené à la vie. J’ai cru nécessaire d’avoir aussi un bulletin propre à chaque district qui serait distribué porte à porte une fois l’an.


J’ai mis en oeuvre une autre promesse importante en instaurant les rencontres d’information du district 2. Ainsi, une ou deux fois par année, j’invite tous mes électeurs à l’hôtel de ville ou à un autre emplacement au sein du district pour échanger et en savoir plus sur les questions urgentes qui affectent notre voisinage immédiat. Ces rencontres ont connu beaucoup de succès; elles sont bien appréciées et beaucoup de gens y assistent. En fait, quelques-uns de mes collègues au conseil municipal ont commencé à s’inspirer de cette idée. Pour moi, frapper aux portes une fois tous les quatre ans n’est pas suffisant.

 

MarciaCuplowsky
At a Maison Fleuries Awards ceremony.

Campaign team already in place


District 2 is composed of  highrise condominiums,  town house condominiums,  residential apartment buildings and three streets with single family homes. My re-election team is already in place and consists of multiple campaign representatives from every one of these locations; people whom I have worked regularly with for over a decade. District 2, which is where I have lived for 22 years, encompasses Merrimac, Rembrandt., Kildare (between Rembrandt and Marc Chagall), Sir Walter Scott, Ilan Ramon, Marc Chagall, Mackle (between Cavendish and Brandeis), Quartier Cavendish Mall, Jubilee, Park Place, Cavendish (Manoir Montefiore, Manoir Camelia, L’Excelsior) and Honoré-de-Balzac.


I am proud of my record, which I will  elaborate upon in future communications.

CatschequeMikeBirnbaum
MNA David Birnbaum presents me with a cheque for the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee.

Please log on and subscribe to my blog at http://www.mikecohen.ca. If you would like to join my campaign team, please email info@mikecohen.ca.


Marc Chagall project: Agreement reached to curb weekend and evening work

After much deliberation with city council and legal advisors, and notably my ad hoc committee consisting of representatives of the five condos on Marc Chagall, came  to a consenus regarding matters of  concern related to the construction of new high rise buildings on Marc Chagall Avenue. Here is a copy of the letter we sent to residents.

The Letter

The City of Côte Saint-Luc, in the best interests of its residents, amended its noise by-law to prohibit work on weekends given the growing concern that this  significant nuisance causes.  This by-law impacted projects such as the construction site on Marc Chagall Ave.

Thesite

Agreement reached

The developers signed a written undertaking to not challenge the amendments to the bylaw in return for their right to work on some evenings past 7pm, and on some Saturdays from 9am to 5pm.

This agreement comes about after much discussion by council and work by our legal and urban planning departments. We faced an unusual situation because in the past, developers of major projects didn’t tend to work on weekends or into the evening hours. But when the developers on Marc Chagall sent a letter to neighbours in March announcing their intention to work on weekday evenings and weekends, we acted immediately  and began the process of updating the city’s noise by-law  to deal with this new situation.

Committee

In April, we established an unprecedented ad hoc committee composed of the developers and representatives from the five condominium associations, including The Rothchild I and II, La Marquise, The Bellagio and Les Cours Marc Chagall. We listened to the concerns raised and acted.

Project update

Soon the developers will move from excavation to concrete super structure work. From January 2018 until approximately March 2018, work will consist of precast installation. They will need five Saturdays during this period. After that and until the end of July 2018 work will only be done on the interior of the structure. Please note that the recent installation of the crane represented an exceptional circumstance.

Cleaning, parking and other issues

We are working closely with the developers on a wide variety of other important matters. This includes their commitment to keeping the street clean, maintaining proper safety and working with us to find a better solution for where their workers should park their cars. A special temporary lot will be created on the greenspace between the Bellagio and the townhouses. This area will be turned into a beautiful park after it is no longer necessary for vehicles.

Please feel free to call or e-mail us at any time and we will always provide a quick response and follow up. Our Traffic Committee is paying special attention to this area and together with our staff and resident representatives we will continue to work together with the developer to insure that all matters are addressed in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Councillor Mike Cohen                               Mayor Mitchell Brownstein

District 2

 

Projet Marc Chagall
Conclusion d’une entente pour limiter les travaux le soir et les week-ends

 

Aux résidants de Marc Chagall

Pour le bien de ses résidants, la Ville de Côte Saint-Luc a amendé son règlement sur le bruit afin d’interdire les travaux les week-ends, compte tenu des préoccupations grandissantes que suscite cette importante source de nuisance. Ce règlement touche des projets comme celui de la construction sur l’avenue Marc Chagall.

Conclusion d’une entente


Les promoteurs se sont engagés par écrit à ne pas contester les amendements au règlement, en échange du droit d’effectuer des travaux certains soirs après 19 h, et certains samedis de 9 h à 17 h.

L’entente a été conclue au terme de longues discussions au Conseil et grâce au travail de nos services juridiques et de l’aménagement urbain. Nous étions dans une situation inhabituelle, puisque dans le passé les promoteurs de grands projets n’avaient pas l’habitude de travailler le soir ou les week-ends. En mars dernier, quand les voisins du projet sur Marc Chagall ont reçu une lettre des promoteurs leur faisant part de leur intention de travailler les week-ends et les soirs de semaine, nous avons réagi immédiatement et entamé le processus de révision du règlement municipal sur le bruit pour faire face à cette nouvelle situation.

Comité


En avril, nous avons créé un comité consultatif sans précédent, composé des promoteurs et de représentants des cinq associations de condominiums, incluant Le Rothchild I et II, La Marquise, Le Bellagio et Les Cours Marc Chagall. Nous avons écouté les préoccupations exprimées et nous avons agi.

Le point sur le projet


Les promoteurs auront bientôt terminé l’excavation. Débuteront alors les travaux de la superstructure de béton. À compter de janvier et probablement jusqu'en mars 2018, l'installation de béton préfabriqué nécessitera cinq samedis de travaux. Ensuite, jusqu’à la fin de juillet 2018, les travaux s’effectueront uniquement à l’intérieur de la structure. Précisons que l’installation récente de la grue a constitué une circonstance exceptionnelle.

Nettoyage, stationnement et autres questions


Nous travaillons en étroite collaboration avec les promoteurs sur plusieurs autres questions importantes. Cela comprend leur engagement à garder la rue propre, à assurer la sécurité de façon adéquate et à travailler avec nous afin de trouver une meilleure solution pour fournir à leurs travailleurs un endroit où stationner leur véhicule. Un site temporaire sera spécialement aménagé à cet effet dans l’espace vert entre le Bellagio et les maisons en rangée. Le site sera ensuite transformé en un très joli parc lorsqu’il ne servira plus de stationnement.

N’hésitez pas à nous téléphoner, ou envoyez-nous un courriel. Nous répondrons rapidement et ferons le suivi nécessaire. Notre comité de la circulation surveille le secteur attentivement. Soyez assurés que nous continuons de travailler avec nos employés et les représentants des résidants pour régler rapidement tous les problèmes qui sont soulevés.

Cordialement,

Conseiller Mike Cohen Maire Mitchell Brownstein
District 2


Snow dump work virtually completed

Each year I go to city council and insist that can allocation be made to deal with the huge ski hill-like structure that exists in our snow dump. The huge winter storm we had last March added to the mountain.

May was not a particularly warm month, so our Public Works Department brought in the heavy equipment recently. Today we stopped operations with the mechanical shovel.  The balance remaining is hard ice and will break the shovel if we continue. Ninety percent of the work has been done.  Work on cleaning the area will be done over the summer. I have asked Public Works to carry out an inspection to ensure any water is draining properly.

 

Dump

 

 

 

Our library to help explore the historic role of Jewish immigrants in Canada

As part of the Federation CJA 100 Year Celebration, in association with the Côte Saint-Luc Public Library and the Côte Saint-Luc Historical Society – the public is invited to explore the historic role of Jewish immigrants to Canada who became independent farmers and community builders throughout the province of Quebec.

The history of Jewish farmers in Canada stretches all the way back to the 1880’s – from the Maritimes to British Columbia. Although some scholars allude to the proliferation of Jewish immigrants as farmers mainly in the Canadian west, it is very clear that their presence throughout the country did have an equally significant historic impact to the overall Jewish community.

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From places in Quebec like La Macaza (Mt. Tremblant), Ste Agathe, Ste Sophie / New Glasgow, Laval, Côte Saint-Luc and the Eastern Townships, the involvement of Jewish immigrants within Canada’s early agriculture industry was extensive and significant. Whether it was in the tobacco industry, grain production, vegetable cultivation, raising livestock, poultry, eggs or in the dairy industry – Jewish farmers were creative, industrious and innovators in a profession that was constantly evolving.


Throughout month of July 2017, the public is invited to explore the life and times of these Jewish farmers who settled in parts of Quebec from as far back as the late 1890’s. The exhibition will be on display at the Eleanor London CSL Public Library (5851 Cavendish) beginning July 2, 2017 – with special days that will include presentations and guests speakers. Please log on to www.csllibrary.org for additional information, directions and opening hours.

Litvackfarmers
The exhibition (in French and English) titled Jewish Farmers of Quebec: A 100 Year Retrospective will focus and detail the important historical dimension of Jewish farmers throughout the Province of Quebec. Whether living in organized communities or as independent entrepreneurs, the choice to begin a new life as a farmer in Canada was a hopeful option.
From the many places they settled and businesses created, this exhibition will highlight the people and their contributions throughout Quebec. By means of personal histories, statistical data, photographs, including a special series of paintings (two shown in this blog) contributed by CSL artist and District 2 resident Michael Litvack, this event will be a rare opportunity to learn, and appreciate the history of Jewish farmers that settled in Quebec post 1890.


The exhibition will conclude on July 30. The public is invited to visit the exhibition during the opening hours of the library. On Sundays Dr. Howard Gontovnick will be present on site for questions and discussions. Developed exclusively by Dr.  Gontovnick for the Federation CJA’s 100 year Celebration, in cooperation with the CSL Historical Society and the CSL Public Library, this unique exhibition becomes an important footnote to the contributions of the Jewish immigrants as farmers in Quebec. Dr. Gontovnick, who is a psychotherapist and Adjunct Professor at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, New York in World Religions and Jewish Studies – is a researcher and has a background in agriculture. He has written many articles and book chapters focusing on understanding and the role of Jewish farmers both in Quebec and Canada. For more information, please consult the website www.jewishfarmers.ca. After arriving in Canada during the 1920’s, the Gontovnick family later settle in Ste Sophie, Quebec in the early 1940’s. Shortly after a chicken farm was established and gradually became one of the largest egg processing stations for Greater Montreal and surrounding regions. Today, the farm is semi-active producing potatoes, corn and other grains. For more Information - Dr. Howard Gontovnick ( howardg@alumni.concordia.ca )


CSL Golf Classic set for July 6; record sellout

A few years ago the annual Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic was in a funk, as only 48 people registered. As the co-chair of teh event with Councillor Sam Goldbloom, I turned to staff Harold Cammy and Alvin Fishman and called a meeting. It was time to reinvent this program.

The comeback began three years ago when we decided to choose an honouree. Ron Yarin, a longtime CSL volunteer who had fallen upon hard times health-wise, was our first choice. We also encouraged more people from the community to register. The end result was a sellout. Last year we filled every spot again as we recognized McDonald's franchisee Pierre Brunet. Clearly there was a trend developing. What happened this year was quite extraordinary. We sold out practically before formal enrolment even get underway.

The 2017 event will take place on Thursday, July 6 at Meadowbrook Golf Club (8370 Côte Saint Luc Rd.). Starting times for the nine-hole course are from 7am to 10am. A buffet luncheon follows at the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Ave) will follow. In the event of strong rain, the luncheon will still take place as scheduled, but the tournament will be rescheduled for Tuesday, July 11, with the same starting times. Please note that we have NEVER been rained out before.

This year we will be honouring Johnny Elias, a long-time volunteer and past owner of the Grand Slam Baseball School. Elias has recently agreed to loan nearly 50 years’ worth of baseball memorabilia to Côte Saint-Luc. The city will announce its plans at the luncheon on where the items will be showcased.

Golf1
Alvin Fishman, Harold Cammy, Johnny Elias, Marc Ezerzer, Sam Goldbloom and myself.

Marc Ezerzer from the Côte Saint-Luc-based Vantage Mortgage and Real Estate Group is this year title sponsor. He also provided caps and golf balls for the participants.

Côte Saint-Luc will also officially inaugurate the Pierre Brunet Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund, which is sponsored by local McDonald’s franchisee Pierre Brunet. The Fund will be used to help local families who need financial help to register their children in recreation programs. Funds will also support children with special needs.

Pierre Brunet has been involved in our helping our community for many years. This new initiative will have a direct impact in the lives of many kids in our community.

A guest speaker will be announced soon.


The Golf Classic is open to all with participants slotted into groups of players ages 64 and younger or ages 65 and older.

“Johnny was a professional minor league baseball player and later got to know players from the Expos and visiting teams quite well,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said. “He put together a remarkable collection over the years and we’re very excited to be able to share it with the public in Côte Saint-Luc.”

The luncheon will include trophies and door prizes. There will be snacks on the golf course and souvenir packages available.

 


Standing room only: Cavendish Extension the main topic at annual District 2 Town Hall

I held my annual District 2 Town Hall meeting at City Hall on June 5 and our Council Chamber was filled to capacity. This was a campaign promise when I first ran for office in 2005. Now, once a year – more if necessary – I hold these meetings to allow people to get updated in person on issues specifically related to our district. I also urge everyone to follow my website at www.mikecohen.ca. You can subscribe to receive alerts.

Audience
The room was packed.

 


There will an election in November and I will be proud to seek a fourth mandate on council.

Cavendish-Kildare Intersection

Last year’s District 2 meeting focused on an issue which residents have asked me about more than any other: The Cavendish/Kildare intersection. The city formed an ad hoc committee which met over a period of many months. Last November we proudly introduced a new split phase configuration. In short, motorists travelling westbound on Kildare are now able to drive through the intersection at Cavendish while traffic in the opposing direction waits. This allows drivers to turn left (or turn right, or go straight) without opposing traffic. To help visualize the change, imagine you are a driver who left the JPPS/Bialik campus and is heading west along Kildare towards the police station. When you approach the traffic light at Cavendish Blvd., you can use the left or middle lane to turn left or the middle lane to go straight. Once we have made the change, the motorists coming from the opposite direction will have a red right, which will allow you to turn left (or to go straight) without having to worry about oncoming traffic. 


Likewise, motorists coming from the opposite side now have their chance to move through the intersection without interference, soon after. Just as many vehicles as before are able to pass through the intersection. However, the process is less stressful for many. Pedestrians also appreciate the change because they now have fewer vehicles coming from few directions to contend with. The response I have received from constituents has been overwhelmingly positive.

Grouplong
Left to right: Elisabeth Prass, myself, Rick Leckner, resident Allan Greenberg, Mayor Brownstein, resident Sidney Margles, Elaine Yagod Brownstein.

The Cavendish Boulevard Extension.


The main item on the agenda was the extension of Cavendish Boulevard. My topic, in fact, was “Is the Cavendish Extension Closer to Reality?” I actually began planning this meeting six weeks in advance, completely unaware that the very day of the gathering major news would leak out that yes, the extension was indeed “closer to reality.”


I am 54 years old. As far back as I can remember, the extension of Cavendish has been a regular topic for discussion. The late Mayor Bernard Lang was strongly opposed to it---“We Don’t Need It, We Don’t Want it, We Can’t Afford It,” he’d always say.


Here was my interview on CJAD with Andrew Carter the morning prior to the meeting,

Here was The Gazette story which appeared the same day.

En Français

Un lien nord-sud par le boulevard Cavendish est l’élément manquant sur le réseau routier de l’île de Montréal. Les premières discussions en vue de relier les deux tronçons du boulevard Cavendish remontent au milieu des années 1960, et des études ont été faites en 1981, en 1988, en 1992, en 1995, en 1996 et en 2000.


Projet de construction de la route donc les objectifs sont :


• La création d'un lien nord-sud de Côte Saint-Luc à l'arrondissement Saint-Laurent
• La création d'un lien est-ouest avec le boulevard Décarie


Le raccordement du boulevard Cavendish lien a le but d'ameliorer l'accessibilite au secteur, pour y entrer, en sortir et y circuler, par tous les modes de transport, et d'assurer des conditions de circulation propices a la prosperite economique et au bien-etre des residents.


The Blue Bonnets land


In 2012 the Quebec Government agreed in principle to cede the 43.5 hectare site of Blue Bonnets Raceway to the City of Montreal in order to build up to 8,000 sustainable residential units. As of the morning of my meeting the province had NOT signed the necessary documents to transfer the land to the city. As I prepared my notes for the meeting I was prepared to emphasize how there was considerable optimism that Montreal complete that deal before the November elections. In order for Montreal to make the housing project work, they need the extension as well.


Well imagine my surprise when I learned that a press conference had been scheduled for the afternoon of my Town Hall wherein the Quebec government would indeed sell the Blue Bonnets land to Montreal. That announcement was postponed to June 6. Wow!!!! What timing!


See this story in The Montreal Gazette.


As Jason Magder reported, Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitão said the government is handing over the land to the city. The city pays nothing up front, but must give the province half the profits of land sold on the 43.5-hectare property.

The agreement holds the city responsible for demolishing the Blue Bonnets race track and clubhouse. The city will build as many as 5,000 housing units in the sector with 15 per cent dedicated for social housing rental units, and 15 per cent for affordable housing units. The agreement gives the city five years to present a development plan to the province and six years to start selling the first housing units. The project will be the subject of public hearings before a final plan is set. And indeed part of the agreement is that the Cavendish extension be built. We just do not know when.


The agglomeration council has already earmarked $220,000 for a feasibility study for an overpass in the railway yards. Both Canadian Pacific and CN appear to be on board. So are St Laurent, TMR, the Quebec Government, the Federal Government and yes Côte Saint-Luc.


The cost is estimated at $175 million. It would have been $20 million in the 1980s. Federal Infrastructure Funds will be available. Montreal has even placed reserves on two pieces of land on Cavendish and Dalton, owned by real estate company Olymbec. This bars the owners from expanding or developing this property for two years as it is an essential link to the extension.


There has never been more momentum for this extension, which would see Cote Saint-Luc connected to Royalmount (so not a direct Cavendish to Cavendish route) and then from Royalmount to Cavendish in St. Laurent.


At my meeting Mayor Mitchell Brownstein began by expressing his optimism for the extension, which would lead from Wallenberg Avenue through the CP Yards towards Royalmount. Elisabeth Prass, from the office of D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, agreed that with the impending announcement regarding the former Blue Bonnets land the timing could not be better to discuss the extension. She added that since these are municipal roads, once any negotiations are complete the provincial and federal governments will get involved.


Rick Leckner has over four decades of experience in corporate communications and crisis management. He established Maison Brison Communications in 1983, providing strategic investor relations, crisis management and media relations services to large, publicly-traded Canadian companies. Prior to that he helped launch public relations firm, Polymark Management in 1973.

He is known for his many years (1969-2000) of providing helicopter traffic reports to Montrealers on CJAD and Mix 96. Rick was proactive in representing the travelling public’s interests, regularly liaising with police and transport officials. In 2011 he was named to Transports Québec’s comité technique sur la mobilité des biens et des personnes and worked with officials in an attempt to mitigate traffic congestion. He is regularly sought after by the media for his insights into traffic coordination.

Rick was also a city councillor in Dollard-des-Ormeaux from 1978-1994, was Vice-President of the Montreal Urban Community (MUC) Emergency Measures Bureau, and has sat on a number of other Quebec Government committees, including the Conseil des services essentiels and the Comité d’examen des plaintes of the Sûreté du Québec.

I go way back with Rick and it was an honour to have him as a speaker on this subject. I vividly remember the debates he had via the media with Mayor Lang on this subject.

“We seem to be moving in the right direction,” Leckner said about the extension. “The funding I am told is in place. The main stumbling block is negotiations with the railways.”

Leckner emphasized that because this will not be a direct Cavendish to Cavendish link, it will not be a traffic hazard for Côte Saint-Luc. If anything, it will resolve the problem we have now of only two exits out of the city – something which would have been very problematic if we were faced with the same flooding as other parts of Quebec experienced recently.”

Leckner’s emphasis was that this project could be complete between 2023 and 2025.

MikeOfficerEduoardoAmaral
With Police Officer Eduoardo Amaral

 

Traffic and Public Safety

Naturally there were a lot of questions. I want to thank Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac who attended the meeting and responded to a number of queries. Spyro Yotis, our new traffic engineer and Officer Eduardo Amaral from Police Station 9 also joined us. Councillor Nashen responded to a number of traffic related questions. Councillor Kovac weighed in on the Cavendish extension and previewed the beautiful facelift we gave to Trudeau Park. Officer Amaral was asked by resident Mélodie Cohn about the recent attack on a teenager after she got off the  bus on Cavendish and Kildare. The officer said that thanks to her courage, the perpetrator was  not only dealt with by authorities, but other victims came forward,

Updates


I provided updates on development in the district. 6700 The Avenue opens September1 in Quartier Cavendish. Built by the BSR Group, it will have 90 units and is already half rented with commerce zoned for the ground floor.


Over the last three months our city council has devoted a lot of attention to the new development on Marc Chagall Avenue to be known as the Equinox. In March the developers announced in a letter to residents of the other buildings on Marc Chagall that they intended to work on this project weekday nights and weekends. While this was within their right, according to our noise bylaw which has been in effect for many decades, it was also unprecedented. We have never encountered such a situation with a high rise building.

In April we established an unprecedented ad hoc committee composed of representatives from the five condominium associations – The Rothchild I and II, La Marquise, The Bellagio and Les Cours Marc Chagall. – And the developers. There were a number of concerns raised, starting with the extended hours. Council moved quickly to amend the bylaw prohibiting weekend and weeknight work. We also negotiated terms that required the developer to provide a written undertaking not to contest the amendments to the bylaw in return for their right to work some nights and weekends, but far less than had previously been anticipated. The developers will normally not work past 7 pm on weeknights and from 9 am to 5 pm on occasional Saturdays.


This solution will avoid litigation which could not have been guaranteed otherwise and was felt by the five condominium’s representatives to be the most prudent way to proceed.

Soon the developers will move from excavation to concrete super structure work. From January 2018 until approximately March 2018 work will consist of precast installation. They will need five Saturdays during this period. After that and until the end of July 2018 work will only be done on the interior of the structure.

We are working closely with the developers on a wide variety of other important matters. This includes their commitment to keeping the street clean, maintaining proper safety and working with us to find a better solution for where their workers should park their cars. A special temporary lot will be created on the greenspace between the Bellagio and the Town Houses and turned into a beautiful park after it is no longer necessary for vehicles.

Our departments of Public Safety and Urban Planning have been spending an enormous amount of time monitoring this project and they will continue to do so.

Our Traffic Committee is paying special attention to this area and together with our staff and resident representatives we will continue to work together with the developer to insure that all matters are addressed in a timely manner.

Reconstruction of the City Hall Parking Lot


Long awaited work on the City Hall parking lot will commence soon. The project includes the reconstruction of the sidewalks, curbs, and the asphalt roadway and parking surface, the installation of a bike path between Cavendish and Sir Walter Scott, the replacement of the lighting, the replacement of the security cameras and the installation of a charging station for electric vehicles. The work will be carried out mainly during the summer months (to start at the beginning of July) and is expected to be completed by mid-October.

The contractor is required to carry out the work in phases so that we always have one entrance accessible and approximately half the parking lot available for parking at any one time. We are relocating trees because the configuration of the lot is changing and we are transplanting all those that have a good survival chance.  

The new parking lot configuration is being changed to improve visibility, ease of manoeuvre while improving pedestrian safety;


• a new drop-off area will be installed in front of the main doors,
• an elevated section of the roadway (to slow down traffic) will be installed at the intersection of the main roadway from Cavendish and the delivery area at City Hall,
• a new sidewalk will be installed on the City Hall building (south) side towards Cavendish,
• a central sidewalk median will be installed for pedestrians,
• a bike path will be installed from Cavendish to Walter Scott,
• approximately 23 additional parking spaces will be created; presently the capacity of the lot is 120 spaces and we expect to get 143 with the new configuration.