Previous month:
December 2017
Next month:
February 2018

January 2018

Summit of Elected Officials another great initiative by MP Housefather

When Anthony Housefather was elected as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal more than two years ago he promised to make regular communications with his constituents a priority. He has indeed made good on that, holding rotating public assemblies in Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Côte des Neiges and TMR. In addition, he has maintained a steady presence on social media, organized mailings to each home and secured a high profile in the media.

2018-01-25_summit
Anthony Housefather surrounded by his guests, including me at the top left.

 

One of Anthony’s new ideas was to hold regular Summits of Elected Officials. This round-table format brings together elected officials from the municipal and provincial levels, as well as school boards,  with Anthony as chair.

The most recent such gathering occurred last week at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall. I was joined by Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillors Dida Berku, Ruth Kovac, David Tordjman, Mitch Kujavsky.  Also in attendance were:TMR   Councillors Minh-Diem Le Thi and Jonathan Lang; Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg and Councillors Leon Elfassy and Jacky Edery; Côte des Neiges/NDG Borough Mayor  Sue Montgomery; D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum and staff members Elisabeth Prass and Chris Savard; Charlotte Thierry from the office of Mont Royal Liberal MNA and Quebec Government Treasury Board President Pierre Arcand; Commission Scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) Commissioner for Côte des Neiges Khokon Maniruzzaman; and Sonny Moroz, Chelsea Craig and Izabel Cujoz-Shulman from Anthony’s office.

It was a most interesting exchange and a great opportunity to dialogue on common issues such as the Cavendish extension.

Anthony began with a look  at federal matters of concern to us  followed by David Birnbaum who spoke about Quebec issues of concern and each Mayor spoke about issues of concern to their city. .Khokon Maniruzzaman and I provided school board updates. Naturally all the discussions were confidential but it allowed us to work together and plan together to resolve issues of common concern.  A highly useful exercise.


Horrific winter season means our snow dump is busy

Our snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue does indeed look like a ski hill. It has been a miserable winter thus far and that means a lot of action has occurred in the dump.

Three mechanical shovels have been working around the clock in recent days,  building a pyramid shape. We are now edging over halfway in the dump and need to build up. These equipment/vehicles are not noisy. 

Jan142018Dump

Our Public Works crews were blowing the snow throughout the city last week. There was an urgent need to get rid of the hardened snow and ice from the edges of the roads at the sidewalks and remnants from private contractors. As we were doing this during the week, the cold weather created extremely hard ice areas. The icy conditions are dangerous and we want to provide safe access throughout the city. Hospitals and schools are blown first and we start there at 5 am, so that operations are done before the working day begins. Trucks then need access to the dump to deposit the snow and then return to the roads to load up again.

There is one plus regarding the snow dump and people who live across the street and are often disturbed by noises. The snow wall along Marc Chagall is higher than ever, creating a fantastic sound and visual border. The transport trucks in general are abiding by the rules specified in their contracts.

Given the state of affairs on that street with construction and snow removal operations, the city continues to do its  utmost to be very respectful towards the residents' quality of life, paying special attention to issues that arise in a timely manner.

Last year our biggest snow storm of the season came in early March, so who knows what is ahead of us this winter?

 


How many dogs are licensed in each district?

Thanks to Côte Saint-Luc's Director of Public Safety Jordy Reichson I can share with you these interesting statistics regarding how many  dogs were licensed in each electoral district for 2017-18.

District 5 

Councillor Mitchell Kujavsky 123

Milo the Dog
Mitch Kujavsky's dog Milo.

District 8   

Councillor Ruth Kovac 117


District 4   

Councillor Steven Erdelyi  115


District 2     

Yours Truly 102


District 6     

Councillor David Tordjman 93


District 1     

Councillor Oren Sebag 92


District 3     

Councillor Dida Berku 86


District 7 

Councillor SIdney Benizri 57

That is 662 registered dogs. I am sure there are many more than that!

A few weeks ago I held the first gathering of dog owners in the city. It was the beginning of a process  to start a new committee. In the coming weeks city council will consider new rules to allow dogs in parks. I have asked Jonathan Goldman and Darren Rapkowski, two dog owners, to meet  and put together some initial goals. They will then call another brainstorming session. Abe Haim remains my point man for the main dog run on Mackle Road. We will find someone to do the same when a second dog run opens on Côte Saint-Luc Road near Richard Schwartz Park..

 


Montreal's plastic bag ban does not apply in Côte Saint-Luc

On August 23, 2016, the city of Montreal adopted By-law 16-051,  prohibiting the distribution of certain types of shopping bags in retail stores.  

Reusable bags

The ban for merchants offering light plastic bags to consumers took effect on January 1, 2018. It applies to all establishments whose main activity is the sale of merchandise at the retail level. A grace period for compliance will be granted through June 5, 2018. Banned are: conventional plastic shopping bags (a thickness of less than 50 microns) and Oxo-degradable, oxo-fragmentable, biodegradable shopping bags, whatever their thickness.

Now let me advise you that this ban does not apply in Côte Saint-Luc. While I always have reusable bags in my trunk, be it for the grocery store or the pharmacy, I do not believe we should adopt a similar by-law.  Is it fair for someone who makes an unplanned trip to a store or for a senior or an individual using public transit who does not have any reusable bags handy? Yes, I suppose you can buy a new reusable bag at a number of stores. But should we force that on anybody?

I will be the first person to urge people to bring their own bag. I have more than a dozen in my trunk and the collection keeps growing. When I went on holiday to Tampa, I made sure to pack a few reusable bags and I used them for all of my grocery store visits.

Just understand your geography. In Montreal,  not covered by the by-law  are plastic bags used exclusively to transport foodstuffs to the cash counter of a retail store or to protect them, for hygiene purposes, from direct contact with other items (fruits, vegetables, nuts, bulk confectionery, prepared foods, meat, fish, bread, dairy products, etc.).

Côte Saint-Luc City Council will be addressing this with some kind of policy in the not too distant future.


Côte Saint-Luc shines in snow clearing operation; Marc Chagall issues dealt with

In the wake of another snowstorm, Côte Saint-Luc’s Public Works Department is doing a fantastic job under trying circumstances.

Jan142018sidewalk
A tractor clears snow on the Marc Chagall Avenue sidewalk.


Of course a lot of activity is taking place in our snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue in my District 2. Over the weekend I fielded a lot of calls and e-mails from residents. One noted that the sidewalks had not been cleared and she had to walk her dog on the street – not a good situation on any day, especially when heavy trucks are going back and forth. I was able to get that message to Public Works and within an hour the sidewalk was cleared.

When I did my grocery shopping today, so many people came up to me to say how lucky we are to live in a community like Côte Saint-Luc where the snow removal system is so top notch.

“Our teams have been working non-stop with an excellent attitude, trouble shooting as they clear,” commented Public Works Director Beatrice Newman. “I have been all over (the city) this weekend and we are ahead of the game.”

Work by the city and our contractors concluded tonight at 8 pm. The bulldozers planned to work in the dump until 9 pm, with the mechanical shovel staying even later as it makes no noise. The amount of snow in the dump is massive, resembling a ski hill. And it is only mid-January! I understand the concerns of some residents who live near the dump and hear that annoying banging noise from the tractors and trucks. A few years ago we built a snow wall, which proved to double as a sound barrier. For some it is not good enough. As I have noted, we have a lot of contractors this can be difficult to resolve as the truck drivers change. The foreman delivers the message, but he has to repeat this every time new people come on site.

Jan142018
The hill at the snow dump is growing.

In the city so far we have opened all streets, cleared sidewalks on one side and have started the second side on some streets. Our contractors, Canbec and CMS, have completed about 85 percent of their sidewalks- both sides.

Parking lots and all municipal buildings have been completed.   City employees and contractors have been working well together well and have been dealing equally well with the very problematic issue we have with private contractors pushing resident snow into the streets right after we clean.  

“Congratulations to our foremen team and our Operations Manager John Monteiro, who have been very dedicated to making the magic happen,” Ms. Newman said. “We received 36 centimeters and together with some really nice residents who have contacted me personally with tips, our teams were able to take care of some issues quickly.”


Felling of trees to occur in Ashkelon Gardens: Public meeting postponed

Mayor Brownstein, myself and Public Works Director Beatrice Newman are sending this letter out to residents who live closest to Ashkelon Gardens,  the forested area between the library and the Cambridge Court townhouse complex. This area has been badly affected by the Emerald Ash Borer.

Like many places on the island of Montreal, many of the ash trees in Côte Saint-Luc have been infected by the Emerald Ash Borer and have become sick or are dead.

EmeraldAsh

The forested area between the Library and your townhouse complex or apartment has also been infected. The trees there are sick and could potentially fall down on their own or even catch on fire if we don’t remove them.


We are hiring a contractor to fell these trees starting at the end of January or start of February 2018. During the work, you will hear the sounds of workers and chainsaws. The work will be carried out between the hours of 7am and 5pm to minimize any disruption to your sleep. After the trees have been felled, invasive plants will try to take over, but we have a plan to prevent that from happening and ensure that the area will be suitable for replanting. Once we are confident the area is ready, we will plant new trees later this year.


Like you, we are heartbroken that we are temporarily losing the beautiful forested area. Regrettably there was nothing we could do to save them. While we are replacing these trees, the new ones will take many years to grow to the size of what’s there now.


If you have questions, you can join us for an information meeting at a date to be determined at City Hall. We will share details that didn’t fit in this letter, including some of the technical details about the replacement trees.


Aux résidants de Manoir Camelia, Cambridge Court, Le Rothchild II, et Le Bellagio


Comme c’est le cas à plusieurs endroits sur l’île de Montréal, de nombreux frênes sont infestés par l’agrile du frêne à Côte Saint-Luc et ils sont malades ou déjà morts.


L’espace boisé compris entre la Bibliothèque et votre complexe de maisons en rangée ou votre immeuble d’appartements est lui aussi infesté. Les arbres dans cet espace sont malades et ils pourraient tomber par eux-mêmes ou même prendre feu si nous ne les abattons pas.


Nous avons engagé un entrepreneur pour abattre ces arbres fin janvier / début février 2018. Pendant les travaux, vous entendrez le bruit des travaux et des scies mécaniques. Les travaux s’effectueront entre 7 h et 15 h pour éviter le plus possible de perturber votre sommeil. Une fois les arbres abattus, des plantes envahissantes tenteront de prendre la place mais nous avons un plan pour empêcher cela et pour la plantation de nouveaux arbres dans le secteur. Après nous être assurés que le site est prêt, nous y planterons d’autres arbres plus tard cette année.


Comme vous, nous sommes dévastés de la perte temporaire de ce magnifique espace boisé. Malheureusement, nous n’avons rien pu faire pour sauver les arbres infestés. Même si nous voyons à remplacer les arbres abattus, il reste que les nouveaux mettront plusieurs années à atteindre la même hauteur que les frênes existants.

 


Many issues discussed at first Dog Owners Forum

As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I have worked closely with many pet owners over the last number of years. I am particularly proud to have founded the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee eight years ago. Thanks to our original leader Shelley Schecter and now Diane Liebling, a small group of volunteers are doing fantastic work. The time has indeed come for a Côte Saint-Luc Dog Owners Committee to be formally established.

AbeHaim
Abe Haim

Two years ago, with the help of people like Abe Haim and Jason Balinsky, we created a Côte Saint-Luc Dog Run Advisory Committee. Abe chiefly served as my main liaison and as a result of his good work a number of improvements have been made to the Mackle Road facility. A second dog run on Côte Saint-Luc Road, between Richard Schwartz Park and Meadowbrook Golf Course, is near completion.

During the last election campaign many candidates, including myself, heard from people who agreed that a full-fledged Dog Owners Committee would be welcomed. On Monday evening, January 8 at City Hall, I co-hosted the first Dog Owners Forum with Councillors Oren Sebag, Mitchell Kujavsky (both dog owners) and Steven Erdelyi (whose perseverance brought us the newest dog run).  Jordy Reichson, our Director of Public Safety, was a special guest speaker. It his department that applies the bylaws related to dogs. Diane Liebling joined us as well to explain the process behind forming such a committee.

With poor weather conditions and a nasty flu making the rounds, we were pleased to have some 30 people on hand. Joel Goldenberg was there from The Suburban Newspaper, so our message will get out to a larger audience.

DogsMeeting
Henry Abramowicz, Jordy Reichson, Mitchell Kujavsky, Steven Erdelyi, Oren Sebag, myself, Abe Haim, Essie Amiga, Barry Jaslovitz and Jonathan Goldman after the meeting.

 

DOGS IN PARKS

There is indeed a movement among dog owners to walk their pets in public parks.  Our bylaws state that all dogs must be kept on a leash throughout the year when in a public place.  Until just over a year ago, dogs were not allowed in any public parks and playgrounds. We agreed to a pilot project in some smaller parks: Aaron Hart Park along David Lewis St; Harold Greenspoon Park on Borden Ave.; the green space between Marc Chagall Ave. and the parking lot of the Bernard Lang Civic Centre; the green space on Baily Rd. between Northluc and Cavendish; the green space on Baily Rd. between Lyndale and Glencrest; and a section of Kirwan Park between Blossom and Wentworth. It worked out very well and I did not get one single complaint. If we have responsible dog owners who pick up after their canines and keep them on leashes, then this can work.

There are several municipalities on the island that allow dogs in parks, notably Westmount. Based on the feedback from our meeting, I will bring some proposed amendments to our council with the support of Councillors Sebag, Kujavsky and Erdelyi.

As Director Reichson noted, our proposal could include dogs permitted in parks on a leash, but not in the areas of playgrounds or splash pads. We would have to make sure there is a sufficient   buffer zone.  Tamar Hertz asked if we might consider designating one park where no dogs would be allowed at all. Director Reichson pointed out that it might make more sense to cordon off an area in a large park to achieve this same purpose. It was also pointed out that additional signage will be required in our parks.

Essie Amiga asked if we could allow dogs to run free on fields that are empty in the winter or during the day at certain times of the year.

CLEANING UP AFTER YOUR DOG

Most dog owners are responsible, carry plastic bags when walking their dogs and throw the waste in a garbage can (Councillor Erdelyi noted that dog poop is compostable). It was suggested that perhaps our dog bylaw should include a fine for someone not carrying a bag.  What a great idea and something we will bring to council.

DOG RUNS

Abe Haim spoke about the work he has done with the main dog run. Besides being an excellent contact for me, he has regularly surveyed dog owners. As a result we now have a fence separating small and large dogs and some brand new lighting. Councillor Erdelyi then spoke about the new dog run, which is 95 percent complete. He credited Rona Raie for persistently pushing for such a facility on that side of town. This dog run will include water fountains for humans and canines. It is smaller than the one on Mackle Road. As a result there is no space for a dividing fence.  This Dog Run also doubles as a nature path. People are being asked not to park their cars immediately next to the area as it is a narrow road.

Nancy Sculnick, who was unable to attend the meeting, suggested that someone open up a commercial indoor dog park like this one.  Mackle Road resident Steve Stein is already exploring the idea.

MORE GARBAGE CANS

A number of people asked if the city can install more garbage cans. Councillor Erdelyi noted that we purchased 120 new specialized cans with dual bins for garbage and recyclable material. About 50 more are on the way and naturally we want to have them properly located so dog owners can use them.

EDUCATION

We need to educate people about dogs. “Kid for instance,” said Councillor Kujavsky, “need to be taught how to properly approach dogs.”

Abe Haim believes dog owners should have to take courses on how to properly look after their pets.

Someone else suggested that license renewal takes place, each dog owner should be presented with a list of responsibilities – as well as a plastic bag!

LICENSES


All dog owners must ensure that their dog has an annual license, payable on the first day of May each year. The annual license fee for each dog that is neutered or spayed is $20. The annual license fee for each dog that is not neutered or spayed is $30. The owner of a dog has to show proof that the dog was vaccinated against rabies before the owner can be issued an annual dog license. Some people at the meeting said that they were never asked for such papers. We will look into this,

FORMATION OF A COMMITTEE

It was encouraging to see that each person who attended the meeting expressed an interest in serving on a committee.  We will no doubt get many more names in the weeks and months ahead. My hope is to see them get organized like the Cats Committee and create sub-committees to focus on the dog runs, education, social media and feedback to me as their direct contact on council. We also want to hear the voices of non-dog owners and be respectful of their concerns. We have rules in our city dealing with wild and vicious dogs and people should always call Public Security if they run into a situation like that. You can read our bylaws here.

 


Dog Owners invited to special meeting at City Hall on Monday, January 8

Here is a press release we issued for the January 8 meeting.

The City of Côte Saint-Luc  is inviting dog owners to a special meeting on Monday, January 8 (7:30 pm) in the Council Chamber of City Hall (5801 Cavendish Boulevard).

Councillor Mike Cohen, who is responsible for the Animal Protection portfolio, has asked two new councillors who are dog owners – Mitch Kujavsky and Oren Sebag – to join him at the podium along with Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson.

CSL-DogOwnersCommittee_intro-meeting

“The objective of this meeting is to begin the process of having an actual Dog Owners Committee established,” said Councillor Cohen. “Eight years ago we held such a public meeting for cat owners. The turnout was outstanding and as a result a very successful hard working committee was born.”

Councillor Cohen expects the subject of allowing dogs in parks (on leashes) to be a major topic of discussion. He has invited Diane Liebling, the chair of the CSL Cats Committee, to deliver opening remarks about what is needed to set up a successful committee.

Two years ago Councillor Cohen set up an ad hoc Dog Run Advisory Committee. It was headed by Abe Haim, who became a spokesman for dog owners using the Mackle Road facility. Haim proposed that a fence be constructed to sub-divide the area between small and large dogs. This was done in the fall. More recently, he requested that lighting be installed. That was done too. In the spring a new Dog Run will debut near Meadowbrook Golf Course on Côte St. Luc Road.

For more information about the meeting call 514-485-6945 or e-mail mcohen@cotesaintluc.org.