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June 2018

May 2018

CSL Dramatic Society gala kicks off Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat run

The Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society  has indeed made a mark for itself in our community over the past seven years.

Their latest musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, kicked off on May 30 with the first ever gala at City Hall.

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A scene from the show featuring Nicole Arrage and Sam Boucher.

More than 100 special guests attended a cocktail dinatoire, catered and sponsored by Blossom by the Plaza, with music and special performances  from previous productions. 


Everyone then headed down to the Harold Greenspon Auditorium for a preview performance of Joseph, which brought the house down. It now runs until June 17. Some $40,000 in gala tickets and sponsorship came in, valuable dollars to support musical theatre in our community and to allow students, senior residences and people with disabilities to see the show.

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More action on the stage.

First off, a huge congratulations to Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Mitch Kujavsky who served as co-producers and to the oh so incredibly talented artistic director Anisa Cameron for all of the hard work they did in the months leading up to the show. Musical Director Nick Burgess, Choreographer Alexia Gourd and the rest of the technical and creative crews did their usual knockoff jobs. The large cast  ranges in age from eight to 80.

 Andrew Lloyd Webber’s  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is an adaptation of the biblical story. The classic story is reimagined onstage as a rock musical, featuring iconic songs including “Any Dream Will Do” and “Close Every Door.”

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The mayor and all eight councillors were present.

¨Performing the title role is Sam Boucher, a young up-and-comer in the Montreal theatre scene who currently studies theatre performance at Concordia. A CSLDS veteran, Sam has performed with the troupe since the age of 16, and was more recently seen as Rocky in Mainline Theatre’s production of The Rocky Horror Show.  Due to a back problem he had to split the role in an interesting kind of way on gala night with Assistant Director Ryan Kligman. In some scenes Boucher  sat on the side  and sang while Kligman acted out the parts. Steve Korolnek, cast as Jacob, could not be there for night one either due to the death of his mother. Mayor Brownstein, already in the role of Potiphar, stepped in to play Jacob as well.Nicole Arrage (Little Shop of Horrors) and Jeanne Motulsky (Hairspray and The Producers), portrayed the show’s narrators.

Here is a look at Sam Boucher's talent

This show has such great music and dancing, many people will want to see it more than once.“I am so proud of the award winning company we’ve built over the past seven years,” said  Cameron. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat offers us an opportunity to produce a show that will embody the spirit of community theatre, while challenging our team to continue to produce excellent, artistically rich and fulfilling work. I am also thrilled that this cast will be our largest since The Producers, and that, for the first time, we will have children in our musical production.”

"I am thrilled that we will be presenting this biblical story and supporting education in our community,” said Mayor Brownstein. “Youth are the future of our community and telling this story at schools while including children in our cast is part of our mission of bringing the joy of theatre to people of all ages.”

The Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society is a community theatre initiative that began in the summer of 2011 in partnership with the City of Côte Saint-Luc. The goal of the society is to bring together actors, writers, musicians and other artistically minded community members to produce theatrical works in an inclusive environment where emphasis is placed on team work and camaraderie, not celebrity. 

Other members of the creative and production team are Stage Manager Emma Loerick,

Assistant Director Kligman,. ASM Samantha Stermer, Costume Designer Elyse Malo, Lighting Designe  Linda Babins, Props/Set Designer Rachel Germinario and Technical Director Scott Drysdale. The remaing cast members are Marc Ducusin,   Karyn Pellatt-Caron, Craig Dalley, Edward Cohen, Justin Johnson, Eli Rubineau, Shaun Nishmas, Sam Melnick, Jonah Zoldan, Kenny Stein, Helen Gwiazda, Liz Lopez, Janet Garmaise, Ari Sterlin, Madison Bernard, Rachel Merovitz, Natasha Lilliman, Danna Nishmas, Jordana Kujavsky, Elyse Wolman, Hannah Sheffren, Cheryl Everett Rajchgot, Adena Lemieux, Toby Clark, Judy Kenigsberg, Ellen Rabin, Bev Silverman, Norm Spatz, Mackenzie Caron, Rachel Chemtob-Stadtlander, Pailey Vas, Naomi Vas , Abigail Schipper, Victoria Salama and Molly Socran.

Bravo to Ryan Nemeroff from Parks and Recreation, who works with other staff to make all of this happen.

Tickets are available online at CSLDramaticSociety.com, or in person at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library or the Aquatic and Community Centre. General admission is $32, with $28 tickets available for students and seniors.


Annual District 2 Town Hall Meeting set for Monday, June 4 at City Hall

A Côte Saint-Luc District 2 Town Hall meeting will take place on Monday, June 4 (7:30 p.m.) at City Hall (5801 Cavendish Boulevard).  

I created the District meeting concept when I was first elected in the fall of 2005 as a way to maintain closer relations with constituents and talk mainly about issues related to the surrounding neighbourhood. Since then other councillors have followed suit.

The special guest speaker will be Police Station 9 Socio-Community Officer Marie-Christine Nobert, who will update everyone on important safety and security measures and provide timely tips for the summer season. David Goldsmith, a District 2 resident and VCOP (Volunteer Citizens on Patrol) supervisor,  will join Officer Nobert at the podium to provide his perspective.

A representative from the Equinoxe Apartment Condos, of which Phase One will be ready for occupancy this summer, will be on hand to respond to questions and provide a construction timeline.

Also to be discussed that evening will be new traffic safety measures, the now completed City Hall/Library parking lot and other items of interest.

For more information, call (514) 485-6945 or email mcohen@cotesaintluc.org.

District 2 encompasses Merrimac, Rembrandt., Kildare  (between Marc Chagall and Honoré Balzac), Sir Walter Scott,  Ilan Ramon, Marc Chagall, Mackle  (between Cavendish and Brandeis),  Quartier Cavendish Mall, Cavendish (Manoir Montefiore, Manoir Camelia, L’Excelsior, new Town Houses),  Jubilee, Park Place, Honoré-de-Balzac.


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Councillor Kovac recognized at Police Station 9 Open House

Police Station 9,  now located in the shopping plaza at the corner of Westminster and Côte Saint-Luc Road, held an Open House May 14. The target audience was seniors. I was happy to attend along with Councillors  Ruth Kovac, Oren Sebag, David Tordjman and Dida Berku as well as City Manager Tanya Abramovitch,  Executive Assistant Tammy McEwen, Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson and Lt. Anthony Tzakon.

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Councillor Kovac is recognized.

 Officers Marie-Christine Nobert  and Andrew Iacovella, as well as Lt. Fred Jennings and other police personnel warmly invited us. Montreal West Councillors Colleen Feeney and Elizabeth Ulin were on hand as well.  There were tours of the facility and brief ceremony in which Councillor Kovac was honoured for her contributions to public safety over the years. Mary Tofts from Montreal West was also recognized for her community volunteerism where police programming is involved.

Station 9 serves Côte Saint-Luc, Montreal West and Hampstead. Commander Jean O'Malley has retired and become the new head of Public Safety in Hampstead. For two years he served as the chief for both Station 9 and Station 11 in NDG. But we have now got confirmation that a new commander will be appointed soon to work exclusively at Station 9. That is very good news! 


Developers provide update on Equinoxe Marc Chagall - first units to be delivered in July

The first phase of the  Equinoxe Condo Rentals on Marc Chagall is moving along at a good pace. It has been more than a year since work began on the project. I need to remind everyone that this land was zoned for a high rise 30 years ago by a former council. We were able to lower the height of the two buildings from 16 to 14 floors. It could not go any lower than the highest property – the Marquise.

In order for the residents of the four existing high rise condominiums and the one town house complex to have a mode of communication with the developers, I established an ad hoc committee. Over the course of several months meetings were organized with representatives from the condos, the developers, myself and city officials. This helped us set the table for complaints and concerns to be dealt with. One major complaint was the fact construction was permitted on Saturdays. In an agreement reached, the developers agreed to limited work on Saturdays and no Sundays. As of March 15, 2018 only interior work is permitted on weekends.

Nothing is perfect and unquestionably we will face many more challenges as the project continues.

In our most recent meeting, developers Andre Doudak and Alex Bouhadana  provided some interesting news.

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The first units will be delivered to new residents in July. Rentals are already at close to 75 percent. Residents will move in stages over the summer and early fall. Tower One will have 170 units instead of the original 187 planned as a number of the units were enlarged.  Excavation work on Tower Two is expected to begin soon. That will be 100 units instead of the originally planned 110.  So in total 27 less units means fewer cars and that is good news for everyone.

It will have taken 18 months to deliver the first building. The second will take longer because of the fact no Saturday or evening work is permitted under our new bylaw. It is estimated all of the work will be done no later than  the summer of 2020.

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According to Mr. Doudak, most of the people who have signed leases are already residents of CSL who have decided to sell their homes and condos. “It will not be a transient  population,” he promises.

Indoor parking spots will exceed what our bylaws ask for. There will also be outdoor parking in the back for up to 40 cars.

The one major issue we have tried to resolve for the past year has been parking during work hours. There are close  to 200 workers per day and they take up spots all along Marc Chagall, Mackle and even some of the musical streets. We leased them land for temporary parking. That worked in the winter when it was cold. But when the temperatures dipped, cars were sinking. Two hour parking rules were instituted, but residents complained and asked us to repeal this.

When Tower One opens, some workers will be able to park inside. City Manager Tanya Abramovitch attended our meeting and she advised everyone that we will add 12 new parking spots (currently no parking zones) on Marc Chagall. We looked for a consensus around the table regarding whether two hour parking should be discussed again, four hour parking instituted or the status quo (for better or worse) prevail.  The latter is how we will proceed for now.

Work on cutting down the hill on the snow dump cannot begin until June. It is solid as a rock and the equipment we rent to undertake this 100 hour job cannot make a dent in the mountain until then. Once that is cleared, we can look at making part of the dump available for the  workers  to park until it snows – making the temporary lot feasible again..

There was a lot of talk regarding cleanliness of the street. The developers have agreed to have the street cleaned three days a week. The city will also use its sweeper. If any cleanups are not completed, the city will send in a crew and bill the developer.

Finally let me address the topic of noise. Work is not supposed to begin until 7 am. nor is it permitted to go past 9 pm. In the past week alone I have received countless complaints about vehicles arriving on site as of 5:30 am and making large beeping noises as they backup. There have also been reports of the dumpster being emptied as late as 10:30 pm Our Public Security patrols are monitoring the site as best they can and I am encouraging residents of the neighbouring buildings to continue to advise me of any violations. The developers are committed to dealing with this, noting the problem often comes about as a result of sub-contractors of sub-contractors not following the rules. Clearly we need to address the chain of command.

The developers will be represented at my District 2 Town Hall meeting on Monday night, June 4 (7:30 pm) at City Hall.


Hydro-Québec proposes major work on Merrimac

On Monday, May 7 officials from Hydro-Québec set up shop in the Council Chamber of Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for the purpose of meeting with residents of the Meadows Condominium, located on Merrimac and Kildare Road.

It has been several years now that Hydro has been planning a major operation on Merrimac to modernize the equipment that supplies the condominium's electricity.  In order to carry out this work, Hydro needs to make an exchange of servitudes. The Meadows Condominium members must vote via  super-majority in favor of this.  

Download This document to read Hydro's 10 Questions and Answers on the Meadows Project

Only 35 residents attended the information session, which stretched from 3 pm to 8 pm in an open house kind of format.  

Five residents concerned about the project have formed an ad hoc committee.

Below is what they posted on Facebook

What is the situation? 


Hydro will keep our old electrical system in place, and we can continue using this power system. If there is a breakdown, Hydro will continue to repair it. The wires of this older system are unprotected (that is, the wiring has not been put in pipes), though it is unclear if this older system is problematic as Hydro will not provide us with any studies on the functionality of our system, or the study which has lead Hydro to propose this “upgrade”.

Hydro has asked to install a secondary system around the Meadows. On Monday they held an info session, and we are being asked to vote on Wednesday on changing the land that Hydro can claim as belonging to Hydro – this land is called the servitude - so that Hydro can begin the work.

At first glance, getting a new electrical grid at the Meadows sounds appealing. However, past experience with Hydro made a number of us co-owners question if they have thought the plan out sufficiently. (It is already of concern that they have given us only two days to get informed before the vote). So a group of co-owners have collaborated to try to get more information about this project and asked many questions at the Information session on Monday night. We concluded that too many questions remain unanswered and too few assurances were provided. Below are our main concerns, followed by our conclusion.

Main Concerns


1. Price: If we wish to use the new system, each home owner will need to do our own electrical and excavation work, at our own cost, to connect our “service loop” to their new piped electrical system. This cost is uncertain, but estimates are above 5,000$. 
2. Foliage loss: At least three very mature trees and many bushes will be taken down. All bushes, vegetation and trees in the new servitude will be photographed, removed, and be replaced by Hydro with young bushes and trees, which will take many years to grow back. Once the servitudes are modified, we cannot plant on the servitudes. If we do, we risk them being removed.
3. Structural damage to our homes: Hydro has not done any assessment to determine how they can mitigate risk to our foundations, building and infrastructure. The representatives at the meeting repeatly said “we know what we’re doing, don’t worry”. But when asked if a soil engineer has been engaged to ensure excavation & trenching work does not cause serious ground disturbance resulting in structural damage to our homes, they say they don’t need it as they said they will be operating 10 metres from our homes - but when it was pointed out that their plans have them operating 10 feet from our homes, they still insist they don’t need to do any investigating. They will supposedly be consulting a soil testing company to verify the constitution of the soil, but this hasn’t been done yet. They are not doing any sort of scans or ex-rays to verify ‘before’ and ‘after’ to check for vulnerabilities in the places they will be digging. They have no plans to provide a letter stamped by an independent structural engineer stating that there is no threat of structural compromise. The main civil engineer for the project was unfamiliar with the difficulties many of our homes are experiencing or the terrain of the Meadows – they didn’t even know that they cannot bring heavy equipment on our courtyards.
4. Hydro accountability limited: If any of our homes incur any damages, they will provide a phone number which we can call and lodge a complaint. There are no guarantees that Hydro will be held accountable for any damages. 
5. Little pollution control: They have no plans yet to control for air quality (e.g.,control cement particles in the air during construction) or to reduce noise during the work (e.g.,no backup noise attenuators on their trucks -beep beep beep). 
6. Lack of transparency: When asked if other projects of this sort had been done, their PR director refused to let anyone discuss this with us.

Conclusion


If we vote no to changes of the servitude map on Wednesday, then they delay the work to another year. The risk to us is that they would fix electrical issues using the same techniques they’ve been fixing them in previous years, which sometimes involved excavation of wires. This co-owner ad-hoc committee has concluded that we would like to get more answers and assurances before Hydro begins this project, so we plan to vote no. (PM us your email address and we can send the specific questions we asked Hydro, and more details of Hyrdos replies)

 


McHappy Day boosts our new fund for kids and gives me an experience to be a McDonald's chef

A year and  a half ago at the Côte Saint-Luc Winter Carnival, Pierre Brunet approached me about McHappy Day.

Pierre, of course, is the franchisee of the McDonald’s restaurants on Côte Saint-Luc Road and at Quartier Cavendish (soon to close). He also runs more than a dozen other locations in the city.

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Councillors David Tordjman (with baby), Oren Sebag, Recreation chief Cornelia Ziga and Trish McKenzie.

Every year, McDonald’s Canada franchisees and crew across the country celebrate McHappy Day , an annual day of community giving in support of Ronald McDonald Houses and other local children’s charities. On Wednesday May 2, for every Big Mac®, Happy Meal® or hot McCafé® beverage purchased, $1 will be donated to RMHC® and children’s charities across Canada

Pierre always adds a local twist for his restaurants and he wanted my advice for any program that might benefit children. I immediately scheduled a meeting with Harold Cammy from our Parks and Recreation Department and we began to brainstorm. What we came up with was the Pierre Brunet Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund. Monies raised would be used for assistance to local families who may be experiencing financial difficulties in registering their children in our programs, for families with special needs children requiring additional support at our programs and for parks equipment intended for children with disabilities.  From last year’s McHappy Day and other funds raised from donors and most notably our CSL Men’s Club, $8,549 has already been raised.

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That is me and Tanya. The hair net is mandatory. Just ask Gilles Duceppe.

I took part in this year’s McHappy Day. We await totals, but we will clearly surpass  the $10,000 mark. Some bursaries have already been handed out and we will have more to announce at our CSL Golf Classic July 5.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, members of council and many of our dedicated staff were at McDonald’s to support the cause. Parks and Recreation Director Cornelia Ziga and her team were selling McDonald’s sock for $5, with proceeds going to the Fund.


As for me, I went into the kitchen and helped prepare orders with City Manager Tanya Abramovitch. Wow, Tanya was a real pro while I found the entire process very challenging. I gained a whole new appreciation for what these employees do and how fast they must work behind the scenes. Tanya then confided in me that she had worked at McDonald’s in her late teens. Thanks to John and some of the other staffers who guided us. We saw the orders on the big screen. Buns had to be toasted, the different toppings applied and then the main item - be it a burger, chicken or filet of fish-  put on. This is hard work and after an hour I was completely beat. Tanya did a three hour shift and the energetic mom of two year old twins probably could have kept on going if she did not have a meeting to attend.

 Thanks to everyone who made this day a success. We will have printed material regarding the scholarship fund available online soon.