Buildings

Why I voted for a first reading of proposed new synagogue and community centre on Mackle Road and where we go from here

Over the last few weeks many people have asked me why I voted in favor of the first reading of the rezoning of land on Mackle Road to house a new synagogue and community centre under the auspices of the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim.

 

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What the proposed building would look like.

First off, please pay attention to the words “first reading.”  For many years the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim has been operating out of a duplex on Parkhaven Avenue. I equate their beginnings to Beth Chabad CSL, which operated from the old Eaton’s at the Cavendish Mall and in the CSL Shopping Centre until they constructed a beautiful facility on Kildare Road and Marc Chagall. The Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim deserves something better than a duplex.

Initially they bought land on Mackle Road right next to the CLSC René Cassin for what was to be a very modest-sized building. Neighbours opposed the project, signed a register and council stopped any potential development. We did identify land across from Maimonides Hospital, which was not near any homes and honestly we expected them to come back to us with the same sized structure. Instead, what materialized was something more than triple the size.

When I spoke to their leaders just a few years ago I asked them if they would give up their Parkhaven duplex once the new building opened and the response was affirmative. Now we learn that they intend to keep it. Parkhaven is not my district so that really is for the local councillor to work on.

Why did I vote in favor of the first reading? I felt it was important for this project to go to public consultation and due to the pandemic and the coverage of this dossier in The Suburban I knew we would have a strong presence online. Some 200 people ended up tuning in and voicing their comments. The response continued on local Facebook pages.

Had we voted this project down, then there would have been no opportunity to hear what the public had to say. I truly hope that the commentary we heard at the public consultation resonated with the congregation. Please make note. I support them. They do excellent work in the community and we are lucky to have them in our midst. To their credit they have approached some local synagogues whom many believe have room in their buildings to cohabitate, but they had no luck. Can the city play a role in mediating? That would certainly be a lot simpler than constructing a building from scratch.

City Council will convene for our next vote on April 12. In my opinion the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim should adhere to many of the valid concerns raised at the consultation regarding parking and drop off.  Their proposal needs to be revised to take these points into consideration.

I must add that I am troubled by the combative nature of some of our residents who have tried to make this an anti-synagogue issue. Côte Saint-Luc has one of the largest Jewish communities per capita in the world next to Israel and New York. We must all learn to live together as friends and partners.

I am glad we got such a strong response. The consultation, I believe, can create a “win win” situation for everyone involved. Indeed it is clear that the proposal presently before us by Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim is not feasible nor safe. The ball is in their court to come back to us, either before April 12 or if the vote does not pass. But to all citizen of Côte Saint-Luc, if all of the factors due line up in a revised plan then we all need to keep an open mind.

On the eve of Passover, let us all be one strong community. Melodie Cohn, who was my opponent in the last election and has since become a friend and an important voice in District 2, has created a hashtag of #CSLStrong and she adds how we should all celebrate the fact we have so many rich cultures in our community,


The grounds of 6700 The Avenue gets a nice facelift

The new owners of 6700 The Avenue have lived up to all of their promises to bring their building up to proper standards.

 

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The front of the building.


Our Urban Development Department confirms that a contractor has completed all the requested items on a list of deficiencies. The contractor installed the new asphalt for the driveway and walkway that leads to and from Park Place on  October 1. A fence was installed a day later on the walkway. The only item remaining is  to replace a damaged streetlight. This item will take time because a request was demanded from Hydro for a connection, and this   usually takes a minimum of four weeks to process and answer.

The fully restored greenspace.

Last spring the rear parking lot  was paved and the fencing against the Park Place residential backyards was repaired. There was also important work done at the front entrance  and just a few weeks ago the large patch of land which had been used to house construction material was turned back into beautiful greenspace.

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The new fence and paved pathway.

Part of the main floor of the building is zoned commercial. At the present time the owners have  no potential new tenants. However, work will begin soon on at least two new residential units.

The five floor  building has an indoor pool and workout room,  ceramic floors and custom kitchens with Quartz countertops and stainless kitchen appliances (with dishwashers). Security cameras are on every floor and exterior. Central A/C, heating and hot water are included.

Thank you Melissa Latifi, Emile Badea and your town for all the excellent work on this project. A shout out as well to the original developer Ron Basel. From the city, Charles Senekal, Jeff Davey, Beatrice Newman and Dalia Mohamed and company steered this ship wonderfully!


Disturbing generator noise from the Equinoxe is back

As the second and thankfully final tower of the Equinoxe on Marc Chagall Avenue nears completition,  Hydro Quebec is now installing the new power grid. To do so power had to be stopped in the main facility, therefore necessitating the use of the dreaded generator.

In the winter of 2019 the generator was on incessantly as the main building did not have sufficient power. This was horrible , not only keeping some of its own residents up at night but people living at the Rothchild I.  Soon after that was resolved, more bad noise began emanating from the ventilation system. That took months to resolve.

The generator is only supposed to be used in the case of a power interruption. But as of this writing residents of both the Equinoxe and the Rothchild I have had to endure two sleepless nights. It is simply not acceptable. The generator is in bad place physically and once again this unfortunate experience has renewed a call for it to be relocated.

 


Equinoxe project will be fully completed  by the Christmas holidays

There was good news for residents of Marc Chagall Avenue when I hosted several dozen of them for a Zoom meeting to report on what amounts to be the final few months of the Equinoxe project. Apartment units will be delivered to renters as of December 1. A good part of the construction will conclude at the end of October,  meaning that the temporary parking lot across from the Marquise will be turned back into greenspace.

For the past three and a half years we have all been very preoccupied with construction work for the two towers of The Equinoxe. Just a reminder to al: the zoning for this land was established more than 30 years ago by a former city council. It took many years for a developer to come forward. When Jadco and Trantor  did so, city council had lowered the maximum amount of storeys permitted from 17 to 14.

From the moment this project was announced I established a committee of representatives from each condo to meet with ownership a number of times per year and to communicate by email to deal with ongoing issues and get updates.

From the start of construction we imposed regulations restricting outdoor construction on weekends, made the greenspace across from the Marquise available as a parking lot when residents and their guests complained about a lack of spots on the street, dealt with noise levels from generators and ventilation systems, enforced street cleaning protocols, insisted upon the hiring of flagmen for safety purposes and numerous  other initiatives.

The very good news for all of us is that the project is almost complete. Mathieu Melançon, an engineer and project manager for Jadco, was on the call to provide an update and answer  questions.

 

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The second tower is almost complete.

 

Equinoxe resident Stephen Wise asked about the establishment of a dog park on the premises. While it is in the plans, complex manager Oren Elbaz told me that an official decision  will be made in the coming weeks if indeed this comes to be.

There were concerns raised about workers arriving before the permitted hour of 7 am and making noise. Mathieu said that the company continually makes efforts on this front just as they regularly remind these same workers to park in the lot, not on the street. I continue to get calls on this issue, mainly from residents of the Equinoxe. It is important that our Public Security is called at 514-485-6960 when this occurs. Regrettably, we have some rogue sub-contractors who are acting in an illegal and selfish manner. The law allows us to issue fines, which we do.

Right now they are in a bit of a messy stage, as they complete the building and prepare to lay the foundation for the front of the building. A big pile of dirt sits in the parking lot. While the workers clean the street at the end of each day,  the final stages should be much more quiet and low key on the interior. The water leaking on to the street will also be resolved very shortly, we were promised.

While plans call for the lot to be turned back into nice greenspace, I will look into what its future use can be and consult residents Most people prefer a parkette with some nice benches. At one point we considered relocating Isadore Goldberg Park there. But in the past year we removed bushes and trees, refurbished and cleaned up the park and made a walkway (to be paved in the spring) to make it fully accessible via Marc Chagall. This is city land and I would oppose any attempt to sell it to a developer

An exterior piece of land near the Beth Chabad parking lot is zoned for a two storey commercial building. The owner of the land has repeatedly approached council for rezoning to allow for a larger project. I have opposed this.

Here is a nice story in The Suburban

Juste un rappel à tous. Le zonage de ce terrain a été établi il y a plus de 30 ans par un ancien conseil municipal. Il a fallu de nombreuses années pour qu'un promoteur se présente. Lorsque Jadco et Trantor l'ont fait, le conseil municipal avait abaissé le nombre maximum d'étages autorisés de 17 à 14.

Dès l'annonce de ce projet, j'ai créé un comité de représentants de chaque appartement pour rencontrer les propriétaires plusieurs fois par an et pour communiquer par courrier électronique afin de traiter les problèmes en cours et d'obtenir des mises à jour.

Dès le début de la construction, nous avons imposé des règlements limitant la construction en extérieur le week-end, nous avons mis à disposition l'espace vert en face de la marquise comme parking lorsque les résidents et leurs invités se plaignaient du manque de places dans la rue, nous avons traité les niveaux de bruit des générateurs et des systèmes de ventilation, nous avons fait respecter les protocoles de nettoyage des rues, nous avons insisté sur l'embauche de signaleurs pour des raisons de sécurité et de nombreuses autres initiatives.

La très bonne nouvelle pour nous tous est que le projet est presque terminé


A welcomed addition to District 2: Le Montefiore starts to fill up

It was more than five years ago when the Manoir Montefiore seniors residence on Mackle Road near Cavendish shut its doors. It sat empty for a while until Jadco Real Estate, the company behind the Equinoxe towers on Marc Chagall Avenue, purchased the property and completely gutted the interior to introduce a luxury rental apartment building nicely redubbed as Le Montefiore.

 

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The lobby.

 

With the arrival of the second Equinoxe in November and Le Montefiore, I now welcome new District 2 constituents in three buildings since  the last election.

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Oren Elbaz

Rising nine stories and consisting of 94 residences, unit sizes  at   Le Montefiore range from 440 square foot studios to 1600 square foot penthouses.  Oren Elbaz, the manager of the Equinoxe handles similar duties here. In order to accommodate  the additional cars, a second indoor parking lot was constructed where the Manoir Montefiore dining hall used to sit.

Residents began moving in towards the end of June. It is now 60 percent occupied. A leasing manager is  available each day to showcase  units, which come with brand new appliances. Someone I  know who just signed a lease was sold  on the idea when she saw there was a washer and dryer in each unit. There is an outdoor terrasse, which will soon have barbeques and a reception room  for private events on the main floor. Pets are welcomed.

For more information go to https://www.lemontefiore.com or call  514-547-1234.

Interior
A look at the interior.

 

 

Penthouse
The view from a penthouse balcony.

 


Construction to resume Monday at the Equinoxe and Le Montefiore

The Quebec government announced last week that it will allow some residential construction to resume as an essential service. Premier François Legault said the government is allowing the building of new homes so a housing crisis is not added on top of the current public health crisis. Construction and renovation work on housing units that had been slated for completion by July 31 will be allowed to resume on Monday. Building inspections and land surveying for residential construction will also be permitted, and the necessary supply chains will be reopened.

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The Equinoxe Phase 2 under construction.

 

While it is the Quebec government that oversees these situations, Côte Saint-Luc nonetheless sought guidance from the province as to whether The Equinoxe qualifies. Our records show that   the original building permit issued has occupancy listed as “July 1.”  The developers insist that their plan remains to open part of the building for tenants before July 31, with the project being fully completed by next fall –or at this point early winter.  We have been advised that the Equinoxes does indeed qualify. In addition, Le Montefiore is expected to be ready for occupancy in about six weeks, so the continuation of work therefore is an automatic.

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Le Montefiore.

 

On Thursday work crews visited both sites to install washing stations. Social distancing will not be simple on construction sites, but I spoke to the developers of these two buildings and they insist that they will follow the rules.

It was three years ago that we first learned that the Equinoxe rental buildings would be constructed on a vacant lot on Marc Chagall Avenue. Three decades earlier the then city council had approved the zoning for two 19 storey buildings. It was a clear lack of vision on their part.  Soon after I was elected I asked if that zoning could be reversed. Legally, our only option turned out to be lowering the levels to 12 storeys each.

As for Le Montefiore, work to transform the former Manoire Montefiore seniors residence on Mackle Road is near completion. This will be a rental as well.

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The Zoom participants.

 

Earlier this week I held a Zoom video call with representatives from the five condos on Marc Chagall and Mackle, with one resident as well from the Equinoxe. On the table for discussion was to get some feedback before development resumes. This will include work on Saturdays, which under our by-laws is permitted if it is interior-based. They can only begin work at 9 am. Some tolerances (special permission) will be given for exterior work via our Urban Planning Department. These privileges will be revoked if they abuse this option. Most of the reps agreed that if it speeds up work and gets this project finished sooner, then the answer would be yes with some strict guidelines. Others were not so enthusiastic.

Our noise by-law reads as follows:

Article 12.1 ( Construction hours) It shall be unlawful to create or allow any noise related to the construction, demolition, renovation, alteration or repair of a Property, building, structure, vehicle, engine or machine, before 7 AM or after 7 PM, from Monday to Friday.

On Saturday, Sunday or statutory holidays, the restrictions of the first paragraph are applicable before 9 AM or after 7 PM.    This is only for interior work. A special permission would have to be given for exterior work. See article 12.3.

Article 12.3  - Exterior work related to the construction, demolition, renovation, alteration or repair of a Building or structure is prohibited before 7 AM or after 7 PM from Monday to Friday and is not permitted on Saturday, Sunday or statutory holidays.  The provisions of the previous paragraph shall not apply to an accessory building or structure, as defined in the zoning by-laws of the City, such as a shed, car shelter or similar. 

Public Security will be omnipresent to ensure there are infractions for starting earlier than permitted.  We have also asked the developers to clean up the piles of stones they left on the street before work was stopped a few weeks ago.

The Montreal Gazette published a featured article about Le Montefiore:  Download Montreal Gazette Story April 192020


Work on the Equinoxe and Le Montefiore grinds to a halt due to COVID-19 measures

When Premier Francois Legault pressed the pause button on non-essential businesses  on Monday for a at least a three-week period because of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the construction industry  was among the casualties.

For  District 2 in Côte Saint-Luc this  means that all work stops  on the second tower  of the Equinoxe on Marc Chagall Avenue as well as Le  Montefiore on Mackle Road.

Work on the Equinoxe was already well behind schedule. Originally they had planned for a July 1 completion. When I last  spoke to officials there, they  pushed the date back to October 1 to deliver the final product. If crews are allowed to return to work on April 13 perhaps  they can finish up by November or December. Partial occupancy is still the goal for July. They have just started to market this  tower  and sign leases.

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Phase 2 of the Equinoxe is coming along.

 

The fact that July 1 was not going to happen regrettably means that the former greenspace on Marc  Chagall must remain as a parking lot/storage space for another summer. The developers must return that to greenspace when the work is done. We were caught between a rock and a hard place here, with insufficient parking spaces on the street for all of the workers and many of their building materials.

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Le Montefiore, like the Equinoxe, will be an upscale residential rental building. The transformation of the  former seniors residence was supposed to be ready last fall, but unforeseen issues  with the brickwork necessitated some major work  on the structure. They have also  converted the former first floor dining hall to an additional indoor lot. They are just embarking upon a marketing campaign for leases   and a late spring opening is still likely.

I wish all of my constituents well as we try to cope with this nightmare situation. Your council is meeting six days a week by video conference and keeping an extremely close  eye on the goings on in our city. Today I even took a walkabout in the district and carefully keeping six feet away from constituents who approached me to talk.


Bellagio condo holds its own art exhibit


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Some of the beautiful paintings.
Bravo to the residents of the  Bellagio Condominium  building on Marc Chagall Avenue who recently contributed to a vernissage.
 
"The condo lived up to our namesake," said  Allan Familiant.
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The Bellagio resembled a museum.
When the building organized an art exhibit  last week, eight resident artists and/or sculptors responded, an extremely high proportion for a relatively small building.
 
The artists were:  Maxine Bloom, Shalom Bloom Shirlee Rosen, Dale Dobrovsky, Debbie Dworkin, Jacqueline Familiant, Al Garellek, the late Yetta Garellek, Mala Raducanu, Linda Saks and Laura Winerman.

 

 
 
 
 

Parkhaven Towers is the latest luxury rental to arrive in Côte Saint-Luc

 Ron Basal knows how to throw a party!

Following the construction of The Equinoxe Phase 1 on Marc Chagall  and 6700 The Avenue, billed as luxury rentals, Parkhaven Towers is the latest to share that category in Côte Saint-Luc.

This 112 unit high-rise project was conceived by builder Ron Basal. Construction and management of the facility is being carried out by renowned Gestion Elm Developments of Toronto.c

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Judith Basal and Ron Basal.

As for the party, well on August 18 Parkhaven Towers formally unveiled its new sales office at Quartier Cavendish. Champagne was flowing and a decadent sweet table (including to die for Sfingy’s donuts) was parked right next to the brochures promoting the development. Occupancy is expected by November. History will note this is on the land that housed the Griffith McConnell Seniors Residences.  Basal  recently collaborated on a stacked town house development next door.

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An artistic rendering of the new high-rise.

The high rise  is  a pet friendly building (I am always happy to hear that)  strategically located right next door to our renowned Aquatic and Community Centre and the Wagar Adult Education Centre. It is within walking distance to Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park,  the Caldwell Strip Mall and Medical Centre, Quartier Cavendish and the  Samuel Moskovitch Hockey Arena.

Each unit is designed like a condo, offering you your own washer / dryer, beautiful greenery, spectacular views and  professionally designed kitchen and bathrooms, with  an open concept floor plan. There are  ceramic floors throughout, private balconies and stainless steel appliances all included.  There is easy access to shopping/dining/transit,an in-house concierge, 24 hour security and doorman, underground parking, a Shabbat elevator,  a gym and a party room. There is easy access to many parks and recreational facilities that caters to all different lifestyles. 

I noticed a number of my constituents in the sales office, some them the owners of condos and others living in rental properties. Irving Schok, the noted Leopard of Louvain, was also on the scene. The personable Century 21 Vision real estate broker might have some clients to steer this way as well.

For  more information log on to www.parkhaventowers.ca .   

Cheers to another development in Côte Saint-Luc.


Actions by rogue cement truck sub-contractors on Marc Chagall was unacceptable

It has been over two years now since construction began on the first phase of the Equinoxe luxury apartment complex. While the ownership have been on board from day one to be good corporate partners, the same cannot be said for their sub-contractors. A significant amount of my time and ergo our senior management has been spent babysitting this project over frequent violations of our bylaws. 

Phase 1 concluded last October and  the first tower is full of new tenants. I have said this before  and it merits repeating. It was the administration of Mayor Bernard Lang which granted the zoning for this project over 30 years ago at a time when he and his council had to know how crowded this street could some day become. We got lucky and the land remained vacant for decades. All good things come to an end and developers finally did buy the property. One large building was bad enough, but this land was zoned for two. Our council did lower the maximum height.

As work on Phase 1 continued, we managed to resolve issues on an almost daily basis with the developers. But it involved so much work for our staff. I established an ad hoc committee of condo building reps and we convened when necessary with the developers.

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Cement trucks block the driveway of The Rothchild II.

Work on Phase 2 began a few months ago and all seemed to be going well until  Tuesday evening, June 11. I was in a Council meeting when I began getting emails from constituents that the work of pouring cement was going well beyond the 7 pm shutdown period. We have always allowed them to go a bit over, but on this occasion they refused to stop. Public Safety officer and police were on the scene, but these rogue operators simply took the tickets and kept working. Whose fault really was it? Clearly someone up top greatly underestimated the time required to pour cement. The last truck left at 1 am. This was absolutely unacceptable  and as a result our senior management team convened Wednesday morning.The police were involved in the dialogue as well.  This will not be tolerated! Extreme measures will be taken if this crew tries to do anything like this again. They have stretched  our patience and damaged a lot of the goodwill the developers have tried to establish. Young children were woken up. People had trouble getting to sleep.

I want to thank our staff for their immediate response to this issue. I spoke to dozens of residents by phone and email today to let them know how their complaints were warranted. Work on the site ended earlier than usual Wednesday. Since I did not hear back from the developers Wednesday, I can only hope they got the message!