Council

Reportage de votre conseiller municipal

Je tiens d’abord à remercier le personnel de première ligne de notre ville pour le travail extraordinaire qu’il a accompli pendant la pandémie. Nous traversons une période difficile et nous devons travailler ensemble, en tant que communauté, pour relever les défis qui nous attendent.

Au cours du printemps, de l’été et de l’automne derniers, je me suis promené dans les rues et les parcs du district 2, engageant un dialogue à distance avec les électeurs. Il y a eu aussi des appels Zoom régulièrement, en plus des échanges habi-tuels par téléphone et par courrier électronique.

Je suis très fier des travaux d’amélioration qui ont été effectués au parc Isadore Goldberg, main-tenant accessible de l’avenue Marc Chagall par un sentier pavé. J’en profite pour souligner que le carré d’espace vert en face de La Marquise n’est plus utilisé comme stationnement pour les ouvriers du bâtiment; et nous avons commencé à embellir l’espace. L’éclairage et la clôture du parc Isadore Goldberg seront installés d’ici l’automne. En ce qui concerne les préoccupations relatives à la sécurité routière, la vitesse maximale sur l’avenue Marc Chagall a été réduite à 30 km/h. Un autre développement excitant est le projet de rajeunissement des terrains de basket du parc Rembrandt, promis depuis longtemps, qui sera réalisé cet été. J’ai d’ailleurs créé un comité consultatif des utilisateurs des terrains de basket, car nous envisageons d’autres améliorations.

Sur L’Avenue, nous avons travaillé avec les pro-priétaires des immeubles d’appartements et l’on peut maintenant admirer le magnifique espace vert qu’ils ont créé. Le sentier piétonnier vers Place Park a également été remis en bon état.

Cela fait presque trois ans que nous avons installé un nouveau panneau d’arrêt à l’intersection du chemin Kildare et de l’avenue Rembrandt. C’est quelque chose que les électeurs me demandaient depuis ma première élection en 2005. Grâce aux contrôles réguliers de la police, la mesure a été un succès et a permis à des centaines d’automobilistes de l’avenue Rembrandt de tourner à gauche vers le boul. Cavendish. Je vous invite à suivre mon blogue à MikeCohen.ca pour les mises à jour périodiques sur les nouvelles du District 2.

Notre Bulletin Ici.

CSL Au courant • Été 2021

ENGLISH

Allow me please to begin this message by thanking the frontline staff from our city for the extraordinary job they have done during this pandemic. These remain trying times and we must work together as one community to meet the challenges before us.

During the spring, summer and fall months I have been walking through the streets and parks of District 2, engaging in dialogue from a distance with constituents. In addition, there have been regular Zoom calls and the usual exchange by telephone and e-mail.

I am very proud of the renovation work that was done at Isadore Goldberg Park, which can now be entered via a paved pathway on Marc Chagall Ave. Speaking of which, the square greenspace across from La Marquise is no longer needed as a parking lot for construction workers and we have begun the process of beautifying the area. Lighting and fencing for Isadore Goldberg Park will be installed by the fall.

In terms of concerns over traffic safety, the maximum speed on Marc Chagall Ave. has been reduced to 30 km/h. Another exciting new development is the planned long-promised facelift of the Rembrandt Park basketball courts this summer. I have, in fact, created a basketball court advisory committee of users as we look down the line to more improvements.

On The Avenue, we worked with the owners of the apartment building and everyone can see the beautiful greenspace they have created. In addition, the walkway towards Park Place was repaired. It has now been almost three years since we installed a new stop sign at the corner of Kildare Rd. and Rembrandt Ave. This is something constituents had been asking me for since I was first elected in 2005. Via regular police checks, the measure has been a success and provided hundreds of Rembrandt Ave. motorists with the ability to turn left towards Cavendish Blvd.

Please follow my blog at MikeCohen.ca for regular updates on District 2 News.

You can read our entire Inside Out Newslettter here:. 

 

 


Proud to Declare My Candidacy For a  Fifth Mandate on City Council/Je solliciterai un cinquième mandat en tant que conseiller municipal de Côte Saint-Luc

I am pleased to announce officially that I will be seeking my fifth mandate as the Côte Saint-Luc City Councillor for District 2 in the November 7, 2021 Municipal Election. It has been my honour to serve the area in which I reside since 2005. My campaign team is already in place, with representation from every building, town house complex and street in the district. Thanks to everyone for their support over the years.  

I grew up in Côte Saint-Luc and have lived in District 2 for over 24 years,  first winning election to council with 92 percent of the vote. I have a long record of extensive involvement in setting up municipal programs as a volunteer, as a journalist and communications specialist, as well as a city councillor.

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 (Le Montefiore, Manoir Camelia, L’Excelsior), The Avenue,  Jubilee, Park Place, Honoré-de-Balzac..

See my video announcement here

Cardsize

Je suis heureux d'annoncer officiellement que je solliciterai un cinquième mandat en tant que conseiller municipal de Côte Saint-Luc pour le district 2 lors de l'élection municipale du 7 novembre 2021. C'est un honneur pour moi de servir le quartier dans lequel je réside depuis 2005. Mon équipe de campagne est déjà en place, avec des représentants de chaque immeuble, complexe de maisons de ville et rue du district. Merci à tous pour leur soutien au fil des ans

J’ai grandi à Côte-Saint-Luc, habité dans le district 2 pendant plus de 24 ans et été élu au conseil municipal en 2005 avec 92 % des voix. J’ai participé activement à la mise en place de programmes municipaux en tant que bénévole, en tant que journaliste et spécialiste en relation publiques et en tant que conseiller municipal.

Le district 2 comprend Merrimac, Rembrandt, Kildare (entre Rembrandt et Marc Chagall), Sir Walter Scott, Ilan Ramon, Marc Chagall, Mackle (entre Cavendish et Brandeis), le Quartier Cavendish, Cavendish (Le Montefiore, Manoir Camelia, L’Excelsior), ch. du Jubilé, Place Park Place, L’avenue et Honoré-de-Balzac.

Voir mon annonce vidéo ici

 


My 2020 Year in Review/ Mon bilan de l'année 2020

PANDEMIC/ PANDEMIQUE

It has been 15 years now since I was elected as the city councillor for District 2. I have always made it a point of remaining in direct contact with my constituents and 2020 was no different. This has been no ordinary year. The COVID-19 pandemic hit us in March and our staff and council immediately swung into action. I am very proud of how we performed.

Maskandshield
In my protective gear.

Thanks to the internet we all shifted to video platforms. Not only has all city council activity taken place on Zoom, but our recreation and library programming switched to that mode as well.

Since last spring I have been taking regular walks through my entire district. This gave me an opportunity to communicate with constituents on their balconies or from a proper social distance. I took notes and photos of issues that need to be resolved, be it an imperfection at a park, a pothole in the road, construction disruptions or a faulty traffic light. Even as the cold weather arrived I continued these promenades. Now I have reverted to District drives in my car. In addition I initiated zoom calls with constituents and the formation of my first District Advisory Council, composed of representatives from the different buildings and streets.

Even when this pandemic ends, Zoom and similar platforms are here to stay and it is a wonderful way to communicate.

We broadcast our public meetings live now on YouTube, via Zoom, and as Larry David would say, attendance is “pretty..;pretty..pretty good.” People can ask questions in the comments section or send them in advance.

I shudder to think of how we would be functioning if this pandemic had occurred in say 1987?

Elfmancrop
Constituent Laura Elfman receives her air conditioner.

 

During this pandemic, community supporter Ariel Davidson and I put out a call for people to donate used air conditioners and fans to low income families and individuals in Côte Saint-Luc. First of all thanks to our invaluable jack of all  trades Morris “Moe” Giobbi from Parks and Recreation who took care of  the first set of pickup and deliveries   Hats off to our initial donors: Steven Adler from Almar Appliances provided two 10,000 BTU units and Daniel Gal had a 12,000 BTU portable unit. Moe picked up the machines, placed them in his truck and delivered them to three very happy individuals. One was District 2 resident Laura Elfman. Previously I donated one of my own old ACs to a family on Sir Walter Scott Avenue. They immediately told me how much they appreciated this.

I want to thank Kelly Epstein, Toby Shulman and Megan Grossman who helped make phone calls to seniors in District 2 and check on how they were coping during the pandemic. Let me give a shout out to our library staff. They have been making over 400 care calls a day to people whom they know are isolated and lonely.

Overall, District 2 resident Kelly says this experience was very positive. “Each person expressed how much they appreciated my call, and how wonderful and unique our city is for checking on their elderly,” she said. “I am thankful for this opportunity and I encourage the youth in our community to continue with this initiative as I return to work at the hospital, as a few minutes of your day can make a world of a difference to those quarantining alone.”

Cela fait maintenant 15 ans que j'ai été élu conseiller municipal pour le district 2. Je me suis toujours efforcé de rester en contact direct avec mes électeurs et l'année 2020 n'a pas fait exception à la règle. Cette année n'a pas été ordinaire. La pandémie COVID-19 nous a frappés en mars et notre personnel et notre conseil municipal sont immédiatement passés à l'action. Je suis très fier de la façon dont nous avons

ASHKELON WOODLANDS/ PAYS-BAS ASHKELON

In 2019 the city felled about 700 diseased trees in the Ashkelon Woodlands behind City Hall Hundreds   there were infested with the Ash Borer and the Dutch Elm disease. These trees were dangerous for people who were walking in the area (from the possibility of falling branches or trees) and even constituted a fire hazard. The city requested our expert contractor, Nadeau Foresterie Urbaine, to prepare an inventory of the affected trees. In total, some 300 trees were cut; we cleared approximately 21,000 buckthorn plants and bushes, a species that interferes with healthy tree growth. We intend to plant up to 600 new trees.

 

Ashkelon

We are looking forward to providing our future generations with the woodlands they deserve and hope that they will appreciate the diversity that was planted. Some future potential projects in the woodlands might include a pathway or boardwalk

As for the snow dump, a major cleanup has been completed. Public Works scraped the terrain of the dump, moved the materials toward two small hills; one located at the north-east of the yard and the other at the south-east of the deposit. They cleaned the ditches and estimated the volume that will need to be removed. They will continue to transport materials to reduce and eliminate the hills at the south-east ends at the beginning of season 2021. Then it is recommended we undertake the verification of levelling and slope of the ditches. The readjustment of the slopes and levelling of the land will provide better stability of the yard and better management of water flow during the snowmelt.

En 2019, la ville a abattu environ 700 arbres malades dans la forêt d'Ashkelon, derrière l'hôtel de ville. Des centaines d'arbres y ont été infestés par l'agrile du frêne et la maladie hollandaise de l'orme. Ces arbres étaient dangereux pour les personnes qui se promenaient dans la région (possibilité de chute de branches ou d'arbres) et constituaient même un risque d'incendie. La ville a demandé à notre expert contractuel, Nadeau Foresterie Urbaine, de dresser un inventaire des arbres touchés. Au total, quelque 300 arbres ont été abattus ; nous avons éliminé environ 21 000 nerpruns et buissons, une espèce qui empêche la croissance saine des arbres. Nous avons l'intention de planter jusqu'à 600 nouveaux arbres.

LIGHTING ON MARC CHAGALL/ ÉCLAIRAGE SUR MARC CHAGALL

To the question of what will happen to Marc Chagall Avenue in the winter, we have worked towards    brightening the street at night.  All bulbs were changed to LED and will stay like this until the Engineering Department takes on the project to change street lights throughout the city.

À la question de savoir ce qui arrivera à l'avenue Marc Chagall en hiver, nous avons travaillé à éclairer la rue la nuit.  Toutes les ampoules ont été remplacées par des LED et le resteront jusqu'à ce que le service d'ingénierie prenne en charge le projet de changement des lampadaires dans toute la ville.

HYDRO PROJECT/ PROJET HYDRO

District 2 will be part a major electrical system upgrade of the Hydro-Québec network. Work will occur between 2023 and 2026 and impact homes on Merrimac Road, Marc Chagall Avenue as well as Bialik High School. More information will be forthcoming. A committee, which includes residents, has been meeting with Hydro officials.

Hydro‑Québec compte investir plus de 500 M$ pour moderniser son réseau de transport dans l’axe nord-sud de l’île de Montréal, entre les arrondissements de Saint-Laurent et de LaSalle.

Hydro

Dans un souci d’harmoniser son projet avec la vision du développement de ses partenaires, Hydro‑Québec souhaite travailler en collaboration avec les villes et arrondissements, les organismes et les citoyens concernés afin de faciliter des initiatives de mobilité durable et de verdissement dans l’emprise de la ligne de transport d’électricité.

Le projet de modernisation du réseau électrique entre les postes de l’Aqueduc et de Saraguay prévoit :

  • la reconstruction à 315 kilovolts (kV) de la ligne de transport aérienne à 120 kV entre les postes de l’Aqueduc, à LaSalle, et de Saraguay, à Saint-Laurent, sur 18 km. La ligne sera reconstruite dans l’emprise actuelle, mais dans le cadre des étapes suivantes, le tracé pourrait être optimisé pour en atténuer les impacts selon des critères techniques, économiques, environnementaux et sociaux.
  • la conversion de trois postes de transformation de 120 kV à 315 kV, soit les postes Rockfield (à Lachine), de Hampstead (à Côte Saint-Luc) et Laurent (à Saint-Laurent).

 

CONSTRUCTION

After three and a half years of disruptions, work on the two towers of the Equinoxe project apartments is finally complete. Just a reminder to all: 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.

Equinoxe
Finally we were able to say good-bye to the Equinoxe construction.

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 temporary parking lot has been returned to its original setting. In the spring new grass will be planted and  I will begin holding some focus groups with residents to hear their ideas on how we can beautify the spot. Yes we have already been approached by many developers anxious to build there, but I can assure you this will never occur on my watch.

Le stationnement temporaire a été remis dans son état initial. Au printemps, de nouvelles pelouses seront plantées et je commencerai à organiser des groupes de discussion avec les résidents pour connaître leurs idées sur la façon d'embellir l'endroit. Oui, nous avons déjà été contactés par de nombreux promoteurs désireux d'y construire, mais je peux vous assurer que cela ne se produira jamais sous ma surveillance.

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 created a nicely paved walkway to make it fully accessible via Marc Chagall. We even moved the park sign from Kildare Road, a location that never made any sense.

An exterior piece of land near the Beth Chabad parking lot is zoned for a two storey commercial building.  At this point we have no formal proposal for a project on that land.

LE MONTEFIORE

Five years after the Manoir Montefiore senior’s residence on Mackle Road near Cavendish shut its doors, the facility reopened as a rental called Le Montefiore. 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. There have been some growing pains, but hopefully the kinks will be worked out soon.  

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.

Oren
Manager Oren Elbaz in the lobbty of Le Montefiore.

 

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.  

Cinq ans après la fermeture de la résidence pour personnes âgées Manoir Montefiore sur Mackle Road près de Cavendish, l'établissement a rouvert ses portes sous la forme d'une location appelée Le Montefiore. Jadco Real Estate, la société derrière les tours Equinoxe sur l'avenue Marc Chagall, a acheté la propriété et a complètement vidé l'intérieur pour introduire un immeuble d'appartements de location de luxe. Il y a eu quelques difficultés de croissance, mais on espère que les problèmes seront bientôt résolus. 

THE AVENUE/L’AVENUE

The new owners of 6700 The Avenue have lived up to all of their promises to bring their building up to proper standards. A contractor completed all of 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. A fence was installed a day later on the walkway.  

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   the large patch of land which had been used to house construction material was turned back into beautiful greenspace.

IMG_8926
The new refreshed look.

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!

Les nouveaux propriétaires du 6700 The Avenue ont tenu toutes leurs promesses de mettre leur immeuble aux normes. Un entrepreneur a réalisé tous les éléments demandés sur une liste de lacunes. L'entrepreneur a installé le nouvel asphalte pour l'allée et la promenade qui mènent à Park Place et en reviennent. Une clôture a été installée un jour plus tard sur l'allée.

SNOW DUMP/ LE BOUCHON DE NEIGE

Over the years the noise emanating from the banging of tailgates of trucks going in and out of our snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue has disturbed some residents. Our Public Works Department has tried to manage this the best way possible. At the beginning of the winter season we even build a snow wall to try and shield the sounds. During heavy snowfalls,   the noise is more difficult to control. There is also the fact that we are dealing with subcontractors, so the drivers change.  Public Works launched a new approach by installing signage to try and further deter the banging noises. I would like to thank Director Beatrice Newman and her team for this.

 

IMG_3817

The snow dump was nicely cleared again.

As noted, when we are in the midst of an incredible snowstorm, the city attempts to remove the snow as quickly and efficiently as possible and that during snow removal operations there is much more back and forth traffic in the area.  One of the problems we run into at the dump is the fact these truck drivers come from sub-contractors. We make our point very clear about the tailgate clanging, they comply and then new drivers arrive at the scene. It is frustrating for all of us and I hope that these actions initiated by Ms. Newman and her team are successful.

Each spring I lobby for funds to break down the accumulated snow and ice at the   dump. This requires a lot of heavy equipment, including two mechanical shovels and one bulldozer.

 Au fil des ans, le bruit émanant des hayons des camions qui entrent et sortent de notre décharge de neige sur l'avenue Marc Chagall a perturbé certains habitants. Notre service des travaux publics a essayé de gérer cela de la meilleure façon possible. Au début de la saison hivernale, nous avons même construit un mur de neige pour essayer de faire écran aux bruits. Lors de fortes chutes de neige, le bruit est plus difficile à contrôler. Il y a aussi le fait que nous avons affaire à des sous-traitants, donc les conducteurs changent.  Le ministère des travaux publics a adopté une nouvelle approche en installant des panneaux de signalisation pour tenter de dissuader davantage les bruits de choc. Je tiens à remercier la directrice Beatrice Newman et son équipe pour cela.

 

TRAFFIC/ TRAFIC

It has been more than two years now since a new stop sign was placed at Kildare Road and Rembrandt. Police authorities okayed it from the start and monitored it often.   Check on it regularly. Some people expressed concern that the stop sign was too small. So a larger one was installed recently. Overall, this sign has made a huge difference for motorists exiting from Rembrandt Avenue. It was an issue that came up over and over again in my last door to door campaign. By going through the proper channels I am glad it has worked out.

During the year some residents of the town houses on Kildare Road, between Cavendish Boulevard and Kellert Avenue, were upset that new restricted parking signs (Tuesday and Thursday) went up in front of their homes. These same signs were removed when construction commenced in 2009 on their homes. Interestingly, there were no restricted parking signs present when work was complete in 2013. For six years that section of Kildare continued to have no such signs. According to Public Works this was a serious oversight on their part. It turns out that it was a complaint from across the street, asking why they had no parking two days a week and their side did not. Engineering did some research and realized that the signs were removed during construction in 2009, but never put back. Since I was never consulted, I asked for a review and that did take  place.   Public Works insisted that they had complaints for years that the sweeper during spring, summer and fall could not clean the street properly. Their personnel were not aware of the sign situation. At the meeting their operations director said they still need some restrictions in place.

 

LargeStopSign1
At the newly installed larger stop sign.

 

For residents this poses a major inconvenience, notably when guests come over during the day or they themselves want to leave a car on the street instead of going back into the garage. A compromise was reached. They now only maintain restrictions between April 1 to December for the sweeper. Instead of two days, it is part of one day (Tuesdays from 10 am to 2:30 pm.

One foot note: Montreal Transit Commission mandated bus lines will be introduced island-wide in the next year or so. That could impact on parking for everyone, including this stretch. We have no power on such decisions. We will keep everyone posted.

On the subject of Kildare Road, allow me to quote the late Mayor Bernard Lang who used this comment to refer to the extension of Cavendish Boulevard:  “We don’t need it, we don’t want it and we cannot afford it!”

Well that was several decades ago. The Cavendish extension will occur in my lifetime. But as long as I serve as the councillor for District 2, I will vehemently oppose any discussions around extending Kildare Road to Jean Talon and Decarie. Why? We don’t need it, we don’t want it and we cannot afford it!”

I take my hat off to our city officials who put together an outstanding brief called Transit First: Connecting The Sector in Namur-De La Savane. We do not need a highway running past an elementary and high school (JPPS-Bialik) nor Beth Chabad, which also benefits from a beautiful piece of greenspace they use for weddings in the summer. Buses turn around in that section and children are dropped off at school. The area is already has enough traffic.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein wanted to share this clarification. "Our brief requests many improved options for movement in and out of our city," he told me. "The recommendation regarding extending Kildare could be through a tramway, and/or pedestrian and bicycle paths. Our priority for cars remains the Cavendish extension, with two lanes in each direction for cars and a tramway in the median down the center linking Saint Jacques to Namur. Imagine if that tramway could go through Kildare to Jean Talon directly as well, either using the perimeter of the rail yards or some other configuration. We also need train stations to make use of the existing Saint Jerome line that passes through our city There is a lot we can do and the four mayors in the region, Mayor De Sousa of Saint Laurent, Mayor Roy of Town of Mont Royal and Mayor Montgomery of Cöte des Neiges/ NDG are working together with us to move these ideas forward."

Many years ago the City of Montreal was supposed to extend Kildare. Then Mayor Jean Doré reneged on deal with Mayor Lang who took the matter to the Quebec Municipal Commission. Côte Saint-Luc won a multi-million dollar cash settlement as well as ownership of the area of homes in what was then called North Hampstead Estates (renamed North of Hampstead) near Decarie Square.

Anytime the extension of Kildare came up again thus far in my 14 years on council, it came with a massive price tag attached to it. This simply is never going to happen. Residents of Marc Chagall, Merrimac, Rembrandt, Ilan Ramon and Sir Walter Scott in particular do not want it. Ditto for the congregants at Beth Chabad and the parents, students and staff at JPPS-Bialik.

Finally, the traffic lights at Cavendish and The Avenue were not working consistently for the last few months. I tested it out myself during regular walks. In mid-December the problem was resolved.

Cela fait maintenant plus de deux ans qu'un nouveau panneau d'arrêt a été placé à Kildare et Rembrandt. Les autorités policières l'ont approuvé dès le début et l'ont souvent surveillé.   Vérifiez-le régulièrement. Certaines personnes ont exprimé leur inquiétude quant à la taille du panneau d'arrêt. Un panneau plus grand a donc été installé récemment. Dans l'ensemble, ce panneau a fait une énorme différence pour les automobilistes qui sortent de l'avenue Rembrandt. C'est un problème qui est revenu sans cesse dans ma dernière campagne de porte-à-porte. En passant par les canaux appropriés, je suis heureux que cela ait fonctionné.

PARKS/ PARCS

Isadore Goldberg Park

When I was first elected 15 years ago, I pledged to one day make Isadore Goldberg Park more accessible. For reasons I never understood, the park was built between a number of apartment buildings on Sir Walter Scott and Kildare Road. The actual sign was at the corner of Kildare and Merrimac, but with no clear direction of how to even get there. It was essentially a park for the residents of these buildings and while it was well utilized, this could have been the case for such a wider audience.

Our original plan was to relocate the park to the large patch of green space on Marc Chagall Avenue across from the Marquise and next to Les Cours Chagall. However, that was derailed when we desperately needed that spot for construction workers at the Equinoxe to park in order to ensure residents could find places on the street.

 

Goldbergsign
The new entrance to Goldberg Park.

 

Well, over the years Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman and I maintained a regular dialogue on this topic. Last year she came up with the brilliant idea to revitalize the existing park and at the same time make it widely accessible.

Eh bien, au fil des ans, la directrice des travaux publics, Beatrice Newman, et moi-même avons entretenu un dialogue régulier sur ce sujet. L'année dernière, elle a eu la brillante idée de revitaliser le parc existant tout en le rendant largement accessible.

All of the old benches were removed and replaced with new ones. Ditto for the garbage cans. Five new benches were installed on concrete bases plus five temporary wood picnic tables were put in the park.   Five new lights were purchased. Four new games were installed. About 40 tons of sand was poured and we also sifted the sandbox, removed dead trees and bushes and trimmed some others.  

A gravel pathway was made and in November paved. What a beautiful site! And yes, the sign has been relocated to the entrance to the pathway. Isadore Goldberg Park is truly now accessible to all.

Less than a year ago former Councillor Goldberg passed away. I know that his brother, sister in law and niece, each of whom reside in my district, will be pleased to represent him when we do a re-dedication in 2021. Next year we will be installing a gate as we have in Trudeau Park. Only pedestrians will be able to enter through there. Vehicles will not do so unless the employee has the key.  Until the final installation, we will place cement bells at the entrance so the Equinoxe team can no longer drive over our property to get to their dump. Last year all the dead trees and shrubs were removed.

REMBRANDT

 On one of my regular District 2 walks during the fall, one of my constituents, and some youngsters asked me when the Rembrandt Park basketball courts would be fixed up. As part of our Capital Works Program, I was promised that this was in the plans for 2021. However, given the financial impact of the pandemic I could not be sure.

After speaking with project manager Dalia Mohamed I can now confirm the work will be done. The city will call for tenders in March and the renovations will occur towards the end of May. First and foremost, there will be new asphalt installed. That is very important given the surface is in pretty poor condition. They will also paint new lines, install new benches and new lighting to allow for evening activity. The city will replace the existing headboards and nets with new backboards of rectangular shape with the double rim. For the basketball poles they will be sanded and painted with two coats. I spoke to Alex Fyon of J-Hoops, which runs basketball programs year-round and there could be a possible partnership in the works. Meanwhile, the tennis season at Rembrandt was extended due to the unseasonably warm weather. For tennis court # 1, the city awarded a contract to install a 15-feet barrier to allow the Public Works trucks to enter the court.

Kidsatcourt
KIds at the basketball court.

 

During the summer we installed a brand new ping pong table, a high-end model that is bolted to the ground and will stand the test of time. You must bring your own racquets and ping pong balls

At Rembrandt Park three drinking fountains were opened this year; and were adjusted for filling water bottles as per COVID-19 protocols. Three temporary lights were installed on the pathway going towards Merrimac The frame for the swings for the bigger kids and some benches were painted. Six new benches and two waste receptacles were installed on the pathway going towards Merrimac at the same time we   recuperated the pavé and repair the holes where the pavé is missing (in front of the chalet and near the fountain). Plans also call for the chalet bathrooms to be gutted and replaced this winter and for a small skating rink to be installed in one of the tennis courts - a first.

Early in the summer I discovered that rat and mouse poisoning pellets had been found at and near Rembrandt Park.  Dogs often consume things on the ground that look like food when you take them for a walk. Owners must watch them carefully.  Then there are outdoor cats. They have nobody looking out for them. One of my neighbours saw a torn package of green pellets on the ground and threw them in the garbage.  He also found a wrapper on the ground clearly labelled as Wilsarin: Rat and Mouse Bait. Public Security officers from Côte Saint-Luc carried on an investigation and reported this to police. Sadly, we have had previous cases of people who clearly hate animals of doing such a horrible thing.   A family member was walking her dog near Mackle Road and Marc Chagall earlier this year. The pooch ingested something, fell very ill the next day and had to be rushed to the vet. He almost died. It cost her $5,000 to regain his health. There is clearly someone out there who wants to harm animals. I repeat the importance of reporting to us any suspicious behavior. It is almost as if this person wants us to know what he or she is doing. Why else are they leaving their wrappers on the ground?

Après avoir parlé avec la responsable du projet, Dalia Mohamed, je peux maintenant confirmer que le travail sera fait. La ville lancera un appel d'offres en mars et les rénovations auront lieu vers la fin du mois de mai. Avant tout, un nouvel asphalte sera installé. C'est très important étant donné que la surface est en assez mauvais état. Ils vont également peindre de nouvelles lignes, installer de nouveaux bancs et un nouvel éclairage pour permettre l'activité en soirée. La ville remplacera les têtes de lit et les filets existants par de nouveaux panneaux arrière de forme rectangulaire à double rebord. Pour les poteaux de basket, ils seront poncés et peints avec deux couches. J'ai parlé à Alex Fyon de J-Hoops, qui gère des programmes de basket-ball toute l'année et un éventuel partenariat est en cours. En attendant, la saison de tennis à Rembrandt a été prolongée en raison du temps anormalement chaud. Pour le court de tennis n°1, la ville a attribué un contrat pour l'installation d'une barrière de 15 pieds pour permettre aux camions de Travaux publics d'entrer sur le terrain.

ELIE WIESEL

Elie Wiesel Park at the corner of Kildare and Cavendish is a difficult one to maintain due to its makeup. Public Works weeded the park a few times. They even decided to pull out many shrubs and perennials this year due to the extensive amount of deep weeds (Phragmite). In an ideal world, we would need to pull everything out and start from scratch. Since we can't do that we pulled everything that was impossible to work with for now. It takes a minimum of 12 people to clean that park during a few days, which is frustrating.

Le parc Elie Wiesel, à l'angle de Kildare et Cavendish, est difficile à entretenir en raison de sa composition. Les Travaux publics ont désherbé le parc à plusieurs reprises. Ils ont même décidé d'arracher de nombreux arbustes et plantes vivaces cette année en raison de la grande quantité de mauvaises herbes profondes (Phragmite). Dans un monde idéal, il faudrait tout arracher et repartir de zéro. Comme nous ne pouvons pas le faire, nous avons arraché tout ce qui était impossible à travailler pour l'instant. Il faut un minimum de 12 personnes pour nettoyer ce parc pendant quelques jours, ce qui est frustrant.

MOPEDS  

During the summer I began receiving complaints about people recklessly driving mopeds in some of our parks, notably Rembrandt.  I want to thank Co-City Manager Jonathan Shecter and Public Safety Director Philip Chateauvert for the excellent work they did on the dossier. At a December Council meeting we passed a notice of motion that will prohibit the use of electric mopeds in parks and to prohibit circulation in a manner that compromises the safety of other park users.

Pendant l'été, j'ai commencé à recevoir des plaintes concernant des personnes conduisant imprudemment des cyclomoteurs dans certains de nos parcs, notamment celui de Rembrandt.  Je tiens à remercier Jonathan Shecter, co-directeur de la ville, et Philip Chateauvert, directeur de la sécurité publique, pour l'excellent travail qu'ils ont accompli sur ce dossier. Lors d'une réunion du Conseil en décembre, nous avons adopté un avis de motion visant à interdire l'utilisation de cyclomoteurs électriques dans les parcs et à interdire la circulation d'une manière qui compromet la sécurité des autres usagers des parcs.

TRAIN NOISE/ BRUIT DES TRAINS

At my most recent District 2 Advisory Committee meeting, held via Zoom, train noise was on the agenda.

Councillor Dida Berku is teaming up with me for a District 2 and 3 Coalition to try and deal with excessive train noise from the CP Railway. Frank Palucci said he even hears the trains all the way on Ilan Ramon Crescent.  There was an incident recently in which a piece of equipment broke down, causing a few sleepless nights for residents of Merrimac and Baily Road residents.

Merrimac resident Charles Guerin is leading an effort to gather complaints. What we need from people are for them first to email a complaint to CP Rail “Community Connect “ (Community_Connect@cpr.ca),  it’s sort of a help desk for CP Rail. The email should CC: jshecter@cotesaintluc.org on all correspondence, Cote St Luc’s legal counsel.

Community Connect will send everyone back a form letter the next day that explains why CP is good and their complaint is a waste of time…everyone should ignore that.   

La conseillère Dida Berku fait équipe avec moi pour une coalition des districts 2 et 3 afin d'essayer de régler le problème du bruit excessif des trains du CP. Frank Palucci dit qu'il entend même les trains sur Ilan Ramon Crescent.  Il y a eu récemment un incident au cours duquel une pièce d'équipement est tombée en panne, provoquant quelques nuits blanches pour les habitants des rues Merrimac et de Baily.

HONOURS/ HONNEURS

Seven years ago Côte Saint-Luc got lucky when a most distinguished citizen, Elliot Lifson, moved to our community from Hampstead. In fact he became my constituent in District 2. In December it was announced that Elliot has been appointed to the Order of Canada by the Governor General for his leadership and mentorship in the apparel industry, his commitment to Canada’s economic growth, and for his community involvement. Next to his name on the press release, it says Côte Saint-Luc instead of Montreal. “That was done on purpose,” said Elliot. “I am so proud and happy to be living in Côte Saint-Luc that I wanted that included.”

BUSINESS/ AFFAIRES

Twelve year old Matthew Liebman is one of three sons to Howard Liebman, a long-time political strategist to the likes of Irwin Cotler and Denis Coderre and current government relations director for Air Transat and Willingdon Elementary School  Grade 4 English teacher Heather Leckner. I have known his grandparents, Rick and Gloria Leckner, for most of my life. Rick, of course, was the legendary traffic reporter on CJAD and for many years an investor relations and PR guru to corporate giants.

Given his lineage, it was not surprising to hear that young Matthew has decided to put his baking skills to good use during these times of confinement. The Côte Saint-Luc resident and District 2 constituent of mine is impressive. After his full day of remote learning is done as a Grade 6 graduating student at JPPS, Matthew dons his apron to bake dozens of fresh cookies for his growing client list.

Helping to keep track of orders and behind the beautiful packaging is mom Heather. Swift local drop off deliveries (free in CSL, Hampstead, NDG and Montreal West) have been entrusted to dad, Howard, to allow the baker to focus on his creations in the kitchen you may place orders for these delicious cookies at matthewsbakery13@gmail.com.

Meanwhile,  COVID-19 claimed another victim as the Cineplex Odeon Theatres at the Quartier Cavendish have closed for good I was surprised to see the theatres last this long. They never did a booming business, but it is nonetheless a loss for our community. Seniors in particular appreciated having a multiplex so close by. It was also great for young families. In recent years our city has held our Volunteer Appreciation Evening there.

When they first opened here about two decades ago it was a celebration. Prior to that the closest theatres were at Decarie Square (now a Dollar Cinema) and Plaza Côte des Neiges (now Cinéstarz). The movie theatre business has taken a massive beating since COVID-19 hit last March. They did reopen for a few months, but crowds were weak.  Would Cinéstarz owner Bruce Gurberg consider stepping in and saving the Cavendish theatres or has the curtain closed for good? A sign at the Quartier Cavendish does inform everyone that the theatres are closed permanently and to head to the Forum downtown. Cineplex Odeon also operates a cinema in LaSalle. The last movie I saw was at Cavendish - Academy Award winner Parasite.

Owners David Banon and Sarah Ettedgui have closed their Caldwell Pharmaprix location and merged operations at the larger Cavendish spot.  They have actually established a "pharmacy within a pharmacy" and when you call, they still answer "Caldwell."

CSLSC TESTING/ TEST DE CLSC

As of August 10, anyone who wants to make an appointment at one of  the CLSC test centres to have blood drawn or other samples tested must go to CLICSANTE.CA. Then they should choose “Blood test and specimens” and enter their postal code. Clic Santé will propose an appointment, which may not be for the same day. Since some people may find it difficult to gain access to this website, and in order to ensure a smooth transition, the CLSCs can also be phoned to book an appointment.

CATS/CHATS

It has been a decade now since I helped establish the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee, a small group of volunteers who oversee a trap, neuter, release and adopt program. Retired nurse Diane Liebling leads the efforts and I cannot say enough about the work she puts in. Despite the pandemic, she continued to rescue homeless cats and find new homes for them. When our annual fundraising concert had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, Diane, Malka Labow and Randi Kader embarked upon a fundraising raffle which was a huge success. We also held a Virtual Variety Show, which is still available to watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB4u01mxZTY&feature=emb_logo

Picture 411
My Cleopatra 

 

Cela fait maintenant dix ans que j'ai participé à la création du Comité des chats de Côte Saint-Luc, un petit groupe de bénévoles qui supervise un programme de piégeage, de stérilisation, de remise en liberté et d'adoption. Diane Liebling, infirmière à la retraite, dirige les efforts et je ne saurais trop insister sur le travail qu'elle accomplit. Malgré la pandémie, elle a continué à secourir les chats sans abri et à leur trouver de nouveaux foyers. Lorsque notre concert annuel de collecte de fonds a dû être annulé en raison de COVID-19, Diane, Malka Labow et Randi Kader ont organisé une tombola qui a remporté un énorme succès.

DOGS/CHIENS

During the year I moved a motion to modify our by-law  for the regulation of dogs. This was deemed necessary to be in line with new provincial government legislation. One minor change was done to the draft by-law that was tabled at the April 6, 2020 meeting, namely, that the coming into force of the obligation to microchip all dogs on the territory of CSL will be on April 6, 2021. The remainder of by-law 2555 came into force as of July 11, 2020 (in order for Public Security to inform the City of Montreal of the modifications), with the exception of the microchipping articles.

This new regulation aims to provide a basis for reducing the risk of attacks and tragic incidents related to dangerous dogs. For instance, dogs 20 kg and over must wear a halter or harness at all times. Wearing a leash with a maximum length of 1.85 meters is also now compulsory, except in a dog park, hunting, in a training course or a dog competition (the latter three will unlikely occur in CSL).     Doctors are obligated to report serious dog bites. Veterinarians must report dogs they believe to pose a risk, and municipalities will enforce the rules and order any dog responsible for an attack to be euthanized.

We have had issues in the past with dangerous dogs. But usually, it is the owner who is fault. In CSL we have an active Dog Owners Committee I launched after the last election.  

Nous avons eu des problèmes dans le passé avec des chiens dangereux. Mais généralement, c'est le propriétaire qui est fautif. Au CSL, nous avons un Comité des propriétaires de chiens actif que j'ai lancé après les dernières élections. 

PODCAST/ BALADO  

 For many years now I have thought about starting my own podcast.   Last spring I did just that. You can listen to it on SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/themikecohenpodcast. ) or ITunes (https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-mike-cohen-podcast/id1508770681)

PAS D’AUGMENTATION DE TAXES POUR UN LOGEMENT MOYEN/ 2021 BUDGET REPORT

La Ville de Côte Saint-Luc a adopté un budget de fonctionnement 2021 et le budget d’investissement lors d’une assemblée spéciale du Conseil le 21 décembre 2020. Notre objectif principal lors de l’élaboration du budget 2021 était de geler les taxes pour une maison résidentielle moyenne, c’est-à-dire une maison, condo, ou maison de ville. La résidence moyenne, dont la valeur a augmenté de 14,2 % avec le dépôt du dernier rôle, connaîtra une augmentation d’impôts de 0 % en 2021. Les propriétés dont la valeur a augmenté de moins de 14,2 % bénéficieront d’une réduction de taxes tandis que les propriétés dont la valeur a augmenté de plus de 14,2 % verront une augmentation de taxes en 2021. En 2021, nous continuons de vouloir rester connectés avec nos résidants, par le biais de divers programmes et services, sécuritaires et qui encouragent le bien-être, offerts par la bibliothèque, le service des loisirs et des parcs, le service des travaux publics et en partenariat avec des organismes externes. Ainsi, nos résidants pourront continuer à rester engagés et actifs. Ces initiatives comprennent notre programme de diffusion par téléphone, une augmentation de la programmation en ligne, une montagne de toboggan aménagée et entretenue par une équipe professionnelle, une patinoire réfrigérée extérieure située dans l’annexe et cinq patinoires extérieures additionnelles. » 

Les documents du budget sont disponibles à CoteSaintLuc.org/fr/municipalite/finances/ 

The City of Côte Saint-Luc adopted its operating budget and capital expenditures budget for 2021 at a special council meeting on December 21, 2020. Our primary objective when building the 2021 budget was to freeze taxes for the average residential home. The average house, condo and townhouse will see a 0% tax increase in 2021. In other words, if the value of the property in the last tax roll increased by less than 14.2%, your property tax bill will be lower this year. If your property value increased by more than 14.2%, you tax bill will be higher. And if your property rose exactly 14.2%, your property tax will be the same as last year. Our priority for 2021 will be to continue to stay connected with our residents by providing services that improve health and are safe through our library, parks and recreation and public works departments and by partnering with other organizations so every resident can remain engaged and active. Initiatives include our telephone broadcast system, increased online programming, professionally groomed dedicated tobogganing mountain, outdoor refrigerated ice at the annex and five more outdoor skating rinks.

Budget documents are available at CoteSaintLuc.org/finance

TRANSPORT COLLECTIF/TRANSIT PLAN

Les Villes de Montréal, Côte-Saint-Luc, Ville Mont-Royal ainsi que les arrondissements de Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce et de Saint-Laurent, situés aux abords du boulevard Décarie, se mobilisent pour créer un plan axé sur le transport collectif et actif pour le secteur Namur-De la Savane. Le secteur Namur-De la Savane est situé entre l’autoroute Métropolitaine, la rue Jean-Talon Ouest, le boulevard Cavendish, la gare de triage du CP et le corridor Décarie. Il chevauche deux villes (Côte Saint-Luc et Mont-Royal) et deux arrondissements de Montréal (Saint-Laurent et Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce). Une résolution conjointe a été adoptée au conseil d’agglomération afin que l’agglomération de Montréal demande d’une même voix à l’ARTM la mise en place d’une desserte appropriée en transport collectif électrique dans le secteur élargi de Namur-De la Savane, incluant l’axe du boulevard Cavendish.  

The cities of Montreal, Côte Saint-Luc, Town of Mount Royal and the boroughs of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Saint-Laurent—all located along Décarie Boulevard—are mobilizing to create an active public transit plan for the Namur–De la Savane sector. The Namur–De la Savane sector is located between the Metropolitan Expressway, Jean-Talon Street West, Cavendish Boulevard, the CP rail yard and the Décarie Corridor. The sector straddles two cities (Côte Saint-Luc and Mount Royal) and two Montreal boroughs (Saint-Laurent and Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce). A joint resolution was tabled at the Agglomeration Council on Thursday so that the Agglomeration of Montreal can request to the ARTM with one voice the implementation of an appropriate electric public transit service in the expanded sector of Namur-De la Savane, including along Cavendish Boulevard. More specifically, the Agglomeration will ask the ARTM to propose an appropriate mode of transportation as well as an optimal route for this service in order to obtain a suitable and efficient service to the citizens of the sector and the Agglomeration.

PROLONGEMENT DU BOULEVARD CAVENDISH/THE CAVENDISH EXTENSION

La Ville de Côte Saint-Luc demande à la Ville de Montréal de soumettre le projet de prolongement du boulevard Cavendish au Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement du gouvernement du Québec, ou BAPE, le plus tôt possible et au plus tard le 1er mai 2021.  Les villes, cités et arrondissements ayant un intérêt à voir le boulevard Cavendish prolongé sont en accord avec le projet. La prochaine étape doit être que Montréal soumette le projet au BAPE afin qu’il soit passé en revue, tel que cela fut annoncé l’an dernier. Le projet du prolongement du boulevard Cavendish est appuyé par la Ville de Montréal, notamment par les maires des arrondissements de Saint-Laurent (Alan DeSousa) et de Côte-des-Neiges-NDG (Sue Montgomery), ainsi que par la Ville de Côte Saint-Luc (Mitchell Brownstein) et la Ville de Mont-Royal (Philippe Roy). Tous les maires ont convenu d’en faire un prolongement axé sur le transport actif et collectif incluant un éventuel projet de tramway relié à la station multimodale Namur Hippodrome.  Le projet de prolongement du boulevard Cavendish permettrait de relier le boulevard Cavendish à Côte Saint-Luc au boulevard Cavendish à Saint-Laurent, en passant par les gares de triage privées exploitées par le Canadien Pacifique et le Canadien National. La distance à parcourir à travers les gares de triage pour effectuer la connexion avec le réseau routier est d’environ 1,3 km.   Les premières discussions sur le prolongement de ses deux parties ont débuté au milieu des années 1960.  

The City of Côte Saint-Luc is urging the City of Montreal to submit the Cavendish road extension project to Quebec government’s environmental public hearings bureau, or BAPE, as soon as possible and no later than May 1, 2021. The cities, towns, and boroughs with an interest in the Cavendish extension have reached a consensus on this road project,The next step is for Montreal to send the project to the BAPE for review, as was announced a year ago.” The Cavendish road extension project is supported by the City of Montreal, including the mayors of the boroughs of Saint-Laurent (Alan DeSousa) and Côte-des-Neiges–NDG (Sue Montgomery), as well as the City of Côte Saint-Luc (Mitchell Brownstein), and the Town of Mount Royal (Philippe Roy). All Mayors have agreed to the extension including public and active transport as well as an eventual tramway connected to an intermodal hub at Namur-Hippodrome.   The Cavendish road extension project would connect Cavendish Blvd. in Côte Saint-Luc with Cavendish Blvd. in Saint-Laurent, through private rail yards operated by Canadian Pacific and Canadian National. The distance to cross through the rail yards to connect the road network is approximately 1.3km.  The first discussions of this issue began back in 1960.

 

 

 


Our city council and staff have shown leadership during this pandemic period

On the eve of Yom Kippur I repeat something everyone has heard  many times since last March: be careful! There are new limitations to public gatherings. Please abide by them.

COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon. We had a brief reprieve over the summer when too many people let their guards down, but now we are entering a second wave.

I do not think that Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, our seven members of council and our staff ever imagined a mandate like this. It has been a challenge  and that is for certain, but I think as elected officials we have handled this pandemic responsibly.

First let me underline the incredible leadership shown by our senior management trio of Tanya Abramovitch, Jonathan Shecter and Nadia Di Furia. They have been ahead of the game every step of the way. Our teams in Finance, Urban Development/Engineering, Public Works, Purchasing, Communications, IT, the Library, City Clerk’s Office,  Parks and Recreation and Public Safety have done an incredible job. I could not be more proud.

Look at our Men’s Club. This is a group which lives for personal gatherings, but since last spring they have embraced the Zoom video platform and opened up an entire new world. This brings me to my next subject. Out of respect for social distancing measures and in order to discourage seniors and others coming to public gatherings, all of our city council and committee meetings have been held via Zoom since March. And you know what? It works beautifully. In fact, over the past seven months our number of meetings have more than doubled!

Until there is a vaccine, bringing eight elected officials, staff and the public into a hardly spacious council chamber would be a very bad idea. Just look at the recent spate of COVID-19 positive cases for politicians: the leaders of the Bloc Québecois and the Conservative Party of Canada. Our own Councillor David Tordjman was at an event for the latter. He said he stayed for less than a half hour, wore a mask at all times and made sure to clean his hands any time he touched something. Nonetheless he got COVID as well.  Please see this story.

Maskandshield
This is how I dress to go to work now!

 

There are a number of hot button issues coming up on our agenda. We broadcast our public meetings live now on YouTube, via Zoom, and as Larry David would say, attendance  is “pretty..;pretty..pretty good.” People can ask questions in the comments section or send them in advance.

I shudder to think of how we would be functioning if this pandemic had occurred in say 1987?

I have spent the past few months walking my District 2 on foot several days a week and talking to constituents from a distance.  My district meetings have successfully moved to Zoom and I am happy to say work is getting done at a good pace.

We all want this to be over, but now we must brace ourselves for a rough fall and winter.  Get your flu shot! One can only pray that by spring that elusive vaccine will arrive.


Councillor Tordjman and I will cover vacant District 8 for now

The by-election  to replace the  late Ruth Kovac for City Council District 8 was supposed to take place on April 5. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been delayed indefinitely. A date will only be set when social distancing lets up and sadly that looks like a long way off.

Our mayor and seven members of council are being inundated with phone calls, emails  and Facebook messages from constituents.  We are also meeting via zoom conference as often as twice a day. This is what  we were elected for.

Over the  last few weeks, residents of District 8 who are without a councillor have started  to contact myself and Councillor David Tordjman directly. Our districts  (2 for  me and 6 for David) border District 8. Until further notice we have divided up the territory. I will cover the streets of East of Cavendish. This includes Cavendish Club and Chateau Collins; David will oversee the streets West of Cavendish, including Mackle Manor, the Ritz and other buildings on that side.

We miss Ruth Kovac. As someone's whose forte was emergency preparedness, she would have been front and center in this fight!

Residents should first call City Hall at 514-485-6800. Frontline staff will triage the calls. We can also be contacted  directly by email or social media. See then map below, courtesy of Councillor Tordjman's handy work. 

Screenshot 2020-04-06 at 7.43.58 PM


Your city is showing leadership during this COVID-19 crisis

I was not a member of city council when Quebec experienced the 1998 Ice Storm. But I vividly remember our mayor, councillors and front line staff stepping up as leaders.

As the COVID-19 pandemic hits us all very hard, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, our council and our senior management team have stepped up. We have a high proportion of seniors in our community and two large healthcare institutions – Maimonides and Mount Sinai – which are of great concern. There is also the CLSC René Cassin, which sees patients and of course has a blood test center.

Coronavirus-4914028_1920

Hundreds of snowbirds will be coming home by car (passing by and stopping at some American towns where the disease can be active) and air. Social distancing on a plane or in line at the airport is simply not possible.  These individuals must follow the protocol set forth by Premier  François Legault and self-isolate for 14 days immediately upon their return. Any one of them can be a super spreader.  We also need to encourage individuals aged 70 or over to stay home, as stated by the Premier.

Gradually our religious institutions are cancelling any large gatherings. This is essential. Sadly celebrations must be included in this category – weddings, bar mitzvahs and upcoming Passover seders. We are all congregating at grocery stores and pharmacies out of necessity. Try and limit these visits and practice social distancing. Make sure to have a hand sanitizer with you at all times and a container of wipes. Consider frequenting some of our smaller-sized merchants such as Qualitifruits on Westminster, Nosherz next door, Caldwell Provisions, Pharmaprix Caldwell, Maxis Bakery at Quartier Cavendish.

We have closed all of our main municipal buildings.  City Hall is closed to the public, but our staff continue to run the city. Our city council wants to lead by example. We have therefore moved to online meetings via video to avoid all being in the same room. The provincial government has given municipalities powers to proceed with meetings and consultations via technology. I want to take my hat off to Darryl Levine, our invaluable public affairs and communications chief. In short order he set up a system whereby the mayor, council and senior staff met from 5:45 pm to 11:30 pm on Monday entirely via video. The monthly “public” council meeting was streamed live on YouTube. We took questions that were submitted earlier in the day and the mayor responded to questions posted on YouTube in real time. Nearly 40 people watched it live and it is now available here for everyone to see.

This format was a huge success. We will continue to meet this way until further notice. The mayor and council are in regular communication daily. We are all practicing social distancing. On Monday I was appointed Deputy Mayor for the next three months. This means that if for whatever reason the mayor cannot fulfill his duties, I will assume those responsibilities.

State of Emergency Declared in CSL

We held a special meeting at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, March 17 when the Mayor declared a state of emergency in our city. The focus was to limit gatherings now to no more than 10 people. Included as well was a message to Snowbirds and other travellers arriving from abroad.

Here  is the complete text:

WHEREAS the World Health Organization declared a pandemic related to COVID-19 on March 11, 2020;

WHEREAS several measures have been taken by the City of Côte Saint-Luc in order to prevent and slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus as per the directives provided by the appropriate health authorities;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc has a high concentration of seniors, representing over 30% of its population, including many snow-birds living in apartment and condo buildings who have been or will be returning home after extended travel;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc also has one of the highest population density per square kilometer in Québec;

WHEREAS senior citizens are most susceptible to be affected by the COVID-19 virus;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc is home to eight (8) large religious institutions and many smaller ones, most of which continue to maintain services and hold celebrations;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc has seven (7) senior residences and, two (2) hospitals and one (1) CLSC on its territory;

WHEREAS this pandemic constitutes an actual and imminent major disaster situation and immediate action is required to protect human life, the health and physical integrity of the population of the City of Côte Saint-Luc given its particular demographic and population density;

WHEREAS by virtue of sections 42, 43, 44, 45 and 47 of the Civil Protection Act (C.Q.L.R., chapter S-2.3) (“Act”) a local municipality may declare a state of emergency in all or part of its territory where, in an actual or imminent major disaster situation, immediate action is required to protect human life, health or physical integrity, and specify the nature of the disaster, the territory concerned, its effective period and the measures to be taken without delay and without formality;

WHEREAS by virtue of the Act, a state of emergency is effective as soon as it is declared or renewed; It was

MOVED BY COUNCILLOR  DIDA BERKU
SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR OREN SEBAG

AND RESOLVED:

“THAT in conformity with section 42 of the Act, a state of emergency be declared in all of the City of Côte Saint-Luc’s territory due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic;

THAT in conformity with section 44 of the Act, the Mayor of Côte Saint-Luc be authorized to exercise the powers provided by section 47 of the Act;

THAT the state of emergency be declared for a period of five (5) days from the adoption of the present resolution;

THAT during the state of emergency and in conformity with section 47 of the Act, the Côte Saint-Luc City Council prohibits any indoor social and-or religious gatherings exceeding 10 individuals on its territory and calls upon the Direction de santé publique to use their powers of enforcement to shut down any of these said gatherings with the Collaboration of the SPVM;

THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council further beseeches upon its residents and strongly implores them to:

- Undertake mandatory isolation for a period of fourteen (14) days for all those who return from abroad on or after March 12, 2020; and

THAT in conformity with section 45 of the Act, the present resolution be sent immediately to the Minister of Public Security and the appropriate civil protection authorities in the territory of Côte Saint-Luc.”
ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY

Handwash

Resolution on COVID-19

We began our  March 16 meeting by adopting the following resolution:

WHEREAS several measures have been taken by the City of Côte Saint-Luc in order to prevent and slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc recognizes and appreciates the proactive measures taken by some organizations on its territory to prevent and slow down the virus;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc has a high concentration of seniors,  representing over 30 % of its population of 34000, including many snow-birds living in apartment and condo buildings who have been or will be returning home after extended travel;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc is home to seven large religious institutions and many smaller ones, three large shopping centres, several strip malls, and some office buildings;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc would like to do everything in its power to contain and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus;

WHEREAS community organizations and individuals can play a significant role in helping to prevent the spread of the virus;

WHEREAS a community’s resilience is only as strong as its weakest links;

Be it Resolved That

The City of Côte Saint Luc hereby asks the organizations and community groups on its territory to cease all of their activities that gather people physically together, and calls upon its residents to follow all provincial recommendations to help prevent the spread the COVID-19 virus.

Relatives and Caregivers

We have heard from many distraught relatives of patients at Maimonides and Mount Sinai. They and the hired caregivers are no longer allowed inside, according to government directives to limit transmission. Our mayor is in regular touch with our Members of the National Assembly and healthcare officials to see what kind of compromise can be made. Surely there can be a screening process created.  The existing staff cannot possibly handle such a caseload. One of the residents at Maimonides is Cecile Klein. She is 112 years old, the oldest living person in Canada. Feeder

Côte Saint-Luc has the largest proportion of seniors in the province per capita. They are the most vulnerable to contract COVID-19. We must all do everything in our power to keep them safe.  And they must do their part as well – Snowbirds in particular! 

Please stay tuned to the city’s special COVID-19 website. Our EMO (Emergency Measures Organization) consists of Mayor Brownstein, Councillor Oren Sebag (public safety portfolio and a registered nurse by profession), City Manager Tanya Abramovitch, Associate City Manager Nadia Di Furia,  Public Safety Director Philip Chateauvert, Parks and Recreation Director Cornelia Ziga and Darryl Levine. They are convening multiple times daily.

Look for our advertisement in The Suburban on Wednesday, Letters will be sent to each home and we will make sure to address our concerns of those people who must self-isolate. The orientation of Côte Saint-Luc is that we want to be a leader and prevent the virus from spreading as much as possible, acting with an abundance of caution.

 


Meet our two District 8 by-election candidates: Leslie Perez and Adam Dahan

There are two candidates for the April 5 by-election in Côte Saint-Luc, to  fill the  giant void left in District 8 by the passing of our dear and devoted city councillor Ruth Kovac. Both are residents of my District 2: Leslie Perez and Adam Dahan. The advance poll is on March 29.

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Leslie Perez's daughter Miriam holds up her cards.

 

Leslie was first out of the gate a few weeks ago.  A 41-year old single  mom,  who lives with her two teenage daughters,  she earned a BA ( Specialization in Communications Studies, with a concentration in Digital Media) from Concordia University in 2003. Admitted into Law School right after college, she chose to pursue a career in communications as a means to foster her vision and creative skills. For 18 years, she has dedicated her career developing and strategizing marketing and communication initiatives. She has worked in both the corporate world and for non-profits grasping both, marketing and public relations methodologies. Witnessing the evolution of web, social media, and corporate communications, she founded her own communications consulting business, combining her expertise with her passion to the things that matter most – health, happiness and innovation. She looks forward to contributing new vision, and new skills at Council.

Over  the past decade, Leslie  volunteered in over a dozen non-profit organizations, ranging from education, special needs, political parties to poverty alleviation. She believes giving-kindness feeds our  greater purpose in life. Her brother Lionel is  the leader of the  official opposition at Montreal City Hall. Her priorities  include attention to  senior citizens and intergenerational programs, family-focused recreation (including online programming),  responsible urban development on the district,  enhancing communications, a focus on public transit , community spirit, safety on our streets and  transitional green measures.  Leslie has been taking regular drives and walkabouts in the district.  She says she feels   energized and overwhelmed by all the support, private messages and calls she has been getting since her announcement to run.

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Adam Dahan

 

Adam, 24,  and  recently married  graduated from Bialik High School in 2013, attended CEGEP at Marianopolis, then completed his Civil Law Degree at the University of Ottawa and   Common Law Degree at the Université de Montréal. He is also the founder of a residential real estate management company in which he  has held a passive role since 2018 when he began working as a jurist for a philanthropic group focused on an array terrorism prevention and accountability objectives. More specifically, he  acts as a jurist and legal advisor and researcher for this philanthropic group in their civil pursuits on behalf of terrorist victims, as well as lobbying the federal government on the repatriation of ISIL fighters into Canada.  His campaign is rooted on four platforms: Security; Sustainability; Linguistic Rights; and Transportation. 

Adam believes  our city must act as a leader in deterring anti-Semitic attacks as prevention is the best solution.  On the subject of  climate change he says there are countless initiatives and projects that we can enact in order to make sure that CSL and its residents are part of the solution rather than the problem.   As a son of immigrants who created an environment in which he was able to learn to communicate in both English and French--but yet feel more comfortable communicating in English—he says he can relate to many CSL residents who simply want to communicate in the language in which they have more ease. He  pledges to work tirelessly to ensure we maintain our bilingual status. Finally, vis-à-vis  transportation issues he intends to communicate with the most affected residents of CSL in order to ensure that the implementation of the transportation solution(s) be aligned with their priorities.

Best  of luck to both candidates.


Leslie Perez joins the race in District 8 by-election

We now have an official race for city councillor in District 8 to succeed the late Ruth Kovac in a by-election on Sunday, April 5.

Jeffrey Kovac, Ruth’s son, announced his intentions to run a few months ago. He will be challenged by Leslie Perez, a public relations  professional and community activist. She made the announcement at Quartier Cavendish in the presence of supporters, which included her brother Lionel Perez. The latter is a city councillor in the Montreal Côte des Neiges-Snowdon District and the interim leader of the opposition.

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Leslie and Lionel Perez.

 

The official electoral period has not yet begun for this by-election, so more individuals may enter the competition.

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Jeffrey Kovac, with his son.

 Our beloved Ruth lost her battle with cancer last fall, but remained integrally involved in city affairs virtually right up until the end. Perez acknowledged Ruth’s legacy in her speech, which was broadcast on Facebook Live.


My Year in Review for 2019

The four year mandate of our city council has reached its mid-way point. For myself, 2019 was once again a very busy year in District 2 and via my portfolios. Here is my recap.

BUS STOP ON KILDARE ROAD

I am pleased to report that the 162 bus stop has finally been moved back from the corner of Rembrandt Avenue and Kildare Road. It previously stood right at the driveway entrance to the high rise condo at 5790 Rembrandt. When I met with condo reps on Rembrandt last May it was agreed that in combination with the new stop sign across the street, the bus stop was creating a blind spot for motorists attempting to turn left. Police Station 9 Traffic Officer Simon Poitras and CSL Traffic Committee Councillor David Tordjman concurred. Our Traffic Engineer Spyro Yotis was then charged with the task of trying to persuade the Montreal Transit Commission (MTC) to make this change, something they had refused in the past. We were fortunately successful in the endeavor this time around.

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With Police Station 9 Traffic Officer Simon Poitras.

 

We recently installed a larger stop sign at Kildare and Rembrandt. I did receive some requests for a crosswalk, but our Traffic Committee stated that we do not wish to encourage pedestrians to cross at that corner. Instead they should either do so at Kildare and Cavendish or Kildare and Sir Walter Scott.

I spent time with Officer Poitras during a number of rush hours during the year to analyze this corner and get his professional opinion. History will note that after the last election I requested that the CSL Traffic Committee study the possibility of adding a stop sign to slow down speeders and give motorists on Rembrandt a window to turn towards Cavendish - particularly during rush hour. Last May Councillor Tordjman, Officer Poitras and I met with representatives of Rembrandt condominiums to discuss how the new stop sign has worked and sought suggestions on how to improve the safety of the corner even further.  A lot of good ideas were shared  

Officer Poitras did say at our meeting that at first glance he was concerned that by having a stop sign at only one side of Kildare (the other is not long enough) it might give drivers a false sense of security. Following our session I joined him for his analysis and upon reflection he was comfortable that the new measure is working.  

TRAFFIC CALMING

The traffic calming plan in 2019 was focused on making the Kildare corridor a safer street for pedestrians.  Pedestrian counts were undertaken. The pedestrian and vehicular at Sir Walter Scott and Kildare gave us some valuable information in terms of the traffic flow at particular hours.

CROSSING GUARD

 After a lengthy search, our Human Resources Department finally engaged the services of a full-time crossing guard for the crucial corner of Cavendish and Kildare. Danilo   Aaragao succeeded Norman Klein, who left the post for a security post at a local condo. Of course the legend there was the late Archie Kwiatt worked that corner for many years. This our busiest cross-section. There are many students from JPPS-Bialik and pedestrians from nearby streets who frequent the corner and we need someone responsible to make sure they abide by the signals. And yes we have to watch out for the motorists as well. Decades ago there was a fatal accident involving a Bialik student. I still get chills recalling that moment.

 

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One of the new flashing stop signs.

FLASHING LIGHTS

In a continued effort to make Kildare Road in District 2 safer, we installed two brand new flashing stop signs at the corner of Sir Walter Scott. I believe this has deterred motorists who have either run through the sign or made short stops. We do not have many signs this noticeable in the city so I would like to thank our traffic experts for recognizing the need here.

We also added a sign of a little girl with a backpack on a pole closer to Merrimac, warning motorists that there are small children travelling back and forth to school and to watch their speed. These type of signs are posted in strategic spots throughout the city and I think they are very effective.

ELYSÉE GARAGE REPAIRS

For the last several months, our Urban Development, Public Works and Public Safety Departments, have been working diligently with the administrators of the Condo Elysée on Rembrandt Avenue and how to assist them while major garage work occurs over the next four months. The Elysée   data base of 84 cars license plate numbers were submitted to Public Security. Special measures for outdoor parking were enacted.    

LIGHTS ON CHAGALL

On Friday May 24 a new electrical conduit was installed on Marc Chagall Avenue in front of the Equinox building. Both the light base and the permanent asphalt road repairs were carried out. Once the contractors work was completed our electricians ran the electrical wires and installed the street lights (one on the east side of the road next to the Equinox driveway and the second on the corner of Marc Chagall & Lismer).  Once the new wiring was completed and the lights installed, the Equinox builder "Jadco" was able to cut the temporary power to the lights and the street lights were again connected to the city's power grid. The street lights now go on and off with the magic eye including the lights on Leonard Cohen Lane.

 FELLING OF TREES

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 Dutch Elm disease, and have become sick or are dead.  The forested area behind the library known as the Ashkelon Woods was infected and sadly we had to take action last year. The trees were sick and could have potentially fallen down on their own or even catch on fire if we did not remove them. The existing maple trees remained in place. After the trees were felled, our Public Works Department began the process of   removing the invasive plants. Once we are confident the area is ready, we will plant new trees and other species of vegetation. Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman  notes that we will be keeping the fence erected around the Ashkelon Woodlands until operations are completed. Currently, the shards of trunks and branches, stumps and buckthorn are a hazard and could possibly trip people causing sprains and other injuries. The buckthorn (22,000) plants will be removed in July. These operations are very dangerous to the average person and only professional tree cutters and the like may be in the vicinity while these operations are taking place.

Once the buckthorn is removed, the same scenario as before will play out with odd sticks and stuff shooting up from the grounds. The uneven grounds and no supervision of the woodlands may cause injury to children venturing through as well as adults who are not used to hiking and other activities similar to that. In the fall we will be planting. The saplings and young plants must be protected from being trampled on, so again certain areas are going to be cordoned off. What Public Works is focusing on now is designing permanent pathways through the area of the forest that is not considered a wetland. 

Here are the updated figures of plans for replanting: 510 indigenous trees and 400 indigenous shrubs have already been planted. The bushes will achieve maturity within five years and the trees will take between 10 to 15 years in the spring we will continue to remove the buckthorn.  That will give freedom to biodiversity and reduce the monocultures. Right now the plants have been just surviving, not thriving. 

Some residents have asked for the fence to be removed. The fence should stay since the project hasn't finished. We can't afford to risk the accumulation of garbage in the area. The cleanup was costly and we are looking to reduce the costs of maintenance. Also, we don't want to take the risk of damages to a project that isn't finished. People tend not to pay attention to signs. In January, the contractor will request a federal government grant for the removal of buckthorn. This would mean that several students would be hired to do the work by the grant, immensely reducing the costs of the project. If granted, the students will come in June for 10 weeks to single-handedly pull weeds.

REMBRANDT PARK BASKETBALL COURTS

Here is some good news! The city is planning to renovate the basketball courts at Rembrandt Park. This will include installing new light fixtures, scarification of the existing asphalt and adding a new layer of asphalt, line painting, replacing of basketball backboards, new rims, paint the basketball poles, new benches and the installation of a gate for the tennis court. The engineering department will start preparing the plans and the specifications to launch the tender at the end of the spring of 2020.

GOLDBERG PARK

From the day I was first elected as the city councillor for District 2, one of my objectives has been to clean up Isadore Goldberg Park. Strangely sandwiched between a number of buildings on Kildare Road and Sir Walter Scott, it has never been properly accessible to all. While we have maintained the park and always kept it clean, our plan all along was to try and relocate it closer to Marc Chagall Avenue. One such consideration was the greenspace near the row of town houses. That was put on hold when we needed the land for a temporary lease in order to find an appropriate space for the workers on the new Equinoxe apartment buildings to park their cars and store equipment. That lease concludes next summer, at which time the developers must return the land to its previous form. I would like to thank our Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman and her team for coming up with a solution to make Isadore Goldberg Park shine in its present surroundings. This is a two phase project. For starters we removed invasive plants and tall weeds along the fence behind the townhouses and placed geo-textile and poured stone onto the newly cut pathway. This will provide a new entrance to the park from Marc Chagall Ave. In phase two, the city will add a fence along the path (and hopefully paving), benches, new lighting, and other features to the park. We will also give the lights a more decorative look. We hope to do a re-dedication and install a new visible sign.

There are two reasons why the city must remove invasive plants like buckthorn, phragmite, other tall weeds along with overgrown bushes and other bushes. First, this vegetation has attracted insects and rodents. Second, it is blocking our crews from accessing the park with equipment. We need proper access to the park to maintain and clean the park regularly as we do in all other parks in the city, remove old urban furniture in the park, and clean the sewer. Also, Côte Saint-Luc Public Security patrollers will be able to see more clearly into the park when doing their patrols. As Ms. Newman notes, “we intend to make this park a beautiful space with an accommodating entrance for all.”

I would also like to thank Sir Walter Scott resident Alexander Errore for his ongoing interest and encouragement for the state of this park When the makeshift parking lot becomes greenspace again, I will meet with local residents to determine what we can do with that area as well.

LE MONTEFIORE

The former Manoir Montefiore seniors residence at the corner of Mackle and Cavendish will soon reopen under new ownership as a residential apartment building. Regrettably the contractor working on the building discovered significant water infiltration on much of the exterior envelope of the building and is having to remove and replace much of the bricks on the upper floors as a result. The interior work is also progressing well and they hope to be finished the transformation by spring 2020.

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My meet and greet on the Avenue.

BUILDING ON THE AVENUE

We are aware of the inconvenience that neighbours have had on The Avenue because of the construction project at the apartment building in recent years. New ownership recently took over and we have been able to address the concerns many residents have shared with us. As can be seen on site, the process of finishing the project is underway. Proper improvements are being made to the visitor parking at the rear of the building , repairs to fencing, repairs to the city path and unistone along The Avenue, landscaping of the site as well as removing debris and grassing of the park space at the corner of Park Place and The Avenue. 

We also made a total investment of less than $10,000 the Avenue, which includes 10 new concrete pots creatively measured with membranes, Styrofoam, crushed rock and soil. The city planted over a half dozen varieties of annuals. Our Department of Public Works also replaced all dead shrubs and ornamental grasses that were missing and fluffed up the soil at the flower beds with trees. Mulch was replaced only at the block after the Quartier Cavendish on the Avenue.

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Work on phase two of the Equinoxe continues.

EQUINOXE PHASE II CLOSER TO COMPLETION

 Soon after developers announced they planned to construct two high rise rental buildings on Marc Chagall Avenue I established an ad hoc committee, consisting of  representatives from the four  condominium complexes on the street (Les Cours Marc Chagall, La  Marquise, The Bellagio, Rothchild II and on Mackle Road the Rothchild I).  We began meeting immediately and a lot of issues were resolved as the new Equinoxe became a reality, I always begin my stories about the Equinoxe with the historical note that the zoning to allow for this facility was adopted by a previous city council more than 30 years ago. Phase one has 170 units. The second tower will number 116 units. It is scheduled for completion by July 2020. The bulk of the “messy” excavation was done during the winter when most people were away. There is no weekend construction for this phase. Only certain weeknights will they work late for the pouring of cement. During the year I had to work with the developer to resolve two serious problems involving excessive noise emanating from the generator and the ventilation systems of the Equinoxe.  I was on site frequently, even taking videos in the middle of the night.  It took a lot of work, but we did resolve both problems.

VACANT LAND ON MARC CHAGALL

There is vacant land owned by a developer on Marc Chagall, near Kildare Road. It is zoned commercial for a two storey building. The developer would like a zoning amendment to allow for a residential building. My position remains firm: we have had enough residential development on that street.

SNOW DUMP

Cooler than usual temperatures in May delayed our plans to chop up the thick and dirty snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue. As we have done in the past at the snow dump, we rescheduled to start the process of breaking up the hill, mid-June. Our foreman arranged for the contractor to begin the work. As the mechanical shovels are costly, we had them come twice to repeat the operationm then we needed to wait another week so that some snow could start to melt on its own. We then brought in the shovels again. The operation consists of two shovels for one week working from 7 am to 7 pm (60 hour week each) for a cost of $14,160 + tax.  I thank the council for supporting this initiative and Public Works Director Beatrice Newman and her team for working so hard on the dossier. Nobody living close by the dump or driving by should have to look at that mess. I hope one day we can find a way to move the dump to a different location.

POLICE VISIT

The team at Police Station 9 are always there for our community, notably socio-community officers Vincent Di Angelis and Marie Christine Nobert. I appreciate the fact they are always there when I need to share or obtain some information. Last spring Officer Di Angelis set up an information kiosk in the lobby of Kildare Towers on Honore-de-Balzac. It is something Police Station 9 does in certain large buildings during the year, giving residents a chance to pick up some important literature and ask questions. I stopped by to join Officer Di Angelis and converse with tenants. Having been the councillor for District 2 for more than 14 years, I know many of them already. The building is owned by Howard Szalavetz and managed by Pat Meisels.There was some excellent literature warning people not to get trapped by con artists, such as credit/debit card theft, jewelery theft and contractor and grandson fraud. Another piece of information showed how to file a police report online. There was also a magnetized card with important phone numbers on the front. Tenants in particular always feel comfortable when the police set up such visits. It is reassuring to say the least.

SMOKING

Smoking is an addiction and for all of my life I could never figure out why anyone liked puffing away at cigarettes or anything else of that nature. Many years ago, when I was a cub reporter for The Suburban, I covered the adoption of a then ground-breaking non-smoking bylaw in Côte Saint-Luc. The late Councillor Eric Helfield championed this legislation and it spread to other municipalities. During the summer a few weeks ago some constituents contacted me to advise that there were people smoking cannabis at Rembrandt Park. They wanted to know what we could do about it. Well at that time the Liberal government's legalization of cannabis held the upper hand.  I told them to be patient and that our council would be strengthening our own smoking bylaw to cover this. At a fall meeting we did just that! Pursuant to the adoptions of the Cannabis Act (federal) and the Act to constitute the Sociéte québécoise du cannabis, to enact the Cannabis Regulation Act and to amend various highway safety-related provisions, our council decided to amend our smoking by-law to incorporate provisions for the consumption of cannabis.

Council has decided that the same provisions for smoking tobacco will apply to consuming cannabis.  A similar amendment was made to by-law 2374 for electronic cigarettes. Smoking (cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and cannabis) will be prohibited in the following place as per the new by-law: Any place as indicated within the Provincial Tobacco Act and any of its amendments (all of which apply on the entire territory of Côte Saint-Luc); All Laundry Rooms of Apartment Buildings; All elevators, escalators, or stairways in any Building or part thereof; All Lobbies, Reception areas, halls hallways, or stairwells in any Building or office or part thereof; Lunch Counters; Food Courts; Transit shelters; Any playground, splash pool or sports activity; In all municipal parks, during, a special event, green spaces, municipal dog runs, community Gardens; and All municipal outdoor pools.

MEET AND GREETS

As part of my outreach program with constituents, I continued my series of meet and greets this year with visits to The Avenue, The Equinoxe, The Rothchild I and II and regular walk throughs in my district.

FLASHING LIGHTS ON CHAGALL

Concern has been rising over the last couple of years regarding speeding cars on Marc Chagall Avenue. We did place seasonal speed bumps closer to Kildare Road, which helped.  Seasonal planters were eliminated for now because of the many trucks that use the street for construction and snow dump work. In the past year I   heard from some new residents of the Equinoxe building who enjoy walking to the library. But they raised concern over crossing at the turn between the Marquise and Bellagio condos and that blind curve. I brought this issue to the Traffic Committee. As an initial measure, we now have a "Lentement" sign near the Marquise and buttons on both sides of the street where the crosswalk is situated. The buttons signal flashing lights which are meant to warn vehicles to slow down. In addition, developers of the Equinoxe consented to our request that they employ flag men during construction. This has been a significant safety initiative.

DISTRICT 2 RESIDENTS

If you have been to the CSL Public Library recently then you could not have missed the sensational photography exhibit of Sir Walter Scott (District 2) resident David Chandler. I am honoured to have such a talented constituent. The remarkable thing about David’s work is that the photos look like paintings. David met me at the library earlier this week to provide a personal backdrop to his work. He had showcased his work inside the library a few months ago and this turned out to be a competition. The winner got to do an exhibit and David triumphed. It was interesting to get his backstory on how he proceeded to take each photo.

 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.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.

UPGRADING OUR STREETLIGHTS

The City of Côte Saint‐Luc plans to upgrade the streetlights and replace all the existing HID (High‐Intensity Discharge) streetlights to LED. A tender was launched last April for professional services which include: production of plans, estimation, specification and supervision for the acquisition and the installation of LED luminaires.

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Ruth Kovac with Councillor David Tordjman and I at the 2019 winter carnival.

IN MEMORIAM

We mourned the passing of Councillor Ruth Kovac in October. She lost a brave battle with cancer. Ruth was first elected to council 29 years ago. Like others she sat out the four years of the forced mergers with Montreal, but returned when Côte Saint-Luc was reconstituted in 2005. That was when I was first elected. I had first met Ruth many years earlier, even prior to her assuming council duties. She was a member of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and a volunteer in the figure skating program. I helped her in that first election and when she won (alongside the man she would call her council husband -Glenn Nashen) she and her husband Peter took us both out for a steak dinner. Ruth was a devoted councillor and cared deeply for our community. It was interesting to see the fire in her belly at council meetings and this something she kept going until her final days. Just a few years ago, Ruth convened the mayor and council to share some dark news. "I have been diagnosed with cancer," she said. "Only my family knows. But you are my council family. Please do not share this news outside this room. I will fight this." And "fight" she did. We were all in awe of Ruth. Despite her treatment and side effects I cannot recall her missing one meeting or private event. She was stoic indeed and for a time it looked as if she had defeated the dreaded disease. When it returned she still kept it to herself and her loved ones. Most of us were not even aware. But a few months ago her condition worsened. She shared with us that at this point there was no cure.

Most people in her position would have stepped down, gone into a dark room and get angry about their fate. But not Ruth. I will forever admire how she comported herself. Some nights she was not well enough to join us, so instead we got a detailed group e mail with her comments on every single agenda items. She was at our last public meeting on September 9. You can see the video here. I knew things were not good when she asked me to carry a small file folder into the council chamber for her. She was too weak to lift it. That night Ruth was as active as ever in our discussions.

What a brave lady! It was extraordinary to see how emotional she was on decisions we were taking on issues that would only come into play a year from now.

The community lost a legendary queen of the kitchen. Marianna Roth passed away peacefully, in her sleep on May 5, 2019, after a courageous battle. She was 82. 

 When I was very young and growing up at our Wentworth Avenue home the name "Arnie Smith" enjoyed legendary status. Arnie was my dad's pharmacist. Originally, he worked out of a small storefront on Côte Saint-Luc Road near Randall and later took over the Pharmaprix at Cavendish Mall (now Quartier Cavendish). To my dad, Arnie was like a doctor. No matter what ailment hit a member of our family, dad would say, "We better go see Arnie Smith."

I can remember dad walking down the aisle at the Pharmaprix and asking Arnie to examine his eye. And he did. Last year Arnie and his wife Frances became constituents of mine when they moved into a condo on Marc Chagall Avenue. Arnie was so happy with his new home. Sadly, he did not get to enjoy it for very long. He passed away on Saturday, March 9.

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Allan "Sonny" Rubin was indeed front and center at our most recent Remembrance Day ceremony.

 

Allan "Sonny" Rubin was a devoted member of the Brigadier Kisch Branch #97. We could always count on his presence at our Remembrance Day ceremonies, regardless  of his health status. In fact Sonny was with us at City Hall this past November, with his devoted wife Gilda and his always so proud daughter Liana by his side. Sonny served as a true inspiration to the  young students on hand. He  was a true gentleman who will be truly missed.

CATS COMMITTEE

A capacity crowd of well over 300 people attended the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee’s (CSLCC) annual benefit concert on   October 24 at the Syd Wise Auditorium of the Wagar Adult Education Centre. Featured performers for Broadway’s Greatest Hits were the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo. There were also solo performances by soprano Olivia Charette-Hancinsky, baritone Burney Lieberman and saxophonist Gideon Vigderhaus.

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Recognizing our performers at the annual Cats Meow Concert.

The 2019 National Animal Welfare Conference (NAWC), an annual professional development and community-building event, was held at the Bonaventure Hotel in Montreal April 14-16. As the Côte Saint-Luc city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I was pleased to attend this conference.  I did so a few years ago in Vancouver. To be in a room with more than 400 animal lovers from across the country is empowering to say the least. The year 2019 marked the 150th anniversary of the humane movement in Canada and this country’s first SPCA: our Montreal SPCA. I was pleased to meet with Montreal SPCA Executive Director Elise Desaulniers and Director of Animal Advocacy Sophie Gaillard, as well as a number of other Montreal animal advocates. It is too bad the conference did not organize any regional caucuses so we could get to know some of the people who do the same work in the province.

 I was also thrilled to once again be part of the Autism Speaks Canada Promenade de chiens/Dog Walk on Sunday September 8. This was the second year for the event, both times occurring at our own Trudeau Park. Mother Nature cooperated and the sun was shining. A nice crowd turned out - man, woman, child and of course many dogs of different shapes and sizes. Krista Leitham worked tirelessly to make it all happen, seconded by ever-so charismatic ambassador Matthew Moses. Originally Matthew was looking forward to bringing his beloved Rookie along. Sadly, Rookie passed away a week earlier. While still very much in mourning, he needed to fill that gap in his love. He and his family adopted a large puppy they named Houston and the canine made his first public appearance at the walk.

 All dog owners must ensure that their dog has an annual license, payable by May 1 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. You must make this payment in person at City Hallor via eTransfers. You can pay for your dog or cat license via the email address of finance@cotesaintluc.org.

 WEBSITE

I am pleased to also have the Communications portfolio. Our department’s big moment was the launch of the new CoteSaintLuc.org website. The biggest change visitors will notice is the look of the site, which will display nicely on smartphones. The pages are organized somewhat differently but the content is more-or-less identical to the old site.  In Phase 2 of the website project, we will add new content, implement A/B testing of pages, and continue tweaking the look and feel to improve things. In addition to having a cleaner design, our new site is now responsive to mobile phones and tablets. It is also equipped with a custom site search that should increase engagement thanks to live results, control over which result to present, and analytics that inform us about user intention and actions. Another useful feature: results are now presented by the type of content (pages, news, jobs or events), making it easier for visitors to find what they need.

 Our website theme also allows us to present content in a variety of ways. You will therefore find pages that use accordions or tabs to present a large amount of information, while other pages favour index and grid-style presentations. Larger text, breadcrumbs and highlighting of principal options — to prevent information overload — are a few more characteristics that should help CSL residents find their way around our city website. Our Public Affairs and Communications team, headed by Darryl Levine and Regine Banon, built the site in-house, with a bit of help from the outside. Over the last two months, our new Web communications officer Maryse Bézaire has led the effort of moving over content from the old site.

SOCIAL MEDIA

As the councillor responsible for communications, I was proud to present our new social media policy at the last public meeting on May 13. Thanks to our ever so valuable Director of Public Affairs and Communications Darryl Levine, his team and members of council who contributed to this final product. The city launched its Facebook page on April 18, 2009. In the subsequent 10 years, we have added video channels, first at Vimeo then YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and then in November 2017, a Facebook group, which acts like a traditional discussion forum. The goal of the Idées CSL Ideas Facebook group (née Your CSL) was to give residents an exchange forum to provide feedback. We specifically included the word “ideas” in the name to help encourage users into the constructive conversations and comments.  Right now we gave just over 2,300 members for our Côte Saint-Luc page and over 2,100 for CSL Ideas.

 There are things we want to carry out in terms of social media such as sharing smart ideas members have come across, learning about ways we can improve our services and ensure people use their  real name in  their Facebook profile. We also urge members not to use: offensive or violent language; hateful or discriminatory comments regarding race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or political beliefs, attacks on specific groups or any comments meant to harass, threaten or abuse an individual.;  this space to advertise a business.  If someone persists in offensive behaviour or continually violates any of our house rules, we may block that person from further participation.  As for the rules,   they have been adopted to make this forum better for members. Administrators have the following options available when dealing with posts or comments that break the rules: delete the post or comment, ask the member to edit the post or comment to make it comply with the rules, closed commenting on the post, mute the member, eject the member, turn on post approval for a period of time to allow people to cool off.

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David Birnbaum, Michael Maislin, myself, Allan J. Levine and Harvey Levine.

GOLF CLASSIC

Weather conditions were simply ideal for the 40th annual Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic at Meadowbrook on July 4. I was pleased to chair the event once again, working hand in hand with our invaluable event coordinator Alvin Fishman. After a round of golf on the back nine, everyone headed to a special awards banquet at the Aquatic and Community Centre. This year we honoured former city councillor and long-time high school teacher Allan J. Levine. Players competed in the Masters   (age 65 and older) and Eagles groups (age 64 and younger). The title sponsors were Marc Ezerzer and Hagay Brener from Vantage Realty Group,   Michael Maislin of Total Customs Services, Mitch Heft and Tony Lapia from Orangetheory Fitness, businessperson Mitch Garber and Silver Star Mercedes Benz,. The guest speaker was Global TV hockey analyst Brian Wilde. Meadowbrook is a thing of beauty in our community and I am reminded that when I golf there once a year. This is such a fun event. I very much enjoyed spending time with members of my fivesome – D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum, Michael Maislin and Allan and Harvey Levine.  We do not have to keep score. This is literally the only time I take out my clubs. Each hole I found myself getting a bit better, remembering the tutelage I got from my late grandfather Lewis Sherwin more than 40 years ago.

CANADA DAY

Due to renovations at the Samuel Moskovitch Arena, much of Pierre Elliott Trudeau was off limits so we moved this year’s Canada Day festivities in Côte Saint-Luc to Wagar Field on Parkhaven. It was very well received from those I spoke to throughout the evening. As per tradition, we started things off with a Canadian Citizenship Ceremony at our Aquatic and Community Centre. The ageless Judge Barbara Seal presided over an eloquent program in which 40 new citizens from 15 different countries were sworn in. “Immigration is a source of richness for our country,” commented Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather. After the ceremony we walked across the street to my former high school.  Hats off to Parks and Recreation Director Cornelia Ziga, Event Coordinator Laura Trihas and the rest of our staff who worked so hard to make this event a huge success, our Public Safety and VCOP teams. Kudos as well to Councillor Ruth Kovac, the event chair who was unable to attend. CJAD personalities Dr. Laurie Betito and Dan Laxer served as emcees.

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Preparing to serve the cupcakes.


Activities included an airplane exhibit, inflatables, a petting zoo, pony carousel, tons of games for kids, face painting, food trucks, a photo booth and live music from the singing group Smash. We distributed delicious cupcakes sponsored   by Scotiabank. The evening culminated with an entertaining laser show. Many of us agreed that the venue of Wagar Field is actually a better and more controlled spot than Trudeau Park. For this year fireworks were not permitted in this area.  We like the idea of keeping festivities here and efforts will be made to find a formula to make a fireworks display work.

 

YOM HASHOAH


I have been attending Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) commemoration ceremonies at Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation in Côte-Saint-Luc for decades now. The Montreal Holocaust Museum does a masterful job coordinating this community-wide ceremony honouring the memory of Holocaust victims and the legacy of those who survived. We are so fortunate to still have Holocaust survivors with us, able to tell their dramatic stories. The title of this year’s ceremony, When Life Changed Forever, spoke to the diverse moments in the lives of survivors when they realized their worlds had shattered. I, like many, appreciate the format the Museum adopts each year for the program. Through video testimony, Holocaust survivors share their personal experiences and memories. In addition, these survivors and their descendants light six candles in memory of the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust.

 

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The mayor and I welcome Sfingys to the community,

 

 BUSINESS NEWS

 Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and I were at the Quartier Cavendish   to formally welcome Sfingy’s to our community. The new kosher donut shop officially opened on July 7, with the husband and wife team of Marvin Fuks and Maya Lallouz working endless hours and from what we saw a loyal following has already materialized. This is good news for the Quartier, which already has the MK certified Café de L’Avenue. The latter launched just over two years ago, but will relocate in 2020.

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Some of the delicious side dishes from Qualityfruits.

Qualitifruits is back and people from all over the island of Montreal are heading to 5818 Westminster Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc (corner of Mackle Road) to shop at this one of a kind store. Pasquale, Albina, Babu, Emma, Marvin, Frank and the rest of the team are there to greet you. Qualitifruits is best known for its array of fresh meals and side dishes, mastered by chef Frank. Let them do the cooking for you. Be it fish, chicken or meat, dinner is served. I especially appreciate the sides: potatoes, cauliflower rice, mushrooms, green beans, zucchini and much more. The refrigerated windows have a wide selection to choose from. They can also cater your private event, notably barbeques in season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Jeffrey Kovac to run in his mother Ruth’s District 8

When Pierre Elliott Trudeau passed away in 2000, his  son Justin gave a stirring eulogy at the funeral. Eight years later he ran for office and captured the Papineau riding to become a  Liberal Member of Parliament, followed by party leader and then Prime Minister.

In Côte Saint-Luc, we are mourning the passing of longtime city councillor Ruth Kovac. At her funeral, her son Jeffrey gave an emotional and heartfelt eulogy. He spent a lot of time with his mom when she was ill, specifically in those last few days. “One of the reasons why my mother continued fulfilling her council duties, virtually until her final days on this earth, was because there were so many ongoing issues, city-wide and in her district,” Jeffrey said. “Two nights before she passed, I was fortunate to spend some one on one time with her. She had a lot to say, but one of them was that she hoped someone would carry on the work she was so passionate about.”

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Ruth and Jeffrey.

A by-election to replace Ruth will likely take place sometime in March or April. At the October 23 council meeting, Jeffrey came to the microphone to announce  that he will run for her seat in District 8. “This,” he said, “will be the ultimate tribute to my mom. She devoted  the last three decades to this city and I firmly believe that she’d want someone with the same passion to continue her work.”

Jeffrey said that even though he is not even an official candidate yet, he has a list from his mom of some of the hot button issues in the district and he intends to follow them up. “Having grown up in Côte Saint-Luc and being given so much from the city in so many ways, it’s now time to continue the agenda, passion and representation that my mother set forth for nearly three decades,” he said. “My entire family has always been very passionate about civic duty  and it’s something I hope to pass on to my own children as well.  The city of Côte Saint-Luc and District 8  lost a champion of representation on Oct 1, 2019, and it’s my hope to follow in those footsteps and fight for the constituents to help enhance life in our community every day!  There is still work to be done that was unfortunately never completed by my mother, but I promise to continue that work with the passion, integrity and diligence that’s been passed on to me.”

Earlier in the evening, the council chamber was the site of an emotional memorial for Ruth. The room was filled to capacity, with everyone seated in the very chairs that Ruth herself chose only a few years ago.

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Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth.

When and if other candidates come  forward, I will share that in this space. One person who will not throw his hat in the ring is former councillor Glenn J. Nashen. He shares precisely why here on his blog.