Council

2018 Year in Review from your City Councillor for District 2

As 2018 draws to a close, I bring you my year in review as it applies top my role as the city councillor for District 2 and the individual on council responsible for the portfolios of Communications, Animal Protection and Sponsorship.

In November 2017 I was elected to serve a fourth mandate on council. The past year I must say has been the most active in my political career. With a lot of things happening in my district and via my portfolios and the increase in citizen engagement, there have been no dull moments.

Let’s begin with District 2

Development

Three and a half years after the Manoire Montefiore closed as a seniors residence,  the highrise at the corner of Cavendish and Mackle,  will be transformed into a residential apartment building. Jadco, the company behind the Équinoxe project on Marc Chagall, purchased the property from  Réseau Selection. They were granted a permit to proceed with renovations since there are no zoning changes requested nor is the façade being altered. The timing, of course, is not ideal. Excavation work will begin soon followed by as much as an 18-month construction period for the second Equinoxe building. There are presently 130 units in the Montefiore building. Jadco has proposed 94 units for their rejigged project – 43 one bedroom and  and  51  two bedrooms. The area of these units are conforming to the city by-law.  There will be about 90 interior parking spaces, including 14 new ones to be constructed in what is now a dining area. In addition, an outdoor lot will accommodate 23  more vehicles.

The past two years have not been easy for anyone residing on or near Marc Chagall Avenue with construction of The Equinoxe.  When the project was announced I formed a committee of representatives from the local condo associations and the developers. We have met several times and line of communication is open. We have made progress on many issues, but the reality is nobody will be completely happy until the second facility is completed.  Interestingly enough there are many former Marc Chagall Avenue condo residents who have sold their units and moved to The Equinoxe.

The developers of The Equinoxe still have a lease for the rental of the green space across from the Marquise. They have used that as a parking lot for their workers. When work concludes in 2020 the developers will return the green space the way they found it. An allocation has been placed in our Capital Expenditures plan for 2021 for a parkette and possibly a community garden, something all of the former homeowners on Marc Chagall have asked for.

Excavation work for the second tower is expected to begin in January.

Work was 100 percent completed on the apartment rental on The Avenue. The bottom floor is zoned commercial, but no tenants have moved in.

Meanwhile the land next to the  Beth Chabad parking lot was zoned for a two storey commercial establishment many years ago. I met with Gary Azimov, the owner of the property, and at the present time he has no plans to build anything there.

Rembrandt Park

A few years ago the central topic for one of my District 2 Town Hall meetings was Rembrandt Park. There were concerns raised about the lack of lighting at the tennis courts, the basketball area, play equipment and the skateboard area. Ruby Goodman, who has served as a park attendant for more than 20 years at Rembrandt, was asked to get a feel from the users. I also set up a small committee and we conducted surveys from people of all ages. The consensus was to fix the lights, maintain the basketball area as is and replace the skateboard space with greenery.

Last spring the Public Spaces Committee of the city, composed of senior staff and some councillors, highlighted the skateboard area for demolition at some point this year.  While some parents came forward and stated their kids enjoy the area, inspections done warned of serious danger due to cracks in the asphalt, as well as heaving areas in the asphalt. Our Public Works Department told me that this area is not conducive to skateboarding.  Potential accidents would result in costly litigation. Some youngsters use their scooters there, something which is also highly dangerous. As a result, filling in the bowl met with the new required safety measures.

The earth came from excavation projects throughout the city. It was therefore, an environmentally friendly project. We installed sod and topsoil to create an area in the shade for picnic tables and benches, providing residents with the opportunity to enjoy summer fun in the shade.  Ruby Goodman said that he has seen very few skateboarders there in recent years. In fact Public Works was constantly tasked to clean the bowl as it was becoming a garbage dump.

 JPPS-Bialik

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Marking the opening of the new field.

 Only a few weeks after Herzliah High School inaugurated its new campus in Snowdon, JPPS-Bialik in Côte Saint-Luc’s District 2 formally unveiled a  new regulation-sized, state- of- the -art artificial turf sports field, basketball court and healthy living curriculum under its Project Fit banner. Officials noted that Project Fit will benefit the entire JPPS-Bialik Community through Mind, Body, and Spirit. This will include ensuring that their rigorous International Baccalaureate Programme is balanced with physical activity to promote a healthy mind and body; building on  strong academic programs with an enriched and accelerated curriculum; and backing up sport science studies which show that participation in sports activities improves school performance and builds self-esteem, especially in schools.

Leonard Cohen Lane

It was about a year ago that as the city councillor for District 2 in Cote Saint-Luc I shared with my colleagues a desire to finally give a name to the laneway that leads from Marc Chagall Avenue to the Library/Bernard Lang Civic Centre parking lot.  It is a beautiful area that we dressed up substantially with a newly paved path and more benches. Initially my thought was to name it simply Library Lane. Community activist Tamar Hertz private messaged me with the idea to honour the memory of Leonard Cohen. I promised her that I would bring this up after the November elections. Soon after the newly constituted council took office, Leonard Cohen Lane was approved. I then worked with our Chief Librarian Janine West and Public Affairs and Communications Director Darryl Levine to set the wheels in motion. We scheduled the unveiling ceremony for the end of August, hoping for a nice summer night. It was precisely that  and everyone on hand experienced  a very meaningful ceremony. Here is the video from the ceremony.

Our New Parking Lot

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The new enlarged lot.

 

The City Hall/Library Parking lot reconstruction was completed in 2018 and met with rave reviews from users. The work included the reconstruction of the sidewalks and curbs, the replacement of the lighting, the installation of security cameras, the asphalt paving, the installation of new park benches, bike racks and recycling  and garbage containers.   The activation of the electric vehicle charging station was done in early February.

Traffic Calming

Traffic safety continues to be among paramount importance for me as the city councillor for District 2. I am pleased with the changes that have occurred at the back entrance/exit for the City Hall/Library complex. The speed bump and the signs notifying motorists to go around the circle has brought forward the positive results we expected. However, some of my constituents  wisely asked for another speed bump in the parking lot as vehicles approach the turn to make their exit and this measure was taken.

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Making the Sir Walter Scott/Library Exit/Entrance safer.

A few years ago I was able to get stop signs installed  at the corner of Sir Walter Scott and Kildare Road. As I take my regular walks, I still see too many vehicles making short stops or going right through.  We took increased traffic calming measures with the addition of some bollards and signs urging vehicles to slow down. These bollards (not used  in the winter) are part of 10 intersections in the city which will have high visibility traffic calming. The intersections include flexible bollards, flexible signs, more pedestrian crossing signs, silhouettes for school and park areas and extra line painting.

For years residents of Rembrandt Avenue have justifiably complained about being stuck at the corner of Kildare Road, unable to turn left to get to  Cavendish.    After last year’s election I asked our Traffic Committee to study what kind of relief was possible for the hundreds of motorists on Rembrandt. At the end of August we placed a new stop sign at the corner of Kildare and Rembrandt for vehicles headed towards Cavendish. Thus far this has brought some relief for motorists from Rembrandt during morning and afternoon rush hour having to cope with the traffic from JPPS/Bialik.  While I know some residents wanted a stop sign on the other side, our Traffic Committee studied this closely and determined that it would cause serious backups from vehicles turning on to Kildare from Cavendish. We will continue to study this area. A new sign will soon be installed underlining the importance of motorists looking to their left before turning and I will form a focus  group to discuss  the issue further. I have also scheduled a focus group meeting with some residents to get their feedback.

 

RembrandtspeedbumpA new speed bump on Rembrandt.

Another request by Rembrandt Avenue residents was to curtail speeding and we did so by installing a  (seasonal) speed bump.

Park Place resident Corey Frenkiel provided some good feedback about vehicles entering  the Quartier Cavendish via The Avenue and then making U-turns on his street.  These drivers were too lazy to turn into the actual lot. A No U-Turn sign was installed and the problem seemed to be resolved. We are now concentrating on the crosswalk from the apartment building on The Avenue leading to the Quartier Cavendish entrance next to the café. Some vehicles are driving much too quickly in that section as well. We installed flower pots to slow them down. We  continue to monitor the situation to see if any more corrective measures are necessary

Crossing Guard

Our search for a crossing guard at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare continues. We have conducted some interviews, but finding an appropriate candidate has not been easy. Here is the posting. Please share it with possible candidates, 

Chabad Greenspace

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Inaugurating the new pathway.

For those who may have missed it, last summer the Public Works Department of Côte Saint-Luc  put together a beautiful piece of green space between  Beth Chabad and JPPS-Bialik at the corner of Kildare Road and Marc Chagall in District 2. Beth Chabad had used the space, which is city-owned land, for wedding ceremonies for years but it was hardly attractive. That is when Public Works Director Beatrice Newman and her team stepped in. Working with Rabbi Mendel Raskin and  caterer Ray Petrovic of Blossom by the Plaza, the area was beautified with a lovely pathway running through it. As a thank you, Petrovic invited Director Newman, her senior management team and the hard working blue collar employees for a classy barbeque lunch.  Part of the parking lot next to Chabad is zoned for two storey office building. Thus far no formal proposal for a project has come our away, but I do believe something may be coming our way.

Breaking Down The Ice

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Breaking apart the snow dump ice.

 The snowfall in 2018 was significant and that meant a very full snow dump on Marc Chagall. Once the temperature warmed up in the spring we had two mechanical shovels break down the ice, returning the area to normal. Public Works staff then went inside the dump to clean. Each year I advocate for this work to be done.

Train Noise

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Meeting with CP officials.

When I first moved into my present home after getting married 23 years ago, I realized we were very close to the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks. But it was only a few days into residing here that I found myself rudely awoken by some unspeakable noises from the trains. This did not happen every night, but often enough that I followed the advice of some family members and purchased a white noise machine. For my household it masked the disturbance. Over the past two decades train noises have come and gone. In the 13 years I have served as the city councillor for District 2, it has never been more of an issue than the past year, especially for those homeowners closer to the tracks.   I met with officials from CP Rail and via our Co-City Manager Jonathan Shecter we maintained very close touch with them, seeking a response on all complaints. This is not an easy dossier to manage, but I will say that the officials from CP take these complaints seriously.

Open Government

For a number of years I brought the possibly of webcasting our regular monthly public council meetings  to the table for discussion. When Mayor Mitchell Brownstein gave me the Communications portfolio after last November's election, there was already some momentum to provide our citizens with the opportunity to view our meetings online. Initially, we looked into live webcasts.  The cost to video record (and live stream) the council meetings with a professional company would have been $1,230 (plus tax) per meeting. This price only included  one camera. For the 12 regular monthly meetings, this would have translated into a $15,000 cost (plus tax) and an additional $1,230 for each special meeting that we would recorded as well, such as December budget meeting, for instance. We are fortunate to have someone as resourceful as Director of Communications and Public Affairs Darryl Levine on our team. When we mandated him to come up with another option he was quick to respond. His department began video recording council meetings in January 2018 and posting the video recording on YouTube within two days. It also began uploading the audio to SoundCloud. There was no added capital cost to the city to introduce this service as the department had previously invested over the past seven years in a camcorder, wireless audio transmitter, a mirrorless camera (used as a second video camera), digital sound recorder, and video editing software. There was no added labour cost either. Our inhouse production uses two cameras during question period to make the video more interesting to watch. This example highlights the strength of our Communications and Public Affairs Department. They are able to do a lot of work in-house that other cities our size send out.  It also fulfills a key goal of our new "open city" process.

Men’s Club

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With Dr. Paul Weinstein at the dinner.

Along with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, other members of council,  Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum, I was so pleased to be at the Gelber Centre for the 2018 Men’s Club Gala. More than 400 people enjoyed sumptuous hors d’oeuvres, music and dancing, a full course meal, speeches, awards and door prizes. It was a classy affair from beginning to end, co-chaired by District 2 resident Joe Presser and Kenny Bessner.  District 2 resident David Haltrecht, who is one talented individual, was recognized as the Man of The Year.  Volunteer Awards were handed out to Peter Sternberg, Peter Atkin and District 2’s Marvin Hayman. Haltrecht, the Men’s Club First Vice-President, earned a Bachelor of Engineering and an MBA. An active member of the club, he works on several committees. Professionally he designed, developed and implemented computer based systems in retail, manufacturing and restaurant environments. Using this experience, he has implemented an operation system with a web site for the Men’s Club.  For many years he was an avid sailor and also worked with model trains. Today, he has the Men’s club members working with drones.

Volunteers of the Year

The city saluted our volunteers at the Cineplex Theatre at Quartier Cavendish. All volunteers were invited to see a movie, with a free soft drink, popcorn and some candy included. A pre-recorded video of the Mayor presenting the awards was shown on the big screen. Afterwards everyone was invited to a dessert reception. Several District 2 residents won awards: David Haltrecht, Hazel Lipes Award; Syd Kronish, named Ambassador of the Year, completed a four-year term as president of the Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club; Charles Guerin took home the  Special Recognition Award;  the VCOP (Volunteer Citizens On Patrol)  Award went to Marty Croitoru, whose  wife Mindy just retired as a teacher from JPPS after nearly four decades of service.

Blooming

Maxine Bloom, a long time constituent of mine in District 2, is a wonderfully talented artist who lives and paints in two places. Here in Côte Saint-Luc spring, summer and fall and Deerfield Beach, Florida in the winter. Maxine’s style is mixed media and her eclectic subjects reflect her love of color and movement. She combines watercolor, acrylic and ink with collage.  As she and her husband Victor told me at the opening of an exhibit of her work at the CSL Public Library, many of the paintings are from holiday destinations of theirs.   

Felling of Trees

During the year I organized two  public information sessions in the Council Chamber to provide background into plans for the necessary felling of trees in Ashkelon Gardens.  Hundreds of trees are infested with the Ash Borer and the Dutch Elm disease. These trees are dangerous for people who were walking in the area (from the possibility of falling branches or trees) and may even constitute a fire hazard. The city requested our  xpert contractor, Nadeau Foresterie Urbaine, to prepare an inventory of the affected trees. On February 16, 2017 (based on this inventory), the city issued a public call for tender for the felling of 255 trees under tender number C-16-17. On June 12, 2017,   Council approved the awarding of the contract for the felling of infested trees to Services d’Arbres Tessier.   In total, we are looking towards felling approximately 300 trees and clearing approximately 21,000 buckthorn plants and bushes, a species that interferes with healthy tree growth in Ashkelon Forest

Smart Cities Challenge

District 2 resident Marc Chriqui is playing a key role in the development of our city's plan to win the Smart Cities Challenge. We were selected as one of 10 finalists in our category (and one of 20 overall) by the selection committee of the Smart Cities Challenge, a contest created by the Government of Canada. Each finalist community received a $250,000 grant to help develop its final proposal that outline all design, planning, privacy, data protection and project management components of their plans. The grant can be used for activities such as staffing, professional services, feasibility assessments, capacity building, pilot projects, community engagement and communications, data, and relevant training.  The grand prize is $10 million to implement this proposal.

CSL Cats Committee

 

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On Breakfast TV to promote the concert.

 

Eight years ago I helped establish the first-ever Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee. We began with a small group of volunteers, spearheaded by Shelly Schecter of Educhat and a small allocation from the city. The most recent annual concert took place on October 9 at Wagar, a change from all our previous late August dates. We made the switch to ensure that we avoided a hot and stuffy evening. Well, October began on the cool side, but wouldn’t you know it on the day of our event a 60 year record for high temperatures was set. A day later it was cold outside again. That being said we sold more than 300 tickets. Singers Alexandra Cohen (also our emcee) and Nicole Arrage were superb. The Musicians of the World were their usual delight and the Gideon Vigderhous Quartet brought the crowd to its feet. We especially appreciated it when Gideon integrated the word “Meow” into one of his numbers and had the audience repeatedly shout it out. Diane Liebling, a retired nurse, continues to lead the committee of volunteers which does excellent work. We have saved the lives of so many cats, found them good homes while developing a network of people who feed feral cats near their homes year-round.

Dogs Committee

I honoured a campaign commitment and established our first ever Dog Owners Committee and moved changes to our bylaws which now allow dogs on leashes in most parks. Jonathan Goldman has stepped forward as our first chairman. He has established an executive committee, introduced a Facebook page (CSL Central Bark) and developed a procedure to communicate with dog owners. Two years ago, with the help of people like Abe Haim and Jason Balinsky, we created a Côte Saint-Luc Dog Run Advisory Committee. Abe chiefly served as my main liaison and as a result of his good work a number of improvements have been made to the Mackle Road facility. A second dog run on Côte Saint-Luc Road, between Richard Schwartz Park and Meadowbrook Golf Course, is now in operation.

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With Councillor Oren Sebag and Jonathan Goldman

 

The city  was proud to host the  Autism Speaks Canada  Dog Walk  on Sunday, October 21 (9  at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park on Mackle Road.  This was the first time ASC held an ASC-branded Dog Walk   time has indeed come for a Côte Saint-Luc Dog Owners Committee to be formally established.

Golf Classic

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Council with Joe Presser.

As a massive heatwave hit our province, we reluctantly decided to take the prudent approach to postpone our 39th annual Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic. It was rescheduled for a week later While the golf is a lot of fun, the luncheon became the real big draw. So when we had to put off the golf portion on July 5, the show very much went on. Councillor Dida Berku was my co-chair this year and how appropriate given the decades of work she had put in to keep Meadowbrook free from development. Our honouree was long-time community leader and volunteer Joe Presser, a man I consider a good friend and a true supporter of mine in District 2 from day one of my time on council. Joe has been active at programming in Côte Saint-Luc for most of his life, notably at Beth Zion Congregation, the Parks and Recreation Department, the Cummings Centre Sports Celebrity Breakfast and the Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club. But he was often the man behind the scenes, not getting his deserving day in the sun.

The Golf Classic also played a role in the creation of  the Pierre Brunet McDonald’s Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund. Brunet operates 19 McDonald’s franchise on the Island of Montreal, including one in Côte Saint-Luc. He was honoured in 2016 at the Golf Classic for his continued generosity to community events over the past 30 years. One day he asked me if I could come up with a local charitable endeavor that would benefit kids in our community for McHappy Day. I came up with the Bursary Fund idea,  working with Harold Cammy on making it a reality. It has been a huge success, making much needed funds available to families who ordinarily could not afford to register their children for some of our programs.

New Police Commander

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With the new Police Commander

 

I was pleased to sit down and get to know the new commander for Police Station 9, Luis Oliveira. He is a devoted member of the force with a tremendous back story. I know he will be a huge asset for our community. Here is my story on him.

Good Luck Harold Cammy

Haroldgroupsendoff
A fitting sendoff for Harold Cammy.

 

I conclude this year in review with a salute to a gentleman I have known since childhood.  After more than 40 years of service to our Parks and Recreation Department, Harold Cammy will retire in January. Mere words cannot describe how much I will miss this man. Cote Saint-Luc is part of his DNA. Here is a detailed piece, including Harold's remarkable memoirs.

 

 

 

 


Proud to have sponsored a resolution calling on Tour de l'Île to become charitable

The annual Tour de l'Île de Montréal has been a thorn in my side for decades. I am not a cyclist and I resent the fact that this event paralyzes the city one Sunday each year, as well as eating up the equivalent of $500,000 in Agglomeration funds while not raising a penny for charity.

Activist Murray Levine first connected with me on this issue over 30 years ago and I wrote about it in my newspaper column at the time. 

Organizers from Velo Québec continue to march to the beat of their own drum and with each City of Montreal administration not taking a stand on the issue they face little incentive to change. Now we have a Montreal Mayor in Valerie Plante who cycles to work.

If the Tour would encourage its riders to raise funds for their favorite charity, I might find this inconvenience a bit more bearable. 

Mikemurray
With Murray Levine after the vote at City Council.

It was with this in mind that I moved the following resolution at our December 10 Council meeting, which passed with a majority:

 MOTION TO ESSENTIALLY INCREASE PHILANTHROPY IN QUEBEC
 
WHEREAS the 30,000+ participants of New York’s TD 5 Boro Cycle are invited to raise
funds for charities and this year (and previous ones) raised $1 million;
 
WHEREAS the participants of multitudes of mass participation running, cycling, triathlon
and other mass participation self propelled athletic events around the world have optional
charitable fundraising components;
 
WHEREAS the participants of running events alone in the US raise over $1 billion per
year for charities;
 
WHEREAS the participants of the Marathon de Montreal are INVITED to raise funds and
may still be paying Montreal so that they may stage their event;
 
WHEREAS charities staging athletic events that raise funds at Parc Jean Drapeau
actually pay for the privilege;
 
WHEREAS Le Tour de L’Ile de Montreal receives $500,000 in funding and in kind support
from the Agglomeration;
 
WHEREAS the Tour de L’Ile de Montreal is a major inconvenience to pedestrians and
motorists;
 
WHEREAS emergency vehicles are delayed due to the event;
 
Whereas there is no noticeable increase in tourism due to the event;
 
WHEREAS Dorval, Kirkland and Hampstead will not consider allowing Le Tour in unless
the participants are invited to raise funds for charities;
 
WHEREAS Cote St Luc, DDO and Laval have banned the event altogether;
 
WHEREAS a significant number of the participants come from Laval, the South Shore
etc. whose cities contribute no funds and suffer no inconvenience;
 
It was MOVED BY myself SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR  Ruth Kovac
 
AND RESOLVED:
 
“THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council call upon the Agglomeration not to support
Velo Quebec with funding and free in kind support, until such time as all of the participants of Velo Quebec events on the Island of Montreal, are INVITED by to raise funds for charities via their participation in the events.”
 

 

 


Côte Saint-Luc District 2 Councillor Mike Cohen 2017 Year in Review

It has been my pleasure to serve as Côte Saint-Luc City Councillor for District 2 since 2005. Each year at this time I present my year in review. The past 12 months have been busier than ever in my district and in  the city at large via my portfolios

This was an election year and I am proud to have won my fourth mandate with 81 percent of the vote. I wish to sincerely thank the 1,008 voters who once again showed their confidence in me.  Hats off to my opponent Melodie Cohn, who run a fair campaign.

Over the course of many months I knocked on every single door in the district and it was a pleasure to engage in dialogue with so many of my constituents. Virtually all of them were wonderful to deal with.  

HolidayCard2017

Since I was first elected I must emphasize that election campaigns are essentially an ongoing activity for me. I circulate throughout the district regularly, hold Town Hall meetings at least once a year and call special consultations when necessary. I respond to phone calls and e-mails daily and more often than not I will propose one-on-one meetings to resolve issues. My blog provides updates on what is happening in the district and the city at large.

Despite what some critics uttered during the election campaign, experience is indeed a benefit. Virtually everyone I met over the last few months agrees with this.

BILAN DE L'ANNÉE 2017 DU CONSEILLER MIKE COHEN   

J’ai le plaisir de servir en tant que conseiller municipal à Côte Saint-Luc pour le district 2 depuis 2005. Chaque année, à ce moment-ci, je présente mon bilan de l’année. Les 12 derniers mois ont été plus occupés que jamais dans mon district, et aussi dans toute la ville pour ce qui est des portefeuilles sous ma responsabilité.

C’était une année d’élection et je suis fier d’avoir obtenu mon quatrième mandat avec 81 pour cent des voix. Je remercie chaleureusement les 1 008 électeurs qui m’ont une fois de plus témoigné leur confiance, et je lève mon chapeau à mon adversaire, Melodie Cohn, qui a mené une campagne honnête.

Pendant des mois j’ai frappé à toutes les portes de mon district, et ce fut un plaisir d’engager la conversation avec un si grand nombre d’électeurs. Presque toutes mes visites m’ont permis de rencontrer des personnes admirables. Sauf en quelques rares exceptions, les gens m’ont accueilli de façon positive et reconnaissante.

Depuis ma première élection, je dois dire que la campagne électorale est pour moi une démarche constante. Je fais souvent le tour de mon district, j’organise des assemblées publiques au moins une fois par année et des consultations spéciales au besoin. Je réponds aux appels téléphoniques et aux courriels tous les jours, et il m’arrive très souvent de proposer des rencontres individuelles pour trouver des solutions aux problèmes. Mon blogue fournit les dernières nouvelles sur ce qui se passe dans mon district et dans toute la ville.

Malgré ce que certains critiques laissaient entendre pendant la campagne électorale, l’expérience est vraiment bénéfique. Pratiquement toutes les personnes que j’ai rencontrées au cours des derniers mois en conviennent.

ELIE WIESEL PARK

The official dedication ceremony for Elie Wiesel Park  at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare took place on  November 3. Wiesel, a renowned Holocaust survivor, died in July 2016 at the age of 87.  Wiesel was sent to Auschwitz and Buchenwald during the Holocaust. He wrote dozens of works championing the human spirit. Throughout his life he fought for peace, human rights and simple human decency. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, recounted his family being sent to the Nazi concentration camps in his first book, "Night," which was published in France in 1958.

CouncilThe park was completed in the fall of 2016 after I undertook extensive consultations with local residents.  I like to refer to this as an example of working with one’s constituents. Many residents of Park Place were extremely disturbed by the large volume of people who were using the entrance from Kildare to their street as a shortcut to Quartier Cavendish. Even though the land was zoned for parkland, many of the residents were not aware of this when they bought their homes. I therefore worked with staff to delay the construction, speak with residents and design the area in a such  way that pedestrians would have an alternative path to Cavendish Boulevard. A fence wasd  installed to block access to a private parking lot and we planted high bushes to provide more privacy to homes. It was worth the wait and our staff did a wonderful job putting this gorgeous greenspace together.

PARKING AND SPEEDING ON PARK PLACE

Because of the construction of an apartment building on The Avenue and the presence of Econofitness at the Quartier Cavendish, many residents of Park Place could not get parking spaces in front of their own homes. We introduced restrictions which deterred workers from parking there.

DriveSafe

On my many walkabouts on Park Place, residents complained about speeding cars. While no traffic calming was called for, it was determined that those cars driving too fast represented people actually residing on the street or visitors. We therefore decided to follow a route we took a number of years ago on Ilan Ramon Crescent and placed two signs warning vehicles to drive carefully and containing a pictogram of children playing. It served as an excellent wakeup call on Ilan Ramon and I believe it did the same on Park Place. Thanks to Ralph  Rimokh for his work on this file with me. We will be studying the  corner  of Park Place and the Avenue more closely in the months to come. This could include a new stop sign. Nearby Jubilee Avenue is also on the list to study. This is a small street, but cars seem to be using it as a shortcut.

QUARTIER  CAVENDISH

There was good news at Quartier Cavendish with the opening of Café de l’Avenue. The fact that it is open later hours gives residents an opportunity to go for a dessert and coffee in the neighbourhood. You can also have a light breakfast there. I have thus far found it very helpful in terms of setting up meetings with people and not having to go to Monkland. Recently, the café went MK.  There is a new hot yoga studio (Idolem), the CSL Martial Arts Studio has relocated from the West End Cavendish Athletic Club and District 2 resident Emmuel Dermond is renaming his food court delly Deli Boyz.

NEW BUILDING ON THE AVENUE

The BSR Group virtually completed construction of 6700 The Avenue and people started to move into this upscale rental building in the fall. This 90-unit apartment building is a step above the rest with underground parking, an indoor pool, common party room, gym, 24-hour concierge service, elevators (including a Shabbat elevator) and video surveillance throughout.  The final touches will be applied over the next few months. In addition, the BSR Group also built a brand new home on Ilan Ramon. Next on owner Ron and Shai Basal’s agenda is a two storey office building on Marc Chagall. This is land in the parking lot of Beth Chabad CSL which is already zoned commercial.

MARC CHAGALL AVENUE SPEEDING

SpeedbumpChagall

Traffic safety measures were taken on Marc Chagall Avenue. I heard from residents concerned about the safety of their children. Our traffic engineer proceeded to carry out speed tests. The results from Marc Chagall showed that speeding is a problem. The 85th percentile showed 58 km/hr, which is very high. In response to this we installed temporary speed cushions on this stretch. We will re-evaluate their effectiveness in time for the spring, however we did see a clear improvement in cars slowing down. 

JPPS BIALIK STUDENT SAFETY

The safety of students attending JPPS  Elementary School and Bialik High School on Kildare Road near Marc Chagall remains paramount for the city. Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson and I met with JPPS Principal Marnie Stein, Bialik Principal Avi Satov, JPPS Bialik Director of Security Avi Sela and executive assistant Jennifer Wilson. It has been nearly two years now since JPPS relocated from its Van Horne campus (now owned by Yaldei) to cohabitate with Bialik High School. There are 150 JPPS students and 332 at Bialik. This makes for a lot of traffic at drop off and pickup in particular. The school employs existing staff to handle traffic circulation. For those kids who walk, Côte Saint-Luc has Traffic Guard Norman Klein at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare from 7 am to 9 am and 2 pm to 4 pm.

SteinSatovIn our meeting I reiterated  concerns about JPPS and Bialik parents  often parking illegally, blocking driveways and not showing proper courtesy to cars trying to turn on to Kildare from Rembrandt Avenue. The school will continue to work with parents. Our local Police Station 9 also does spot checks. I have noticed a significant improvement since I began meeting with them more regularly over the years. My goal is to start a Student Traffic Committee that can sensitize parents and other students to our various concerns. Hopefully we can arrange for a student delegation to visit City Hall for an information session.

CONSTRUCTION ON MARC CHAGALL

Since last spring I have devoted an enormous amount of time to the new development on Marc Chagall Avenue to be known as the Equinox. Last March the developers announced in a letter to residents of the other buildings on Marc Chagall that they intended to work on this project weekday nights and weekends. While this was within their right, according to our noise bylaw which has been in effect for many decades, it was also unprecedented. We have never encountered such a situation with a high rise building. In April I established an unprecedented ad hoc committee composed of representatives from the five condominium associations – The Rothchild I and II, La Marquise, The Bellagio and Les Cours Marc Chagall and the developers. There were a number of concerns raised, starting with the extended hours. Council moved quickly to amend the bylaw prohibiting weekend work. We also negotiated terms that required the developer to provide a written undertaking not to contest the amendments to the bylaw in return for their right to work some nights and weekends, but far less than had previously been anticipated. When work on the second building commences, no outdoor work will be permitted.

MikeSidBalconyPhase one will consist of underground parking as well as one 12 storey; Phase 2 will be a second 12 storey tower, as well as completion of the underground parking. Once completed, there will be a total of 306 new dwelling units and the site will host 446 new parking spaces for future tenants. A reminder that the zoning for this site has been in place for almost 30 years, but past owners chose to leave the site vacant. During the time we were successful in   bringing down the original height from 16 storeys to 12.  We could not go lower because The Marquise is already 12 floors. Nonetheless this should serve as a relief for residents.

It is expected that construction on the first building will be completed by October. Hopefully work on the second will start soon after. If everything goes according to schedule, we are still looking at 2019 before work is finished for good on the two towers.

We continue to work closely with the developers on a wide variety of other important matters. This includes their commitment to keeping the street clean, maintaining proper safety and working with us to find a better solution for where their workers should park their cars. A special temporary lot has been created on the greenspace between the Bellagio and the Town Houses, with plans to turn that land into a beautiful park after it is no longer necessary for vehicles. We will also introduce two hour parking signs during work hours on certain parts of Marc Chagall and Mackle.

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

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

MANOIRE MONTEFIORE

The former Manoire Montefiore seniors residence at the corner of Cavendish and Mackle remains empty. However, we do anticipate another request to rezone the building as an apartment rental. I will not even agree to consider any proposal that does not include a plan to significantly increase indoor parking.

POLICE STATION TO MOVE

Community Police Station 9 will be moving from its present headquarters at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare to the strip shopping mall on Westminster Avenue in February. They will take over the spot previously occupied by The Famous Delly Boys Restaurant. While I am saddened to see them leave District 2, we know that this was their decision to try and find a storefront location. We are therefore pleased that they are maintaining their presence in Côte Saint-Luc. The station also serves Hampstead and Montreal West. Over the 12 years I have been on city council I have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the respective commanders and the other personnel. Let me single out community officers Vincent Di Angelis and Marie-Christine Nobert, whose presence at all of our institutions has been consistent and well appreciated. Most recently I joined them at Kildare Towers on Honore de Balzac next to  Quartier Cavendish for the very successful Coffee with a Cop program.  They set up a kiosk in the lobby, served coffee and cake and provided residents with many security tips. It was very much appreciated and well received.

POLICE COMMANDER

Commander Jean O’Malley has been at the helm of Station 9 for almost two years now. I had the chance to spend the morning with him as part of my foursome for our annual Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic on July 6. Soon after, I sat down with him in his office to talk more specifically about several issues in the district.

CommanderOMalleyMike

Traffic safety remains a central concern. Commander O’Malley was on our special committee which studied different ways to improve the Cavendish-Kildare intersection. This finally resulted in a new split phase configuration. In short, motorists travelling westbound on Kildare are now able to drive through the intersection at Cavendish while traffic in the opposing direction waits. This allows drivers to turn left (or turn right, or go straight) without opposing traffic. Likewise, motorists coming from the opposite side now have their chance to move through the intersection without interference, soon after. Just as many vehicles as before are able to pass through the intersection. However, the process is less stressful for many. Pedestrians also appreciate the change because they now have fewer vehicles coming from few directions to contend with. While constituents continue to express their appreciation over the change, Commander O’Malley and his staff agree that it has marked a huge improvement.

Just to be clear, there have been no accidents at the corner since the new configuration came into place. Police Station 9 personnel have been present at intersections like this to warn pedestrians to be careful.   

When our crossing guard Archie Kwiatt passed away a few years ago, he was not immediately replaced. I worked diligently with our Public Safety Department to make sure the job was posted. We were lucky to find Norman Klein, who adds an extra degree of security at that corner.

REMBRANDT PARK

The Rembrandt splash pad was installed in 2008, as part of the park project at that time. This pad was in great need of repainting and I received some requests for this to be done. Last summer We issued a contract for the washing of the current surface, to remove the dirt that was encrusted in the surface, sanding, repairs and painting This permitted new materials to adhere.   I originally pushed for a splash pad at Rembrandt because there were so many young families in the area. It has been well utilized by residents. Grandparents residing on Rembrandt constantly tell me this is a big incentive for their grandchildren to visit in the summer.

Rembrandt Park remained popular for tennis.

CATS CONCERT

On a night when massive power failures hit Côte Saint-Luc and a good chunk of Montreal, the show still went on! The Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC) held its annual benefit concert on   August 22 at the Syd Wise Auditorium of the Wagar Adult Education Centre.  Featured performers were once again the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo. The selection of music was light classical pieces around the theme of Dance.  Soprano Fairouz Oujida was a  special guest.   We did so in the memory of Barbara Diehl, a member of our commitee who passed away very suddenly in June. In fact, we were the last people to see her. She went home happily after the meeting. The following day she was found by family in her home. One of her daughters and  grandchildren attended our event.

Cats Meow 2017 (30)

More than 270 tickets were sold for the event. Funds raised will go towards our Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program. There are many feral cats in the community. The CSLCC’s team of volunteers sets out to trap as many as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to the spot where they were originally found.  In the latter case, efforts are made to assist the feeders in the community. The committee has also rescued a number of kittens and found homes for them.

CITY HALL/LIBRARY PARKING LOT

The reconstruction and reconfiguration of the City Hall/Library Parking Lot was completed in November and I think everyone agrees it looks absolutely fantastic.

Parking LotThis was more than just a repaving job. We improved the way it’s configured in order to remove the excessive turns, which created risks for pedestrians. We will also be adding two charging stations for electric vehicles and creating more parking spaces for cars to park. We have been fortunate to have a parking lot with so many trees not just around the edges, but within the parking lot itself. Our goal at the start of this project was to save as many of these trees as possible by transplanting them elsewhere. We did end up saving up to 70 percent of the trees and transplanted 28. Of course, we would have preferred to have saved all the trees. However, of trees that were cut their roots were too deep to survive transplant or too small to justify the cost while new trees were planted of similar size or they were sick or damaged in some way. It didn’t make sense to move the sick trees as the cost to transplant a single tree is about $2,000. We decided to transplant the healthy trees, which cost $53,000 in all. All the trees being cut were replaced with new replanted trees.


Some residents approached us to see if any changes to the next phases of the project could be undertaken to save more trees and enhance the greenspace. We carried out a number of meetings with residents. Our project manager subsequently agreed to a number of changes. As many as four mature trees that would have been felled were saved. As a result, we sacrificed several
new parking spaces. A bike path originally planned along the Avenue was downsized significantly. Instead of a concrete path, we made it all green and   planted an entire new line of trees not in the original plan. We also added new lighting along the path. More greenspace was added to the islands of the lot with more new trees. The benches that were removed along the original pathway were placed in temporary spots for the summer. We proceeded to consult with the individuals who used these spaces the most to determine the best permanent place for them to be installed when construction concluded in the fall.

This parking lot was in desperate need of repair. We heard from many seniors and those with limited mobility over the years that the lot needed more spaces. The new parking lot will now provide more spaces, be safer for pedestrians, and maintain the green canopy we have come to expect.

I wish to thank the residents who contacted City Hall for their valuable input and look forward to your continued feedback.


 DOG RUN

As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I was very pleased to have our main dog run on Mackle Road sub-divided for large and small canines. Over the past year I received many complaints that smaller dogs were being attacked by larger ones. While the incidents might not have been that frequent, the fact this was happening at all was of great concern. The vast majority of our dog owners are responsible individuals. At the dog run itself, people get along nicely and so do the animals. It is wonderful to see them run free and play together. But we have heard stories of dog owners who are allowing what amounts to acts of bullying by their pets. In some cases, small dogs have been seriously injured. Two years ago I established an ad hoc dog run advisory committee. I’d like to thank Abe Haim and Jason Balinsky, two of my constituents who took a leadership role from day one. They helped steer this discussion in the correct manner, talking to owners at the dog run and holding two public meetings at City Hall. Hats off to Beatrice Newman, our director of Public Works, Director of Operations John Monteiro  and foreman Thierry Dhaisne for working with us on this project.   I will now move forward in 2018 with the creation of a Dog Owners Committee. Our first meeting will be at City Hall on Monday, January 8 at 730 pm.

We have also completed work on  a second dog run on the other side of the city, near Meadowbrook Golf Course. Councillor Steven Erdelyi spearheaded this initiative.

GOLF CLASSIC

The Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic is like fine wine. It gets better with age. Our 38th edition at Meadowbrook on July 6 was no different. Besides the fact that our foursomes sold out by the middle of May, this event was packed with so much action we probably could have carried it over a few days. This year we honoured Johnny Elias, a long-time volunteer and past owner of the Grand Slam Baseball School. Johnny recently agreed to loan nearly 50 years’ worth of baseball memorabilia to Côte Saint-Luc. Just a week before the event I reached out to former Montreal Expos pitcher Bill Lee, an old friend of Johnny’s. He agreed to come down as a special guest, bringing his son Andy and wife Diana along. Lee has been the subject of several books and movies. A motion picture starring Josh Duhamel in the title role called Spaceman was released last year. Lee travels the country as a guest speaker and still pitches at the age of 71. Last year he ran for Governor of Vermont. He can be heard regularly on Melnick in the Afternoon on TSN 690 Radio.   Marc Ezerzer and Hagai Brener from the Côte Saint-Luc-based Vantage Mortgage and Real Estate Group were this year`s new sponsors. They were very generous. Bill Lee was hosted at the Hotel Ruby Foo’s on Decarie and we were pleased to have their representatives at our luncheon. Ezerzer arranged for him to stay an extra night and play for his team in the CSL Executive Softball League.

OMalleyFlickBillMikeGlenn

At the luncheon we officially inaugurated the Pierre Brunet Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund, which is sponsored by local McDonald’s franchisee Pierre Brunet. The Fund will be used to help local families who need financial help to register their children in recreation programs. Funds will also support children with special needs. Pierre Brunet has been involved in our helping our community for many years. This new initiative will have a direct impact in the lives of many kids in our community. It was last winter when Pierre broached the subject with me, seeking a new fundraising outlet for the proceeds from his annual McHappy Day event. I sat down with Harold Cammy soon after Pierre’s challenge and we came up with this idea.

Pierre Brunet announced that $4,700 was raised at the two McHappy Days in CSL this year. Our CSL Men’s Club, via coffee sold (courtesy of McDonald’s) at their weekly meetings brought in $700. President Syd Kronish announced that number had been matched by the club, bringing it to $1,400. Mannie Young from the Men’s Club stepped up to the microphone and announced that thanks to a Foundation established by his grandchildren Jesse, Zoe, Andie and Cooper Young, an additional $500 was being contributed.

Steve Woloz from the CSL Model Aeronautics Association was so impressed he immediately wrote a cheque for $270. We raffled off a full weekend with a Silver Star Mercedes. Proceeds from that went to the fund. Quebec Liberal MNA for D’Arcy McGee David Birnbaum promised to add to this as well so it looks as if we will kick this fund off with more than $7,000. Information will appear in our Parks and Recreation booklet in terms of how people can apply.

Pierre Brunet’s team, by the way, supplied golfers with coffee and some delicious Danish before teeing off.

SHALOM BLOOM SCULPTURE GARDEN PARK

ShalomRozbloomme

A huge thumbs up to our staff in the City of Côte Saint-Luc for making sure our annual Canada Day celebrations went off without a hitch. Not only did we celebrate this country’s 150th anniversary, but we formally rededicated the newly-renovated Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park, honoured the Canadian general who saved tens of thousands people, unveiled a one-of-a-kind wildlife sculpture garden, and played host to thousands of residents and visitors.Ten life-size bronze sculptures of wildlife animals were donated to the city by Canadian artist Shalom Bloom, whom is a constituent of mine. He and his wife Roz reside on Marc Chagall Avenue.

SNOW DUMP CLEARED

June 2016c

Each year I go to city council and insist that an allocation be made to deal with the huge ski hill-like structure that exists in our snow dump. The huge winter storm we had last March added to the mountain. May was not a particularly warm month, so our Public Works Department brought in the heavy equipment in June and completed the job.  Work on cleaning the area was done over the summer. I asked Public Works to carry out an inspection to ensure any water is draining properly.

TOWN HALL MEETING

I held my annual District 2 Town Hall meeting at City Hall on June 5 and our Council Chamber was filled to capacity. This was a campaign promise when I first ran for office in 2005. Now, once a year – more if necessary – I hold these meetings to allow people to get updated in person on issues specifically related to our district. I also urge everyone to follow my website at www.mikecohen.ca. You can subscribe to receive alerts. The 2016 District 2 meeting focused on   The Cavendish/Kildare intersection.  This year’s main item on the agenda was the extension of Cavendish Boulevard. My topic, in fact, was “Is the Cavendish Extension Closer to Reality?” I actually began planning this meeting six weeks in advance, completely unaware that the very day of the gathering major news would leak out that yes, the extension was indeed “closer to reality.” A day after my meeting the Quebec government sold the Blue Bonnets land to Montreal.  

GroupThe agreement holds the city responsible for demolishing the Blue Bonnets race track and clubhouse. The city will build as many as 5,000 housing units in the sector with 15 per cent dedicated for social housing rental units, and 15 per cent for affordable housing units. The agreement gives the city five years to present a development plan to the province and six years to start selling the first housing units. The project will be the subject of public hearings before a final plan is set. And indeed part of the agreement is that the Cavendish extension be built. We just do not know when. Denis Coderre was the mayor of Montreal at the time. We can only hope that his successor Valerie Plante will live up to the same agreement. Former traffic reporter Rick Leckner was a special guest speaker.

COUILLARD SPEAKS IN CSL

It is pretty rare that we see the Premier of Quebec come to speak in the City of Côte Saint-Luc. But this finally did occur on May 12 as Philippe Couillard addressed a standing room only crowd at our Aquatic and Community Centre on Parkhaven Avenue. Credit is due to our incredible Men`s Club and of course the Member of the National Assembly, David Birnbaum, who made this happen.

Couillard CSLAs event emcee and District 2 resident Sidney Margles pointed out that when Couillard was just the new  Quebec Liberal Party leader he  was slated to address this same group at the urging of Birnbaum`s predecessor, Lawrence Bergman. Something came up at the last minute and his appearance had to be cancelled. The Men’s Club has 560 members and counting.

VE DAY

For many years the annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration took place on a Sunday. In attendance were veterans from the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, dignitaries and members of the community. The crowds were never exceptionally large and what we clearly missed was the younger generation. When fellow Councillor Sidney Benizri and I were appointed co-chairs of this year’s VE Day event, we were committed to making it an educational exercise. So we scheduled it for a Monday morning (May 8) at a centrally located school – the Wagar Adult Education Centre  on Parkhaven Avenue.

GroupPrincipal Jacques Monfette was most gracious in making all of the arrangements. We virtually filled the 350 seat Syd Wise Auditorium with students from the two host schools – Marymount Adult Education Centre and John Grant High School; Merton and Willingdon Elementary Schools; and Solomon Schechter Academy. The ceremony highlighted the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Europe from the armed forces of Nazi Germany, on May 8, 1945. Our Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson coordinated much of the ceremony and served as a superb master of ceremonies. He put VE Day into perspectiv

ACC  RELAUNCH

We have a great deal to be proud of in the City of Côte Saint-Luc. Our Aquatic and Community Centre on Parkhaven Avenue, opened in September 2011, is on that list. The $18 million complex was built with the support of the provincial and federal governments, which covered two-thirds of the cost. Since then, it has became a major hub of activity for people of all ages.  On April 2 we held an open house to show  off our new spaces for kids, enlarged fitness room, and improved teens room. At the event, marvellously coordinated by Parks and Recreation Director Cornelia Ziga and her staff,   special activities included face painting, tattoos, superheroes in costumes, cupcakes, tours of the building, and an opportunity to meeting staff from Mini R.E.C. by Le R.E.C. Room. In addition there was free  access to the Wibit obstacle course in the indoor pool.

ELEANOR LONDON

We were saddened to learn about the passing of Eleanor London, a legendary figure in the City of Côte Saint-Luc who was the heart and soul of our extraordinary public library, which bears her name.

It was Eleanor who first came on board to start up our library from scratch, recruited by then Mayor Bernard Lang. She retired about 13 years ago. In following her wishes, there will not be a funeral or a shiva. We as a city will find an appropriate way to recognize her passing.

I last spoke to Eleanor when we were planning 50th anniversary celebrations for the library, which is one of my portfolios as a city councillor. She said that she had not been well for many years, noting she hadn`t left the house. "I am not well Mike," she said. "I do not know what is wrong with me and I want to keep it that way. I refuse to see a doctor. I will accept my fate."

I have fond memories of Eleanor. I was four years old when the first library was established on the second floor of the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre. She was the visionary behind the library we see today, open seven days a week and the envy of every other municipality in Quebec. Lisa Milner assumed her duties during the time when we were part of a borough in the merged City of Montreal. Tanya Abramovitch became the chief librarian in 2005 and when she was elevated to City Manager, Janine West stepped into the role.

Make no mistake about it, this library will always have the Eleanor London touch. We are grateful for her invaluable contributions and extend our sympathies to her family.

HAROLD GREENSPON

As we mourned the passing of Harold Greenspon,who served as a Côte Saint-Luc city councillor and my District 2 predecessor for 26 years,many memories of this extraordinary man came back to me. In the summer of 2004 I got a telephone call from Harold. This was during the period when the forced municipal mergers were in place and Côte Saint-Luc, grouped with Hampstead and Montreal West, a borough of Montreal. Harold had served as city councillor from 1975 to 2001. I had gotten to know him very well during that time, initially as a young kid integrally involved with community activities and then as a reporter for the local papers covering City Hall.
The purpose of Harold`s call was to ask if I would help him create a Sports Celebrity Breakfast under the auspices of the Cummings Centre for Jewish Seniors, of which he had become vice-president. Côte Saint-Lucers had voted to demerge by this time and an election to reconstitute the city was set for November 2005. I told Harold that I wanted to run in the District 2 seat he had held for 26 years, but would not do so if he intended to seek office again

DR. MARK WAINBERG

Tributes poured in from Montreal and around the world in recent days for Dr. Mark Wainberg, the world renowned Jewish General Hospital HIV/AIDS researcher and activist for those afflicted with the disease, who died April 11 in Bal Harbour, Florida at the age of 71. According to media reports, Wainberg suffered an asthma attack while swimming. His funeral was held at Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Synagogue in Côte St. Luc.

CSL BUDGET

The 2018 Côte Saint-Luc budget will be adopted on January 22.

A WORD OF THANKS

Finally I wish to publicly thank former city councillors Glenn J. Nashen, Allan J. Levine and Sam  Goldbloom for their many years of service. They  were defeated in the last election. I know that each of them intends to remain involved in our community!

 

 

 


Mayor Brownstein hands out portfolios to newly elected CSL Council

As I begin my fourth mandate as a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc, I look forward to serving my constituents in District 2 while overseeing the portfolios assigned to me by Mayor Mitchell Brownstein: Communications and IT, Animal Protection and Sponsorship. Like all elected officials, I will also chair and co-chair some special events.

It was former Mayor Anthony Housefather who introduced the portfolio system in 2005. This works well,  allowing councillors to have significant input while  collaborating with staff on different dossiers.

I serve as Communications and Marketing Specialist for the English Montreal School Board by day, so returning this portfolio which I oversaw from 2005 to 2013 is kind of a natural. The landscape has changed and we must deal with the reality of social media and the many Facebook pages covering our community. We especially encourage people to join our new page called Your CSL. Here is the link.  In early 2018 our website will be revamped and thematic newsletters produced. I intend to work with every one of our departments to ensure our messages are going out correctly.  As for Animal Protection, I am proud to have established the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee eight years ago. Work on that area will naturally continue, but I believe a big focus will be placed on dogs. Should we allow dogs on leashes in more parks? How are our dog runs being best utilized?  In regards to sponsorship, we have brought in a lot more outside corporate support in recent years for different events and programs and I hope to see that continue. I am especially proud of the Pierre Brunet McDonald’s Parks and Recreation Bursary Program we launched last summer. Almost $9,000 has been collected, which we will distribute to individuals and families in need of subsidies to take part in some of our programs.

The other portfolios are:

Oren David
Oren Sebag and David Tordjman.

Oren Sebag, a Registered Nurse by education, takes on Public Safety and Volunteer Citizens on Patrol.

Dida Berku  gets Urban Planning, Citizen Engagement and Central City and Transportation. She will also chair the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC).

Steven Erdelyi keeps Finance and Environment and chairs the Audit Committee

Mitchell Kujavsky gets Engineering, the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society and sits on the Audit Committee

David Tordjman takes on Library and Culture and Traffic. He will also sit on PAC.

Sidney Benizri continues with Intecommunity Relations and adds Public Works.

Ruth Kovac moves to Park and Recreation and Seniors and sits on PAC.

Mayor Brownstein will oversee Human Resources and Legal Affairs.

Of course I want to wish our three former councillors, Glenn J. Nashen, Allan J. Levine and Sam Goldbloom well. I am sure each one of them will remain involved with our community.


CSL honours its 2017 Volunteers at a special Quartier Cavendish movie night

As we did a year ago at this time, the city of Côte Saint-Luc held our annual  Volunteer  Recognition Night at the Cineplex Odeon Theatres at Quartier Cavendish. Those in attendance were divided into two cinemas to see the motion picture Only The Brave. We are fortunate to have so many loyal volunteers in our city and evening like this is the least we can do to thank them. 

Goldsmith
With constituents David and Eileen Goldsmith.

I have been attending Volunteer Nights since I was 16 and they have been done with a variety of different formats.

MelanieDavid
With constituents David Hogan and Melanie Menscik.

Prior to the movie, a video played on the big screen introducing our 2017  award  winners.

Socio-Cultural Award

Recognizes a volunteer for their exceptional contribution to the city's socio-cultural programs. 

Hannah Sheffren has been Involved in the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society since she played Yente  in  the 2013 production of Fiddler on the Roof. She most recently had staring and roles in the  Senior Summerworks projects Grannie and Florida. Hannah was also delighted to be part of the cast of The Producers in English and Yiddish at the Segal Centre. 

Community Services Award
Recognizes a volunteer couple for their exceptional contribution to the community special events programs.

Florence and Bernie Band have been volunteering their services for vCOP and during the past two years have been judges for the Maisons Fleuries Garden Beautification Contest. Their dependability, integrity and willingness have been of major service to this special event. 

Eco Award
Recognizes a volunteer who has demonstrated leadership in the promotion of environmental advocacy and action within the community.

Emily Groth is the president of the Schwartz Community Gardens. Emily took on many responsibilities in overseeing these gardens. She was responsible for the registrations of all the gardeners, contacting the waiting list, organizing, participating and dividing the tasks and much more. 

E.M.S. Award - Excellence in operations
Michael Lessard is a regular fixture at EMS and covers at least two or three shifts per week, often coming in to help out when it is really needed. Michael just celebrated his 60th birthday and is more active at EMS than many members half of his age.

E.M.S. Award - Excellence in training
Christiane Poirier is intricately involved behind the scenes as the head of the clinical review team. She meticulously reviews every patient care report, listens to audio recordings from major calls and flags any issues to the EMS members, ultimately ensuring that we learn from our mistakes and adhere to the clinical intervention protocols and stay at the fine point of patient care. 

EMS Award - Rookie of the year
Peter Garish - We had many outstanding members join our ranks this past year, but Peter stands out for his infectious smile, his positive attitude and his dedication to public service.On top of being a police officer in Chateauguay, Peter dedicates countless hours of service to the citizens of Côte Saint-Luc.

William E. Kesler Memorial Trophy
Recognizes a volunteer for their exceptional contribution to the Parks and Recreation special events.

District 2 resident Norm Yudin has been a member of the Côte Saint-Luc Tennis Club since 1971 and on the executive committee for 30 years. Norm organizes the annual Sam Brumer tournament (Quebec championship) and the Senior Nationals that takes place every three years. He is best known for being president and vice president and off for more than 20 years. 

Special Recognition Award
Ben Warner is a Montreal actor, singer, songwriter, pianist and filmmaker who has been performing in theatre from the age of 10. In 2017 Ben stared in two Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society productions, George Gibbs in Our Town and Seymour Krelborn in Little Shop of Horrors. He’s also the co-founder of Beanduck Productions,  and the producer of the multi award winning, critically acclaimed Canadian series LARPs. He also recently co-chaired the Segal Centre’s annual musical fundraiser, which this year raised more than $150,000, eclipsing the event’s previous fundraising high.. 

The Hazel Lipes Award
Recognizes a volunteer for their exceptional contribution to the Community Services Programs

Evelyn Nava is vice president of the Côte Saint-Luc Women's Cub and a member since 2006. She is responsible for hosting weekly meetings and organizing yearly trips to Tremblant, Ottawa, and  Hudson Village Theatre.

Sports Award
Recognizes a volunteer for exceptional contribution to the community sports program

Anne Smith has been a volunteer member of the Côte Saint-Luc Figure Skating Club for more than 40 years. She remains on the club's executive serving in the capacity of secretary. She has also served in other roles including being the regional rep for the club, as well as representing the local figure skating club at meetings all throughout Canada. Anne is also an integral part of the organization of the annual figure skating exhibition at the winter carnival event. She always ensures that the trophies are prepared and updated.

Stewart Mankofsky Memorial Trophy
Presented to the athlete / volunteer who best exemplifies the qualities of dedication, sportsmanship, and love of competition.

Ainsley McMurray had a phenomenal swimming season last year, being named to the Canadian Development squad, She was also a finalist at the 2017 Canadian Swim Trials, winning two gold medals at Canadian Junior National Championships and setting a new provincial record in the 100m Freestyle. Despite all of this success and the dedication to training that is required to attain such heights, Ainsley maintained top grades at school.  

 

JOnesfilm
The audience watches a clip of Oliver Jones.

 

Gerry Weinstein Ambassador of the Year
Honours the Cote Saint-Luc citizen best portraying charitable qualities and serving the community at large

Oliver Jones - Born to Barbadian parents, Oliver Jones began his career as a pianist at the age of five, studying with Mme Bonner in Little Burgundy's Union United Church, made famous by Trevor W. Payne's Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir. He continued to develop his talent through his studies with Oscar Peterson's sister Daisy Peterson Sweeney starting at eight years old.  In late 1980 he teamed up with Montreal's Charlie Biddle, working in and around local clubs and hotel lounges in Montreal. Jones was resident pianist at Charlie Biddle's jazz club Biddles from 1981 to 1986. His first album, Live at Biddles recorded in 1983, was the first record on the Justin Time record label. He taught music at Laurentian University in 1987, and in 1988 he taught music at McGill University in Montreal In October 1993, Jones was named as an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1994 Jones was bestowed the National Order of Québec, with the rank of Chevalier (Knight). Jones received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 2005, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts. In 1986 Jones won a Juno Award for his album titled Lights of Burgundy, and again in 2009 for Second Time around. He has been nominated 9 other times, the most recent being in 2012, with his album Live in Baden. Jones has been a multiple recipient of the Félix Award, receiving his first one for his 1989 album Just Friends, and then wins in 1994, 2007 and 2008. Jones was voted keyboardist of the year, from the National Jazz Awards in 2006. In 1990 Oliver became the second recipient of the Oscar Peterson Award after Oscar himself. It is presented by the Montreal International Jazz Festival, recognizing a performer's musicianship and for exceptional contribution to the development of Canadian jazz. In 1999, Jones was awarded the Special Achievement Award at the SOCAN Awards in Toronto. In 2014, he served as honouree at the annual Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic.

Volunteer of the Year - Aquatics Program
Helen Campbell has been a volunteer with the Côte Saint-Luc swim team for four years.  Not only is Helen important to the organization of our home competitions, she has also been the officials coordinator for the last two years. As such, Helen must solicit our members to volunteer as officials at almost 25 competition during the year.
Besides all of the in-house work, Helen has been our team's representative for the Lac-St-Louis governing board. She attends monthly meetings and has been a guiding force for the development of our swim team.

The Edward J. Kirwan Award
Honours the Volunteer of the Year for exceptional contribution to the community Parks and Recreation programs.

District 2 resident David Haltrecht is the 2nd vice president of the Côte Saint-Luc Men's Club. David plays a key role in liaising with the city to ensure that all programs run smoothly. Along with organizing a new drone program and teaching free computer classes to members he also designs the weekly newsletter and chairs several committees. 

Cambone
With Alberto Cambone, his wife and my constituents Alessia and Sandra Cambone.

Lifetime Achievement
Alberto Cambone has been a member of the Community Gardens for 30 years. In that time, he has mentored other gardeners, donated food for the annual barbecue, and given away a lot of his annual yield. His compassion and willingness to help others makes him a model gardener and a wonderful citizen of Côte Saint-Luc.

Royal Canadian Legion Brigadier Frederick Kisch, Branch #97 Award
Recognized the Youth volunteer of the year, a "leader of tomorrow", for outstanding efforts in making a difference in Côte Saint-Luc through volunteer activities.

Willard Collins has been a volunteer at the library since 2015. Over the past two years, Willard has shown extraordinary dedication both to the library and to his work as a volunteer. He has mentored 11 students as a Reading Buddy, sometimes working with more than one student per week. He has also contributed to the Teen Advisory Group in numerous ways. In peer meetings, he is always willing to share practical and creative ideas, which have been incorporated into teen services at the library. He has also helped with some major library events, from the 50th Anniversary to March Break to the TD Summer Reading Club Closing Party. Willard is not only a devoted volunteer, but he is a library user himself.He meets regularly with the Magic: The Gathering group at the library, where he has offered to fill in as a volunteer in a pinch. Willard is a true supporter of libraries and an active part of his community.

vCOP Award
For five years,  District 2 resident Robert Lefcort has been an invaluable member of vCOP.  He is a member of three of our specialized teams: Smoke Detector Patrol, Vacation Spot Check and New Member Orientation. He is also an active participant in our Emergency Call Out system. Robert always helps out when needed and goes beyond the call of duty. 

 

 

Staff
Our wonderful staff who worked on this event.

Council is on the case: attacking the train noise problem in our community head on

When I first moved into District 2 in 1995 one of the first things I noticed, living rather close to the railway tracks, was the loud noise emanating from the trains.

CPrail

This was a decade before I became a city councillor, so I voiced my concern to the Mayor and Council at that time and the Member of Parliament for Mount Royal. Not a lot happened. At one point,  during an earlier term of office for the federal Liberals, then MP Irwin Cotler even held some public meetings with high ranking officials from the government and Canadian Pacific.  But there was no great improvement. In our household, white noise machines helped block out the horrible sounds. Since our home was not physically right next to the tracks, this solved our problem. However, I realize it is hardly the solution for everyone.

When I was first elected in 2005, then Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillor Dida Berku made it a priority to try and get this problem fixed. Residents in virtually every district in the city are affected by the trains.

As Anthony Housefather, now our MP, notes that when we first demerged we had literally dozens of noise and vibration complaints per week.  Most of these related to shunting and idling in the yards overnight.  We were able to work with CP to drastically reduce the frequency by which this occurred and to move certain works further from homes. 

I must say that complaints on this front have been very minimal over the past decade. But very recently, the horrible noises have returned and for many residents that translates into sleepless nights. We do have an excellent process in place and strong relations with CP.  Our senior legal officials are on the case as is Mayor Brownstein, Councillor Berku (who chairs our Railway Committee) and MP Housefather, who can access Minister of Transport Marc Garneau.

In  message on the Let’s Chat Facebook page, MP Housefather stated: “Côte Saint-Luc, like many communities in the country, borders on rail tracks. We have the compounded issue of bordering on the second-biggest rail yards in Eastern Canada.  Like many cities that grew after the Second World War we built houses far too close to the tracks and the yards and in the decades since, as rail traffic has increased, residents have suffered.  When I was Mayor we set up a process which has gotten even stronger today under Mitch Brownstein, where in addition to the complaint and adjudication mechanism set out under law which can be found at https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/publication/guidelines-resolution-complaints-over-railway-noise-and-vibration, Côte Saint-Luc's City Clerk escalates certain complaints directly to CP and we work with complainants on files to assist where escalation is needed.”

What Côte Saint-Luc and other cities originally asked for from the federal government was for a mechanism to resolve complaints.  This was answered when the Canada Transportation Act was modified to allow the Canadian Transportation Agency, a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal of the federal government, to resolve complaints regarding noise and vibration caused by the construction and operation of railways under its jurisdiction. But for the CTA to hear a case, the collaborative measures set out in the link above must be followed.     

As MP Housefather notes, over the last number of years, certainly following the Lac Megantic incident, our priority (both at the municipal and federal level) shifted to the issue of yard safety and safety in the way railways transported dangerous goods.  “It was an issue I raised as a priority as Mayor and when I was running in the last federal campaign and Mitch and Dida have continued the pressure from the municipal side. In that area we have made much progress which still continues,” he said. “Marc Garneau our Minister of Transport has required a faster phase out of the Dot 111 boxcars, which were involved in a number of the incidents. The Minister has also introduced a mandatory minimum level of insurance for federal railways to carry based on the type and volume of dangerous goods they carry, launched the Railway Safety Improvement Program, increased the overall funding for railway safety projects and the number of eligible recipients who can receive it, required railways to provide municipalities and first responders with even more data on dangerous goods to improve emergency planning, risk assessments, and training, provided municipalities with additional information about the railway crossings in their communities through Canada’s Open Government Portal, among many other initiatives that have already been publicly announced.  I commit that this is an area that I will continue to focus on.

“While rail safety will remain a top priority, I understand your frustrations on the issue of railway noise and can assure you that I will continue working directly with all Côte Saint Luc Council Members on this file. But the process itself has been largely fixed. Now it is a matter of using the process to its fullest.”

What I appreciate seeing here is citizens not sitting back and taking a passive attitude. We live in the era of instant communication, so the magic of email and social media can be effective.


Letter to residents regarding the City Hall Parking Lot Reconstruction/les travaux de reconstruction du terrain de stationnement

The following letter was issued by Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and myself.

As many people have noticed by now, Côte Saint-Luc has started work on the reconstruction of the parking lot behind the City
Hall and Library. We’re doing more than just repaving. We’re improving the way it’s configured in order to remove the excessive turns, which create risks for pedestrians. We’re also adding two charging stations for electric vehicles and creating more parking spaces for cars to park.

We have been fortunate to have a parking lot with so many trees not just around the edges, but within the parking lot itself. Our goal at the start of this project was to save as many of these trees as possible by transplanting them elsewhere. We are saving up to 70 percent of the trees and have transplanted 28. Of course, we would have preferred to have saved all the trees. However, of trees that are being cut their roots were too deep to survive transplant or too small to justify the cost while new trees can be planted of similar size or they were sick or damaged in some way. It didn’t make sense to move the sick trees as the cost to transplant a single tree is about $2,000. We decided to transplant the healthy trees, which cost $53,000 in all. All the trees being cut will be replaced with new replanted trees.

Some residents have approached us to see if any changes to the next phases of the project can be undertaken to save more trees and enhance the greenspace. We have carried out a number of meetings with residents in recent days. Our project manager has subsequently agreed to a number of changes.

As many as four mature trees that would have been felled in the next phase will be saved. As a result, we will sacrifice several
new parking spaces. A bike path originally planned along the Avenue will be downsized significantly. Instead of a concrete path, we will make it all green and will plant an entire new line of trees not in the original plan. We will also be adding new lighting along the path. More greenspace will be added to the islands of the lot with more new trees. The benches that have been removed along the current pathway will be placed in new temporary spots for the summer. We are consulting with the individuals who use these spaces the most to determine the best permanent place for them to be installed when construction is over in the fall.

On Monday, August 14 at 5 pm, our project manager will host an information session at City Hall to show the updated plans and answer questions. No trees should be felled in the interim. This parking lot was in desperate need of repair. We have heard from many seniors and those with limited mobility over the years that the lot needed more spaces. The new parking lot will provide more spaces, be safer for pedestrians, and maintain the green canopy you have come to expect.

We wish to thank the residents who contacted City Hall for their valuable input and look forward to your continued feedback.
Marc Chagall construction update With the excavation stage of construction for the new high-rise apartment building on Marc Chagall Avenue drawing to a close, the next phase (after a two week construction holiday shutdown), will increase the number of workers on site.

Our ad hoc committee of representatives from the five neigbouring condo associations have expressed concern from the start
about a lack of available parking spots for residents and their guests. We met with the executive of Les Cours Marc Chagall recently to advise them that we plan to open a temporary parking lot for workers on the greenspace next to their complex. This area will be safely fenced in. It is the commitment of this council to relocate Isadore Goldberg Park to this section once the lot is no longer needed. Our lease with the developers is for one year.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at City Hall.

Parkinglot

Les travaux de reconstruction du terrain de stationnement


Comme beaucoup ont pu le constater, Côte Saint-Luc a commencé les travaux de reconstruction du terrain de stationnement derrière l’hôtel de ville et la bibliothèque. Nous faisons bien plus que réparer la chaussée : nous améliorons la configuration du stationnement pour éliminer les courbes trop prononcées qui peuvent constituer un risque pour les piétons, nous installons aussi deux bornes de recharge pour véhicules électriques et nous augmentons le nombre de places de stationnement.

Nous avons la chance d’avoir un stationnement où il y a beaucoup d’arbres, non seulement en bordure du terrain mais aussi à l’intérieur même du stationnement. Au début du projet, notre objectif était de préserver le plus d’arbres possible en les transplantant ailleurs. En fait, nous pourrons conserver jusqu’à 70 pour cent des arbres et nous en avons transplanté 28.
Évidemment, nous aurions préféré garder tous les arbres. Toutefois, parmi ceux qui sont abattus, certains avaient des racines trop profondes pour survivre à la transplantation, d’autres étaient simplement trop petits pour justifier le coût de la transplantation, étant donné qu’il est possible de planter des arbres de même taille, et certains étaient malades ou endommagés. Il était insensé de déplacer des arbres malades puisqu’il coûte environ 2 000 $ pour transplanter un seul arbre. Nous avons donc décidé de transplanter les arbres sains, ce qui a coûté 53 000 $ au total. Tous les arbres abattus seront remplacés grâce à la plantation de nouveaux arbres.

Certains résidants nous ont contactés pour que des changements soient apportés pour les prochaines phases du projet afin de
préserver un plus grand nombre d’arbres et d’améliorer les espaces verts. Nous avons organisé des réunions avec les résidants ces derniers jours. Notre gestionnaire de projet a ensuite convenu d’un certain nombre de changements.
Quatre arbres matures qui devaient être abattus dans la prochaine phase seront préservés. Nous devrons cependant sacrifier plusieurs places de stationnement.

Le projet de piste cyclable longeant L’Avenue qui était prévu au départ sera réduit de façon importante. Au lieu d’un sentier asphalté, nous avons opté pour de la verdure et nous planterons une rangée d’arbres qui n’étaient pas dans le plan original. Nous installerons des lumières additionnelles le long du chemin piétonnier. D’autres espaces verts seront ajoutés aux ilots dans le stationnement, y compris de nouveaux arbres. Les bancs qui ont été enlevés le long du sentier actuel seront placés ailleurs de façon temporaire pour l’été. Nous consultons les personnes qui utilisent le plus ces espaces pour trouver le meilleur endroit où les installer de façon permanente une fois les travaux terminés cet automne.

Le lundi 14 août à 17 h, notre gestionnaire de projet animera une séance d’information à l’hôtel de ville pour présenter les nouveaux plans et répondre aux questions. D’ici là, aucun arbre ne sera abattu. Ce terrain de stationnement avait grand besoin de réparations. Beaucoup de personnes âgées ainsi que des personnes à mobilité réduite nous disaient depuis des années qu’il n’y avait pas assez de places de stationnement. Le nouveau terrain de stationnement offrira plus de places, il sera plus sécuritaire pour les piétons, et préservera la couverture végétale à laquelle vous vous attendez. Nous tenons à remercier les résidants qui ont communiqué avec l’Hôtel de Ville pour leur précieuse contribution, et nous espérons
continuer à recevoir vos commentaires.

Mise à jour au sujet de la construction sur Marc Chagall

Ce sera bientôt l’étape des travaux d’excavation pour le projet de la tour d’habitation sur l’avenue Marc Chagall. Après l’arrêt de deux semaines pour les vacances de la construction, cette étape entraînera une augmentation du nombre d’ouvriers sur le chantier.  Notre comité consultatif formé de représentants des cinq associations de condos voisines exprime des inquiétudes depuis le début concernant le manque de places de stationnement pour les résidants et leurs invités.  Nous avons rencontré la direction des Cours Marc Chagall récemment pour les informer de notre intention d’ouvrir un terrain de
stationnement temporaire pour les travailleurs sur l’espace vert près de leur complexe. Le terrain sera clôturé de façon sécuritaire.

Le conseil actuel s’est engagé à relocaliser le parc Isadore Goldberg à cet endroit lorsque le stationnement ne sera plus nécessaire. Nous avons un bail d’un an avec le promoteur.

Si vous avez des questions, veuillez communiquer avec nous à l’Hôtel de Ville.
 


In Côte Saint-Luc we are very proud about how we handled snow clearing

As we continue to dig out from the biggest snow storm the Montreal area has seen in years, I would like to applaud the work done by the City of Côte Saint-Luc`s Public Works Department.

CityTVsnowmarch2017

I have received a great deal of kind comments from residents in regards to how well  we  handled the snow clearing.  In fact, most of the Montreal media praised the work we did on the main roads. Please understand that this is a very difficult task and I was among the motorists on the Thursday morning stuck trying to get past the underpass on Cavendish. It was unavoidable and inconvenient, but later in the day all cleared up

“It was an emotional day for many residents,”  Public Works Director Beatrice Newman reported to city council. "Please help us help your residents understand why things appear to be a certain way while in the background, the city is working fervently to provide safe passage-ways in the city.”

The light on Guelph Road broke Thursday morning and stayed green. This meant that Westminster stayed on a red light. Traffic began to build up, employees rushed to help traffic. Public Security  directed traffic and electricians worked on determining and fixing the light. “Things like this happens when there are drastic changes in weather,” Ms. Newman said.

Cavendish Boulevard was congested, southbound. Our snow removal operations provided clear roads for our residents, but unfortunately once they hit CSL Road and Cavendish, they were faced with congestion. NDG kept their side of Cavendish at one lane. Therefore, our three lanes had to squeeze into their one lane. “Et voilà, major traffic accumulation on Cavendish and  CSL,”  Ms. Newman explained.

Fleet was at one lane from our city right through Hampstead. The objective at first is to clear the road with one lane for access. Then approximately 24 hours later, the blowing began. “We cannot start our operations earlier in the morning or traffic issues would be inevitable,” said Ms. Newman. “Only one lane would still be available in this case. We must consider the safety concerns first. This was not a regular snow storm. This was a blizzard with white out conditions, dangerous road conditions and more. We must have patience. Close to 40 centimeters fell and the process to remove it all will not be quick, we must work efficiently​and safely.”

We had five  teams working all day Thursday, five sidewalk cleaners, five loader/blowers, five 10 wheelers, five walkers and two salt trucks remained to follow the contractors as they salted the roads once the contractor blew the snow. Once snow falls on the asphalt  we secure it with abrasives.

Snowdump2017
Our snow dump after the storm.

Two teams worked at the municipal buildings and one  worked on our special calls such as  snow blown accidentally on personal walkways, emptying public garbage, etc. One  employee was stationed at the snow dump on Marc Chagall in District 2, which now looks like an Olympic ski hill.

The balance of the areas around Yavne, Merton and Maimonides schools were done on Friday.   

We are working hard to do our best in operations and customer service.  

“In Public Security, our agents have seen their call volume go up by a factor of 2.5,” explained Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson. “Our agents have responded with professionalism and tact despite trying circumstances, horrible road conditions and lots and lots of snow. They have always kept the safety of our residents at the forefront and I have been impressed by their ingenuity and dedication.

“Our Dispatch Centre has been flooded with calls and complaints about everything from traffic to snow removal to cars blocking driveways. Despite being screamed and sworn at, they have maintained their composure and professionalism.”

Mr. Reichson noted that while  we did not activate our emergency plan, we kept it close at hand. We ensured that our evacuation routes remained as accessible as possible and were prepared to activate elements of the plan as required. “Despite what some residents have posted online, our response has been as strong and efficient as it can be,” he said. “ This was not just another storm, but rather an opportunity for our employees to shine and from what I have seen, all have risen to the occasion.


St. Laurent Mayor DeSousa tells us he is optimistic about Cavendish extension

Members of Côte Saint-Luc City Council welcomed St. Laurent Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa to City Hall last week.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Alan for many years, dating back to the days when I was covering St. Laurent as a beat reporter for The Suburban Newspaper and he was attending council meetings as a concerned citizen. There was no question that he would one day be an elected official.

DeSousa
Mayor Brownstein and Council welcome Alan DeSousa.

De Sousa served as Councillor in St. Laurent from 1990 to 2001, following which he was elected borough mayor for four consecutive terms. He also sat as a member of the Ville de Montréal Executive for 11 years, and served as Vice-Chair. During these years, he was responsible for finance and administration, economic development, long-term planning, hydraulic infrastructures, environment and parks, as well as for sustainable development.

In the private sector, DeSousa  served as Vice-President, Corporate Finance, at BioChem Pharma, a publicly owned Canadian company. It also worked as a corporate tax specialist in international taxation at Ernst & Young. The Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec awarded him the title of Fellow in 2005. Throughout these years, his social involvement in numerous community and charitable organizations has never ceased.

St. Laurent is a huge borough and DeSousa remains the same approachable fellow I met all of those years ago. Our council often invites political colleagues to meet with us. In the case of DeSousa, we spoke about issues such as transportation and of course the extension of Cavendish Boulevard.

"Cavendish is getting to the point of political acceptance," DeSousa commented. "Right now it seems to be going on the right track. Cavendish is on the rails. We have to keep pushing it."

DeSousa is confident that phase one of the long-anticipated extension will occur in 2019-20 with a connection from Royalmount to St. Laurent.

Word has it that DeSousa will seek the Liberal nomination in the federal riding of St. Laurent- Cartierville, recently  vacated by Stéphane Dion.

 


City Councillor for Côte Saint-Luc District 2 Mike Cohen: 2016 Year in Review

 

It has been my pleasure to serve as Côte Saint-Luc City Councillor for District 2 since 2005. Each year at this time I present my year in review. The past 12 months have been very busy as usual in my district and in city at large via my portfolios.

Mitchell Brownstein was acclaimed as our new mayor, succeeding Anthony Housefather who had been elected as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal.  Mitchell was first elected to city council in 1990. He has done an excellent job thus far, becoming a true full-time mayor. Mitchell has basically stepped away from his law practice and you can find him at City Hall five day a week – sometimes even on weekends. While the next general election is on November 5, 2017, Mitchell commenced his door to door campaign immediately upon taking office. I joined him on a few occasions. My constituents were pleasantly surprised to meet the mayor and their city councillor in a non-election year.

SidneyBenizri
Councillor Allan J. Levine and I welcome Sidney Benizri aboard.

Filling Mitchell’s seat in District 7 was Sidney Benizri. There were four candidates in the spring by-election. Sidney has been a welcomed addition to our team. It is nice to have the first Sephardic Jew elected to council.

Via this blog, my annual District meetings and regular walkabouts in this area I remain in very close contact with the electorate.  Being a city councillor makes you accountable to the public. Each day I respond to phone calls and countless e-mails. When I attend public events or go to the shopping center, someone always has a request to make.  

CAVENDISH/KILDARE

Since I was elected as a member of city council in Côte Saint-Luc 11 years ago, the most frequent concern raised has been related to the Cavendish/Kildare intersection. The city formed an ad hoc committee which met over a period of many months. In June I held my annual District 2 Round Table and Cavendish/Kildare was the main subject. Staff were on hand to respond to all questions from a standing room only crowd and we promised that phase one of our plan would be in place by the fall.

In November we proudly introduced a new split phase configuration. In short, motorists travelling westbound on Kildare are now able to drive through the intersection at Cavendish while traffic in the opposing direction waits. This allows drivers to turn left (or turn right, or go straight) without opposing traffic. To help visualize the change, imagine you are a driver who left the JPPS/Bialik campus and is heading west along Kildare towards the police station. When you approach the traffic light at Cavendish Blvd., you can use the left or middle lane to turn left or the middle lane to go straight. Once we have made the change, the motorists coming from the opposite direction will have a red right, which will allow you to turn left (or to go straight) without having to worry about oncoming traffic.

Likewise, motorists coming from the opposite side now have their chance to move through the intersection without interference, soon after. Just as many vehicles as before are able to pass through the intersection. However, the process is less stressful for many. Pedestrians also appreciate the change because they now have fewer vehicles coming from few directions to contend with. I would like to thank staff, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and particularly Councillor Glenn J. Nashen who really spearheaded this initiative as he does with all traffic matters in the city.  The response I have received from constituents has been overwhelmingly positive.

NEW BUILDINGS

An announcement was made by a developer that two 12 storey high rise buildings will be built on Marc Chagall Avenue, near Mackle Road. Initially the developer had planned to sell condominiums, however a new concept of luxury rental condominiums with extensive amenities is planned. Trantor Realty will develop the project with Jadco construction.

I need to make something abundantly clear. It was the 1988 Côte Saint-Luc City Council, 17 years before I was elected, that adopted the zoning which allowed for these two facilities.  People residing in Le Rothchild I and II would be interested to know that the developers of those properties were the ones who originally owned that piece of land where they had advised the city of plans to construct Le Rotchild III and IV. The land remained vacant for many years. About a decade ago there was a plan by another company to construct two buildings at this location. They would have been 18 storey high condos.  At the time, none of the neighbours were thrilled about the project. They recognized the zoning had been set earlier. When I was elected I got calls asking if we could lower the number of floors. Once the project stopped, then Mayor Housefather and council agreed to to lower the density to 12 storeys.  It is very important that people understand the present council could do nothing to stop these two apartment buildings from going forward. The zoning was set in stone 26 years ago.

We expect there to be 264 units. We insisted that the developers provide the maximum number of parking spots possible, that being 400.

BasalBuilding

Meanwhile, Ron Basal of the BSR Group, a leading Montreal based developer who has been extensively active in Côte Saint Luc in recent years, began construction of a brand new six storey apartment building on The Avenue right across from the side entrance to Quartier Cavendish.  It is expected to be ready for occupancy by July 2017.    Most of the Quartier Cavendish development sector falls under my District 2. This includes Park Place, Jubilee and now this new mixed use building, which will consist of 90 dwelling units on six floors (plus penthouse) as well as a main floor for commercial use.  Tenants there will be determined.     A two storey underground parking lot is also in the plans. While this was part of the original zoning, nearby residents did have some concerns about all of the new activity. For instance on Park Place there appeared to be a lot of non-residents parking their cars in the street. We did a study and implemented some parking limitations. This deterred, for instance, gym users from parking there for an extended period. Most residents have garages so the issue of street parking has a lot to do with their ability to enter and exit their driveways more easily.  

ELIE WIESEL REMEMBRANCE PARK

As the city councillor responsible for naming rights, I was proud to successfully propose that we name the new park at the corner of Cavendish Blvd. and Kildare Rd. after the late Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and author who fought for peace, human rights and simple human decency. The new park, to officially be called Elie Wiesel Remembrance Park, includes 11 trees, pedestrian paths, lamp standards, illuminated bollards, 10 park benches and decorative fences. It was recently completed. A formal dedication ceremony for the new park will take place in spring 2017.   I was approached by a number of people after Wiesel died with the suggestion that the city honour him. I believe that by doing so at the intersection of two of our most important streets makes a lot of sense. Elie Wiesel was a champion for people of all religions. We are proud of the fact his legacy will live on in our community forever.

BETH CHABAD

The Beth Chabad Hechal Menachem Complex CSL, located at the corner of Kildare Road and Marc Chagall, celebrated its 30th anniversary at a gala affair on December 4 which I was proud to attend.  This gorgeous facility has been in operation for five years now. Prior to that it was based at the Cavendish Mall, Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre and Earle Road.

Raskinspeaks
Rabbi Raskin addresses the 30th anniversary celebration.

Rabbi Mendel Raskin and his wife Sarah have been there since day one. This is not just a synagogue, but a full-fledged community youth centre. It incorporates entertainment and education in a very modern environment for today's and tomorrow's youth. Children of all ages, can share their time between pool tables at the youth lounge, work on computers with internet access in the computer room, eat or have a snack in the cafeteria as well as study in a beautiful and well equipped library. In the summer, this is the site of a camp. The upstairs banquet hall can accommodate close to 600 people. Next to it is the beautiful sanctuary. A new mikveh was recently unveiled.

ECONOFITNESS ARRIVES

The former Bureau en Gros locale at Quartier Cavendish  was filled in June. A brand new health club called Éconofitness, a division of, Energie Cardio,  set up shop and transformed the one-time office supplies stores into a state-of-the-art gym. It was a $1 million investment. You can become a member for as little as $120 a year, payable at $10 a month.

NEW GAS STATION

Thursday May 19, 2016 marked a very exciting day in Côte Saint-Luc  and District 2 as the much anticipated Shell Gas Station, complete with a Boni Soir convenience store and a car wash, finally opened for business.  I am proud to be the city councillor for the Quartier Cavendish (former Cavendish Mall) where this new facility sits. If there was one question that followed me up and down the grocery aisle more than others it has been "So when is that Shell going to open?"  There were a variety of delays for good reasons, lastly some necessary Hydro-Québec connections. But it was certainly worth the wait.  The entire facility is under the umbrella of Sobeys, the company which owns IGA.   Franchise operator Alaedine Gouader runs a good operation. The Boni Soir has freshly baked muffins and danishes prepared on the premises each day and they are kosher. A 12 ounce cup of coffee will be available free for the first two weeks. I had some decaf and it was very good. There were is a full array of snacks and dairy products. We were told that the shelves will become more plentiful in the coming days. There a few tables and chairs in the back for customers to sit down on. A large bathroom, complete with a changing table, is also available to the public. You  can buy lotto tickets and use the BMO ATM.

 Franchise operator Alaedine Gouader runs a good operation. The Boni Soir has freshly baked muffins and danishes prepared on the premises each day and they are kosher. A 12 ounce cup of coffee will be available free for the first two weeks. I had some decaf and it was very good. There were is a full array of snacks and dairy products. We were told that the shelves will become more plentiful in the coming days. There a few tables and chairs in the back for customers to sit down on. A large bathroom, complete with a changing table, is also available to the public. You  can buy lotto tickets and use the BMO ATM.

SIDEWALK WORK

It is very important to keep our sidewalks in good condition. During my walkabouts in the District I always keep a close eye on which sections are in disrepair. In the case of Marc Chagall Avenue and Kildare Road, there were certainly some trouble spots. Not every problematic sidewalk can be fixed. We have a very long list of those which require repair. This year Marc Chagall and Kildare were chosen. In the case of Kildare, there is a lot of foot traffic.

NEW CROSSING GUARD

Since the passing of Archie Kwiatt, the position of a crossing guard at the corner of Cavendish Boulevard and Kildare Road had been vacant. This was not for a lack of trying on the part of our Public Safety Department. There simply were not people applying for the job. Archie was very special. He did the job for 17 years and like the "King of Kensington," when he walked down the street "everyone knew his name." Archie took great care making sure that the elderly and young students crossed this very busy intersection carefully. Norman Klein has been on the job for more than a month and is serving us well.  

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Norman Klein on the job.

 I made it very clear at the council table that this was one position which could not remain vacant. We have a school a block away, JPPS-Bialik, and many senior citizen pedestrians. History will note that this was also the site of some tragic accidents in the past. Last May we welcomed Norman Klein to the post.  We actually had a number of applicants this time around and Norman was our choice. He is on the each weekday. He is passionate about the job, personable like Archie with the residents while keeping his eye out for safety. Norman is a resident of Côte Saint-Luc, where he also works as a security officer for a local high rise condominium and umpires weeknights in local softball leagues. I made it very clear at the council table that this was one position which could not remain vacant. We have a school a block away, JPPS-Bialik, and many senior citizen pedestrians. History will note that this was also the site of some tragic accidents in the past.

ISADORE GOLBERG PARK

Isadore Goldberg Park is sandwiched between apartment buildings on Sir Walter Scott Avenue and The Marc Chagall Town Houses. For many years I have been advocating that we relocate the park to the open area closer to City Hall. This would in fact be more convenient to everyone residing in the neighbouring apartment buildings and condos. Efforts are being made to address this issue.

TASHLICH

Tashlich (תשליך) is a ritual that many Jews observe during Rosh Hashanah. "Tashlich" means "casting off" in Hebrew and involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or another food into a body of flowing water. Unfortunately, due to the renovations at Trudeau Park, that lake was not available. I was able to arrange for one of the bodies of water to be available at Rembrandt Park (near Kildare).

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK

Last summer,   Repercussion Theatre’s  Shakespeare in The Park took place in Rembrandt Park. We actually had two sessions there. Rembrandt was used because of the renovations occurring at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park.

CAVENDISH EXTENSION

An important step forward” is how David Birnbaum, MNA for D'Arcy-McGee, described a resolution adopted at the Quebec Liberal Party’s General Council calling for the implementation of the long-awaited Cavendish extension. The final resolution, including an amendment brought forth by the D’Arcy-McGee Liberal Riding Association, was overwhelmingly adopted. The original resolution, proposed by the Nelligan Riding Association proposed that: “The government recommend the opening of Cavendish Boulevard between Saint-Laurent and Côte Saint-Luc to provide a north-south alternative to motorists from the West.’’ Significantly, Nelligan is the riding of Municipal Affairs and Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux, who has a key role to play in orchestrating Quebec’s participation in the project. The D’Arcy-McGee delegation to the congress, led by President Orna Hilberger, strengthened the resolution by proposing the following amendment: “The government recommend and participate, with the other levels of government, in the financing and execution of the opening of Cavendish Boulevard between Saint-Laurent and Côte Saint-Luc to provide a north-south alternative to motorists from the West.’’ Cavendish is much more than a plan to reduce West-end traffic congestion, Birnbaum insisted. With the future developments of Namur-De-la-Savanne, including the Triangle, the Blue Bonnets site and potentially, the Quinze-40 shopping-centre project, Cavendish represents perhaps the central economic hub of activity for all of Montreal over the next 20 years.”

BREAKING DOWN THE SNOW DUMP

Once again I was able to make sure that our Public Works Department broke up the large mountain of dirty snow in the snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue. Our staff inspected the ditches around the perimeter of the dump that capture the melting snow. These ditches functioned properly and the water from the melting snow made its way to the northwest corner of the snow dump where it drained into the city sewer. We then called in a contractor with a large shovel who broke up the remaining snow and accelerated the melting process. We took advantage at the same time to clean any leaves at the bottom of the ditches.  Once all of the snow melted we   then picked up all remaining debris in the snow dump from our snow removal operations

Work also took place at our snow dump as a reaction to a problem we discovered last year with an amount of water runoff which looked as it had become a standing pool at the north side.   I thank Dr. Marvin Steinberg for continuing to bring this to our attention. Concerned that this may be a potential for mosquitoes to propagate in the stagnant water or other potential problems, we combined our efforts with Engineering to investigate and follow through with a plan of action.

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The snow dump.


The ditches around the perimeter of the dump that capture the melting snow were inspected, but the water in the ditch surrounding the snow dump was determined to be not stagnant. We confirmed that ditches were functioning and the water from the melting snow made its way to the North West corner of the snow dump where it drained into the city sewer; the water from the melting snow is continuously running to a low point at the North West corner of the dump. The water then percolates through the bed of gravel into the city's sewer system.

A contractor was called in early spring to break up the remaining snow with a large shovel and this accelerated the melting process. We took advantage at the same time to clean all leaves at the bottom of the ditches, as well. Once all the snow had melted we picked up all remaining debris in the snow dump from our snow removal operations.  The company Stantec was then called in to do a study of why there was any water accumulation and finally determined that the required repairs included the need to replace a broken sewer pipe. The company Simo was contacted on a "appel de service" and was supposed to do the work in November. They are here now completing the work. Thanks to Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman and Director of Urban Development and Engineering Charles Senekal and their teams

SHALOM BLOOM

An exhibit of wildlife sculptures from District 2 resident Shalom Bloom was display at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library’s Art Gallery March 31 to May 29. Bloom, a resident of District 2, is considered one of Canada’s pre-eminent wildlife sculptors. Many of his sculptures are on display at corporate headquarters worldwide as well as in White Tail Deer Park in Elliot Lake. His work has been commissioned by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to create a sculpture for their headquarters in Montreal. Just as fascinating as his art is his personal story. Bloom, who is today an active resident of Côte Saint-Luc, only started working on his sculptures at age 50, while creating a successful career building his own businesses. He was CEO of Arlington Sports, the South Africa Diamond Company, as well as a chain of restaurants. Starting in 1995, he devoted much of his time to pursue his art. He stumbled across his talent by accident when his children were working with plasticine modeling clay and asked for his help. In 2017 the new Shalom Bloom Sculpture Garden will open a Trudeau Park

JESSE LEIBNER

Congratulations  to Jesse Shuster Leibner, a resident of Côte Saint-Luc`s District 2, who  received  the Scarlet Key for leadership at McGill  University Jesse was also offered the Guy Drummond Fellowship as one of the top Political Science Honours students from the 2016 graduating class.  He went to Paris for the 2016-17 academic year to pursue graduate studies at Europe's leading school in political science, Science Politiques, and he will then return to McGill to complete his Masters in Political Science. These activities are supported by the   Fellowship.  Before that, Jesse will be working this summer as the Economic and Trade Intern for the European Union in Ottawa. 

MANOIRE MONTEFIORE

Manoire Montefiore, the upscale and beautifully maintained seniors residence located at the corner of Cavendish Boulevard and Mackle Road, shut its doors in 2016 -  less than a year after the owners, Réseau Selection, made the official announcement. At the time they indicated it could take as long as 18 months to ensure that the residents all found new homes. The process of relocation concluded with 85 residents moved to another Réseau Selection property while 15 percent went elsewhere.

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Each resident and their family was given individual counselling in terms of selecting a new place to live as well as getting compensation equivalent to three months of rent to assist with the relocation costs. The building is now up for sale. Unless it remains a seniors residence, any change in vocation will have to come to council for a zoning change. It will be interesting to see what transpires. There were only 65 units occupied at the Montefiore at the time of last year`s announcement to close. Manoire Montefiore opened in 1989. In my 10 plus years as a city councillor I made many visits there to attend events and speak to the residents. It was always such a pleasure.

JOSIANE RETIRES

Good luck to District 2 resident Josiane Ouaknine, who is retired as a Côte Saint-Luc municipal employee after 34 years of dedicated service. Josiane has worked in many departments:  Finance, Archives, Urban Planning, EMS, Public Safety, Purchasing, The Aquatic and Community Centre and for the office of then Mayor and Council. In the latter capacity she was most helpful to  me. Over the last few years she has been the person to greet members of the public at City Hall, directing them to the right office as well as answering questions by phone.

COMMUNITY AT LARGE

B'nai Brith Canada held its official ground-breaking ceremony November 28 for a much anticipated $26-million, 129-unit subsidized seniors’ residence. The Bissell Family Foundation Château B’nai Brith will be located next to the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre, only a short walk from Maison B’nai Brith (B’nai Brith House), another B’nai Brith subsidized seniors’ residence. The latter recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Construction on the residence began the following day, with a projected opening of spring, 2018. Ted Greenfield, long-time B’nai Brith Canada activist – former president of both B'nai Brith Canada and B’nai Brith Residences – served as the emcee for the ceremony. He lamented the absence of stalwart Gerry Weinstein, another former B’nai Brith president, who passed away last May. Weinstein is considered the “father” of B’nai Brith House and he worked tirelessly to make Château B’nai Brith a reality. His wife, Lynn, was on hand, who also spoke about her late husband. “Gerry is up there looking down on us with a smile. He’d be so happy,” she said.

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Dirk Van Egmond, his family, members of council, Anthony Housefather and David Birnbaum.

 

MAISONS FLEURIES

When my city council colleague Sidney Benizri and I were asked to co-chair the 2016 Maisons Fleuries Contest, we agreed to do something different. I suggested Sidney, Parks and Recreation Associate Director Cornelia Ziga, event coordinator Laura Trihas, devoted committee member Louise Ferland and the dean of city employees Harold Cammy that we introduce a Lifetime Achievement Award.  We brought the idea to Mayor Brownstein and city council and it was approved. Maisons Fleuries recognizes the superb floral arrangements at homes, condominiums, apartments and business complexes. Judging is done during the summer and every November we hold a ceremony at our Aquatic and Community Centre. So who would win our first Maisons Fleuries Lifetime Achievement Award? Dirk Van Egmond was the logical choice. Dirk, who just turned 92, has devoted his life to flowers and plants. He accepted the honour and it was heartwarming to see him at our event, surrounded by his children, their spouses and hi grandchildren. His wife Teuna (Toos) passed away in 2010. The Van Egmond family own Edgewood Florist, which they operated on Hudson Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc for 56 years. Although the business relocated to Montreal West in 2012 when the land was sold for development, Dirk continues to be a resident of Côte Saint-Luc. Edgewood and the Van Egmond family have been part of the Côte Saint-Luc landscape for more years than most residents of this city. They have played an important role in the lives of thousands over the decades, making milestone events all the more special with their beautiful floral arrangements.

MEN’S CLUB

The Côte Saint-Luc Men`s Club sure knows how to throw a party! Their annual gala is always the highlight of the social season for some of our most outgoing senior citizens and the 2016 edition was no exception.

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Syd Kronish and members of council.

This 29th annual gala was held at the Gelber Conference Centre. It was a sold out affair, with more than 400 people in attendance. District 2 resident Joe Presser served as the gala chairman, working with committee members Nathan Brotman, Kenny Bessner, David Haltrecht, David Gandell, Peter Sternberg, Mannie Young and Syd Kronish. Syd is the Men`s Club president and also a District 2 constituent of mine. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and members of city council were in attendance as was Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather and D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum. His predecessor, Lawrence Bergman, was on hand as well. Lawrence maintains a very steady presence at community events. There was entertainment by Greg Innis on the keyboard an magic with Jody M. This year's Man of The Year was Bill Surkis, the Men's Club vice-president who sadly passed away very suddenly over a week prior to the event. He was 77. Bill enjoyed a distinguished career as a pedagogue, head of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and B'nai Brith Canada. He suffered some adversity in recent years and the death of  his devoted wife. The Men's Club provided him with an opportunity for a fresh start. Many of his family members were on hand to accept the honour posthumously.  Kronish also paid tribute to the late Seymour Kleinberg, a sweetheart of a gentleman and a two-time Mann of the Year, who also passed away recently.

NEW DROP-IN PROGRAM

The new Drop-In Program for Older Adults was inaugurated on August 29 at the  Côte Saint-Luc Parks and Recreation Department, right next door to our ACC.  This program will provide a respite for the caregivers of seniors, many of whom suffer from dementia. The program is operated by staff from the Cummings Centre in space provided by Côte Saint-Luc, and with $390,913 in financial support over three years from the government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. The creation of the program was also made possible with the assistance of the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal (West-Central Montreal Health), the Caregiver Network and the Town of Hampstead.

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A special inauguration.

 

SIDNEY SHOHAM PLACE

The city renamed a section of Hudson Avenue to Place Sidney Shoham Place at a beautiful ceremony on Sunday, September 25 several hundred people turned out on a nice sunny day. Rabbi Shoham passed away on September 21, 2015, at the age of 86. He retired 10 years earlier as the founding rabbi of Beth Zion Congregation after having served in that role for 50-plus years. Rabbi Shoham continued to remain very active in synagogue life and in fact, passed away only hours after attending the synagogue’s annual Cantorial Concert, of which he was most involved. As the city councillor responsible for naming rights, I was approached last winter by Beth Zion president Earl Rosen about honouring Rabbi Shoham’s memory.  We do not often rename streets, but in this case the decision was a natural. Beth Zion is no longer located at 5740 Hudson Avenue, but rather 1 Place Sidney Shoham Place.  The Hebrew Day School is now at 5 and 9 Place Sidney Shoham Place. When I went to district Councillor Allan J. Levine, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and the rest of council, the name change was agreed upon immediately.  I would like to thank our Director of Public Affairs Darryl Levine and Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman for their work behind the scenes.

NEW RABBI IN TOWN

Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich became the new spiritual leader of  Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem on Baily Road, succeeding Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz who is now in New Yok City.

Rabbi Freundlich, affectionately known as “Rabbi Y,” his wife Rifki and their seven children arrived here via Atlanta. Since 2007 he had served as the Associate Rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob. In addition, he became Head of School at Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael High School in 2014.

TOBACCO RESOLUTION

In the City of Côte Saint-Luc, I am proud to say that I am part of an elected council where not the mayor or the eight other members smoke cigarettes. The same can be said for Liberal Mount Royal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, who was our mayor I detest cigarettes and I am proud of the measures our city has taken over the years, notably the late Councillor Eric Helfield’s ground-breaking anti-smoking bylaw in public places. I was a news reporter for The Suburban at the time. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people smoke. It does seem less prevalent these days. None of my close friends or family smoke and thankfully it seems less popular among the youth of our society. Tobacco is the most prevalent cause of sickness and avoidable death in Canada, killing approximately 37,000 people each year. In fact, the tobacco epidemic is caused by an industry that uses all means at its disposal in order to render its products more attractive and its appearance less dangerous. Packaging remains one of the most powerful promotional vehicles for tobacco products. The Federal Tobacco Control Strategy must be renewed between now and March of 2017 and Côte Saint-Luc City Council is backing a movement spearheaded by Montreal (Snowdon) Councillor Marvin Rotrand that the standardization of packaging must be one of the first measures deployed within the context of an approved strategy. At a Council meeting we formally requested that the Parliament of Canada legislate a demand for neutral and standardized packaging for tobacco products. Neutral and standardized packaging will prohibit all the promotional elements of all tobacco products, including the use of colors, images, logos, slogans, distinctive policies and finishings. Only the name and brand shall be authorized and the health warnings shall remain present on the packaging. The size and form of the packaging will be standardized, prohibiting therefore any specific formats such as slim and ultra-slim cigarette packages and which will result in reducing the size of the warning. The motion was carried unanimously.

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A memorable photo at VE Day.

 

VE DAY


The annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration in the City of Côte Saint-Luc took place on Sunday, May 1. Due to inclement weather we could not have it at Veterans Park, so we moved it inside to the Council Chamber for a very dignified and well run ceremony, which highlighted the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Europe from the armed forces of Nazi Germany, on May 8, 1945. The room was full, but with the exception of the relatives of some of the veterans and others in the room the lack of youth in attendance was once again very evident. This was an exercise of authentic learning. We still have veterans who fought for this country among us. I spoke to many of my colleagues after the event, notably Councillor Allan J. Levine. He is our liaison with the Legion. His late dad was a veteran. Allan was a school teacher. “If the students do not come to us, we must go to them,” Allan stated.

I agree whole heartedly. We did have many students at our Remembrance Day Ceremony on November 11 and expect the same when VE Day 2017 takes place at the former Wagar High School on May 8.

2017 BUDGET

The City of Côte Saint-Luc adopted an operating budget for 2017 that kept spending flat and saw the property tax of 1.9% percent for an average single-family home in the city, which is in line with what the Conference Board of Canada has forecast as the inflation rate for the greater Montreal region. We do our very best to keep property taxes as low as possible and our level of service what residents have come to expect. It was a challenging exercise this year given the higher than expected bill we received from Agglomeration of Montreal, which is the island-wide government that all cities on the island have to pay into.  The Côte Saint-Luc City Council adopted the $68 million operating budget on December 12.  About 42 percent of all taxes collected by Côte Saint-Luc are transferred to the Agglomeration of Montreal, which funds services such as police, fire, and public transit.  The property tax bills will be sent to homes by the last week of January. The deadline to pay property taxes has been set at February 27 for the first installment and May 29 for the second installment.

PORTFOLIO UPDATE

 

Library and Culture

Each city councillor has porfolios. I am responsible for Library and Culture, Sponsorship, Naming Rights and Animal Protection.

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Handing out cupcakes at the anniversary with our RBC sponsors.

 

The Côte Saint-Luc Eleanor London Public Library is 50 years old and on September 18 we celebrated this remarkable silver anniversary with an entire day of events. As the city councillor responsible for Library and Culture, I could not be more proud of the job Director of Library Services Janine West and her team did to put this together. When our 2016 Canada Day celebrations were rained out, Mayor Brownstein suggested immediately that we make our Library celebration bigger than usually planned. So we concluded everything with a bang – an amazing concert performance by the band Vintage Wine and laser show. Oh yes, the weather was absolutely perfect. We created a makeshift outdoor concert bowl at the rear of our parking lot. The band was so well received that the moment they began to play people came out of the audience to dance.   While Eleanor London, our founding librarian could not attend due to health reasons, Miriam Lang addressed the audience. The wife of the late Mayor Bernard Lang, Miriam told us all how the creation of our library all began in the kitchen of her home with a small committee. She said some people questioned Mayor Lang’s decision to select the second floor of the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre as the initial location, but it turned out to be the perfect spot until our City Hall/Library Complex was constructed. We now have without a doubt the finest public library in Quebec and possibly Canada.

In May we announced that the library would again be staying open until 10 pm. Council is very responsive and attentive to the community and this modification was a testament to our commitment to address resident concerns in a timely manner in order to provide the highest quality of service. We listened to residents who asked that we restore late hours at the library, particularly on Sunday evening, which was a popular study time for students.  We worked hard to find a way to restore the Sunday hours. Careful re-organization of our staffing plan by Director West made this modification possible. The virtual library remains open 24/7 with online access to eBooks, audiobooks, magazines and reference material. Library membership is free for Côte Saint-Luc residents.

I was honoured to attend the formal kickoff for 50th anniversary ceremonies of the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library.  We did so on June 22 at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium. A nice crowd was on hand to watch rising-star pianist Emie R. Roussell and her jazz trio perform the concert Quantum, featuring music from their critically acclaimed CD of the same title. We also inaugurated the library’s new baby grand piano. We were able to acquire this gem of an instrument through various fundraising initiatives, including our heartfelt 88 Keys to Music Campaign, allowing us to honour donors’ names on a plaque we unveiled just prior to the concert. Since the piano will require upkeep, we are still taking $88 donations.

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Mayor Brownstein and I with our new Baby Grand.

Our transformed library lounge at the ACC boasts is a very popular take-a-book-leave-a-book format. The very popular concept of Little Free Libraries has been gaining momentum in North America over the last few years. People bring books, magazines, CDs, or movies they no longer need and take ones already there. There is no need for membership cards and no associated fees. Items are not part of the regular library collection so they don’t need to be returned and there are no due dates to contend with. The Library Lounge is open from 6 am to 10 pm. The space is loaded with thousands of donated items. People can also use the space to read, relax, play a game, do a puzzle and use the public computer. There is also an outdoor return slot where official library items can be returned 24/7.

Animal Welfare

 

How proud am I of the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC), a group I helped established six years ago? Very much so. We are a small group of volunteers, dedicated to Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt. Few communities on the island of Montreal have such an entity. While the city provides us with an annual grant of $5,000, we need more to fulfil our mission. There are veterinarian bills to pay and supplies to purchase. So a year into our existence we decided to start doing some fundraising. Our biggest event is a concert we present featuring the extraordinary Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo. For our fifth annual concert on August 23 at the Syd Wise Auditorium of the Marymount Adult Education Centre, more than 300 people were in attendance. A Bouquet of Classics: The Music We All Love was the theme. Net proceeds plus funds collected via donations and purchases through our bake sale – spearheaded by Fern Collier-Pereira – gave us the boost we needed to keep doing our job. In fact the money received from the latter goes to a new fund which will enable us to purchase cat food for those who feed outdoor community cats year-round. It is safe to say that most of the people in the audience were there to hear good music.

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Joseph Milo and his orchestra.

As I said in my address, if only a few of those individuals step forward to help us then it will be a plus for us. I must say that over the last couple of years, different people have joined our team and truly made a difference. Diane Liebling is the heart and soul of our committee. She oversees the most difficult task of trapping the homeless community cats we find, often fostering them in her own garage. As I saw the large gathering around the bake sale at intermission, with Fern and committee members working so hard, I felt very very proud,

Councillor Sam Goldbloom once again co-chaired the concert with me. Sam and I are the only pet owners on council and he adores his Mr. Darcy as much as I love my Cleopatra.

While the Quebec government studies the issues of dangerous dogs and consults with municipalities, many of which have already implemented bans on pit bulls in particular, our city reinforced an existing bylaw. Our most recent bylaw regarding dangerous dogs was adopted in 2009. In the wake of a series of high-profile dog attacks, our Public Safety Department has sent letters to current owners of pit bulls in our community that we have on record, asking that they be muzzled. This will be extended to other dogs we deem to be potentially dangerous. Alanna Devine of the Montreal SPCA has let me know how she feels about the issue. “Breed specific legislation is ineffective, unenforceable and unfair," she noted. "It doesn’t do anything to make communities safer and punishes responsible dog owners who happen to have dogs that look a specific way. Even with grandfather clauses, many adoptable dogs and puppies in shelters will be condemned to death because there will be nowhere for them to go. They won’t be able to be adopted because of the way that they look."


According to our present bylaw, a "dangerous dog" means: a dog which has a propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack, bite, threaten, or injure, with or without provocation, any persons, property or other animals; with or without provocation or physical injury, attacks, bites, or threatens any person, property; a domestic animal that has been trained for dog fighting or to attack upon a command. In the event that the owner and/or custodian of a dangerous dog fails to comply with the obligation to muzzle the animal when on any public property throughout the city of Côte Saint-Luc, he shall be liable to a fine. Is this strong enough?  I do not think so, given recent events. This is why we really need the government to step in. As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I know how it must feel for someone who has a pet they love, only to be threatened to have it taken away via legislation. Several municipalities do have laws on the books banning pit bulls. However, they are not the only breeds that pose a threat. We will wait to see what the Quebec government decides for that will impact on our future actions. An advisory group, though, does not appear to pushing for a pit bull ban according to this report. In the meantime, I wish to urge the owners of dogs considered to be dangerous to please use a muzzle.

We had some disturbing incidents in our own community. At one park, three people with large dogs (a pit bull, a rottweiler and another breed) were approached by a Public Security agent and asked to leave the premises with the dogs. The owner responded that her dogs were trained to attack on command and loosened her grip on the leash. Fearing for his safety, the agent called immediately for police back-up who arrived, handcuffed the woman in the back of the police car and pointed a Taser at one of the men. Police declarations were filled out and we believe charges were filed against one or all of the individuals involved.  Meanwhile, we had a pit bull attack when the dog escaped from a ground floor apartment and attacked a pug. The dog in question already had a muzzle order in place. Public Security and police were on scene. We issued tickets and the police pressed criminal negligence charges against the owner.

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Dogs allowed on a leash!

Still with dogs, after many years of lobbying members of council we now have five parks where owners can walk their canines on leashes. None of these parks are near sandboxes where young children play. This is a good first start and we know that responsible dog owners will respect the guidelines we have established. In District 2, the newly named Library Lane - the pathway from Marc Chagall Avenue leading to the City Hall/Library - now permits dogs on leashes.

Golf Classic

Last December I got a call from Harold Cammy, Côte Saint-Luc`s veteran manager of Parks and Recreation. Harold has been with the city for 42 years and I have worked with him on many projects for one reason or another over that time. Harold, section manager Alvin Fishman and my council colleague Sam Goldbloom and I work together each summer on the Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic at Meadowbrook. And yes, work actually begins more than six months prior to tee-off time.  Harold had an idea for an honouree, that being Pierre Brunet. The franchisee for many McDonald`s Restaurants, including two in Côte Saint-Luc, Pierre has always been there to support us. Sam and I brought the proposition to council and it was approved before anyone could say “Big Mac.” The date for this 37th annual event was Thursday, July 7. Let the record state that we have never been completely rained out. Based on the forecast, we were pretty worried as thundershowers were predicted all week. That remained the case even up until the night before. But Mother Nature is clearly a CSL golf fan and the weather conditions could not have been better. Close to 100 golfers hit the beautiful Meadowbrook course for this nine-hole best ball affair.

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Congratulating Pierre Brunet with a cake shaped like a hamburger.

There was a beautiful link this year between honouring Pierre Brunet and stepping up our commitment to Manoir Ronald McDonald. This is a temporary home away from home for out-of-town (more than 70 km) families of children with critical illness who must travel here for medical treatments. Traditionally, Côte Saint-Luc directs proceeds from its annual Winter Carnival events to this facility located next door to Ste. Justine Hospital via a pancake breakfast. This has resulted in donations of close to $50,000 for the Manoir. The Côte Saint-Luc Men`s Club announced they had raised close to $1,200 in less than three weeks for Le Manoir. Cammy added that through a variety of other clubs, an additional $2,200 was obtained – bringing the total to $3,400. We also helped raise more awareness, all of which left Manoir executive director Jacqueline Mallet quite thankful.

IN MEMORIAM

Solly Levine was a fixture on the local hockey and baseball scene for decades and I had quite a history with him. Seymour Kleinberg was the ultimate gentleman and so much revered by the CSL Men`s Club that they twice recognized him as Man of the Year. Solly passed away at the age of 97. Virtually from the moment I got involved in the amateur sports scene he was presence. Now Solly was not really an athlete, yet he was a true manager of people. So when he stood behind the bench of the Côte Saint-Luc Cougars with his co-coach Kenny Saxe, everyone respected his decisions. He knew just how to send out the right line combinations, which players to select at the start of each season and how to deal with the parents.

Seymour grew up in Outremont, was educated in the public school system and enjoyed an outstanding career in football as a defensive linebacker. After senior matriculation he entered the men’s clothing manufacturing sector with his father and uncle. He soon moved into retail in rural Quebec, which made him fluently bilingual, after which he returned to Montreal as a manufacturer of ladies wear until his retirement. He married Renee in 1953 and was blessed with three children - Ellen, Sharon, and Carl. Seymour is the proud grandfather to Ryan and Benji. Always community-oriented, Seymour was active in the Young Israel of Chomedey Congregation and Combined Jewish Appeal and the Mount Sinai Hospital Sadly, his wife passed away in 1988. He shared his time with Rhoda Baskin, a former executive-secretary in Neurology at the Jewish General Hospital, herself a widow and now, retired. They became inseparable companions these past 17 years, enjoying club activities as well as each other’s children and grandchildren.  

John Herman Franken, a long-time Côte Saint-Luc resident and member of the Canadian Legion Brigadier Kisch Branch #97,  was a familiar site at our commemorations of VE and Remembrance Days and regularly spoke to students at schools. “To me he was always Uncle Johnny, a close family friend ever since I can remember," recalled Councillor Ruth Kovac. "His late wife Sonja probably one of the sweetest human beings. My mom and he died about a week or so apart two survivors with a great outlook on life.  Johnny was a mensch. He had a wonderful sense of humour and as I child loved his few slight of hand tricks. He was unique man."

Funeral services were held at Paperman and Sons on July 31 for Merle Margles, a resident of Côte Saint-Luc’s District 2. Sidney Margles, Merle’s husband, is well known in the community dating back to his days as a high profile reporter for CJAD and Standard Broadcasting. Merle and Sidney had a rock solid marriage for 53 years. They raised three daughters, who gave them six grandchildren.  She ran the office of former Liberal MP for Mount Royal Sheila Finestone for 15 years .Merle fell ill a few years ago, but you would never have known it. She and Sidney missed some time at their beloved condo at Century Village in Deerfield, but everyone hoped and prayed that her treatment had been working. When she had to come home early last spring, we knew it was not a good sign. It was clear from the funeral that even just a month ago she spent a great deal of time with her kids and grandchildren. She went to Ottawa to see one granddaughter off to camp and to New York to visit with another. I always admired what a great team Merle and Sidney were. She was clearly a very supportive wife.  

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Ilse attended VE Day with her daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughters shortly before she passed away.

Ilse Zilversmit was the mother of Councillor Ruth Kovac. Ilse passed away on June 23 at 90 years of age. She was a terrific woman and right up until her final days, before being hospitalized for a cancer that had reached the critical stage, she lived on her own in a condominium and remained very self-sufficient. Ilse was a Holocaust survivor. Her family home in Amsterdam became a refuge for Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, as early as 1934. As a teenager in 1943, she and her family were deported to the Westerbork transit camp. In February 1944, she was again deported - along with her family- to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany. She came to Canada and with her husband Gunther, whom she met in a camp, and raised three children. I always enjoyed my conversations with Ilse. She followed current events very closely and was naturally very proud of her daughter the politician. It was just over a month ago that Ilse came to City Hall with Ruth, her granddaughter and great grandchildren for our annual VE (Victory in Europe) Day, where the three generations lay a wreath. A few days later she joined Ruth at the Yom Hashoah ceremony.

Gerry Weinstein, a  true community activist, passed away in My. He had so many accomplishments to be proud about, it was the B`nai Brith House which brought the biggest smile to his face. He engineered its creation and spearheaded the fundraising for the $13 million project. Gerry was also relentless that there had to be another such building nearby to meet the demand. As a member of the Côte Saint-Luc Council, I can tell you that we had a pretty hard time saying “no” to his proposals. He made it happen and Chateau B’nai Brith will be constructed right next to the IGA on Côte Saint-Luc Road. It is so sad that Gerry will not live to see it.    Gerry had many health problems over the years. Diabetes robbed him of most of his sight nearly 30 years ago, at which time he had to stop driving a car. But he never let that disability get in his way. “I have to be honest and tell you that I do not feel as if I have any impediments,” he told me.

In 2005 Gerry became the national president of B`nai Brith Canada. This occurred a short time after he underwent a lifesaving kidney transplant. 

Happy New Year to everyone!