District Meetings

My first District 2 Advisory Committee Meeting becomes an act of sharing information

Following many months of work, I held my first District 2 Advisory Council meeting on August 3. These type of meetings will be held a few times a year, initially via Zoom. The goal is to have one contact per condo/apartment building/street who can share with me issues of concern to their residents. I will also provide updates and engage in some “focus group” discussions. 

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Thank you David Haltrecht for this screenshot.

 

Côte Saint-Luc Public Works Director Beatrice Newman was my special guest. She gave an update on various projects and answered questions.

The Ashkelon Woodlands behind City Hall has been a major project.

In 2019 the city felled about 700 diseased trees. We planted about 30 new ones this year and several hundred in 2019. By the end of September all stems of buckthorn will be removed and all trees and bushes planted. This means that our objectives have been met. That was to fell all dead and sick trees, remove all invasive species of plants like buckthorn and poison ivy and finally plant several hundred trees and indigenous bushes .We are looking forward to providing our future generations with the woodlands they deserve and hope that they will appreciate the diversity that was planted. Some future potential projects in the woodlands might include a pathway or boardwalk Can residents now walk through the woodlands without damaging vegetation? Yes, in certain areas but it would be difficult to walk across and within because there are many stumps of various sizes. Walking along the perimeter is fine.

 Isadore Goldberg Park received some major TLC. It is too bad former Councillor Goldberg passed away last winter. He would have appreciated this. All of the old benches were removed and replaced with new ones. Ditto for the garbage cans. Five new benches were installed on concrete bases plus five temporary wood picnic tables were put in the park. Plans call for the new pathway that was installed to be paved.   Five new lights were purchased. We only received the heads and we are still waiting for the posts. They should be arriving soon. Four new games were installed. About 40 tons of sand was poured and we also sifted the sandbox and trimmed some trees. One dead one was felled.

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

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

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

What will happen to Marc Chagall Avenue in the winter?  How can we brighten the street at night ? All bulbs have been changed to LED and will stay like this until the Engineering Department takes on the project to change street lights throughout the city

There was good discussion on a  number of issues, with reps making recommendations which I am carrying forward to the different departments.

For instance there was a sharing of information as to which buildings have reopened their fitness rooms and pools and how AGMs are being handled for condo boards.

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

This was indeed a successful exercise.  


Another walk through the District 2 where interesting people await

For the past several months I have been taking almost daily walks through my Electoral District 2.

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Leonard Cohen Lane

It has been down Merrimac and Rembrandt, up KildareRoad, left turn on Sir Walter Scott, around Ilan Ramon Crescent, back on Sir Walter Scott, down Leonard Cohen Lane, up Marc Chagall, down Mackle, up Cavendish, turn on The Avenue, down Park Place, through the walkway back to The Avenue, down Jubilee, past Kildare Towers on Honoré Balzac and then straight on Kildare.

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I have continued to ensure messages like this appear on the pavement on Ilan Ramon.

 

At this time of social distancing it is wonderful way to connect with my constituents. I stop to say hello to others on walks or at the park. Some strike up conversations from their balconies. My iPhone is kept busy taking photos of trouble-spots: a dead tree, dirt on the street, construction, a broken traffic signal.

Rembrandt Park was busy with Maurice Perez leading an Israeli Dance Class. Take a look here 

There is also a brand new ping pong table, a high-end model that is bolted to the ground and will stand the test of time. You must bring your own raquets and ping pong balls.

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The new ping pong table.

On Marc Chagall it was nice to see the father/son combo of Lou and Jamie Zinman taking a walk.

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The Zinmans

On Kildare Road, Anna Katz was walking her amazing dog Gracie. I also met a young constituent named  Lilly with her cute  dog Ackie.

 

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Anna and Gracie
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Lilly and Ackie.
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The Equinoxe Tower Two should be completed by the fall.


I look forward to chatting with you if we cross paths!

 


Review of June 2020 Virtual Town Hall Meeting with Video Link

Since I was first elected over 14 years ago as the city councillor for District 2 in Côte Saint-Luc, I have hosted annual Town Hall meetings.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, all council meetings have moved to the Zoom video platform. We actually convene far more often than ever before.

While I do take daily walkabouts in spring, summer and fall throughout the District and communicate with constituents by phone, email and (in Pre COVID times) in person, Town Halls became a unique opportunity to focus on specifically District issues.

Last fall longtime councillor Ruth Kovac passed away. A by-election was scheduled for April, but postponed due to the pandemic. We have two candidates, but no date when this will occur. So for the time being, Councillor David Tordjman and I are serving those constituents on an interim basis: East of Cavendish for myself; West of Cavendish for David.

On June 3 I organized the first Virtual Town Hall Meeting, with Councillor Tordjman and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein joining me. It was broadcast on YouTube via a link on our website. Here is the link. 

Mayor Brownstein gave an update on the many COVID-19 issues. Councillor Tordjman and I focused on our districts and the one we are sharing. On a personal note I hope that the Quebec government finds a safe way to allow the by-elections to take place. If people can social distance at the grocery store and pharmacy, they can probably do so at a well-organized polling station.

The message from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is the same as it has been for the past weeks: no public notice of election can be given before June 26, 2020. Both the DGEQ and municipalities have no authority to determine when the by-elections across the province can/will be held. We are told that the government will be looking into the question over the next three weeks and further information will be provided on their website or possibly by way of a decree.

Here is a look at some of the important issues related to District 2

The Equinoxe and Le Montefiore


Carole Doudak, the vice-president of Jadco Development, gave an important update on the status of Le Montefiore and The Equinoxe.

Le Montefiore, of course, is the former Manoir Montefiore seniors residence. Jadco purchased the property over a year ago and poured in a lot of money to transform it into a luxury rental building.  The first five floors are now ready and residents began moving in on June 1. Construction was delayed due to some brickwork. The former first floor dining hall was transformed into a second indoor garage.

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Le Montefiore

 

Ms. Doudak provided some good news on the completion of the phase two of the Equinoxe. After being shut down for a month due to the pandemic, they have made up for lost time and expect to have the project completed by November 1. They anticipate that all of the concrete and windows should be installed within three weeks. Once that occurs, all of the transport trucks and trailers will be gone and work will move exclusively indoors. That makes for far less disturbances and noise.

Ms. Doudak was asked about workmen repeatedly arriving early in the morning, prior to the legal starting time of 7 am and too many of them parking on the street instead of the makeshift parking lot. Ms. Doudak said that there more than 100 workers on the site. They are sub-contractors whom she and her team repeatedly remind not to start before the designated time. With security on site, she promised more vigilance over the next few weeks until quieter work begins.

The Avenue

The apartment building on The Avenue is finally starting to take shape. New owners have proceeded to beautify the property and they should have everything completed by the end of the summer. The city has also given approval for two new residential units to be constructed on the ground floor,   which is also zoned commercial. Somewhere down the line there could be some stores there.

 

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The courts on Rembrandt

Tennis Courts

The Rembrandt Park tennis courts re-opened May 29, with new safety standards. It is being well utilized.  I even saw our Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather playing there last weekend.

 Speed Bumps

Public Works reports that they are slowly installing bollards on the bike paths and pedestrian walkways. So far there has not been enough staff to install the necessary speed bumps, but we hope that will occur soon.

The Snow Dump

When will we chop up the thick hill of dirt and snow at the dump on Marc Chagall?  We will be starting on Monday, June 8 until Friday, June 12 from 7 am to 7pm. The equipment used will be two mechanical shovels and one bulldozer. We will then wait a couple of weeks for Mother Nature to help us melt the exposed snow and then return for another session. 

 Potholes

On my walks I am taking note of any potholes I see and reporting them to Public Works.

Street Cleaning

With a smaller staff and many new COVID-19 related responsibilities, Public Works has not been able to complete as thorough a job on street cleaning it wishes. Some streets in my district that have not received the attention necessary have now been placed on a new priority list.

Parks and Playgrounds  

All playgrounds have been fenced in to prevent children from playing on the equipment. The outdoor exercise equipment was taped up. They are now being reopened with extreme caution and the same goes for the basketball courts. The water was turned on for the splash pads at Rembrandt Park to deal with the recent extreme heat.

The Excelsior  (Ilan Ramon)

Residents of both the Cavendish Blvd. building and Ilan Ramon Crescent complained last week of very loud noises emanating from the ventilation system. Our Urban Development Department intervened and ensured that they fix the problem.

 Isadore Goldberg Park

I was hoping for us to have a rededication ceremony for Isadore Goldberg Park this spring. Regrettably, the late Councillor Goldberg passed away last winter and then COVID-19 hit us. Last fall our Public Works Department began removing all of the bushes near the park and created a pathway from Marc Chagall Avenue. The plan was to move the sign and pave the path. While that has been placed on hold, workers returned to the site this week to begin a fresh cleanup. I hope concerns over a long burnt out light reported to me by my Sir Walter Scott Avenue lieutenant Alexander will be attended to.


Virtual Town Hall for Districts 2, 6 and 8 on Wed. June 3

From the day I was first elected I have held Town Hall meetings for my District 2. In recent months we have all witnessed the opportunities provided to us via social  media. With that in mind, new technology will enable me to continue that tradition.

Due to the passing of Councillor Ruth Kovac and the delay of a planned April by-election due to COVID-19, Councillor David Tordjman and I have agreed to temporarily share responsibilities for District 8: East of Cavendish  for me; West of Cavendish for David.

On Wednesday, June 3 (7:15 pm) David, who represents District 6, and I will c0-chair a Virtual Town Hall Meeting. All you need is a computer and internet access. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein will provide a COVID-19 update. David and I will provide updates on what is new in our Districts. We expect some guests. People will be able to ask questions in the chat window via this YouTube broadcast.

All of the details are here   so please reserve the date and time.

You will have to log into www.cotesaintluc.org/VirtualDistrictMeeting.

 

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My Year in Review for 2019

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

BUS STOP ON KILDARE ROAD

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

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With Police Station 9 Traffic Officer Simon Poitras.

 

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

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

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

TRAFFIC CALMING

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

CROSSING GUARD

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

 

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One of the new flashing stop signs.

FLASHING LIGHTS

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

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

ELYSÉE GARAGE REPAIRS

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

LIGHTS ON CHAGALL

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

 FELLING OF TREES

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

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

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

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

REMBRANDT PARK BASKETBALL COURTS

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

GOLDBERG PARK

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

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

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

LE MONTEFIORE

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

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My meet and greet on the Avenue.

BUILDING ON THE AVENUE

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

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

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Work on phase two of the Equinoxe continues.

EQUINOXE PHASE II CLOSER TO COMPLETION

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

VACANT LAND ON MARC CHAGALL

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

SNOW DUMP

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

POLICE VISIT

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

SMOKING

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

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

MEET AND GREETS

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

FLASHING LIGHTS ON CHAGALL

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

DISTRICT 2 RESIDENTS

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

 Bravo to the residents of the Bellagio Condominium building on Marc Chagall Avenue who recently contributed to a vernissage. "The condo lived up to our namesake," said Allan Familiant.The artists were:  Maxine Bloom, Shalom Bloom Shirlee Rosen, Dale Dobrovsky, Debbie Dworkin, Jacqueline Familiant, Al Garellek, the late Yetta Garellek, Mala Raducanu, Linda Saks and Laura Winerman.

UPGRADING OUR STREETLIGHTS

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

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

IN MEMORIAM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

CATS COMMITTEE

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

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Recognizing our performers at the annual Cats Meow Concert.

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

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

 All dog owners must ensure that their dog has an annual license, payable by May 1 each year. The annual license fee for each dog that is neutered or spayed is $20. The annual license fee for each dog that is not neutered or spayed is $30. You must make this payment in person at City Hallor via eTransfers. You can pay for your dog or cat license via the email address of finance@cotesaintluc.org.

 WEBSITE

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

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

SOCIAL MEDIA

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

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

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

GOLF CLASSIC

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

CANADA DAY

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

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Preparing to serve the cupcakes.


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

 

YOM HASHOAH


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

 

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The mayor and I welcome Sfingys to the community,

 

 BUSINESS NEWS

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

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Some of the delicious side dishes from Qualityfruits.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Meet and Greet at 6700 The Avenue

The rental apartment building located at 6700 The Avenue, across from the side entrance to Quartier Cavendish, is under new ownership.

Mecya Realties, which owns the Cavendish Club and eight other properties, has taken over the 90 unit property from the BSR Group.  Tenants began moving in more than a year and a half ago so I have met many of them. I recently dropped by for a meet and greet with residents, sitting down first with Mecya Director of Operations Emil Badea. “We are very excited to be the new owners,” said Emil.

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Meeting with some of the residents.

There is a lot of work to do to bring this building up to speed. Emil said plans call for making all of the necessary renovations by the end of the summer. This means fixing the driveway and the handicapped accessible  ramp, the driveway towards the garage and the  back area. Residents of Park Place, who saw their backyard fences come down during construction, will be relieved to know that Mecya will conduct those repairs as well. A common party and card room will be available for use once the emergency rear exit stairway is put into place. The workout room will get a proper heating system.à

Emil noted that  there is a doorman on site 24/7,  as well as a permanent  maintenance man. There is a  nice pool is and an on-site hair salon. Zoning does allow for commerce on the ground floor, but Emil says there are no prospective tenants at the present time.

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Meeting with young Aaron Rasekhi.

The residents I met with seemed very content with the new management.  I even had a nice chat  with 14 year old Aaron Rasekhi, who came down to meet me.  For many of the tenants this is their first time living in a rental. The crossing area to Quartier Cavendish was identified as dangerous, with speeding cars. I assured everyone that our Traffic Committee has designated this area for action in the coming weeks.


District 2 Town Hall meeting places focus on safety and security, the Equinoxe and open mic

For the past 12 plus years since I became the Côte Saint-Luc City Councillor for District 2 I have held annual Town Hall meetings, the most recent of which occurred on June 4. While there was a good showing, I must make an important point.

I have always been a very involved councillor.  My blog provides regular updates as to what is happening in my District and the city at large. Every time a constituent calls or e-mails me they get an immediate response. I take walks and drives to every section of District 2. And since the last election, there is a new reality with citizens expressing themselves through a variety of new Facebook pages: CSL Ideas, Let’s Chat and Citizens for an Open Government just to name a few.

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Some members of the audience listen in.

While elections are held once every four years, I conceived the Town Hall meetings as a way for voters to meet me face to face with all of their questions at least once a year. Monday I had a set agenda of safety and security, the Equinoxe apartment complex on Marc Chagall and other updates. This was a “dialogue” session with an open mic. Yet leading up to the meeting I am not exaggerating that at least three dozen people either called, but primarily e-mailed me to say they could not make it but wanted to express their concern about something. In some cases, there was a fear that these points had to make before the Town Hall started. I either called or e-mailed back each person and days later the communication is still ongoing.

I am all for this, but it just goes to show you how things have changed. In this mandate, our city has embarked upon a program of citizenship engagement.  That means being readily available via e-mail or social media, webcasting and providing audio feeds for our public council meetings, enhancing our in-house publications and soon hiring a full-time webmaster.

I told everybody who contacted me that they need not wait for a Town Hall meeting. These calls and e-mails can come every time. The requests I received prior to the session have been added to the exact same “to do” list.

Safety and Security: Our Police

So here is what happened at the meeting.

I invited Montreal Police Station 9 Socio-Community Officer Marie Christine Nobert to speak about safety matters. One of the reasons for having her was to underline the fact that even though Station 9 ( which serves CSL, Hampstead and Montreal West) has relocated from its long-time District 2 location at Cavendish and Kildare to the strip mall on Westminster and CSL Road, they remain very close to our constituents. Marie Christine has been working in our community for 21 years and she was joined at the meeting by two young Cadets, Lia and Lisanne, who will spend their summer training working on bike patrols.

Officer Nobert is an excellent presenter and she shared some very valuable information.  She called Côte Saint-Luc one of the safest communities in Canada and lauded the work of our Public Security, VCOPS (Volunteer Citizens on Patrol) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Phil Mayman, the supervisor for Logistics and Operations with the VCOPS, also joined us at the head table and provided a good perspective on some issues.

Officer Nobert said that there will be six people on bike patrol in the Station 9 territory this summer focusing on pedestrian safety. She reminded everyone that there is one officer whose responsibility is traffic. Cars will patrol or stake out specific areas where traffic violations are occurring and give out tickets. “If you have a specific street corner you are concerned about let us know,” said Officer Nobert.

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Marie Christine Nobert, Phil Mayman, myself, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and our two police cadets.

On the subject of Breaking and Entering, Officer Nobert said that such incidents do occur and homeowners must be vigilante. “Make sure you do not put all of your valuables in the master bedroom,” she said. “That is the first place these criminals will go to take jewellery, money and laptops.  If someone rings your bell, I suggest you look through the window and ask who is there? If you are concerned call 9-1-1. Also, when you go away on holiday, tell your neighbour to keep an eye on your place.”

Phil Mayman confirmed that the VCOPS will also perform vacation checks if asked.

Other tips from Officer Nobert:

  • If you keep your snow tires in a common garage, lock them with a chain. A criminal will not want to spend the time necessary to get them loose.
  • Beware of pickpockets. Men should put elastics around their wallets
  • Do not be fooled by prank calls asking personal questions and trying to steal your identity.
  • While incidents of Elder Abuse are low in our community, they do occur and we should be vigilante. On June 15 there will be a kiosk at Quartier Cavendish from 11 am to 1 pm on this subject.

There were a number of questions, all of which Officer Nobert, myself and Phil Mayman took note of. They included concerns about drug dealers hanging out near the exit to the library, parking violations and speeding. Resident  Alice Kern, who resides in the new apartment building on The Avenue, wrote me in advance of the meeting and showed up (we need more Alice Kerns’). Not only was I able to share her concern with Officer Nobert, but she got to follow up with her.

“The other day I was walking along Cavendish between The Avenue and Mackle and there was a new black Mercedes literally flying" up Cavendish to make the light and turn left onto Mackle,” Alice explained.  “On my way back via Kellert, some of the cars just rolled (not slowly) through the Stop sign at the corner of The Avenue. They do the same heading East and West along The Avenue, in all directions. I do a lot of walking and am aware of my surroundings. For a big part, the residents in this area are affluent, by the cars they drive, and have absolutely no respect for the law. I was crossing The Avenue between the beautiful new concrete flower pots - which do have very visible Pedestrian signs - and I actually had to put my hand out to get a car to slow down - and she gave me a dirty look as she gunned her big white SUV after I got across the street. Cavendish Blvd, Mackle, Kellert, Marc Chagall, The Avenue are not respected speedways despite stop signs and/or traffic lights. The only time I've seen police patrol in this area, were two officers on bikes leaving the City Hall/Library parking lot last Friday along Sir Walter Scott. They are well known to be on Westminster/Guelph or Westminster/Kildare with the radar, but nowhere else. We need more police presence. There are not only the school children on their way to and from JPPS/Bialik but also all the senior residents up and down Cavendish Blvd/Mackle/Marc Chagall (who walk through the Leonard Cohen walkway to come to the Mall).”

We had a few others who want something down about the crosswalk from the apartment building to the entrance at the Quartier. There are also cars literally driving on the sidewalk. This has been forwarded to the Traffic Committee.

Catheline Nemeth is another citizen who wrote to me before the meeting and attended. “Speed limits were reduced to 40/km on Fleet,” she stated.  “This makes no sense on a not really residential street. Nobody exits from their house onto Fleet between Cavendish and Queen Mary. Few people, even buses do not keep it and use 50/km 90 percent of the time On Kildare, from Marc Chagall to Merrimac, it is 30/km, but from Merrimac onward it is 50/km. This also makes no since, since it is a well-travelled road by children, school bus drop and more. This area should be 40/km or even 30/km.”

I told Catheline that Hampstead determined the speed on Fleet and our council decided not to confuse people by changing it on our side. As for Kildare and Merrimac, that is up for discussion with our Traffic Committee.

A few people who could not make it very much want stop signs installed on Kildare Road and Rembrandt. They reside on the latter street and literally cannot make a left turn during morning rush hour due to the JPPS-Bialik parents. I explained to them a stop sign installation is not as simple as it stands. For one, it could cause more significant problems along Kildare and even spread to Cavendish. Our Traffic Committee has agreed to give this another look.

THE EQUINOXE

While the construction of the Equinoxe Apartment Condo buildings are of the greatest interest to residents of Marc Chagall, the whole idea of new construction is an important subject.  This was the first opportunity since work began on Phase One for some residents to meet Alex Bouhadana and ask him questions. I did form a committee with reps from the five condominium associations on the street before construction began and we have convened several times. An open line of communication exists and we try to work through our problems.

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Alex Bouhadana

The fact is that land was zoned for two residential high rises 30 years ago. Our council had no way to stop the project. We have, however, agreed upon a number of measures such as no more outdoor work on weekends, more parking spaces than required by law and the responsibility to keep the street clean. Has it been perfect? Hardly!  Phase One, Mr. Bouhadana reported, is almost complete and a huge success commercially: it is 85 percent rented and new residents will start moving there in July  (virtually all of these people come from Côte Saint-Luc, many from the neighbouring Marc Chagall condos).

 Excavation for Phase Two will start in August. “Trust me,” Mr. Bouhadana said, “we want to finish this as quickly as possible.”

The two buildings were originally called to have 300 units. That number has been reduced by 25 due to some tenants asking for larger units. The number of parking spots will remain the same as originally agreed upon.

We all realize how many parking spots the workers take on Marc Chagall, Mackle and some other streets. The Equinoxe leased the empty field across from the Marquise for parking and that worked in the winter. Once temperatures warmed up cars started to sink. When the snow dump is cleared, we hope by early July, we will consider making spots available there until the winter. We have also added a dozen new spots on Marc Chagall and once Phase One is complete some workers can perhaps park in the indoor garage.

Residents had a chance to talk to Mr. Bouhadana about issues such as noise, especially before 7 am and after 9 pm.  The city is doing its best to monitor the situation. We have only one Public Security patrol car overnight so it cannot be stationed there. Residents are encouraged to call dispatch at 514-485-6960 when they see an infraction. Mr. Bouhadana explained that first off, the workers are generally sub-contractors of sub-contractors so there is an issue of chain of command. Furthermore, be it Videotron or a plumber, service calls arrive off hours without having even checked with the developers.

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Michael Litvack

Many residents like Bobby Gordon sounded off by how dirty the streets are from the construction. Mr. Bouhadana said the developers are paying for street cleaning three days a week, but residents complained that the area is filthier than ever. Sidney Margles expressed his concern about safety on the street and nobody properly directing the trucks going back and forth. “Your foreman needs to have a flagman there,” he recommended. “If you want a blockade on the street, you will have one.” Michael Litvack is upset that trucks working on the project keep knocking out the lights on Lismer, the small street off of Marc Chagall where the garages are for Le Rothchild II and the Bellagio.

I continue to respond to complaints daily.  I do thank  Mr. Bouhadana for making himself available.

GOOD AND WELFARE

The final portion of the meeting was an open mic on any issue. Shirley Rosen wants the sidewalks on Merrimac repaired and for there to be proper signage to warn motorists not to park too closely to garage entrances. Bev Yaffy said that the green light coming out of the Quartier Cavendish on Kellert and Cavendish is not illuminated long enough and should be adjusted. Rhoda Albert, one of my truly engaged residents, said that the lighting  on the pathway leading from the rear of the parking lot to Marc Chagall  is not illuminated at night and missing a lamp-post). Phil Mayman went right outside after the meeting and filed this report: “All of the lamp-posts were illuminated and provided a safe and sufficient level of light. One lamp-post was indeed missing and a cone is covering the base where it will be installed. I assume it is on backorder. However the next lamp-post provides sufficient lighting for the pathway. In my opinion there is no unsafe situation here.”

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein joined the meeting at one point to provide an update on city matters.

Thank you fill and everyone else for attending.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Standing room only: Cavendish Extension the main topic at annual District 2 Town Hall

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.

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The room was packed.

 


There will an election in November and I will be proud to seek a fourth mandate on council.

Cavendish-Kildare Intersection

Last year’s District 2 meeting focused on an issue which residents have asked me about more than any other: The Cavendish/Kildare intersection. The city formed an ad hoc committee which met over a period of many months. Last 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. The response I have received from constituents has been overwhelmingly positive.

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Left to right: Elisabeth Prass, myself, Rick Leckner, resident Allan Greenberg, Mayor Brownstein, resident Sidney Margles, Elaine Yagod Brownstein.

The Cavendish Boulevard Extension.


The 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.”


I am 54 years old. As far back as I can remember, the extension of Cavendish has been a regular topic for discussion. The late Mayor Bernard Lang was strongly opposed to it---“We Don’t Need It, We Don’t Want it, We Can’t Afford It,” he’d always say.


Here was my interview on CJAD with Andrew Carter the morning prior to the meeting,

Here was The Gazette story which appeared the same day.

En Français

Un lien nord-sud par le boulevard Cavendish est l’élément manquant sur le réseau routier de l’île de Montréal. Les premières discussions en vue de relier les deux tronçons du boulevard Cavendish remontent au milieu des années 1960, et des études ont été faites en 1981, en 1988, en 1992, en 1995, en 1996 et en 2000.


Projet de construction de la route donc les objectifs sont :


• La création d'un lien nord-sud de Côte Saint-Luc à l'arrondissement Saint-Laurent
• La création d'un lien est-ouest avec le boulevard Décarie


Le raccordement du boulevard Cavendish lien a le but d'ameliorer l'accessibilite au secteur, pour y entrer, en sortir et y circuler, par tous les modes de transport, et d'assurer des conditions de circulation propices a la prosperite economique et au bien-etre des residents.


The Blue Bonnets land


In 2012 the Quebec Government agreed in principle to cede the 43.5 hectare site of Blue Bonnets Raceway to the City of Montreal in order to build up to 8,000 sustainable residential units. As of the morning of my meeting the province had NOT signed the necessary documents to transfer the land to the city. As I prepared my notes for the meeting I was prepared to emphasize how there was considerable optimism that Montreal complete that deal before the November elections. In order for Montreal to make the housing project work, they need the extension as well.


Well imagine my surprise when I learned that a press conference had been scheduled for the afternoon of my Town Hall wherein the Quebec government would indeed sell the Blue Bonnets land to Montreal. That announcement was postponed to June 6. Wow!!!! What timing!


See this story in The Montreal Gazette.


As Jason Magder reported, Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitão said the government is handing over the land to the city. The city pays nothing up front, but must give the province half the profits of land sold on the 43.5-hectare property.

The 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.


The agglomeration council has already earmarked $220,000 for a feasibility study for an overpass in the railway yards. Both Canadian Pacific and CN appear to be on board. So are St Laurent, TMR, the Quebec Government, the Federal Government and yes Côte Saint-Luc.


The cost is estimated at $175 million. It would have been $20 million in the 1980s. Federal Infrastructure Funds will be available. Montreal has even placed reserves on two pieces of land on Cavendish and Dalton, owned by real estate company Olymbec. This bars the owners from expanding or developing this property for two years as it is an essential link to the extension.


There has never been more momentum for this extension, which would see Cote Saint-Luc connected to Royalmount (so not a direct Cavendish to Cavendish route) and then from Royalmount to Cavendish in St. Laurent.


At my meeting Mayor Mitchell Brownstein began by expressing his optimism for the extension, which would lead from Wallenberg Avenue through the CP Yards towards Royalmount. Elisabeth Prass, from the office of D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, agreed that with the impending announcement regarding the former Blue Bonnets land the timing could not be better to discuss the extension. She added that since these are municipal roads, once any negotiations are complete the provincial and federal governments will get involved.


Rick Leckner has over four decades of experience in corporate communications and crisis management. He established Maison Brison Communications in 1983, providing strategic investor relations, crisis management and media relations services to large, publicly-traded Canadian companies. Prior to that he helped launch public relations firm, Polymark Management in 1973.

He is known for his many years (1969-2000) of providing helicopter traffic reports to Montrealers on CJAD and Mix 96. Rick was proactive in representing the travelling public’s interests, regularly liaising with police and transport officials. In 2011 he was named to Transports Québec’s comité technique sur la mobilité des biens et des personnes and worked with officials in an attempt to mitigate traffic congestion. He is regularly sought after by the media for his insights into traffic coordination.

Rick was also a city councillor in Dollard-des-Ormeaux from 1978-1994, was Vice-President of the Montreal Urban Community (MUC) Emergency Measures Bureau, and has sat on a number of other Quebec Government committees, including the Conseil des services essentiels and the Comité d’examen des plaintes of the Sûreté du Québec.

I go way back with Rick and it was an honour to have him as a speaker on this subject. I vividly remember the debates he had via the media with Mayor Lang on this subject.

“We seem to be moving in the right direction,” Leckner said about the extension. “The funding I am told is in place. The main stumbling block is negotiations with the railways.”

Leckner emphasized that because this will not be a direct Cavendish to Cavendish link, it will not be a traffic hazard for Côte Saint-Luc. If anything, it will resolve the problem we have now of only two exits out of the city – something which would have been very problematic if we were faced with the same flooding as other parts of Quebec experienced recently.”

Leckner’s emphasis was that this project could be complete between 2023 and 2025.

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With Police Officer Eduoardo Amaral

 

Traffic and Public Safety

Naturally there were a lot of questions. I want to thank Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac who attended the meeting and responded to a number of queries. Spyro Yotis, our new traffic engineer and Officer Eduardo Amaral from Police Station 9 also joined us. Councillor Nashen responded to a number of traffic related questions. Councillor Kovac weighed in on the Cavendish extension and previewed the beautiful facelift we gave to Trudeau Park. Officer Amaral was asked by resident Mélodie Cohn about the recent attack on a teenager after she got off the  bus on Cavendish and Kildare. The officer said that thanks to her courage, the perpetrator was  not only dealt with by authorities, but other victims came forward,

Updates


I provided updates on development in the district. 6700 The Avenue opens September1 in Quartier Cavendish. Built by the BSR Group, it will have 90 units and is already half rented with commerce zoned for the ground floor.


Over the last three months our city council has devoted a lot of attention to the new development on Marc Chagall Avenue to be known as the Equinox. In 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 we 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 and weeknight 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. The developers will normally not work past 7 pm on weeknights and from 9 am to 5 pm on occasional Saturdays.


This solution will avoid litigation which could not have been guaranteed otherwise and was felt by the five condominium’s representatives to be the most prudent way to proceed.

Soon the developers will move from excavation to concrete super structure work. From January 2018 until approximately March 2018 work will consist of precast installation. They will need five Saturdays during this period. After that and until the end of July 2018 work will only be done on the interior of the structure.

We are working 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 will be created on the greenspace between the Bellagio and the Town Houses and turned into a beautiful park after it is no longer necessary for vehicles.

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.

Reconstruction of the City Hall Parking Lot


Long awaited work on the City Hall parking lot will commence soon. The project includes the reconstruction of the sidewalks, curbs, and the asphalt roadway and parking surface, the installation of a bike path between Cavendish and Sir Walter Scott, the replacement of the lighting, the replacement of the security cameras and the installation of a charging station for electric vehicles. The work will be carried out mainly during the summer months (to start at the beginning of July) and is expected to be completed by mid-October.

The contractor is required to carry out the work in phases so that we always have one entrance accessible and approximately half the parking lot available for parking at any one time. We are relocating trees because the configuration of the lot is changing and we are transplanting all those that have a good survival chance.  

The new parking lot configuration is being changed to improve visibility, ease of manoeuvre while improving pedestrian safety;


• a new drop-off area will be installed in front of the main doors,
• an elevated section of the roadway (to slow down traffic) will be installed at the intersection of the main roadway from Cavendish and the delivery area at City Hall,
• a new sidewalk will be installed on the City Hall building (south) side towards Cavendish,
• a central sidewalk median will be installed for pedestrians,
• a bike path will be installed from Cavendish to Walter Scott,
• approximately 23 additional parking spaces will be created; presently the capacity of the lot is 120 spaces and we expect to get 143 with the new configuration.


DISTRICT 2: FIRST EVER TOWN HALL MEETING ON THE CAVENDISH EXTENSION SET FOR JUNE 5

A Côte Saint-Luc District 2 Town Hall meeting will take place on Monday, June 5 (7:30 p.m.) at City Hall (5801 Cavendish Boulevard). For the first time ever, the topic of the extension of Cavendish Boulevard will be discussed in this format.

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

Lecknertraffic
Rick Leckner remains this city's foremost authority on traffic.


The special guest speaker will be noted traffic expert Rick Leckner, who has been pushing for the Cavendish extension back to his days as the helicopter traffic reporter for CJAD form 1969 to 2000. While he established a very successful corporate communications firm, Maison Brison, in 1983 he continues to be sought out by media for his insights into traffic coordination. In 2011 he was named to Transport Québec’s comité technique sur la mobilité des biens et des personnes, and has continued to work with officials in an attempt to mitigate traffic congestion. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein will provide an update on the Cavendish extension, which is more of a reality now than ever before with all three levels of government behind the project. Elisabeth Prass, from the office of D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum, will do the same.

“In politics, nothing is ever a sure thing, but this looks very promising,” said Mayor Brownstein. “We have active support from Mayor Denis Coderre in Montreal including the project being listed in the three-year capital expenditures budget and reserves being placed on plots of land needed for the eventual extension as well as $222,000 being presently spent by the agglomeration of Montreal for the studies on the overpass/underpass route..

“We also have local MNA David Birnbaum and MP Anthony Housefather working behind the scenes in Quebec City and Ottawa to secure the necessary funding, mayors from neighbouring communities all in support, and buy-in from Canadian Pacific, and Canadian National who own the land through which the road extension must pass.”


Lt. Frederick Jennings from Police Station 9 will be on hand to respond to inquiries related to public safety in the community. Also to be discussed that evening will be the new traffic light configuration at Cavendish and Kildare, the new Elie Wiesel Park, construction on Marc Chagall Avenue, the resurfacing of the City Hall/Library parking lot and other items of interest.

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

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

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