Marc Chagall

Contract awarded to restore greenspace properly on Marc Chagall lot

Here is an update on the greenspace on Marc Chagall.

Following two months of legal discussions between the city  and Jadco, the developers of the Equinoxe high rise towers, the vacant lot on Marc Chagall Avenue across from the Marquise and next to Les Cours Marc Chagall townhouses will finally be restored to its original condition.

History will note that the greenspace was originally leased to Jadco for three years in order to ensure that their workforce in the hundreds did not take up parking spots on street. Last November the company hired by Jadco to restore the land to greenspace got to work. When spring arrived it was clear the work was unsuccessful. Two more attempts were made, after which our legal counsel got involved. For one thing, they did not water the grass enough and they left too much debris and rocks. Grass did not grow satisfactorily.

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One of the new permanent picnic tables on the Marc Chagall greenspace.

We had retained a damage deposit from Jadco of $30,000. Our staff at City Hall, Public Works and Urban Planning got to work and it was agreed that we would take charge of the project. At the September 13 Council meeting we   requested quotes and negotiated with three suppliers who
provide this type of service. The contract was awarded to Construction Morival Ltd.   for a total amount of $34,320.00 plus applicable taxes.

Work will begin soon. This type of work is most successful at this time of the year and should any problems arise we will be able to take charge immediately rather than chasing Jadco’s subcontractors.

I would also like to thank Public Works for installing two brand new picnic tables at the edge of the greenspace. They are outfitted with chairs that have backs to them, something that many seniors had requested. Public Works is maintaining the land nicely. It does look a lot more presentable, but I am excited to see it back to a condition where kids can run around and kick a soccer ball.


The city is now stepping in to resolve the Marc Chagall greenspace issue

Here is an update on the greenspace on Marc Chagall Avenue.

The owners of the Equinoxe apartment buildings have failed to live up to the terms of the lease they signed to use a large greenspace on Marc Chagall Avenue as a parking lot for construction workers for a period of three years.

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Mayor Brownstein and staff join me on site.

 

The understanding was that the company would return that land in the precise form that they found it. Regrettably this has not occurred.

 Last fall  the company cleared the sand and gravel, but when spring came the grass was not growing. Our legal team had them come do the work a second time and  once again it did not take.  They made two more tries, including having an employee spend a few days literally picking up every rock he could find and placing them in buckets.


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A larger look at the site.


Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and I met with our senior city management on the site on July 13 and we agreed that  we must complete the job ourselves. While there is definitely an improvement, it is far from acceptable.

It is too warm to proceed now with removing the  entire existing top layer of space, adding a new layer of proper soil and then hydro seeding, adding new sod  and watering for two weeks.   We will hire our own contractor towards the very end of August or start of September when the weather is most condusive to planting. Our legal team has done an excellent job taking the bull by the horn.

In the interim public Works will cut the existing grass. They have created a small pathway closer to the street with benches. The Mayor and I  have asked  them to pave the pathway and replace the benches with new ones, as well as add picnic tables like the model we have behind the library with backs on the seats. As well, new trees will be planted on the grounds.

New flowers have been planted on the other small pathway facing the snow dump.

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New flowers have been planted.

 

It is regrettable that the original contractors hired by the company did not complete this job properly last fall. We are now taking all legal means available to rectify the situation.


Resolution achieved to restore greenspace and begin enhancement of Marc Chagall lot

 There is good news to report on the  greenspace on Marc Chagall Avenue, across from the Marquise.

For the last three years this land was used as a parking lot for workers at the Equinoxe towers in order to ensure there were enough spots on the street for residences.

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Jadco,  developers of The Equinoxe, had signed a lease with the city and committed to restoring the land to the way they found it.

The preparation work done last summer was not successful, nor was the follow up in May. Grass did started to grow again in most sections, but there were too many rocks and debris left on the property.

Our legal team took over the dossier two weeks ago and I am pleased to share that Jadco has reacted positively,

Starting on Monday, July 5, the grass will be cut in two stages. The first step is to shorten the grass and simultaneously pick up all the rocks/stones while the second is to cut the grass evenly.

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The grass is growing.

 

This procedure should be concluded by the end of next week.

I will keep you posted.

Once that is done, our Public Works Department will create a pathway, install some benches and picnic tables and new trees.


I wish to thank our Urban Development and Public Works Department, as well as City Manager Jonathan Shecter and Legal Counsel Andrea Charon.


From reduced speed zones to plans to beautify the empty lot we have many plans for Marc Chagall Avenue

There is a lot of activity to take note of on Marc Chagall Avenue.

For starters, I advocated strongly for more safety measures to be taken by our Traffic Committee. We have lowered the speed limit to 30 km/h. New signs will be installed soon.  A seasonal speed bump will be installed  closer  to the snow dump. At the turnaround,  work began this week on a bump out sidewalk aimed at slowing motorists down near the  cross walk. This was closely studied by traffic engineers before implementation.

 

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Work is underway with the sidewalks.

 

The broken sidewalk near the Equinoxe is finally being replaced. We also expect the Equinoxe owners to complete the landscaping in front of their buildings. And yes, still with the Equinoxe, it was their responsibility to return the lot across from the Marquise, which was used for parking the past three summers, to greenspace.  Equinoxe contractors  levelled and hydroseeded the land in the fall and it clearly failed to take. They have  now started   another cleanup and seeding. If all goes well, we should see grass by the end of May

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We hope to see new grass on this lot very soon.

 

Once the grass appears, Public Works will be installing some benches, tables, bushes and flowers. Last fall we installed a paved road to the entrance of Isadore Goldberg Park so that all residents on Marc Chagall have access. Goldberg Park is furnished with some new play equipment, benches, tables and beautiful tree. New sand was added in 2020. Lighting and fencing will be installed over the summer/fall.

“So the community at Marc Chagall will enjoy a place to stroll through, a park with toys for children and grandchildren and a small parkette towards City Hall and the library,” reports Public Works Director Beatrice Newman. “The people who live on this street will finally enjoy beautiful days in beautiful areas throughout the summer in their neighbourhood.”

Some people have asked me about the snow dump and when the filthy mountain of solid snow will be chopped up. We hire a contractor for the snow dump and we have basically one shot. We need several weeks of warm weather before  it can be broken up so that might not be until June.

I think we are all thrilled that this will mark the first time four years that we will not have to face  summer of construction at the Equinoxe as  the two towers are completed. Just a reminder to anyone who is not aware, but that land was zoned for two high rises more than 30 years ago.

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Finally, Videotron recently did some work on the street and they left   three sets of rock-filled holes in the ground. We are now after them to put those surfaces (see above) back to their original position.


New measure to improve safety on Marc Chagall Ave. to reduce speed to 30 km/h

The Côte Saint-Luc Traffic Committee met recently, at which time I made the case for something to be done to increase safety on Marc Chagall Avenue

With the addition of two Equinoxe high rises,  and if you take into account Le Rothchild I, which borders on the street, there are  close to 1,000 residents spread across six buildings and one town house complex. Add to that JPPS Elementary/Bialik High School,  Beth Chabad at Kildare Road and the snow dump, then we are talking about a lot of traffic.

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A look at Marc Chagall Avenue.

Following two recent accidents at the curve on Marc Chagall, the committee discussed what can be done. Engineering presented  traffic counts taken from the previous week.

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They showed low volume and low speeds at the curve. Simply looking at the data would not suggest a problem in the area. The  local Police Station 9 commander  agreed that there is likely no speeding on the curve and that they would not be able to issue tickets based on the speeds of the tests. The committee did agree  that these values would be amplified if it were trucks and not cars.

Personally I do not feel that these speed tests tell the true story. There have been many spring, summer and fall nights where have seen cars whizzing by well above the speed limit.

So our plans now call for a significant reduction in speed allowed:   30km/hr along the entire Marc Chagall stretch. For residents who have been asking for such a measure  you need to understand that once signs are installed the police will be monitoring it and tickets issued.

Keep in mind that the main entrance for Isadore Goldberg Park is now on Marc Chagall, qualifying  certain portion of the street as a park area for the purposes of speed. Then, of  course, as we approach JPPS/Bialik we enter a school zone.

I walk or drive down Marc Chagall almost every day. When I am in my vehicle I do so very slowly, cognizant of the traffic and - notably during COVID-  the fact that there has been more pedestrian activity.

The addition of more speed bumps was not accepted as the noise caused by trucks  would be very disruptive to the surrounding buildings.  

Before the signs are installed and we complete the necessary steps to make this a reality, I welcome comments from constituents at mcohen@cotesaintluc.org.


Work proceeds on the snow dump

Work is well underway  to  break down the accumulated snow and ice at the snow dump.

During this period, residents have been hearing the sounds from  heavy equipment, including two mechanical shovels and one bulldozer.

Their work is essentially complete. Now we  must wait a few weeks for the newly exposed snow and ice to melt. We will then return for another break down session.

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Chopping up the thick snow.

 


Construction to resume Monday at the Equinoxe and Le Montefiore

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

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The Equinoxe Phase 2 under construction.

 

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

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Le Montefiore.

 

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

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

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

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The Zoom participants.

 

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

Our noise by-law reads as follows:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Phase 2 of the Equinoxe is coming along.

 

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

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

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


New signage to deter tailgate banging installed in snow dump

Over the years the noise emanating from the banging of tailgates of trucks  going in and out of our snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue has disturbed some residents.

Our Public Works Department has tried to manage this the best way possible. At the beginning of the winter season we even build a snow wall to try and shield the sounds. During heavy snowfalls  the noise is more difficult to control. There is also the fact that we are dealing with subcontractors, so the drivers change.

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This week Public Works has launched a new approach by installing signage to try and further deter the banging noises. I would like to thank Director Beatrice Newman and her team for this.

 

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As noted, when we are in the midst of an incredible snowstorm similar to the one of February 7,   the city attempts to remove the snow as quickly and efficiently as possible and that during snow removal operations there is much more back and forth traffic in the area.  “Our residents living in the area near the snow dump would definitely experience hearing more noise than usual,” Ms. Newman explains.


Meet and Greet at the two Rothchild condo buildings

As part of my outreach program with constituents, I continued my series of meet and greets.

On November 5 I dropped by the Rothchild I and II buildings.

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At the Rothchild I.


At the Rothchild I, residents were naturally interested to talk about the Equinoxe building next door. Many were pleased that we were able to put an end to the loud noise and vibrations emanating from the generator  and then the ventilation system on the side of the facilility. We are all anxious for next summer to come and for this project to be completed. We will keep a close eye on the construction. The developers have done a good job maintaining traffic safety with their flag men. They wanted to resume work on weekends and extend hours in the evening to speed up work, but I told them this was not possible.

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With Bobby Gordon.

At the Rothchild II, new board member Bobby Gordon told me he is pleased so far with the way in which the construction  workers have been comporting themselves. Bobby has lived there for 30 years and he continues  to be my virtual eye on the sky, sending me photos when any issue arises.

I reminded residents that they can always  email me at mcohen@cotesaintluc.org or call me at 514-485-6945.