Marc Chagall

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.

 

Sidewalks
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

Emptylot1
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.

Stonesvideotron

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.

ChagallsatFinal
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.

MarcCHagallSPeedtest

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.

IMG_3816
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.

April18
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.

LeMontefiore
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.

ZoomApril18
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.

Equinoxefeb2020
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.

Pub_montefiore_8x10.5_

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.

IMG_3085

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.

 

IMG_3086

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.

IMG_6997
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.

IMG_7003
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.


Action being taken to resolve excessive noise emanating from the Equinoxe ventilation system

Once again, the  Equoinoxe Marc Chagall is keeping me very very busy responding to complaints. Such has been the case since work first began to transform a large vacant piece of land - very regrettably zoned residential 30 years ago -into two high rise residential apartment buildings modelled condo-style. Phase 1 opened just over a year ago; Phase 2 should be complete by next June.

IMG_6253
The dysfunctional ventilation system.

Quite justifiably,many residents of the neighbouring Rothchild I Condo on Mackle are being kept  up at night due to excessive noise from the ventilation system.  See my video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqES11zKrs0

Last winter it was their generator that caused similar disruptions until our administration stepped in and helped speed up the installation of their final hookup from Hydro-Québec.  The thing is not only are residents from another building having sleepless nights from  this, but so are many of the Equinoxe's own tenants - people paying substantial monthly rent. I went there today and spoke to some very unhappy people. Several people said they cannot even sit out on their balconies. Not only did I hear that terrible noise again today, but residents complained -rightfully so again- that the garbage and recycling was put out on Sunday afternoon. This was well before our bylaws allow material to be placed at the curb.   Public Security has been advised.

IMG_6255
Recycling bins out early.

This is all very unfortunate for we created a committee composed of representation from the developers and reps from the condos (and now even the Equinoxe) to air any issues and have them resolved. For the most part this has been successful.  There is also a new member of their team, Ariel, who has been very helpful. He is on holday.  Nonetheless, every week something new seems to materialize like this ventilation noise. I spoke to Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and we will not allow this to continue. Our senior staff have made this issue a priority. We will take whatever legal measures necessary. 

IMG_6256
A bin on the street.

The latest information from the Equinoxe is that due to the construction holiday, a permanent fix will not be possible until the week of August 5. At that time the complete system motor will be replaced. In the interim  We understand the dilemma everyone affected by this unfortunate turn of events face, and truly wish we can find a very quick solution,. The Equinox does not wish to close the ventilation system for safety reasons due to the Co2. They do not wish to take any risks at that level either. For now they have agreed to keep it on during the day only.

 
 

Work on cutting down the snow dump continues

Cooler than usual temperatures in May delayed our plans to chop up the thick and dirty snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue.
 
IMG_5961
 
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 operations, once more time and then we needed to wait another week so that some snow can start to melt on its own. We will then bring 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.
 
 
 
 

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

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

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

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

Trucks
Cement trucks block the driveway of The Rothchild II.

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

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