Marc Chagall

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.


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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.
 
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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.

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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!

 

 

 

 

 


Lights update for Marc Chagall Avenue

On Friday May 24  a new electrical conduit was installed on Mark Chagall Avenue in front of the Equinox building.

The contractor, "Les Constructions Morival," has confirmed the delivery of the new concrete light base for Wednesday. Both the light base and the permanent asphalt road repairs will be carried out on Wednesday. Once the contractors work has been completed our electricians will run the electrical wires and install the street lights(one on the east side of the road next to the Equinox driveway and the second on the corner of Mark Chagall & Lismer).

This work should be completed for the end of this week or early the following week.  Once the new wiring is completed and the lights installed, the Equinox builder "Jadco" will be able to cut the temporary power to the lights and the street lights will again be connected to the city's power grid. The street lights will go on and off with the magic eye including the lights on Leonard Cohen Lane.

Thanks to John Monteiro and his team from Public Works for their excellent job on this dossier.

 

 


Facilitating another meeting between condo reps from Marc Chagall with the administration of the Equinoxe

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  condominum complexes on the street (Le 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  on 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.

On April 29,  I convened another meeting. This time we gathered at the Equinoxe, which everyone on hand agreed closely resembles a five star hotel.

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A picture of our group with André Doudak (left) at the Equinoxe.

Present was  André Doudak,  the president of lead developer Jadco and Philippe Mourani who oversees the new building.  Representing the condos were: Lyon Kunin and Albert Aaron (Rothchild II); Eddie Bornstein (Rothchild I);  Sheldon Lang (resident, Equinoxe);  Sid Margles and Mike Cuplowsky (Marquise); Syd Rosen and Allan Familiant (Bellagio); and  Jason Ullman (Les Cours Marc Chagall).à

Update

André Doudak reported that all but two of Phase One’s 170 units are occupied. Excavation is nearly complete and a crane will be installed next week to begin the construction phase for the second tower, which will number 116 units. It is scheduled for completion for spring 2020, with move in date likely in 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.

Everyone agreed that thus far efforts by the construction crew to keep the street clean have been successful. It is hoped this will continue. Ditto for the presence of a crew member to direct traffic when needed- a valuable safety measure,

Condo reps were  then given the floor to air any concerns.

Rothchild II

Cement trucks will be present soon for a six month period. Mr. Kunin and Mr. Aaron alluded to Phase One when these trucks parked on Lismer and they were cleaned, leaving behind  a very large mess. They asked that this not be repeated. Mr, Doudak took note.

Rothchild I

The presence of the generator at the side of the building resulted in a winter of misery for  many Rothchild I residents. The Equinoxe did not have a full Hydo-Québec hookup until April 14, so the generator was regrettably necessary to power their building. Efforts  were made to baffle the sound,  but this was not completely successful. Eddie Bornstein asked if the generator could be moved inside the building. Mr. Doudak said this is not possible, but he made it clear that that the generator will not cause the neighbours any more problem. It will be tested once a week for a few minutes, likely mid-morning during a weekday. The only time it will ever be used again is in the event of a power failure. Should such an event occur, the Rothchild I will be in the same boat.

Marquise

Mike Cuplowsky suggested that a temporary fence be erected near the excavation area as a safety precaution. He also asked that attention be given to a generator placed in the back of the building and whether it is necessary.

Les Cours Marc Chagall

Jason Ullmann asked about the makeshift parking lot next door. Mr. Doudak said his workers will be using it this summer. Councillor Cohen noted that it will be returned to greenspace after the construction concludes in the summer of 2020. It is his hope and mine for this to become some kind of parkland.

The Bellagio

Syd Rosen expressed his appreciation for the cleaning efforts thus far. He was also pleased  to hear workers will park in the lot and not take up spaces on the street. Dust does tend to come from the construction  and effect the air conditioning units of some residents.

The Montefiore

Mr. Doudak shared with the group this company purchased the former Manoire Montefiore seniors home at  Mackle and Cavendish last year. They are gutting the inside and building about 100 new rental apartment units. They will also be repurposing the main floor for additional garage spots. More news to come on a name and potential opening date.