We have made the case that hybrid city council meetings work; is the Quebec government listening?

Last Monday (April 11) Côte Saint-Luc City Council  convened for our first in-person meeting in over two years,

Despite the fact we have over 60,000 cases of COVID-19 daily in Quebec, the CAQ government is in election mode so no matter how backed up our emergency rooms get and regardless of how many crucial surgeries are cancelled due to the explosion of the pandemic it is business as usual according to our National Director of Health.

So, among the many senseless things our provincial government has done is force councils back in public. It was ironic that on the day  we did return, former Councillor Sam Goldbloom was admitted to the Jewish General Hospital with a serious case of COVID. I spoke to Sam today. His condition is improving and he should be released in the coming days. The list of people I know who have come down with COVID in the past two weeks is endless. Yet here we were in the Council Chamber, albeit everyone masked and distanced,asked to meet in the presence of the public. Vaccine passports are now part of our past.

Seated at our first in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic.

The council meeting proceeded similarly to those of the past two years. While we were indeed all seated in the Council Chamber, we wore headphones and via Zoom the session was broadcast live on YouTube. One member of the public showed up, but she left before we got started. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and I are immunosuppressed. So after the agenda was approved, we each went to separate rooms and continued to participate in the meeting. Oh yes, we did have plenty of questions and all of them came online.

What we proved on April 11 is that hybrid meetings do work. We adopted a resolution, calling upon the Quebec government to allow us to conduct such meetings. Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, St. Laurent Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa and The Association of Suburban Mayors back this format. Will the Quebec government budge? It would be nice for this occur, but I am not betting on the CAQ doing the right thing where COVID protocols are concerned until after the October election.

Here I am on CTV Montreal

Here I am on CJAD

Here is the video of our first in person meeting




WHEREAS Ministerial Order 2020-029 authorized the remote participation of elected officials in municipal council meetings as well as in public consultation assemblies due to the state of the declared public health emergency throughout Quebec;

WHEREAS Ministerial Order 2022-024, taken on March 25, revoked Ministerial Order 2020-029, thus requiring physical presence at municipal council meetings and public consultation assemblies;

WHEREAS the sixth wave of the COVID-19 infections is causing a sharp rise in cases across Quebec;

WHEREAS an elected municipal official is at the heart of municipal democracy and that its presence is essential in order to fulfill his duties and obligations;

WHEREAS the remote work mode promotes the participation of elected officials on the move, work-family balance as well as the possibility of voting at a municipal council meeting even in the event of illness;

WHEREAS experience shows that remote communication is done effectively within the framework of the various council meetings;


             It was

                       MOVED BY COUNCILLOR Andee Shuster

                       SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR Sidney Benizri

             AND RESOLVED:

            THAT the Council of the City of Côte Saint-Luc ask the government and the National Assembly of Quebec, by means of a letter addressed to the provincial deputy, to adopt the necessary legislative amendments in order to confer on municipalities the power to determine, by by-law or resolution, the procedures for the remote participation of elected officials in meetings of the municipal council as well as in public consultation assemblies.

             THAT a certified copy of this resolution be sent to the MNA of D'Arcy-McGee, Mr. David Birnbaum, to the ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation, to the Union des Municipalités du Québec as well as to the Association of Suburban Municipalities ;





ATTENDU QUE l’Arrêté ministériel 2020-029 autorisait la participation à distance des élus aux séances du conseil municipal ainsi qu’aux assemblées publiques de consultation en raison de l’état d’urgence sanitaire déclaré sur tout le territoire québécois ;

ATTENDU QUE l’arrêté ministériel 2022-024, pris le 25 mars dernier, a abrogé l’arrêté numéro 2020-009, obligeant ainsi les élus municipaux à siéger en présentiel aux séances du conseil municipal et assemblées publiques de consultation ;

ATTENDU QUE la sixième vague d’infections à la COVID-19 provoque une forte hausse des cas à travers le Québec ;

ATTENDU QU’un élu municipal est au cœur de la démocratie municipale et que sa présence est ainsi primordiale afin de remplir ses devoirs et obligations ;

ATTENDU QUE le mode de travail à distance favorise la participation des élus en déplacement, la conciliation travail-famille ainsi que la possibilité de voter à une séance du conseil municipal même en cas de maladie ;

ATTENDU QUE l’expérience permet de constater que la communication à distance s’effectue efficacement dans le cadre des différentes assemblées du conseil ;

             Il fut

                       PROPOSÉ PAR LE CONSEILLER Andee Shuster

                       APPUYÉ PAR LE CONSEILLER Sidney Benizri    

             ET RÉSOLU :


            QUE le conseil de la Ville de Côte Saint-Luc demande au gouvernement et à l’Assemblée nationale du Québec, par le biais d’une lettre adressée au député provincial, d’adopter les modifications législatives nécessaires afin de conférer aux municipalités le pouvoir de déterminer, par règlement ou résolution, les modalités de participation à distance des élus aux séances du conseil municipal ainsi qu’aux assemblées publiques de consultation.

             QU’une copie certifiée conforme de la présente résolution soit transmis au député provincial de la circonscription de D’Arcy-McGee, monsieur David Birnbaum, au ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation, à l’Union des Municipalités du Québec ainsi qu’à l’Association des municipalités de banlieue ;



New Orthodontist Clinic coming to The Avenue

City Council has approved the signage for the first tenant on the ground floor of the District 2 apartment building on The Avenue. It will nice to see the brown paper come down from the windows, although there is still another section the owners can rent out.

It has been five years since residents began occupying the building right across the street from the side entrance of Quartier Cavendish. He ground floor has always been zoned commercial and in a few weeks Nemes Ortho will set up shop there. Operated by Dr. Jordan Nemes (whose parents own J & R Kosher), this will be a nice addition to the community. Of course, at Quartier Cavendish, the legendary Dr. Marvin Steinberg continuest to make kids' teeth straight at Smile Creations.

Ortho (2)
A look at what the outside will look like.


Nemes Ortho  currently operates on the West Island and at Decarie Square. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree from McGill University, Dr. Nemes received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from NYU’s College of Dentistry. Dr. Nemes then completed a multidisciplinary general practice residency program at the Jewish General Hospital (McGill University) where he received advanced dental training in various dental specialties and emergency care.

Dr. Nemes with a patient.


Following his residency, Dr. Nemes practiced dentistry in Montreal and the West Island. Dr. Nemes obtained his Master’s degree and specialty training in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics from the University of Manitoba and is a fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada in Orthodontics. During the course of his studies, Dr. Nemes earned several academic awards and honor.

Dr. Steinberg

Dr. Steinberg, who is also one of my constituents, received his dental training at McGill University in Montreal and his Orthodontic training at Boston University School of Graduate Dentistry in Boston. He holds a Certificate in Orthodontics as well as a Masters of Science in Dentistry degree. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada, a Fellow of the American College of Dentists, and as well, a Fellow of the International College of  Dentists. Dr. Steinberg is a Past-President of the Federation of Dental Societies of Greater Montreal, a Past-President of Alpha Omega-Mount Royal Dental Society and Past President of the Quebec Association of Orthodontists.

Let the record show that thanks to my parents, I had braces as did my brother Chuck and sister Lisa. Our orthodontist was Dr. Eric  B. Reich, who had his office at the Kildare Medical Centre. He was such a sports fan that before each appointment he'd call me into his private office to discuss the latest news in the NHL. Everytime I smile with my straight teeth I am grateful to my parents and Dr. Reich.

Hillsdale Golf & Country Club to relocate to Meadowbrook

The Board of Directors of Hillsdale Golf and Country Club has sold its sprawling grounds in Mirabel for  $50 million, effective 2024, subsequently purchasing Meadowbrook Golf Course.

Work will begin immediately to build a state of the art clubhouse, restaurant and reception hall. Bravo to Côte Saint-Luc’s Deputy Mayor Dida Berku, who has worked tirelessly for well over three decades to keep Meadowbrook green.

While Hillsdale is a members only club, arrangements have been made for non-members to golf on Tuesdays from 7 am to 4 pm

Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific West bought the land in 2006 for $3 million and was in talks with the city to build what it called an environmentally friendly, 1,600-unit residential complex dubbed Petite Rivière.

Hillsdale Golf Club began in 1953 with a group of dedicated men who shared a dream and had the determination needed to make their vision a reality. Since then, Hillsdale has grown into a multi-cultural club with a rich history of traditions, memorable moments, and great golf.

“What an opportunity this is for us,” says Hillsdale board member Michael Wagen, the Chief Executive Officer of Delmar Cargo. “Such a large chunk of our membership lives in the West End of Montreal. The drive to Mirabel is long. Now we will build a state of the art facility and contribute to our local community at the same time.”

Berku will meet with Councillor Mitch Kujavsky, Chair of the Planning Advisory Committee, this week to begin the process of planning consultations. Approval will also be required from the  City of Montreal, since part of the golf course is in Lachine.

The beautiful grounds of Meadowbrook, soon to be renamed Hillsdale.


Berku says the new Hillsdale facility has the potential to become a gathering place for  community events,  receptions and celebrations like weddings.  Efforts will be made to lure a hotel.  Hillsdale will bring its popular restaurant the Grill Room  to the new facility. Chef Eric Hamel, will help you discover these new products whether it is with our daily specials or with our table d’hôte during dinner.  The  Lounge will serve as the perfect place for a game of cards with a group of friends, serving  a wide selection of wines, spirits, and other beverages.  Two snack bars will allow golfers grab a quick bite before they tee time or between the 7th and 8th holes. Here you will find daily items such as paninis, salads, and desserts, all of which are packaged to-go in the easiest and simplest way for you to enjoy your meal while continuing your activities.

Dave Gandell,  president of The CSL Men’s Club, says his membership is overwhelmed. “Many of us will sign up as  members,” he said, noting that Past President Mannie Young was secretly assigned to a private negotiating committee.

Well, I don’t know about you but this sounds like a dream come true! However, this is April Fool’s Day so I regret to inform you it is a merely a wish.    Deputy Mayor Berku, though, has always told me she would love to see something like this occur. So, perhaps I have  planted a seed?

"Forcing" municipalities to return to in-person public meetings represents another example of pretending COVID is over

The Quebec government continues to dig its head in the sand, doing away with COVID-19 measures as if this is a race.

Public Health Director Luc Boileau said today that he may delay the lifting of the mask mandate past mid-April. Well,  that makes sense. We are now officially in a sixth wave. Hospital workers are out in big numbers. A number of restaurants and pubs have had to shut down and while the hard to get PCR testing numbers show over 3,000 cases a day, Boileau  admitted that the real number of daily infections in Quebec is likely closer to 30,000.

Head in sand
Some people from our government do indeed have their heads in the sand.


I know it is an election year for the Quebec government, but if the governing CAQ continues to act like COVID does not exist they are removing the incentive for people to get vaccinated or boosted - and just watch as hospital emergency rooms go beyond capacity.

As a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc,  I am at loss to understand why municipalities have just been advised that we are now being forced to return to in-person public meetings.  For the past two years we have been convening virtually. The process has worked exceptionally well and while we all want to do this again with the public in attendance and for them to be able to ask questions directly to us, it really is all about timing. Since we now have live webcasts of these meetings, more people than ever are tuning in.  And nobody can argue about the safety factor.

As this sixth wave begins,  no less than nine Members of the National Assembly - including the Premier and the Deputy Premier- sit home isolating because of COVID. Would it not make more sense for the government to leave this choice up to each municipality? Clearly they are spreading the new variant among each other in Quebec City.

Today, Health Minister Christian Dubé spoke about not entirely lifting the State of Emergency; that the government still requires the power to make some urgent decisions. He took a lot of heat for this. Well, here is a perfect opportunity for him to grant municipalities to return to public sessions at the very least when this sixth wave subsides.

Here is the memo municipalities received

À la suite des derniers développements concernant les mesures de la COVID-19, le ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Habitation confirme que l'arrêté 2020-029 du 26 avril 2020, qui permet la participation à distance des membres de toute réunion, séance ou assemblée d’un organe délibérant (dont le conseil d’un organisme municipal), a été abrogé le vendredi 25 mars dernier par l’arrêté ministériel 2022-024. Dans ce contexte, l’ensemble des séances du conseil doit de nouveau se tenir en présentiel, conformément aux règles prévues, entre autres, à la Loi sur les cités et villes et au Code municipal du Québec.

Le site Internet du MAMH sera mis à jour sous peu pour tenir compte de cette abrogation.

I was interviewed by CTV Montreal News. You can see the report here.

CBC also did a report. You can see it here.


Developing closer ties with our colleagues on Hampstead Town Council

A few weeks ago I suggested to Mayor Mitchell Brownstein that our council hold a virtual meeting with our colleagues in Hampstead, something we have not done since I first elected 16 years ago.

CSL and Hampstead councils meet.


Having a virtual platform made this process so simple and the one hour we spent together was  very productive. Mayor Brownstein and his counterpart, newly elected Hampstead Mayor Jeremi Levi, spoke about some common goals. Councillors introduces ourselves. We are immediate neighbours and of course, for four years during the forced mergers we were part of a borough with Montreal West.

Some of the topics raised included traffic signs on Fleet Road, the extension of Cavendish Boulevard, dedicated bus lines that will start on the Montreal side of Queen Mary Road,  Bill 96, Dawson College and how we may be able to form even closer ties.

We all agreed that more such meetings will be scheduled.



Handicapped accessible washrooms being installed at Rembrandt Park Chalet

Renovations  are underway at the  Rembrandt Park Chalet’s washrooms.

Our Public Works team are gutting them completely and installing new  floors ceilings, toilets, and more. We are changing both the men's and women's bathrooms to become  wheelchair accessible. One stall in each will be dedicated to this. Also a ramp will be installed at the front entrance.1

The Rembrandt Chalet.


I want to thank Public Works Director Beatrice Newman and her staff for being able to complete this work in-house, saving the city thousands of dollars.

While the work is being carried out,   we ordered a portable bathroom for a minimum of several weeks until everything is  completed. 

Rembrandt Park has become a true hub of activity over the years, with people of all ages spending time there.  Seniors with mobility issues will really appreciate this initiative.

Spotlight on Côte Saint-Luc Merchants for March: Coop Sportive Santé gym/Marchands locaux en vedette pour le mois de mars : Coop Sportive Santé

The Côte Saint-Luc  Local Commerce Committee is pleased to recognize Coop Sportive Santé gym.

As the Spotlight on Local Merchants recipient for March 2022, Coop Sportive Santé gym, located at the corner of Côte Saint-Luc and Westminster Avenues, has been providing to hundreds of members, of all ages and fitness levels, a place to exercise, partake in various physical activities and feel part of the community.

From left to right: Nelson (boxing coach), Patrick Pierre, Ngala Tanyu Johnson, Haleh Hashemzadeh, Nandini Dendukuri, Steven Erdelyi.
De gauche à droite : Nelson (entraîneur de boxe), Patrick Pierre, Ngala Tanyu Johnson, Haleh Hashemzadeh, Nandini Dendukuri, Steven Erdelyi.

Originally started in 2016 as Power Gym, before switching to a Cooperative in 2018, the facility offers a wide selection of cardio machines, power lifting machines, punching bags and a matted area for martial arts training and group lessons in a clean open-concept space.

Côte Saint-Luc District 4 Councillor Steven Erdelyi believes that Coop Sportive Santé is an excellent example for all merchants. “The Board of the Coop headed by the President Nandini Dendukuri has been striving to create a space where residents can come to become physically and mentally fit and offer courses and programs to share with their fellow members,”  he said.

“The goal of the Coop Sportive Santé is to be a gym where the members share ownership and we can inculcate a sense of community,” said Ms. Dendukuri, on behalf of board members Ngala Tanyu Johnson, Haleh Hashemzadeh, Neil Bernstein and Patrick Pierre.  

There are a variety of group fitness activities going on at the Coop Sportive Santé including boxing, self-defense, Qigong and soccer. Space may be reserved for community events or fitness activities. Gym clients can access qualified personal trainers, physio and massage therapists or a nutritionist.

There are different membership options for those looking to join and a growing number of classes, including activities for seniors and women. Discounts are available for students, seniors, families and fitness professionals. As the pandemic slowly comes to an end, the Coop is happy to welcome returning and new members alike.

Info: https://cotesaintluc.org/services/businesses/spotlight-on-local-merchants.

Marchands locaux en vedette pour le mois de mars : Coop Sportive Santé

Le Comité de commerce local de Côte Saint-Luc est heureux de reconnaître le gymnase Coop Sportive Santé.
En tant que récipiendaire du prix Marchand local pour le mois de mars 2022, le gymnase Coop Sportive Santé, situé à l’angle des avenues Côte Saint-Luc et Westminster, offre à des centaines de membres, de tous âges et de tous niveaux de forme physique, un endroit pour faire de l’exercice, participer à diverses activités physiques, créant ainsi un sens d’appartenance à la communauté.
Initialement lancé en 2016 sous le nom de Power Gym, avant de passer à une coopérative en 2018, l’établissement offre une large sélection d’appareils cardio, d’appareils de musculation, de sacs de frappe et une zone matelassée pour les entraînements d’arts martiaux et les cours de groupe dans un espace ouvert et propre.
Le conseiller du district 4 de Côte Saint-Luc, Steven Erdelyi, estime que la Coop Sportive Santé est un excellent exemple pour tous les commerçants. “Le conseil d’administration de la Coop dirigé par la présidente Nandini Dendukuri s’est efforcé de créer un espace où les résidents peuvent venir pour se mettre en forme physiquement et mentalement et offre des cours et des programmes de groupe pour les membres”, a-t-il déclaré.
“L’objectif de la Coop Sportive Santé est d’être un gymnase où les membres sont tous propriétaires et où nous pouvons instaurer un sens de la communauté”, a déclaré Mme Dendukuri, au nom des membres du conseil d’administration Ngala Tanyu Johnson, Haleh Hashemzadeh, Neil Bernstein et Patrick Pierre.  
La Coop Sportive Santé propose une variété de cours en groupe de conditionnement physique, dont la boxe, la défense personnelle, le Qigong et le football. Des espaces peuvent être réservés pour des événements communautaires ou des activités de conditionnement physique. Les clients du gymnase peuvent avoir accès à des entraîneurs privés qualifiés, à des physiothérapeutes et des massothérapeutes et/ou à un.e nutritionniste.
Il existe différentes options d’adhésion pour ceux qui souhaitent s’inscrire et un nombre sans cesse croissant de cours, notamment des activités pour les aînés et les femmes. Des réductions sont proposées aux étudiants, aux aînés, aux familles et aux professionnels du sport. Alors que la pandémie touche lentement à sa fin, la Coop est heureuse d’accueillir les anciens et les nouveaux membres.

Info: https://cotesaintluc.org/fr/services/entreprises/marchands-locaux-en-vedette/




As Quebec hastily ditches COVID restrictions I will push for Côte Saint-Luc to maintain mask mandates in our buildings

It is quite a shame that the CAQ Quebec government and the supposedly independent Director of Public Health Dr. Luc Boileau are rushing to make us believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.

According to Premier François Legault, Health Minister Christian Dubé and Dr. Boileau, the vaccine passport is no longer necessary. Entertainment venues and restaurants can return to full capacity. Daily COVID case counts basically no longer exist. You think you have COVID? Take a rapid test. Masks are also set to go by mid-April, to me the biggest mistake of them all.

I feel more comfortable seeing others wearing masks in stores.

COVID-19 and the Omicron variant have not disappeared. COVID remains a pandemic, not endemic. What was the rush to remove masks of students on March 7, just days after many returned from holidays outside of the country? I know more people with COVID now than I have in the last two years.

Well, there is a Quebec election in October and Legault is worried. Sure, polls show that he should win a majority. But the fledgling Conservatives are making a dent in his base in Quebec City and do not count the Liberals out just yet. The Freedom Convoys made a lot of noise and provincial politicians gave in to their demands.

I feel sad and worried to see the mask mandate come to an end. For the past two years wearing a mask at a mall, grocery store or at work gave me true sense of comfort. There is a reason why nobody got the flu. Family members of mine, prone to bronchitis, bad colds and the like, have never been healthier. If someone coughs in the fruits and vegetable aisle, odds are when and if they sneeze on the zucchini, we are well protected.

Would I feel safer at the Bell Centre next to non-vaccinated maskless individuals? Absolutely not!  Only time will tell to see whether this roll of the dice by the government is a giant mistake.

In Côte Saint-Luc we were early leaders on mask mandates. Well, we will not be able to order people to wear masks at the Quartier Cavendish, synagogues, stores or in apartment buildings when Quebec lifts the mandate. But we sure can do so in our own buildings. I hope our council will decide to maintain mask mandates inside our City Hall, Library and Aquatic and Community Centre.

As for council meetings returning to a live in person format, there is no rush to do so. Since we pivoted to an online format, there are more eyes on our meetings, and I must say during my door to door last fall nobody complained. Sure, we want to return to the City Hall Council Chamber, but only when the time is right. Hopefully that will be soon. It would be prudent to wait and see how the Quebec COVID experiment works first. What happens if the case count doubles in the next month?  On public council meeting evenings, we convene several hours earlier in caucus. The space we use at City Hall is tight under normal circumstances, especially since we have working dinners. This presents a problem we must find a solution to.

And when we do return to public, I believe we should require members of the public to show a vaccine passport or alternatively ask their questions virtually if they have decided not to get the jab.

Folks I had COVID in January 2021. It was a miserable month in my life. I have friends who are Long Haulers. One still has not regained his sense of taste or smell in a year and half.

Now we wait and watch!

See this report on CityNews for which I was one of the people interviewed.

See this Gazette story


Meet Sadegh and Saloomeh: From Iran to Côte Saint-Luc they will feel at home

Ometz is a charitable organization that supports and strengthens individuals and families through a range of employment, immigration, school and social services. The Hebrew word for courage, Ometz has been active in Montreal's Jewish community for 156 years.

Via one of my District 2 constituents, Ruth Najman, who works at Ometz 7, I am pleased to be able to introduce to some of our newer residents who came to Canada from different countries and settled in our community.


Sadegh Hadizadeh and Saloomeh Kargar Shiraz (pictured above)  arrived here in March 2017. Their son was born soon after,

“In the beginning, we temporarily rented an apartment in NDG for a few months, and I was looking for a calm and safe place for families with good access to all our basic needs; I found Côte Saint-Luc was the best neighbourhood for us,” said Sadegh.

Sadegh is an IT administrator at Groupe Jesta. His wife was a nurse in Iran for almost nine years. Last year she got her RN (Registered Nurse) permit and now works at  the OriginElle Fertility Clinic & Women's Health Centre on Decarie Boulevard. 

The couple are proud members of our CSL Public Library, where we have do have a selection of Persian books. They are trilingual – Persian, French and English.

New Quartier Cavendish movie theatres should be opening soon

With movie theatres now open for business, the curtains will  soon rise at the new Ciné Starz  Deluxe Cinemas at Quartier Cavendish.

Hampstead's Bruce Gurberg owns the chain, which has locations at Plaza Côte des Neiges, in St. Leonard,  Ottawa and Toronto. He tells me that he hopes to be ready to show movies by the end of March or the beginning of April.

City Council has approved this outdoor sign proposal for the new theatre.


Cineplex Odeon Theatres at Quartier Cavendish shut operations at Quartier Cavendish in November 2020. The company emptied the place out, right down to the seats, screens and concession stand. I believed that Gurberg would be the one to fill the void and he indeed stepped up.

"We will have the same eight screens," Gurberg told me. "There will be brand new seating and let's just say I have some real surprises planned."