We should all be concerned about Quebec's lack of a response regarding votes by mail for next election

Note: This article in The Gazette by Linda Gyulai should have us all concerned about why the province is dropping the ball to ensure that municipal elections allow for mail-in ballots. Failing that, perhaps they should be postponed to the spring of 2022. Will door to door campaigning be possible next fall? Will people even want to work at the polls? The way the vaccine rollout has started, I am not completely confident that everyone will be given the jab by next November.

HERE IS THE GAZETTE STORY

Elections in Quebec’s 1,100 municipalities are still 10 months away, but time is running out if the province plans to offer mail-in voting as an option for anyone who doesn’t feel safe voting in person.

The United States and British Columbia, which held elections in the fall, saw record numbers of voters cast their ballots by mail because of the pandemic. But those jurisdictions already had a system of mail-in balloting in place. Quebec legislation doesn’t currently allow residents to vote by mail in a local election in their municipality.

Voting by mail is crucial in a pandemic. Why is Quebec not ready?
 

“The deadline is starting to be tight,” Suzanne Roy, president of the Union des municipalités du Québec, told the Montreal Gazette after her association’s board decided in December to support mail-in voting among a host of measures to encourage turnout in the Nov. 7, 2021 municipal elections.

The UMQ, which represents 85 per cent of the population of Quebec through its member municipalities, passed a resolution that month formally calling on the provincial government to enact legislation that would permit voting by correspondence.


The UMQ resolution also calls for government support on six other measures to facilitate voting. They include studying the possibility of electronic voting from home, opening polling centres in seniors’ homes, adding more advance polling days and extending voting hours at polling centres. The resolution also appeals for any other safety measures that would eliminate lineups and make people feel more at ease, such as by offering more places to vote. And it calls on the government to allow municipalities to use a portion of the $100 million set aside for pandemic response in 2021 to help finance the voting measures proposed by the UMQ.

Roy, who is mayor of Ste-Julie, said public safety is one reason the association’s board, which includes the mayors of Montreal, Laval, Quebec City and Longueuil, supports mail-in voting and the other measures. But another consideration is pragmatic, she said: less than one out of every two eligible voters in Quebec, on average, casts a ballot in a municipal election, and the pandemic will likely only dampen enthusiasm.


“We don’t know what state we’ll be in with the pandemic, so we have to avoid people gathering when they vote,” Roy said.

At the same time, she said, “we have to make sure the vote is as accessible as possible. That’s why we’re suggesting that we promote voting by correspondence. Even if it’s expensive to set up, we think it could offer a solution for people who are afraid.”

The Quebec municipal elections law offers people who own property in a municipality but don’t reside there the chance to vote by mail. But the option is only available if the municipality opts in to allow out-of-towners a vote by post.

The city of Montreal tried mail-in voting for non-residents in the 2009 election, and abandoned it after only 1,215 voters out of 33,021 eligible non-resident voters sent in ballots.

In B.C., 662,000 votes were cast by mail in the provincial election in October — 100 times the 6,500 mail-in ballots that were cast in the province’s 2017 election. PHOTO BY DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS
The UMQ’s suggestions require provincial approval. And Roy said her organization plans to follow up with the government.

For example, municipalities can’t unilaterally decide to extend advance polling by, say, a week or a month. A Quebec decree passed in October and applicable only to municipal elections during the pandemic allows for up to five days of advancing polling between Oct. 29 and Nov. 2. The decree also allows a municipality to add one additional election day, on Nov. 6. So a municipality must offer a minimum of two days to vote in 2021 — the Nov. 7 election and an advance polling day — and a maximum of seven voting days that include two election days and five advance polling days.

The government’s October decree opens the window slightly to voting by mail during the pandemic, but only for people in hospitals and nursing homes and those ordered into self-isolation, and only applying to byelections so far.

Mail-in balloting temporarily replaces bedside voting normally available in seniors’ residences and hospitals, according to a 41-page guide the municipal affairs department issued in the fall with recommended safe distancing measures for elections during the pandemic.

On Thursday, Quebec’s director general of elections announced byelections in two municipalities, in Saint-Calixte and Beauharnois, to be held on Feb. 21. Anyone qualified to vote by mail in those byelections must make the request to their local chief returning officer no later than Feb. 11.

However, even if the government allows the stopgap measure to be applied in the November general elections, Montreal city councillor Alan DeSousa said the impact of offering mail-in voting only to people in nursing homes and hospitals or in mandatory isolation “would be extremely limited.”

“It doesn’t help senior citizens at large,” he said. “Clearly, it doesn’t deal with the concerns of seniors living in the broader community and people with pre-existing medical conditions.”

Moreover, the decree doesn’t amend the municipal elections law, DeSousa noted. So once the emergency health crisis ends and the decree is no longer in effect, Quebec municipalities will go back to holding elections on a single voting day plus one or two advance polling days. Mail-in voting will once again only be available to non-residents, and only in municipalities that opt in, he added.

DeSousa said the popularity of mail-in ballots in the U.S. and B.C. elections ought to convince the authorities in Quebec to make it available to all municipal voters this November and beyond.

An unprecedented number of Americans voted by mail in the U.S. elections and contributed to one of the country’s highest election turnouts since 1900.

 

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In B.C., 662,000 votes were cast by mail in the provincial election in October — 100 times the 6,500 mail-in ballots that were cast in the province’s 2017 election.

By DeSousa’s reckoning, time is running out. Municipal chief returning officers need time to organize, recruit staff and inform voters about the process, he said. Canada Post also needs time to prepare to deliver masses of ballots, he said. The city of Montreal alone has 1.1 million eligible voters.

“We have no guarantee we won’t be in a red zone next November,” says Montreal city councillor Alan DeSousa. “But you need to do the planning ahead.” 


The COVID-19 vaccine rollout may well move smoothly between now and September, DeSousa said. But Quebec can’t afford to wait and see before it decides whether to allow mail-in voting, he said. As well, it might be a long time before people feel safe to line up in a polling station again, he said.


“We have no guarantee we won’t be in a red zone next November,” DeSousa said. “But you need to do the planning ahead.”

The province might want to consider moving the deadlines for candidates to file their nomination papers and for voter list revisions to be made, he suggested. Currently, nominations close a month before the election, but the city then needs time to print ballots with the candidates’ names, mail them to voters and allow voters some time to mark their choices and mail back the ballots, he said.

DeSousa began phoning and writing to Montreal officials and the UMQ early last autumn to urge them to support mail-in voting and an extended voting period for the 2021 elections. He also got a resolution passed by city council in October that calls for the city to ask Quebec to introduce whatever legislative changes are needed for alternative methods to vote in the next election. The resolution also calls on the city’s election office to prepare for voting by correspondence, even if it’s not currently authorized.


DeSousa’s resolution followed after another opposition councillor, Marvin Rotrand, got city council to agree to examine mail-in voting for the 2021 election this summer.

However, the council speaker’s committee, which includes representatives of Montreal’s different political parties, dismissed the proposal in August, calling mail-in ballots “interesting” but complicated to implement. The panel concluded that mail-in ballots likely wouldn’t get the people who are the most vulnerable in the pandemic to vote. The committee recommended instead that Montreal “continue the reflection” as part of a provincial committee that includes representatives of the government, Quebec’s director general of elections and the UMQ, and that is working to identify alternatives to traditional voting.

Coincidentally, the director general of elections says it’s studying the possibility of expanding the use of mail-in ballots at the provincial level – permanently – starting in the 2022 general election. Spokesperson Julie St-Arnaud Drolet said the measure would require a legislative amendment. Currently, mail-in voting in provincial elections is available to Quebecers who reside temporarily or permanently in certain remote regions of the province, people who have lived outside of Quebec for less than two years but intend to return, and people in provincial and federal detention centres and youth centres.

Setting up a mail-in ballot system is no small task, the office of Montreal city clerk Yves Saindon, who is also the city’s chief returning officer, says. Saindon’s office gave an exhaustive presentation to the council speaker’s committee in August to show what a pandemic election and a vote by mail would entail.

The city clerk’s office, which said it’s open to mail-in voting if council supports it, worries the pandemic will keep seniors from voting in 2021 but also about its ability to staff the election, the presentation said. Seniors make up a large proportion of the personnel who work on any city election, it said. About one out of seven people who filled 13,000 temporary positions in the 2017 Montreal election was over 70 years old. And if mail-in ballots are added in 2021, Montreal will need to recruit at least another 500 temporary election workers, the presentation said.

The Montreal election would also cost more than the usual $14 million to hold a pandemic election, it said, notably to acquire personal protective equipment for all election personnel. The city’s 2021 operating budget, tabled in November, only specified an additional $450,000 to set up a “student voting office.”

If anything, the city clerk’s presentation shows that Montreal is ill-prepared to hold a pandemic election, DeSousa said.

“Clearly, in these circumstances, more needs to be done,” he said. “It’s important for democracy that these elections be held.”

lgyulai@postmedia.com

 


Broken wires create problem for our hill at Rembrandt Park

I have received complaints about three street lamps not functioning  at Rembrandt Park on top of the hill where the children like to sled and toboggan.  The area is dark at this time

Public Works responded to these concerns and dispatched a team of electricians who confirmed there is a broken wire in the ground that feeds the street lamps in question . Unfortunately, nothing can be done about this at this time. We  will have to take a look at this in the spring.

HIllNoLights

Après vérification , les électriciens m’ont mentionnés qu’il y a un fils brisé dans le sol qui alimentent les lampadaires en question. Malheureusement , rien ne peut être fait pour l’instant a ce sujet

 


This Sunday: The former head of Israel’s Mossad featured in CSL Library live video presentation

The Côte Saint-Luc Public Library presented a very special talk by video  on January 17   via www.csllibrary.org/liveonzoom featuring Shabtai Shavit, the former director of Israel’s principal secret intelligence service known as the Mossad

It was also be accessible by phone. 

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You can watch the entire lecture right here,

Mr. Shavit is the author of an extraordinary book now available at our library called Head of the Mossad: In Pursuit of a Safe and Secure Israel . It is being touted as a brilliant and much-needed book on intelligence, Israeli history, and global security.  Mr. Shavit headed the Mossad from  1989 to 1996. The book was originally published in Hebrew in 2018. The University of Notre Dame Press released the first English translation of the book recently.

I  co-chaired the event with Councillor  David Tordjman.  Israel Consul General David Levy   provided opening remarks and CJAD’s Aaron Rand conducted a live interview. Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Director of Library Services Janine West  concluded the program.

Candid and powerfully argued, Mr. Shavit tells his life story in the book, including his role in alerting American intelligence agents to the presence of al-Qaeda operatives in the US before 9/11, the secret negotiations that led to Israel signing a peace treaty with Jordan, and frequent long-running battles with Iran.  Mr. Shavit also provides fresh insights on present tensions and possible solutions to terrorism and security issues around the world, including in Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Syria.

Mr. Shavit, who has been a private citizen for more than two decades, was recently interviewed by the Jewish Insider about the book and discussed the historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Shavit says: “During my tenure as director and even before, I was personally involved in all kinds of relationships between the State of Israel and most of the Emirates.  Since those relationships were secret or clandestine, the Israeli party which was responsible was the Mossad.”

Head of the Mossad has received strong interest. Kirkus Reviews says, the book is “a well-documented . . . logistical delineation of decades of sensitive Israeli security and intelligence concerns. Among other significant historical events, Shavit’s tenure coincided with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the First Intifada, the Oslo Accords, and the election and assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.” Interviews, features, and excerpts from the book have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Ami Magazine, Counter Terrorism Today podcast, SpyTalk, and Jewish Insider.

Mr. Shavit has over 50 years of experience in international security and counterterrorism and is an internationally recognized authority in the field. He served in the Mossad, Israel's prestigious intelligence agency, for thirty-two years, eventually rising to the position of director. Previously, he served in the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces, retiring after a distinguished service in "Sayeret Matkal," Israel's elite special forces and SWAT unit.

You can see Mr. Shavit’s interview with me on The Suburban Newspaper’s video platform: https://www.thesuburban.com/on_air/cohen_in_the_city/cohen-in-the-city---episode-34-an-interview-with-the-former-head-of/article_26a3df1a-2818-11eb-a4f9-ab9be8fa8034.html.

To get in touch with our library related to the book, you can call 514-485-6900 ext. 3 or email  reference@cotesaintluc.org.

And from the US publisher of the book,  those attending the talk were offered a 30 percent discount to purchase "Head of the Mossad." The discount code is: 14FF30 and it expires on March 28, 2021. The book link is: 

https://undpress.nd.edu/9780268108335/head-of-the-mossad/

 

 

 


My 2020 Year in Review/ Mon bilan de l'année 2020

PANDEMIC/ PANDEMIQUE

It has been 15 years now since I was elected as the city councillor for District 2. I have always made it a point of remaining in direct contact with my constituents and 2020 was no different. This has been no ordinary year. The COVID-19 pandemic hit us in March and our staff and council immediately swung into action. I am very proud of how we performed.

Maskandshield
In my protective gear.

Thanks to the internet we all shifted to video platforms. Not only has all city council activity taken place on Zoom, but our recreation and library programming switched to that mode as well.

Since last spring I have been taking regular walks through my entire district. This gave me an opportunity to communicate with constituents on their balconies or from a proper social distance. I took notes and photos of issues that need to be resolved, be it an imperfection at a park, a pothole in the road, construction disruptions or a faulty traffic light. Even as the cold weather arrived I continued these promenades. Now I have reverted to District drives in my car. In addition I initiated zoom calls with constituents and the formation of my first District Advisory Council, composed of representatives from the different buildings and streets.

Even when this pandemic ends, Zoom and similar platforms are here to stay and it is a wonderful way to communicate.

We broadcast our public meetings live now on YouTube, via Zoom, and as Larry David would say, attendance is “pretty..;pretty..pretty good.” People can ask questions in the comments section or send them in advance.

I shudder to think of how we would be functioning if this pandemic had occurred in say 1987?

Elfmancrop
Constituent Laura Elfman receives her air conditioner.

 

During this pandemic, community supporter Ariel Davidson and I put out a call for people to donate used air conditioners and fans to low income families and individuals in Côte Saint-Luc. First of all thanks to our invaluable jack of all  trades Morris “Moe” Giobbi from Parks and Recreation who took care of  the first set of pickup and deliveries   Hats off to our initial donors: Steven Adler from Almar Appliances provided two 10,000 BTU units and Daniel Gal had a 12,000 BTU portable unit. Moe picked up the machines, placed them in his truck and delivered them to three very happy individuals. One was District 2 resident Laura Elfman. Previously I donated one of my own old ACs to a family on Sir Walter Scott Avenue. They immediately told me how much they appreciated this.

I want to thank Kelly Epstein, Toby Shulman and Megan Grossman who helped make phone calls to seniors in District 2 and check on how they were coping during the pandemic. Let me give a shout out to our library staff. They have been making over 400 care calls a day to people whom they know are isolated and lonely.

Overall, District 2 resident Kelly says this experience was very positive. “Each person expressed how much they appreciated my call, and how wonderful and unique our city is for checking on their elderly,” she said. “I am thankful for this opportunity and I encourage the youth in our community to continue with this initiative as I return to work at the hospital, as a few minutes of your day can make a world of a difference to those quarantining alone.”

Cela fait maintenant 15 ans que j'ai été élu conseiller municipal pour le district 2. Je me suis toujours efforcé de rester en contact direct avec mes électeurs et l'année 2020 n'a pas fait exception à la règle. Cette année n'a pas été ordinaire. La pandémie COVID-19 nous a frappés en mars et notre personnel et notre conseil municipal sont immédiatement passés à l'action. Je suis très fier de la façon dont nous avons

ASHKELON WOODLANDS/ PAYS-BAS ASHKELON

In 2019 the city felled about 700 diseased trees in the Ashkelon Woodlands behind City Hall Hundreds   there were infested with the Ash Borer and the Dutch Elm disease. These trees were dangerous for people who were walking in the area (from the possibility of falling branches or trees) and even constituted a fire hazard. The city requested our expert contractor, Nadeau Foresterie Urbaine, to prepare an inventory of the affected trees. In total, some 300 trees were cut; we cleared approximately 21,000 buckthorn plants and bushes, a species that interferes with healthy tree growth. We intend to plant up to 600 new trees.

 

Ashkelon

We are looking forward to providing our future generations with the woodlands they deserve and hope that they will appreciate the diversity that was planted. Some future potential projects in the woodlands might include a pathway or boardwalk

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

En 2019, la ville a abattu environ 700 arbres malades dans la forêt d'Ashkelon, derrière l'hôtel de ville. Des centaines d'arbres y ont été infestés par l'agrile du frêne et la maladie hollandaise de l'orme. Ces arbres étaient dangereux pour les personnes qui se promenaient dans la région (possibilité de chute de branches ou d'arbres) et constituaient même un risque d'incendie. La ville a demandé à notre expert contractuel, Nadeau Foresterie Urbaine, de dresser un inventaire des arbres touchés. Au total, quelque 300 arbres ont été abattus ; nous avons éliminé environ 21 000 nerpruns et buissons, une espèce qui empêche la croissance saine des arbres. Nous avons l'intention de planter jusqu'à 600 nouveaux arbres.

LIGHTING ON MARC CHAGALL/ ÉCLAIRAGE SUR MARC CHAGALL

To the question of what will happen to Marc Chagall Avenue in the winter, we have worked towards    brightening the street at night.  All bulbs were changed to LED and will stay like this until the Engineering Department takes on the project to change street lights throughout the city.

À la question de savoir ce qui arrivera à l'avenue Marc Chagall en hiver, nous avons travaillé à éclairer la rue la nuit.  Toutes les ampoules ont été remplacées par des LED et le resteront jusqu'à ce que le service d'ingénierie prenne en charge le projet de changement des lampadaires dans toute la ville.

HYDRO PROJECT/ PROJET HYDRO

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

Hydro‑Québec compte investir plus de 500 M$ pour moderniser son réseau de transport dans l’axe nord-sud de l’île de Montréal, entre les arrondissements de Saint-Laurent et de LaSalle.

Hydro

Dans un souci d’harmoniser son projet avec la vision du développement de ses partenaires, Hydro‑Québec souhaite travailler en collaboration avec les villes et arrondissements, les organismes et les citoyens concernés afin de faciliter des initiatives de mobilité durable et de verdissement dans l’emprise de la ligne de transport d’électricité.

Le projet de modernisation du réseau électrique entre les postes de l’Aqueduc et de Saraguay prévoit :

  • la reconstruction à 315 kilovolts (kV) de la ligne de transport aérienne à 120 kV entre les postes de l’Aqueduc, à LaSalle, et de Saraguay, à Saint-Laurent, sur 18 km. La ligne sera reconstruite dans l’emprise actuelle, mais dans le cadre des étapes suivantes, le tracé pourrait être optimisé pour en atténuer les impacts selon des critères techniques, économiques, environnementaux et sociaux.
  • la conversion de trois postes de transformation de 120 kV à 315 kV, soit les postes Rockfield (à Lachine), de Hampstead (à Côte Saint-Luc) et Laurent (à Saint-Laurent).

 

CONSTRUCTION

After three and a half years of disruptions, work on the two towers of the Equinoxe project apartments is finally complete. Just a reminder to all: the zoning for this land was established more than 30 years ago by a former city council. It took many years for a developer to come forward. When Jadco and Trantor did so, city council had lowered the maximum amount of storeys permitted from 17 to 14.

From the moment this project was announced I established a committee of representatives from each condo to meet with ownership a number of times per year and to communicate by email to deal with ongoing issues and get updates.

Equinoxe
Finally we were able to say good-bye to the Equinoxe construction.

From the start of construction we imposed regulations restricting outdoor construction on weekends, made the greenspace across from the Marquise available as a parking lot when residents and their guests complained about a lack of spots on the street, dealt with noise levels from generators and ventilation systems, enforced street cleaning protocols, insisted upon the hiring of flagmen for safety purposes and numerous other initiatives.

The temporary parking lot has been returned to its original setting. In the spring new grass will be planted and  I will begin holding some focus groups with residents to hear their ideas on how we can beautify the spot. Yes we have already been approached by many developers anxious to build there, but I can assure you this will never occur on my watch.

Le stationnement temporaire a été remis dans son état initial. Au printemps, de nouvelles pelouses seront plantées et je commencerai à organiser des groupes de discussion avec les résidents pour connaître leurs idées sur la façon d'embellir l'endroit. Oui, nous avons déjà été contactés par de nombreux promoteurs désireux d'y construire, mais je peux vous assurer que cela ne se produira jamais sous ma surveillance.

At one point we considered relocating Isadore Goldberg Park there. But in the past year we removed bushes and trees, refurbished and cleaned up the park and created a nicely paved walkway to make it fully accessible via Marc Chagall. We even moved the park sign from Kildare Road, a location that never made any sense.

An exterior piece of land near the Beth Chabad parking lot is zoned for a two storey commercial building.  At this point we have no formal proposal for a project on that land.

LE MONTEFIORE

Five years after the Manoir Montefiore senior’s residence on Mackle Road near Cavendish shut its doors, the facility reopened as a rental called Le Montefiore. Jadco Real Estate, the company behind the Equinoxe towers on Marc Chagall Avenue, purchased the property and completely gutted the interior to introduce a luxury rental apartment building. There have been some growing pains, but hopefully the kinks will be worked out soon.  

With the arrival of the second Equinoxe in November and Le Montefiore, I now welcome new District 2 constituents in three buildings since the last election.

Oren
Manager Oren Elbaz in the lobbty of Le Montefiore.

 

Rising nine stories and consisting of 94 residences, unit sizes at   Le Montefiore range from 440 square foot studios to 1600 square foot penthouses.  Oren Elbaz, the manager of the Equinoxe handles similar duties here. In order to accommodate the additional cars, a second indoor parking lot was constructed where the Manoir Montefiore dining hall used to sit.

Residents began moving in towards the end of June.  

Cinq ans après la fermeture de la résidence pour personnes âgées Manoir Montefiore sur Mackle Road près de Cavendish, l'établissement a rouvert ses portes sous la forme d'une location appelée Le Montefiore. Jadco Real Estate, la société derrière les tours Equinoxe sur l'avenue Marc Chagall, a acheté la propriété et a complètement vidé l'intérieur pour introduire un immeuble d'appartements de location de luxe. Il y a eu quelques difficultés de croissance, mais on espère que les problèmes seront bientôt résolus. 

THE AVENUE/L’AVENUE

The new owners of 6700 The Avenue have lived up to all of their promises to bring their building up to proper standards. A contractor completed all of the requested items on a list of deficiencies. The contractor installed the new asphalt for the driveway and walkway that leads to and from Park Place. A fence was installed a day later on the walkway.  

Last spring the rear parking lot was paved and the fencing against the Park Place residential backyards was repaired. There was also important work done at the front entrance and   the large patch of land which had been used to house construction material was turned back into beautiful greenspace.

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The new refreshed look.

Part of the main floor of the building is zoned commercial. At the present time the owners have no potential new tenants. However, work will begin soon on at least two new residential units.

The five floor building has an indoor pool and workout room, ceramic floors and custom kitchens with Quartz countertops and stainless kitchen appliances (with dishwashers). Security cameras are on every floor and exterior. Central A/C, heating and hot water are included.

Thank you Melissa Latifi, Emile Badea and your town for all the excellent work on this project. A shout out as well to the original developer Ron Basel. From the city, Charles Senekal, Jeff Davey, Beatrice Newman and Dalia Mohamed and company steered this ship wonderfully!

Les nouveaux propriétaires du 6700 The Avenue ont tenu toutes leurs promesses de mettre leur immeuble aux normes. Un entrepreneur a réalisé tous les éléments demandés sur une liste de lacunes. L'entrepreneur a installé le nouvel asphalte pour l'allée et la promenade qui mènent à Park Place et en reviennent. Une clôture a été installée un jour plus tard sur l'allée.

SNOW DUMP/ LE BOUCHON DE NEIGE

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.  Public Works 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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The snow dump was nicely cleared again.

As noted, when we are in the midst of an incredible snowstorm, 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.  One of the problems we run into at the dump is the fact these truck drivers come from sub-contractors. We make our point very clear about the tailgate clanging, they comply and then new drivers arrive at the scene. It is frustrating for all of us and I hope that these actions initiated by Ms. Newman and her team are successful.

Each spring I lobby for funds to break down the accumulated snow and ice at the   dump. This requires a lot of heavy equipment, including two mechanical shovels and one bulldozer.

 Au fil des ans, le bruit émanant des hayons des camions qui entrent et sortent de notre décharge de neige sur l'avenue Marc Chagall a perturbé certains habitants. Notre service des travaux publics a essayé de gérer cela de la meilleure façon possible. Au début de la saison hivernale, nous avons même construit un mur de neige pour essayer de faire écran aux bruits. Lors de fortes chutes de neige, le bruit est plus difficile à contrôler. Il y a aussi le fait que nous avons affaire à des sous-traitants, donc les conducteurs changent.  Le ministère des travaux publics a adopté une nouvelle approche en installant des panneaux de signalisation pour tenter de dissuader davantage les bruits de choc. Je tiens à remercier la directrice Beatrice Newman et son équipe pour cela.

 

TRAFFIC/ TRAFIC

It has been more than two years now since a new stop sign was placed at Kildare Road and Rembrandt. Police authorities okayed it from the start and monitored it often.   Check on it regularly. Some people expressed concern that the stop sign was too small. So a larger one was installed recently. Overall, this sign has made a huge difference for motorists exiting from Rembrandt Avenue. It was an issue that came up over and over again in my last door to door campaign. By going through the proper channels I am glad it has worked out.

During the year some residents of the town houses on Kildare Road, between Cavendish Boulevard and Kellert Avenue, were upset that new restricted parking signs (Tuesday and Thursday) went up in front of their homes. These same signs were removed when construction commenced in 2009 on their homes. Interestingly, there were no restricted parking signs present when work was complete in 2013. For six years that section of Kildare continued to have no such signs. According to Public Works this was a serious oversight on their part. It turns out that it was a complaint from across the street, asking why they had no parking two days a week and their side did not. Engineering did some research and realized that the signs were removed during construction in 2009, but never put back. Since I was never consulted, I asked for a review and that did take  place.   Public Works insisted that they had complaints for years that the sweeper during spring, summer and fall could not clean the street properly. Their personnel were not aware of the sign situation. At the meeting their operations director said they still need some restrictions in place.

 

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At the newly installed larger stop sign.

 

For residents this poses a major inconvenience, notably when guests come over during the day or they themselves want to leave a car on the street instead of going back into the garage. A compromise was reached. They now only maintain restrictions between April 1 to December for the sweeper. Instead of two days, it is part of one day (Tuesdays from 10 am to 2:30 pm.

One foot note: Montreal Transit Commission mandated bus lines will be introduced island-wide in the next year or so. That could impact on parking for everyone, including this stretch. We have no power on such decisions. We will keep everyone posted.

On the subject of Kildare Road, allow me to quote the late Mayor Bernard Lang who used this comment to refer to the extension of Cavendish Boulevard:  “We don’t need it, we don’t want it and we cannot afford it!”

Well that was several decades ago. The Cavendish extension will occur in my lifetime. But as long as I serve as the councillor for District 2, I will vehemently oppose any discussions around extending Kildare Road to Jean Talon and Decarie. Why? We don’t need it, we don’t want it and we cannot afford it!”

I take my hat off to our city officials who put together an outstanding brief called Transit First: Connecting The Sector in Namur-De La Savane. We do not need a highway running past an elementary and high school (JPPS-Bialik) nor Beth Chabad, which also benefits from a beautiful piece of greenspace they use for weddings in the summer. Buses turn around in that section and children are dropped off at school. The area is already has enough traffic.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein wanted to share this clarification. "Our brief requests many improved options for movement in and out of our city," he told me. "The recommendation regarding extending Kildare could be through a tramway, and/or pedestrian and bicycle paths. Our priority for cars remains the Cavendish extension, with two lanes in each direction for cars and a tramway in the median down the center linking Saint Jacques to Namur. Imagine if that tramway could go through Kildare to Jean Talon directly as well, either using the perimeter of the rail yards or some other configuration. We also need train stations to make use of the existing Saint Jerome line that passes through our city There is a lot we can do and the four mayors in the region, Mayor De Sousa of Saint Laurent, Mayor Roy of Town of Mont Royal and Mayor Montgomery of Cöte des Neiges/ NDG are working together with us to move these ideas forward."

Many years ago the City of Montreal was supposed to extend Kildare. Then Mayor Jean Doré reneged on deal with Mayor Lang who took the matter to the Quebec Municipal Commission. Côte Saint-Luc won a multi-million dollar cash settlement as well as ownership of the area of homes in what was then called North Hampstead Estates (renamed North of Hampstead) near Decarie Square.

Anytime the extension of Kildare came up again thus far in my 14 years on council, it came with a massive price tag attached to it. This simply is never going to happen. Residents of Marc Chagall, Merrimac, Rembrandt, Ilan Ramon and Sir Walter Scott in particular do not want it. Ditto for the congregants at Beth Chabad and the parents, students and staff at JPPS-Bialik.

Finally, the traffic lights at Cavendish and The Avenue were not working consistently for the last few months. I tested it out myself during regular walks. In mid-December the problem was resolved.

Cela fait maintenant plus de deux ans qu'un nouveau panneau d'arrêt a été placé à Kildare et Rembrandt. Les autorités policières l'ont approuvé dès le début et l'ont souvent surveillé.   Vérifiez-le régulièrement. Certaines personnes ont exprimé leur inquiétude quant à la taille du panneau d'arrêt. Un panneau plus grand a donc été installé récemment. Dans l'ensemble, ce panneau a fait une énorme différence pour les automobilistes qui sortent de l'avenue Rembrandt. C'est un problème qui est revenu sans cesse dans ma dernière campagne de porte-à-porte. En passant par les canaux appropriés, je suis heureux que cela ait fonctionné.

PARKS/ PARCS

Isadore Goldberg Park

When I was first elected 15 years ago, I pledged to one day make Isadore Goldberg Park more accessible. For reasons I never understood, the park was built between a number of apartment buildings on Sir Walter Scott and Kildare Road. The actual sign was at the corner of Kildare and Merrimac, but with no clear direction of how to even get there. It was essentially a park for the residents of these buildings and while it was well utilized, this could have been the case for such a wider audience.

Our original plan was to relocate the park to the large patch of green space on Marc Chagall Avenue across from the Marquise and next to Les Cours Chagall. However, that was derailed when we desperately needed that spot for construction workers at the Equinoxe to park in order to ensure residents could find places on the street.

 

Goldbergsign
The new entrance to Goldberg Park.

 

Well, over the years Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman and I maintained a regular dialogue on this topic. Last year she came up with the brilliant idea to revitalize the existing park and at the same time make it widely accessible.

Eh bien, au fil des ans, la directrice des travaux publics, Beatrice Newman, et moi-même avons entretenu un dialogue régulier sur ce sujet. L'année dernière, elle a eu la brillante idée de revitaliser le parc existant tout en le rendant largement accessible.

All of the old benches were removed and replaced with new ones. Ditto for the garbage cans. Five new benches were installed on concrete bases plus five temporary wood picnic tables were put in the park.   Five new lights were purchased. Four new games were installed. About 40 tons of sand was poured and we also sifted the sandbox, removed dead trees and bushes and trimmed some others.  

A gravel pathway was made and in November paved. What a beautiful site! And yes, the sign has been relocated to the entrance to the pathway. Isadore Goldberg Park is truly now accessible to all.

Less than a year ago former Councillor Goldberg passed away. I know that his brother, sister in law and niece, each of whom reside in my district, will be pleased to represent him when we do a re-dedication in 2021. Next year we will be installing a gate as we have in Trudeau Park. Only pedestrians will be able to enter through there. Vehicles will not do so unless the employee has the key.  Until the final installation, we will place cement bells at the entrance so the Equinoxe team can no longer drive over our property to get to their dump. Last year all the dead trees and shrubs were removed.

REMBRANDT

 On one of my regular District 2 walks during the fall, one of my constituents, and some youngsters asked me when the Rembrandt Park basketball courts would be fixed up. As part of our Capital Works Program, I was promised that this was in the plans for 2021. However, given the financial impact of the pandemic I could not be sure.

After speaking with project manager Dalia Mohamed I can now confirm the work will be done. The city will call for tenders in March and the renovations will occur towards the end of May. First and foremost, there will be new asphalt installed. That is very important given the surface is in pretty poor condition. They will also paint new lines, install new benches and new lighting to allow for evening activity. The city will replace the existing headboards and nets with new backboards of rectangular shape with the double rim. For the basketball poles they will be sanded and painted with two coats. I spoke to Alex Fyon of J-Hoops, which runs basketball programs year-round and there could be a possible partnership in the works. Meanwhile, the tennis season at Rembrandt was extended due to the unseasonably warm weather. For tennis court # 1, the city awarded a contract to install a 15-feet barrier to allow the Public Works trucks to enter the court.

Kidsatcourt
KIds at the basketball court.

 

During the summer we installed a brand new ping pong table, a high-end model that is bolted to the ground and will stand the test of time. You must bring your own racquets and ping pong balls

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

Early in the summer I discovered that rat and mouse poisoning pellets had been found at and near Rembrandt Park.  Dogs often consume things on the ground that look like food when you take them for a walk. Owners must watch them carefully.  Then there are outdoor cats. They have nobody looking out for them. One of my neighbours saw a torn package of green pellets on the ground and threw them in the garbage.  He also found a wrapper on the ground clearly labelled as Wilsarin: Rat and Mouse Bait. Public Security officers from Côte Saint-Luc carried on an investigation and reported this to police. Sadly, we have had previous cases of people who clearly hate animals of doing such a horrible thing.   A family member was walking her dog near Mackle Road and Marc Chagall earlier this year. The pooch ingested something, fell very ill the next day and had to be rushed to the vet. He almost died. It cost her $5,000 to regain his health. There is clearly someone out there who wants to harm animals. I repeat the importance of reporting to us any suspicious behavior. It is almost as if this person wants us to know what he or she is doing. Why else are they leaving their wrappers on the ground?

Après avoir parlé avec la responsable du projet, Dalia Mohamed, je peux maintenant confirmer que le travail sera fait. La ville lancera un appel d'offres en mars et les rénovations auront lieu vers la fin du mois de mai. Avant tout, un nouvel asphalte sera installé. C'est très important étant donné que la surface est en assez mauvais état. Ils vont également peindre de nouvelles lignes, installer de nouveaux bancs et un nouvel éclairage pour permettre l'activité en soirée. La ville remplacera les têtes de lit et les filets existants par de nouveaux panneaux arrière de forme rectangulaire à double rebord. Pour les poteaux de basket, ils seront poncés et peints avec deux couches. J'ai parlé à Alex Fyon de J-Hoops, qui gère des programmes de basket-ball toute l'année et un éventuel partenariat est en cours. En attendant, la saison de tennis à Rembrandt a été prolongée en raison du temps anormalement chaud. Pour le court de tennis n°1, la ville a attribué un contrat pour l'installation d'une barrière de 15 pieds pour permettre aux camions de Travaux publics d'entrer sur le terrain.

ELIE WIESEL

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

Le parc Elie Wiesel, à l'angle de Kildare et Cavendish, est difficile à entretenir en raison de sa composition. Les Travaux publics ont désherbé le parc à plusieurs reprises. Ils ont même décidé d'arracher de nombreux arbustes et plantes vivaces cette année en raison de la grande quantité de mauvaises herbes profondes (Phragmite). Dans un monde idéal, il faudrait tout arracher et repartir de zéro. Comme nous ne pouvons pas le faire, nous avons arraché tout ce qui était impossible à travailler pour l'instant. Il faut un minimum de 12 personnes pour nettoyer ce parc pendant quelques jours, ce qui est frustrant.

MOPEDS  

During the summer I began receiving complaints about people recklessly driving mopeds in some of our parks, notably Rembrandt.  I want to thank Co-City Manager Jonathan Shecter and Public Safety Director Philip Chateauvert for the excellent work they did on the dossier. At a December Council meeting we passed a notice of motion that will prohibit the use of electric mopeds in parks and to prohibit circulation in a manner that compromises the safety of other park users.

Pendant l'été, j'ai commencé à recevoir des plaintes concernant des personnes conduisant imprudemment des cyclomoteurs dans certains de nos parcs, notamment celui de Rembrandt.  Je tiens à remercier Jonathan Shecter, co-directeur de la ville, et Philip Chateauvert, directeur de la sécurité publique, pour l'excellent travail qu'ils ont accompli sur ce dossier. Lors d'une réunion du Conseil en décembre, nous avons adopté un avis de motion visant à interdire l'utilisation de cyclomoteurs électriques dans les parcs et à interdire la circulation d'une manière qui compromet la sécurité des autres usagers des parcs.

TRAIN NOISE/ BRUIT DES TRAINS

At my most recent District 2 Advisory Committee meeting, held via Zoom, train noise was on the agenda.

Councillor Dida Berku is teaming up with me for a District 2 and 3 Coalition to try and deal with excessive train noise from the CP Railway. Frank Palucci said he even hears the trains all the way on Ilan Ramon Crescent.  There was an incident recently in which a piece of equipment broke down, causing a few sleepless nights for residents of Merrimac and Baily Road residents.

Merrimac resident Charles Guerin is leading an effort to gather complaints. What we need from people are for them first to email a complaint to CP Rail “Community Connect “ (Community_Connect@cpr.ca),  it’s sort of a help desk for CP Rail. The email should CC: jshecter@cotesaintluc.org on all correspondence, Cote St Luc’s legal counsel.

Community Connect will send everyone back a form letter the next day that explains why CP is good and their complaint is a waste of time…everyone should ignore that.   

La conseillère Dida Berku fait équipe avec moi pour une coalition des districts 2 et 3 afin d'essayer de régler le problème du bruit excessif des trains du CP. Frank Palucci dit qu'il entend même les trains sur Ilan Ramon Crescent.  Il y a eu récemment un incident au cours duquel une pièce d'équipement est tombée en panne, provoquant quelques nuits blanches pour les habitants des rues Merrimac et de Baily.

HONOURS/ HONNEURS

Seven years ago Côte Saint-Luc got lucky when a most distinguished citizen, Elliot Lifson, moved to our community from Hampstead. In fact he became my constituent in District 2. In December it was announced that Elliot has been appointed to the Order of Canada by the Governor General for his leadership and mentorship in the apparel industry, his commitment to Canada’s economic growth, and for his community involvement. Next to his name on the press release, it says Côte Saint-Luc instead of Montreal. “That was done on purpose,” said Elliot. “I am so proud and happy to be living in Côte Saint-Luc that I wanted that included.”

BUSINESS/ AFFAIRES

Twelve year old Matthew Liebman is one of three sons to Howard Liebman, a long-time political strategist to the likes of Irwin Cotler and Denis Coderre and current government relations director for Air Transat and Willingdon Elementary School  Grade 4 English teacher Heather Leckner. I have known his grandparents, Rick and Gloria Leckner, for most of my life. Rick, of course, was the legendary traffic reporter on CJAD and for many years an investor relations and PR guru to corporate giants.

Given his lineage, it was not surprising to hear that young Matthew has decided to put his baking skills to good use during these times of confinement. The Côte Saint-Luc resident and District 2 constituent of mine is impressive. After his full day of remote learning is done as a Grade 6 graduating student at JPPS, Matthew dons his apron to bake dozens of fresh cookies for his growing client list.

Helping to keep track of orders and behind the beautiful packaging is mom Heather. Swift local drop off deliveries (free in CSL, Hampstead, NDG and Montreal West) have been entrusted to dad, Howard, to allow the baker to focus on his creations in the kitchen you may place orders for these delicious cookies at matthewsbakery13@gmail.com.

Meanwhile,  COVID-19 claimed another victim as the Cineplex Odeon Theatres at the Quartier Cavendish have closed for good I was surprised to see the theatres last this long. They never did a booming business, but it is nonetheless a loss for our community. Seniors in particular appreciated having a multiplex so close by. It was also great for young families. In recent years our city has held our Volunteer Appreciation Evening there.

When they first opened here about two decades ago it was a celebration. Prior to that the closest theatres were at Decarie Square (now a Dollar Cinema) and Plaza Côte des Neiges (now Cinéstarz). The movie theatre business has taken a massive beating since COVID-19 hit last March. They did reopen for a few months, but crowds were weak.  Would Cinéstarz owner Bruce Gurberg consider stepping in and saving the Cavendish theatres or has the curtain closed for good? A sign at the Quartier Cavendish does inform everyone that the theatres are closed permanently and to head to the Forum downtown. Cineplex Odeon also operates a cinema in LaSalle. The last movie I saw was at Cavendish - Academy Award winner Parasite.

Owners David Banon and Sarah Ettedgui have closed their Caldwell Pharmaprix location and merged operations at the larger Cavendish spot.  They have actually established a "pharmacy within a pharmacy" and when you call, they still answer "Caldwell."

CSLSC TESTING/ TEST DE CLSC

As of August 10, anyone who wants to make an appointment at one of  the CLSC test centres to have blood drawn or other samples tested must go to CLICSANTE.CA. Then they should choose “Blood test and specimens” and enter their postal code. Clic Santé will propose an appointment, which may not be for the same day. Since some people may find it difficult to gain access to this website, and in order to ensure a smooth transition, the CLSCs can also be phoned to book an appointment.

CATS/CHATS

It has been a decade now since I helped establish the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee, a small group of volunteers who oversee a trap, neuter, release and adopt program. Retired nurse Diane Liebling leads the efforts and I cannot say enough about the work she puts in. Despite the pandemic, she continued to rescue homeless cats and find new homes for them. When our annual fundraising concert had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, Diane, Malka Labow and Randi Kader embarked upon a fundraising raffle which was a huge success. We also held a Virtual Variety Show, which is still available to watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB4u01mxZTY&feature=emb_logo

Picture 411
My Cleopatra 

 

Cela fait maintenant dix ans que j'ai participé à la création du Comité des chats de Côte Saint-Luc, un petit groupe de bénévoles qui supervise un programme de piégeage, de stérilisation, de remise en liberté et d'adoption. Diane Liebling, infirmière à la retraite, dirige les efforts et je ne saurais trop insister sur le travail qu'elle accomplit. Malgré la pandémie, elle a continué à secourir les chats sans abri et à leur trouver de nouveaux foyers. Lorsque notre concert annuel de collecte de fonds a dû être annulé en raison de COVID-19, Diane, Malka Labow et Randi Kader ont organisé une tombola qui a remporté un énorme succès.

DOGS/CHIENS

During the year I moved a motion to modify our by-law  for the regulation of dogs. This was deemed necessary to be in line with new provincial government legislation. One minor change was done to the draft by-law that was tabled at the April 6, 2020 meeting, namely, that the coming into force of the obligation to microchip all dogs on the territory of CSL will be on April 6, 2021. The remainder of by-law 2555 came into force as of July 11, 2020 (in order for Public Security to inform the City of Montreal of the modifications), with the exception of the microchipping articles.

This new regulation aims to provide a basis for reducing the risk of attacks and tragic incidents related to dangerous dogs. For instance, dogs 20 kg and over must wear a halter or harness at all times. Wearing a leash with a maximum length of 1.85 meters is also now compulsory, except in a dog park, hunting, in a training course or a dog competition (the latter three will unlikely occur in CSL).     Doctors are obligated to report serious dog bites. Veterinarians must report dogs they believe to pose a risk, and municipalities will enforce the rules and order any dog responsible for an attack to be euthanized.

We have had issues in the past with dangerous dogs. But usually, it is the owner who is fault. In CSL we have an active Dog Owners Committee I launched after the last election.  

Nous avons eu des problèmes dans le passé avec des chiens dangereux. Mais généralement, c'est le propriétaire qui est fautif. Au CSL, nous avons un Comité des propriétaires de chiens actif que j'ai lancé après les dernières élections. 

PODCAST/ BALADO  

 For many years now I have thought about starting my own podcast.   Last spring I did just that. You can listen to it on SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/themikecohenpodcast. ) or ITunes (https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-mike-cohen-podcast/id1508770681)

PAS D’AUGMENTATION DE TAXES POUR UN LOGEMENT MOYEN/ 2021 BUDGET REPORT

La Ville de Côte Saint-Luc a adopté un budget de fonctionnement 2021 et le budget d’investissement lors d’une assemblée spéciale du Conseil le 21 décembre 2020. Notre objectif principal lors de l’élaboration du budget 2021 était de geler les taxes pour une maison résidentielle moyenne, c’est-à-dire une maison, condo, ou maison de ville. La résidence moyenne, dont la valeur a augmenté de 14,2 % avec le dépôt du dernier rôle, connaîtra une augmentation d’impôts de 0 % en 2021. Les propriétés dont la valeur a augmenté de moins de 14,2 % bénéficieront d’une réduction de taxes tandis que les propriétés dont la valeur a augmenté de plus de 14,2 % verront une augmentation de taxes en 2021. En 2021, nous continuons de vouloir rester connectés avec nos résidants, par le biais de divers programmes et services, sécuritaires et qui encouragent le bien-être, offerts par la bibliothèque, le service des loisirs et des parcs, le service des travaux publics et en partenariat avec des organismes externes. Ainsi, nos résidants pourront continuer à rester engagés et actifs. Ces initiatives comprennent notre programme de diffusion par téléphone, une augmentation de la programmation en ligne, une montagne de toboggan aménagée et entretenue par une équipe professionnelle, une patinoire réfrigérée extérieure située dans l’annexe et cinq patinoires extérieures additionnelles. » 

Les documents du budget sont disponibles à CoteSaintLuc.org/fr/municipalite/finances/ 

The City of Côte Saint-Luc adopted its operating budget and capital expenditures budget for 2021 at a special council meeting on December 21, 2020. Our primary objective when building the 2021 budget was to freeze taxes for the average residential home. The average house, condo and townhouse will see a 0% tax increase in 2021. In other words, if the value of the property in the last tax roll increased by less than 14.2%, your property tax bill will be lower this year. If your property value increased by more than 14.2%, you tax bill will be higher. And if your property rose exactly 14.2%, your property tax will be the same as last year. Our priority for 2021 will be to continue to stay connected with our residents by providing services that improve health and are safe through our library, parks and recreation and public works departments and by partnering with other organizations so every resident can remain engaged and active. Initiatives include our telephone broadcast system, increased online programming, professionally groomed dedicated tobogganing mountain, outdoor refrigerated ice at the annex and five more outdoor skating rinks.

Budget documents are available at CoteSaintLuc.org/finance

TRANSPORT COLLECTIF/TRANSIT PLAN

Les Villes de Montréal, Côte-Saint-Luc, Ville Mont-Royal ainsi que les arrondissements de Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce et de Saint-Laurent, situés aux abords du boulevard Décarie, se mobilisent pour créer un plan axé sur le transport collectif et actif pour le secteur Namur-De la Savane. Le secteur Namur-De la Savane est situé entre l’autoroute Métropolitaine, la rue Jean-Talon Ouest, le boulevard Cavendish, la gare de triage du CP et le corridor Décarie. Il chevauche deux villes (Côte Saint-Luc et Mont-Royal) et deux arrondissements de Montréal (Saint-Laurent et Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce). Une résolution conjointe a été adoptée au conseil d’agglomération afin que l’agglomération de Montréal demande d’une même voix à l’ARTM la mise en place d’une desserte appropriée en transport collectif électrique dans le secteur élargi de Namur-De la Savane, incluant l’axe du boulevard Cavendish.  

The cities of Montreal, Côte Saint-Luc, Town of Mount Royal and the boroughs of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Saint-Laurent—all located along Décarie Boulevard—are mobilizing to create an active public transit plan for the Namur–De la Savane sector. The Namur–De la Savane sector is located between the Metropolitan Expressway, Jean-Talon Street West, Cavendish Boulevard, the CP rail yard and the Décarie Corridor. The sector straddles two cities (Côte Saint-Luc and Mount Royal) and two Montreal boroughs (Saint-Laurent and Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce). A joint resolution was tabled at the Agglomeration Council on Thursday so that the Agglomeration of Montreal can request to the ARTM with one voice the implementation of an appropriate electric public transit service in the expanded sector of Namur-De la Savane, including along Cavendish Boulevard. More specifically, the Agglomeration will ask the ARTM to propose an appropriate mode of transportation as well as an optimal route for this service in order to obtain a suitable and efficient service to the citizens of the sector and the Agglomeration.

PROLONGEMENT DU BOULEVARD CAVENDISH/THE CAVENDISH EXTENSION

La Ville de Côte Saint-Luc demande à la Ville de Montréal de soumettre le projet de prolongement du boulevard Cavendish au Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement du gouvernement du Québec, ou BAPE, le plus tôt possible et au plus tard le 1er mai 2021.  Les villes, cités et arrondissements ayant un intérêt à voir le boulevard Cavendish prolongé sont en accord avec le projet. La prochaine étape doit être que Montréal soumette le projet au BAPE afin qu’il soit passé en revue, tel que cela fut annoncé l’an dernier. Le projet du prolongement du boulevard Cavendish est appuyé par la Ville de Montréal, notamment par les maires des arrondissements de Saint-Laurent (Alan DeSousa) et de Côte-des-Neiges-NDG (Sue Montgomery), ainsi que par la Ville de Côte Saint-Luc (Mitchell Brownstein) et la Ville de Mont-Royal (Philippe Roy). Tous les maires ont convenu d’en faire un prolongement axé sur le transport actif et collectif incluant un éventuel projet de tramway relié à la station multimodale Namur Hippodrome.  Le projet de prolongement du boulevard Cavendish permettrait de relier le boulevard Cavendish à Côte Saint-Luc au boulevard Cavendish à Saint-Laurent, en passant par les gares de triage privées exploitées par le Canadien Pacifique et le Canadien National. La distance à parcourir à travers les gares de triage pour effectuer la connexion avec le réseau routier est d’environ 1,3 km.   Les premières discussions sur le prolongement de ses deux parties ont débuté au milieu des années 1960.  

The City of Côte Saint-Luc is urging the City of Montreal to submit the Cavendish road extension project to Quebec government’s environmental public hearings bureau, or BAPE, as soon as possible and no later than May 1, 2021. The cities, towns, and boroughs with an interest in the Cavendish extension have reached a consensus on this road project,The next step is for Montreal to send the project to the BAPE for review, as was announced a year ago.” The Cavendish road extension project is supported by the City of Montreal, including the mayors of the boroughs of Saint-Laurent (Alan DeSousa) and Côte-des-Neiges–NDG (Sue Montgomery), as well as the City of Côte Saint-Luc (Mitchell Brownstein), and the Town of Mount Royal (Philippe Roy). All Mayors have agreed to the extension including public and active transport as well as an eventual tramway connected to an intermodal hub at Namur-Hippodrome.   The Cavendish road extension project would connect Cavendish Blvd. in Côte Saint-Luc with Cavendish Blvd. in Saint-Laurent, through private rail yards operated by Canadian Pacific and Canadian National. The distance to cross through the rail yards to connect the road network is approximately 1.3km.  The first discussions of this issue began back in 1960.

 

 

 


A beautiful piece on the late John Elias

 
Paying tribute to Johnny Elias
 
By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network
 
I first met Johnny Elias when I played in the Dorval Senior Baseball League in suburban Montreal in 1988.
I was his teammate that season. He was 50 years old at the time and still throwing competitively. He would regale me with stories about his Grand Slam Baseball School and often asked me to plug his school in my paper, the Montreal Daily News.
 
Eliascake
I am so happy that I initiated this 2017 CSL Golf Classic where we honoured Johnny (wearing the KC hat).
 
No doubt about it, Elias was a grand baseball man. He grew up on the sandlots of Montreal and was so talented with that left arm of his that he won a scholarship in 1960 to Michigan State University where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree.
 
Elias then obtained his master's degree in administration of physical education, kinesiology and physiology from Springfield College in Massachusetts.
 
Elias went on to pitch in the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Athletics and Washington Senators organizations. From 1962-65, he threw in the minors and it was in 1963 that he showed some promise for the majors while in the K.C. chain. It was his only full season out of the four he pitched in.
 
Statistics from Baseball Reference show that he was 9-13 in '63 with a 4.31 ERA, recording 164 strikeouts in 163 innings for Daytona Beach in the Florida State League.
 
In 1964, Elias pitched for Granby in the semi-pro Quebec Provincial league and would continue to play competitively in Quebec and on the international stage for years. He was a member of the pitching staff for Team Canada at the Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg in 1967. From 1968-70, he helped Trois-Rivieres to two league championships.
Elias died Dec. 10 at the age of 82 following a stroke and a tough battle with Alzheimer's. Elias' wife Marlene said in an interview that he suffered the stroke Nov. 8 and never woke up. For a good portion of the time he suffered from Alzheimer's, his wife looked after him at home.
 
"He kept falling and I couldn't get him up. His walking was very poor,'' said his wife of 58 years. "He was still 200 pounds and dead weight. I'd call 911 to get him up. It happened so many times. Then the last one (fall), I said, 'I'm taking him to the hospital.' That was two months ago.''
 
In 1970, Elias embarked on a venture that would last 27 years: his Grand Slam school that featured numerous instructors and many Expos players, whom he befriended over the years. He was an Expos batting-practice pitcher for many years at home games, beginning in 1969. Elias would schedule his three-week school each summer when the Expos were at home.
 
"I'm sorry to hear of the passing of Johnny, a good baseball man. I served as an instructor at his baseball camp. My heartfelt condolences to his family,'' Expos legend Tim Raines wrote on Twitter.
 
"Saddened to hear of John's passing,'' former Expo Tommy Hutton said in a Twitter tribute. "I played golf with him often in Montreal and appeared at his John Elias Baseball School many summers.''
 
Hundreds of young kids in the Montreal area are indebted to Elias for running the baseball school, not only for instructional skills but it allowed them to rub shoulders with their heroes. Many of those fans took to Twitter and Facebook to mourn Elias' loss.
 
"John was a huge part of Montreal baseball. Another part of it is gone.  What a great man and a great coach,'' Kosta Papoulias wrote in a Facebook post.
 
"As a 10-year-old, I went to his baseball camps. Johnny would personally pick me up and drive me home. Thanks to Johnny, I got to meet Gary Carter and sign his cast,'' Marc Lechter said on Facebook.
Elias was very fond of Carter. Kid was most definitely Elias' all-time favourite Expos player. Elias and Marlene would go to Florida for years and years to see Carter and his family. Of course, Carter and Elias would partake often in their mutual love of golfing.
 
Speaking of Florida, Elias participated for 12 years in various forms in the Major League Legends baseball fund-raiser in support of the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood.It's been said that Elias boasted the largest collection of Carter memorabilia and had acquired an enviable stash of Expos goodies. A few years ago, he donated about 90% of his collection to the Cote St. Luc Sports and Recreation Centre."John and Gary were very good friends,'' Mrs. Elias said. "He helped get Gary get a place in Montreal. Gary used to come for lunch and have a steak. It was so nice.''
 
Among his many accomplishments was volunteering to become McGill University's first baseball coach in 1994. In 2008, he assembled and managed a team representing Canada to victory at the Vintage Baseball World Series in Westlake, Mass. That championship was a feather in his cap.
 
A few years ago, baseball historian Bill Young of Hudson, Quebec and a few others successfully nominated Elias for induction into the RDS Quebec Baseball Hall of Fame. Elias was also proud of the Ambassador of the Year award he received years ago from the Town of Cote St. Luc for his help in developing baseball in the community.
Elias was such a wonderful, wonderful man with so many fingers in so many baseball pies.
 
When he wasn't promoting baseball, he spent a lot of time teaching physical education and coaching basketball. He was a force as a basketball official, something he did for 50 years. He officiated at many Canadian and international basketball events.
 
"I wanted him to write a book.,'' Mrs. Elias said. "I told him, 'Dictate to me and I will type it in.' He had a lot of stories and anecdotes. He knew all kinds of people.''
 
Besides his wife, Elias is survived by his daughter Caroline, son-in-law Kevin Smith, grand-children Ashley, Connor and Owen and sister-in-law Audrey Willis along with numerous friends, including many in the media.
 
Danny Gallagher's Expos book Always Remembered is discounted throughout the month of December at Indigo and Amazon.
 
ON A PERSONAL NOTE: I will be raising the possibility of naming one of the baseball diamonds at Kirwan Park after Johnny. That is where he held his Grand Slam Baseball School.
 
See this tribute video we did for Johnny in 2017:
 



CSL mom creating customized letter crayons, animals and numbers by hand

As we’re all looking for positive stories to end 2020 on a high note, bravo to Cote Saint Luc resident Lauren Kovac for doing her part. She is the niece of the late Councillor Ruth Kovac, who would no doubt be very proud of her.

Recently, Lauren started a small business: Cray by LK. Out of her kitchen in District 8, Lauren is hand-making customized letter crayons, animals and numbers. These crafts make perfect and unique gifts for the upcoming holidays, as well as year-round for birthdays, loot-bags, graduations and any other celebration you can think of, but for the next few weeks, every sale will also benefit some wonderful charities.

LaurenbatchUntil Christmas, Lauren has decided to donate 10 percent of all her sales to the CTV Montreal/English Montreal School Board’s Spirit of Giving campaign. In my role with the English Montreal School Board, this campaign is something that I’ve personally worked on for over a decade and funds collected support 10 very worthy local charities.

Lauren2

“I’m very fortunate to have a roof over my head and food on the table, but there are so many people, especially this year, who are not as lucky,” said Lauren, the mom of beautiful one year old Avery Ellle and the wife of my colleague Daniel Smajovits, “I know that every little bit helps and I wanted to do a little something to help support a very worthy campaign.”

You can see all of Cray by LK’s  incredible creations and place your order via Instagram: www.instagram.com/craybylk, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/craybylk or email Lauren directly at: craybylk@gmail.com.


Elliot Lifson appointed to the Order of Canada

Seven years ago Côte Saint-Luc got lucky when a most distinguished citizen, Elliot Lifson, moved to our community from Hampstead. In fact he became my constituent in District 2.

Today it was announced that Elliot has been appointed to the Order of Canada by the Governor General for his leadership and mentorship in the apparel industry,  his commitment to Canada’s economic growth, and for his community involvement.

Lifsonpin
Elliot Lifson sports his new Order of Canada pin.

 

Next to his name on the press release, it says Côte Saint-Luc instead of Montreal. “That was done on purpose,” said Elliot. “I am so proud and happy to be living in Côte Saint-Luc that I wanted that included.”

Elliot found out the good news a month ago. “It was difficult to keep this quiet,” he said. “I was so emotional when I got the call. They asked me if I accepted. I laughed that they had to be kidding. Who turns down an offer like this? I still do not know who nominated me.”

A ceremony at Rideau Hall is expected to be held next May or June. Elliot hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic is under better control by then so he can travel to Ottawa.

The vice-president of Peerless Clothing, Elliot recently became the  president of the Board of Directors  of the Segal Centre. In addition to these duties, he is a respected member of the Montreal community, a dedicated philanthropist, and is actively involved with many organizations and boards, including Member of the Board of Directors of Export Development Canada (EDC); Professor and Board Member at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University; Member of the Faculty Advisory Board, McGill-HEC EMBA Program; Member of the Board of MR- Montréal Relève pour la Persévérance scolaire; Past Chairman, currently sitting as advisor to the Board, Chambre de Commerce de Montreal; President of the Canadian Apparel Federation (CAF); and sits on the Board of many charitable institutions such as The Montreal Heart Institute Foundation, and The Jewish General Hospital Foundation, and past Co-Chair of Centraide. Mr. Lifson received his MBA from the Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario. He is also a Graduate in Law from the Université de Montreal and a Member of the Québec Bar. Elliot Lifson has been a member of the Segal Centre for Performing Arts’ board for the last 12 years.

Elliot is also the recipient of many awards including the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal’, the ‘Desautels Faculty of Management Distinguished Teaching Award’ (Graduate Level), Quebec’s Fashion Industry’s ‘Recognition Award’, McGill University Alumni Association ‘Honorary Life Membership Award’, and the Senate of Canada 150th  Commemorative Medal.

Bravo Elliot!


Is train noise bothering you? We need to hear your voice loud and clear

At my most recent District 2 Advisory Committee meeting, held via Zoom, train noise was on the agenda.

Councillor Dida Berku is teaming up with me for a District 2 and 3 Coalition to try and deal with excessive train noise from the CP Railway. Frank Palucci said he even hears the trains all the way on Ilan Ramon Crescent.  There was an incident recently in which a piece of equipment broke down, causing a few sleepless nights for residents of Merrimac and Baily Road residents.

Idling

Merrimac resident Charles Guerin is leading an effort to gather complaints. Below are his instructions:

What we need from people are for them first to email a complaint to CP Rail “Community Connect (Community_Connect@cpr.ca) ,” it’s sort of a help desk for CP Rail. The email should CC: jshecter@cotesaintluc.org on all correspondence, Cote St Luc’s legal counsel.

Community Connect will send everyone back a form letter the next day that explains why CP is good and their complaint is a waste of time…everyone should ignore that. The email complaint should address these points:

  1. What type of noise is bothering them? — Idling, braking, shunting (loud crashing sounds), bells, horns or something else?
  1. When does it happen when it bothers them? — Daytime, Nighttime
  1. Where are they located (address is fine)? How far is this approximately from the train?
  1. Have they experienced any of the following?

            - Woken up in the middle of the night?

            - House shaking?

            - Frightened by sudden loud noise or crash?

            - Other

  1. What effect is it having on them?

            - Loss of sleep

            - Anxiety

            - Depression

            - Fear

  1. Do any specific incidents that come to mind, particularly where they remember a date and time?
  1. What would they like to see happen?

            [ ] Noise barriers added

            [ ] Fewer trains at night

            [ ] Fewer trains at all times

            [ ] Ban on bells and horns at night

            [ ] Repair of old equipment such as manual switches

            [ ] Stop leaving the trains idling

            [ ] Slow the speed of the trains

            [ ] Increase the speed of the trains

Example:

"I am located at 5685 Ch Merrimac, the idling noise at night is shaking our house and waked me up every night, sometimes several times a night. My child wakes up too when loud crashes occur despite our sound-proofing windows. I am losing sleep every night.

Last week you left a train idling for close to 48 hours, this is unacceptable!

I am asking CP to add a noise barrier in my area, reduce the number of trains at night and replace the antiquated equipment so that trains can roll past faster without the need for idling."

I would like to thank Charles for his efforts and urge those who are impacted by this noise to please take the appropriate action.

 


Paved road completed at revitalized Isadore Goldberg Park

When I was first elected 15 years ago, I pledged to one day make Isadore Goldberg Park more accessible.

For reasons I never understood, the park was built between a number of apartment buildings on Sir Walter Scott and Kildare Road. The actual sign was at the corner of Kildare and Merrimac, but with no clear direction of how to even get there. It was essentially a park for the residents of these buildings and while it was well utilized, this could have been the case for such a wider audience.

Goldbergsign

The park sign is now installed where it should be.

 

Our original plan was to relocate the park to the large patch of green space on Marc Chagall Avenue across from the Marquise  and next to Les Cours Chagall. However, that was derailed when we desperately needed that spot for construction workers at the Equinoxe to park in order to ensure residents could find places on the street.

Well, over the years Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman and I maintained a regular dialogue on this topic. Last year she came up with the brilliant idea to revitalize the existing park and at the same time make it widely accessible. You can read what was done here.

Goldbergpaved
What a beautiful new pathway.

 

The park itself was cleaned up, new equipment, sand and  trash cans installed and most importantly the dead bushes and trees removed . A gravel pathway was made and this past week it was paved. What a beautiful site! And yes, the sign has been relocated to the entrance to the pathway.

Isadore Goldberg Park is truly now accessible to all.

Less than a year ago former Councillor Goldberg passed away. I know that his brother, sister in law and niece, each of whom reside in my district, will be pleased to represent him when we do a re-dedication in 2021.

Parkinglotfilled
The temporary lot is no more.

Oh yes, please allow me to add another piece of good news. The Equinoxe workers no longer need the lot and it is on its way to be returning to green space.