Parks

The lot on Marc Chagall Avenue begins to take shape

Work is progressing nicely on the  large greenspace on Marc Chagall Avenue, across from both the Marquise and the snow dump.

LotAug22
The new grass looks very nice.

History will note that this land was leased to the owners of the Equinoxe as a parking lot for three years in order to avoid having their   workers parking on the street. The developers had signed a written contract to return the land the way they found it. Regrettably that did not occur and litigation ensued. Attempts to properly beautify the area were unsuccessful, so in June council adopted a resolution allocating fund  to finally get this job done right.

Work was supposed to begin in June, but like everyone else across the globe we were victims of supply and demand. The delivery of the sod did arrive last week and it was a delight to watch it take shape on most of the land. It looks beautiful.

Sod
Laying sod.

Some people asked me why they did not lay sod on all of the space. Please note that in the next few weeks new trees will be planted and lights installed, after which more grass will be placed. We have a new walking path and new benches in place. Our staff are watering the grass daily.

I want to thank our Public Works and Engineering teams for getting the job done. We will watch closely for the final chapter in September, following which I will begin a discussion on what to name the greenspace.

LotTrenchesAug22
This is where some new lights will go.

 

Staff have been digging a trench  for lights to be installed along the cement pathway to Isadore Goldberg Park.


Rembrandt Park is a magnificent facility we can all be very proud of

As the city councillor for District 2 these past 17 years, I am very proud of the work that has been done to enhance Rembrandt Park.

IMG_1838
The new basketball courts.

When I was first elected, the park had a sunken field that was used by delinquents to hide out late at night and even dump benches. We were able to level that field, much to the benefit of users. A skateboard bowl, deemed dangerous by many parents and confirmed by senior staff, was removed. The splashpad project was installed well over a decade ago and is a popular attraction. Park equipment has been consistently upgraded and  last year we finally installed a brand new basketball court, as well as a half court for youngsters. In addition, we purchased large nets so youngsters could play soccer. I have received nothing but warm thanks for the youngsters who use these  facilities.

As for the tennis courts, they have been refurbished over the years and benefited from new lighting. A permanent ping pong table, installed in 2021, has been a big hit from the start. In the winter, for two years in a row now, we have but in an ice skating rink at one of the tennis courts. There is also a popular toboggan hill.

This is an extremely well utilized park, a hub of activity and a wonderful mix of young families and seniors who live in the immediate area. I am not pleased to see people having picnics and not cleaning up after themselves. It lends the impression that the park is dirty.  That is not the case. We have ample trash cans. On weekends in particular we have a small crew of staff circulating throughout the city so they cannot possibly visit each park for cleanup.

I walk through this park regularly from the spring to the fall, constantly interacting with users and the park attendants who oversee activities. When people have concerns, they direct them my way.  That is the best process to follow.  Last summer, for instance, a woman called to advise me that she was pushing her husband in his wheelchair to the park, but the pathway was not smooth enough to  get there. In a matter of days I had a crew from Public Works present to pour more cement and create an easier entry.

SplashPaddone
The water splashpad area.

Understandably, residents who use a particular park a lot tend to have large wish lists. We do everything we can to comply, however it is very important to emphasize that the city has dozens of parks to take care of. There is only so much funding available. That being said, Rembrandt Park is indeed on a list prepared by our Public Works Department for changes to the playground areas.  This will not occur overnight, as it is a costly endeavor. As well,  because the playgrounds are divided into sections for young and older children, a complete redesign will be required.

RubyGoodmanwaterfountains
Park attendant Ruby Goodman showcases the new water fountains.

 

In the meantime, we continue to roll out new initiatives:

  •  The chalet roof has been redone in aluminum, a sustainable material that can last up to 50 years and added      handicapped/stroller accessible washrooms.
  •  Three new lamp posts were added at the Merrimac side of the park.
  •  Eleven new benches were installed in  concrete bases along the pathway near the playground and chalet.
  •  We replaced and added four extra large garbage bins.
  •  Two new drinking fountains have now been installed ( water bottle accessible).
  •  We removed dead and sick trees and planted new ones.   
  •  We replaced the single doors at the tennis courts with double doors.
  •  The chalet art room is being renovated, including a custom made (by our employees) stainless steel double sink.
PingPong
This ping pong table is very popular.

 

Some residents have called,  concerned that picnic tables have disappeared.  That is not the case. Tables tend to be moved manually by users to different parts of the park for their own little gatherings.  While we have ordered metal picnic tables, they are on back order so unfortunately we have no other choice but to wait.

I can always be reached at mcohen@cotesaintluc.org.


An update on the Marc Chagall Avenue lot

I wish to provide an update about the large greenspace on Marc Chagall Avenue, across from both the Marquise and the snow dump.

History will note that this land was leased to the owners of the Equinoxe as a parking lot for three years in order to avoid having their   workers parking on the street. The developers had signed a written contract to return the land the way they found it. Regrettably that did not occur and litigation ensued. Attempts to properly beautify the area were unsuccessful, so in June council adopted a resolution allocating fund  to finally get this job done right.

Work was supposed to begin in June, but like everyone else across the globe we are victims of supply and demand. The delivery of the sod is on back order and will not arrive until August 8.

Lotjuly2022
Work begins on the rehabilitation of the Marc Chagall lot.

Nonetheless, work has indeed started. Public Works  commenced some digging to install bollards along the west side of the paved walkway for new lighting.  A number of large diseased trees unfortunately had to be removed. We have also installed the beginning of  a pathway.

Our contractor  will remove all growing grass, seeds, and pebbles for the entire vacant lot. New benches and tables will be installed.  Fingers are crossed for the sod.  In September new trees will be planted. I am as frustrated as anyone with these delays, but we will have a beautiful greenspace when all is said and done at which time I will begin a consultation process to find a name for this parkette.


Elie Wiesel's son joins us for bench dedication in the memory of his late aunt

Did you know that the sister of  Elie Wiesel lived in Côte Saint-Luc before she passed away in 1974?
 
I was unaware of this fact until the Foundation for Genocide Education welcomed Elisha Wiesel, the son of Elie Wiesel, to come speak at a fundraising event at Beth Israel Congregation.
 
Elie Wiesel was a Romanian-born American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel laureate, and Holocaust survivor. He authored 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a Jewish prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
 
Wiesel1
 
On the afternoon of the lecture we invited Elisha to the park we named in honour of his late father at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare and in my District 2. Rabbi Reuben J. Poupko, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and some others joined us as we unveiled  bench plaque at Elie Wiesel Park  honouring Beatrice Wiesel Jackson - Elie's sister.
 
Wieselplaque

As part of Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation, and Prevention Month, the Foundation for Genocide Education recently announced the official publication of the pedagogical guide Studying Genocides. Available in French (in English in fall 2022) to all high school teachers in Quebec at education-genocide.ca, this guide will enable over 343,000 students in 800 schools to study the history of nine significant genocides of the 20th century.

Wiesel2

 

 


Safety measures taken at Rembrandt Park Toboggan Hill

It has been a cold winter thus far, but parents with young children have been enjoying the Rembrandt Park Toboggan Hill. However, I did receive some complaints about safety concerns with some trees located in dangerous spot.

I asked members of our Public Works team to go an assess the area. They agreed that this is a great toboggan hill requiring little maintenance.

TobogganHill2
The Toboggan Hill.

What we have now done for this winter is secure the area (from kids ending up on the street ) with a snow fence along the sidewalk on Rembrandt. Also, we wrapped the two trees closest to the hill with an orange snow fence too. This way the trees now stick out and there’s still plenty of room for many toboggans to run.

Our team will go back to the park during the summer to assess the area again with our tree experts at which point I will be able to provide an update.

With the increasing number of families and children in District 2, Public Works has agreed to provide an official second toboggan hill at Rembrandt Park down the line.


Official ribbon cutting ceremony for new Rembrandt Park basketball courts is Sunday, October 10

In the company of Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, members of city council and staff, I  will be proud to preside overt the formal launch of the refurbished Rembrandt Park basketball courts on Sunday, October 10 at 10 am. Please join us for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Families are invited to come try out the two surfaces – a competitive court and a half court for younger children- and explore Rembrandt Park. This is a beautiful and popular facility, which , also features two tennis courts, a soccer field, a playground, a permanent ping pong table,  a water spray area, a chalet for art classes, an area for Israeli dancing in the summer, various hills and numerous picnic tables and benches.

Some youngsters enjoy the new main court.

 

Visitors are encouraged to come try out the courts for themselves and witness the mayor, members of city council and staff try and dunk some baskets themselves.

 

ShaiDanielOhayonbball
This is what the main court looked like before the facelift.

 

The existing court was in poor condition and in dire need of repairs. Among the selected new equipment are the basketball poles, backboards, front mounted rims basketball nets and players benches. Crews removed the existing cracked asphalt and installed six inches of MG-20 crushed stone to maintain a slop of one percent for better drainage. There was new asphalt installed, as well as two coats of colourful epoxy paint acrylic surface, a new 30-foot light projector with two LED fixtures and new grass (SOD) around the perimeter of the basketball court. Both the refurbished courts and the half court have been hugely popular since work was completed in August.

In the event of heavy rain, the formal launch will take place on Sunday, October 17 at 10 am.


The new basketball courts at Rembrandt Park are now in operation

I am thrilled and proud to announce that the brand new refurbished basketball courts at Rembrandt Park are now open for business.

I was at the park today when the crew did all the final touches. The surface for the main court was completely redone. It was a safety hazard in the past. The blue, red  and white painted surface has been well received. So have  the benches. All we needed was the poles and the basketball nets. The first youngsters to shoot some hoops were  Raphael Shahraobani, Daniel Ohayon and Nathan Ohana.


RaphaelDanielNathan
Raphael, Daniel and Nathan get set to give the new courts a whirl.

 

And now for something completely new. Over the past few months Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and I worked closely with local basketball experts - Alex Fyon and Kevin Fuks from JHoops, Matt Starr from JPPS-Bialik and one of my youth advisors, Shai Troy. Now 18, Shai has been playing on these courts for year. Alex and Kevin felt very strongly that a smaller half court was necessary for the younger children. We have delivered that too. Another one of my constituents, Yane Arama and his son, Nathaniel 6,  headed to the half court. Nathaniel sunk a basket on his third try. The hoop is lower and this half court will be reserved for kids 12 and under.

 

NathanielNets
Nathaniel initiates the kids half court.

I want to give a huge thanks to Dalia Mohamed, the engineer on this project. She worked tirelessly for the past year and when the half court proposal came to her at the eleventh hour she made it happen. Also to Parks and Recreation Director Cornelia Ziga and veteran manager Ryan Nemeroff, who played  an equally crucial role. Anthony Sulpizio, the newest member of the P & R staff, has been involved in recent weeks. As well, hats off to our always accommodating  Public Works Department provided great assistance as  well.


We had to wait a little longer than expected due to certain equipment being on back order. But it is still early August and plenty of months ahead to enjoy the courts. New lighting for the courts is also on the way,

I am hoping to organize something more formal to launch the refurbished courts, a project years in the making.

 

 


One more step to go for new basketball courts

We are hoping that this week the postsand baskets will be installed at Rembrandt Park for the main and new half court.

Court1
The revamped main court, minus the posts.

 

The renovation of the  court and the construction of the half court began on June 11 and the final project was expected to be completed in seven weeks (July 26). The asphalt was laid on June 21 and needed to cure for 28 days before painting the surface. We have kept construction fences up to protect the asphalt from any damage caused by children to prevent the epoxy paint from sticking.

Half Court
The surface of the new half court.

 

The painting of the two courts was done last week and I think we can all agree it looks beautiful.  Due to manufacturing delays,   we have been on hold for the basketball posts. It has been frustrating but the final product will be worth the wait I hope. Last season the weather allowed basketball to be played right through mid-November.

New lighting will be installed as well.

Stay tuned!

 

 

 


Another effort to make Rembrandt Park more handicapped accessible

Just a couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a constituent on Rembrandt Avenue. Her husband is an amputee in a wheelchair. She told me that there is a problem leading into  park as the unipave bricks are not even and they had a difficulty getting from the sidewalk into the park and leaving.
 
Rembrandtbefore
Before...
Compounding issues, the wife just had hip surgery so she is using a walker so managing the bumpy bricks was beyond problematic.  She asked if our  Public Works team could smooth out the bricks. "Because of the wheelchair we can't use our balcony, so going to the park is our outing for fresh air," she said.
 
REMBRANDTASPHALT
...and after.


I want to thank our Public Works team for immediately assessing the situation. It was determined that the problematic path be adjusted with new asphalt as there would be too many bricks to replace. Today they completed the work. Bravo!

Electric scooters are now banned in our parks following incidents at Rembrandt last summer

Last June some parents presented a petition to me out of concern over the dangers of reckless scooter driver at Rembrandt Park.

I took the matter to City Hall, where our senior legal official Jonathan Shecter and Director of Public Safety Philip Chateauvert examined the request and began the process of banning such scooters at any parks. In fact, the by-law adopted at our Monday, February 9 Council meeting goes much further.

How-to-Ride-Electric-Scooter-1024x802

It is now law in Côte Saint-Luc that scooter-style electric bicycles are included in the list of vehicles prohibited by Section 5.7 of the Nuisance By-law (2470), primarily   because of the danger related to the considerable speed they can reach (+30km/h).  The speed and weight of this type of bike significantly increases the risk of serious injury.

Our second piece of legislation  is to include a section prohibiting driving and/or reckless or dangerous use or use that puts the safety of others at risk, regardless of the type of vehicle. This section now covers all means of transportation whether electric or not. We believe that no one should be allowed to use a skateboard, bicycle or any other means of transportation in ways that put the safety of other users of the park at risk.

The motion was adopted unanimously.