In August I did a walkabout at Rembrandt Park with some residents. I would like to repeat that since I have been the city councillor for District 2 these past 18 years, an enormous amount of improvements have been made here. Some critics, while meaning well, do not understand that this is one of many parks in the city; each councillor is pushing for parks in their district. I am proud to say we have gotten more than our fair share of financial allocations
The use of Rembrandt Park has exploded in recent years. More activity results in further wear and tear.
Please keep in mind that soon after being first elected we added the water spray area and filled what was a giant pit, transforming it into what is now a well-utlilized field. During the pandemic we added soccer nets, something that was really appreciated. There have been issues of water not draining properly from this area and we will keep our eyes on that.
The tennis courts were upgraded, including new lighting. We completely rebuilt the basketball court and even added a new half court for younger children. The Rembrandt chalet had its roof replaced and handicapped washrooms were installed. A permanent ping pong table was added, as were many new benches and picnic tables. Last spring one of the walkways was repaved. Play equipment has been upgraded. In the winter, we have a hill used for tobogganing and one of the tennis courts has been converted to a skating rink the past two years.
As residents will find out soon, all municipalities -including Côte Saint-Luc- will face a terribly difficult time in building a budget for 2024. We have been very badly affected by the reduction in welcome taxes as a result of the hike in interest rates by the Bank of Canada. In addition, the price of every major contract has gone through the roof. Our biggest job now is to try and hold the line the best we can on tax increases.
I would love there to be a bottomless pit of money to blanket Rembrandt Park with improvements. You can read the conclusion of this article for a fundraising initiative I have in mind. But for now, I am very pleased that senior members of our Public Works team, Patrick Touchette and Joane Warren, toured the park with me last week and they made a commitment to ensure that urgent action items are taken care of – notably those that relate to health and safety.
Here is a list of what has and will be done:
- The two holes in the ground near the first pathway on Rembrandt have been filled with soil and seeds. Any holes in the concrete elsewhere in the park will be filled as well.
- Temporary barriers will be installed to prevent access to the steps/seats behind the chalet. These are not safe to walk or sit on. We’d need a significant budget to redo this. They are seldom used as it is.
- A work order has been made for electricians to put any loose wires into.
- Some faulty lights will be changed by our Engineering team.
- Following a summer in which picnic tables were moved around by some park goers, they will be attached to the ground to prevent this from reoccurring.
- Picnic tables will be installed to the left of the chalet at the request of some residents for more shade.
- More benches will be installed next spring or summer. New concrete bases will need to be ordered to put the benches on.
- The pedestrian pathway behind the Meadows Condominium which keeps flooding after rainfalls will be replaced with grass. As Public Works explained to me, efforts to fix the area for many years have been costly and unsuccessful and there is another pathway a few feet away.
- Sand in playgrounds has been deep cleaned by a contractor. Our employees will continue to clean it on a daily basis during the season.
- The play equipment have been deemed to be in good working order. Yes, we’d love to order new equipment but we will have to wait for better economic times.
- Nets for basketball hoops are installed all over the city at the beginning of the season. Regrettably, they end up getting torn or even stolen and the protocol is not keep replacing them during the season. We’d certainly like to catch the perpetrators.
- There are currently 11 garbage cans in the park. Public Works will relocate one or two of them because they may too close to each other. Otherwise, the number of garbage cans in this park has been deemed sufficient.
- Parks and Recreation will have its attendants be a better set of eyes and ears regarding issues at the park. I will try and meet with each of them more often.
- The pétanque courts are never used. While there are no funds to build something in its place, I have asked that the wooded boundaries be removed so this could possibly be transformed into some kind of play area – perhaps with some grass planted there.
- In the winter we will remind Public Works to try and make the walkways wider and better salted .
- Public Security will do more check-ins at park late at night.
- The two water fountains are indeed often dirty. But Public Works reports that this is mainly caused by users, some of whom actually pour sand inside and block the drainage.
- Public Works has committed to dealing with the heights off the trees near the Meadows condo pool side, adjacent to the basketball court as well as cut down the height of trees south side of pool and Trim the limbs of the tree adjacent to basketball court and tennis court. The latter obscures the night lights on the south side of basketball court.
I want to thank the residents who approached and for the significant time Public Works took to go over all of the details with me.
If anyone reading this would be interested in purchasing naming rights for the Rembrandt Park Chalet – a high visibility venue - these funds could be redirected for improvements that are not in our budget. This was precisely the case for the Max Margles Côte Saint-Luc Children’s Library.