Public Works

Work resumes at Ashkelon Gardens

It has been two years now since important work began in the Ashkelon Gardens behind the library with the necessary felling of trees.

Hundreds of trees 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.

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This week work proceeded on cutting all of the vines from the rented fence that has been surrounding and protecting people from the work area. Once this is completed our Public Works Department will then contact the fence contractor to remove it. We are  preparing signage   that explains one must enter at their own risk since there are many stumps that people can trip on if they aren't careful. 

IMG_8552Next week the last of three poison ivy treatments will be administered.  A couple of weeks after this application, workers will begin to remove the balance of the buckthorn and then finally plant the remainder of the trees we originally planned to compensate for what we lost.. The work will be completed in its entirety during the early fall.   


New signage to deter tailgate banging installed in snow dump

Over the years the noise emanating from the banging of tailgates of trucks  going in and out of our snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue has disturbed some residents.

Our Public Works Department has tried to manage this the best way possible. At the beginning of the winter season we even build a snow wall to try and shield the sounds. During heavy snowfalls  the noise is more difficult to control. There is also the fact that we are dealing with subcontractors, so the drivers change.

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This week Public Works has launched a new approach by installing signage to try and further deter the banging noises. I would like to thank Director Beatrice Newman and her team for this.

 

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As noted, when we are in the midst of an incredible snowstorm similar to the one of February 7,   the city attempts to remove the snow as quickly and efficiently as possible and that during snow removal operations there is much more back and forth traffic in the area.  “Our residents living in the area near the snow dump would definitely experience hearing more noise than usual,” Ms. Newman explains.


Efforts made to reduce the noise and vibrations in the snow dump

Measures  have been taken by our Public Works Department to reduce the  noise and vibrations emanating from the snow dumping yard, such as, among other things, implementing specific operating hours and the control of tailgate clanging in order ensure the best quality of life for neighboring residents.

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The snow dump.

 

I have fielded complaints from residents for years on this subject, notably those living in Les Cours Chagall town houses.

As early as this week Public Works will be installing signage outside and inside the snow dumping yard with pictograms indicating to its users that the clanging of tailgates is not permitted. This will allow the Public Works Department to maintain and enforce order in the snow dumping yard when necessary.

Furthermore, the Public Works Department will be informing neighboring residents when the signs will be put up.

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 Public Works Director Beatrice Newman and her team are successful.

A number of years ago we had Public Works erect a de facto noise barrier out of snow at the dump. This did help.

 


An update on the felling of trees and removal of invasive plants behind the library

Like many places on the island of Montreal, many of the ash trees in Côte Saint-Luc have been infected by the Emerald Ash Borer and Dutch Elm disease, and have become sick or are dead.  The forested area behind the library known as the Ashkelon Woods was infected and sadly we had to take action last year. The trees were sick and could have potentially fallen down on their own or even catch on fire if we did not remove them. The existing maple trees remained  in place.

After the trees were felled, our Public Works Department  began the process of   removing the invasive plants. Once we are confident the area is ready, we will plant new trees and other species of vegetation.

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Buckthorn plants like this are being removed.

 

Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman  notes that we  will be keeping the fence erected around the Ashkelon Woodlands until operations are completed. Currently, the shards of trunks and branches, stumps and buckthorn are a hazard and could possibly trip people causing sprains and other injuries. The buckthorn (22,000) plants will be removed in July. “These operations are very dangerous to the average person and only professional tree cutters and the like may be in the vicinity while these operations are taking place,” says Ms. Newman.

Once the buckthorn is removed, the same scenario as before  will play out with odd sticks and stuff shooting up from the grounds. The uneven grounds and no supervision of the woodlands may cause injury to children venturing through as well as adults who are not used to hiking and other activities similar to that. In the fall,  Ms. Newman reports that we will be planting. The saplings and young plants must be protected from being trampled on, so again certain areas are going to be cordoned off. What  Public Works is  focusing on now is designing permanent pathways through the area of the forest that is not considered a wetland.  

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A sick tree thanks to Emerald Ash Borer.

After speaking to our non-profit contractor, he provided Ms. Newman with the updated figures of plans for replanting: 510 indigenous trees and 400 indigenous shrubs have already been planted. The bushes will achieve maturity within five years and the trees will take between 10 to 15 years. “Of course the maples and oaks grow slower but they will be there for the next generations,” says Ms.  Newman. “The small trees are perfect for what is necessary to be workable in this area and to increase the biodiversity of the region. We are creating a small woodland that will stay present, reduce our heat and provide attractiveness to City Hall among many other attributes. “

In the spring we will continue to remove the buckthorn .  That will give freedom to biodiversity and reduce the monocultures. Right now the plants have been just surviving, not thriving.  

Some residents  have asked for the fence to be removed. “The fence should stay since the project hasn't finished,” maintains Ms. Newman. “We can't afford to risk the accumulation of garbage in the area. The cleanup was costly and we are looking to reduce the costs of maintenance. Also, we don't want to take the risk of damages to a project that isn't finished. People tend not to pay attention to signs.”

In January, the contractor will request a federal government grant for the removal of buckthorn. This would mean that several students would be hired to do the work by the grant, immensely reducing the costs of the project. If granted, the students will come in June for 10 weeks to single-handedly pull weeds. 

I want to once again thank Beatrice Newman for her leadership!


Work on cutting down the snow dump continues

Cooler than usual temperatures in May delayed our plans to chop up the thick and dirty snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue.
 
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As we have done in the past at the snow dump, we rescheduled to start the process of breaking up the hill, mid-June. Our foreman arranged for the contractor to begin the work. As the mechanical shovels are costly, we had them come twice to repeat the operations, once more time and then we needed to wait another week so that some snow can start to melt on its own. We will then bring in the shovels again.
 
The operation consists of two shovels for one week working from 7 am to 7 pm (60 hour week each) for a cost of $14,160 + tax.  I thank the council for supporting this initiative and Public Works Director Beatrice Newman and her team for working so hard on the dossier. Nobody living close by the dump or driving by should have to look at that mess. I hope one day we can find a way to move the dump to a different location.
 
 
 
 

Horrific winter season means our snow dump is busy

Our snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue does indeed look like a ski hill. It has been a miserable winter thus far and that means a lot of action has occurred in the dump.

Three mechanical shovels have been working around the clock in recent days,  building a pyramid shape. We are now edging over halfway in the dump and need to build up. These equipment/vehicles are not noisy. 

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Our Public Works crews were blowing the snow throughout the city last week. There was an urgent need to get rid of the hardened snow and ice from the edges of the roads at the sidewalks and remnants from private contractors. As we were doing this during the week, the cold weather created extremely hard ice areas. The icy conditions are dangerous and we want to provide safe access throughout the city. Hospitals and schools are blown first and we start there at 5 am, so that operations are done before the working day begins. Trucks then need access to the dump to deposit the snow and then return to the roads to load up again.

There is one plus regarding the snow dump and people who live across the street and are often disturbed by noises. The snow wall along Marc Chagall is higher than ever, creating a fantastic sound and visual border. The transport trucks in general are abiding by the rules specified in their contracts.

Given the state of affairs on that street with construction and snow removal operations, the city continues to do its  utmost to be very respectful towards the residents' quality of life, paying special attention to issues that arise in a timely manner.

Last year our biggest snow storm of the season came in early March, so who knows what is ahead of us this winter?

 


Côte Saint-Luc shines in snow clearing operation; Marc Chagall issues dealt with

In the wake of another snowstorm, Côte Saint-Luc’s Public Works Department is doing a fantastic job under trying circumstances.

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A tractor clears snow on the Marc Chagall Avenue sidewalk.


Of course a lot of activity is taking place in our snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue in my District 2. Over the weekend I fielded a lot of calls and e-mails from residents. One noted that the sidewalks had not been cleared and she had to walk her dog on the street – not a good situation on any day, especially when heavy trucks are going back and forth. I was able to get that message to Public Works and within an hour the sidewalk was cleared.

When I did my grocery shopping today, so many people came up to me to say how lucky we are to live in a community like Côte Saint-Luc where the snow removal system is so top notch.

“Our teams have been working non-stop with an excellent attitude, trouble shooting as they clear,” commented Public Works Director Beatrice Newman. “I have been all over (the city) this weekend and we are ahead of the game.”

Work by the city and our contractors concluded tonight at 8 pm. The bulldozers planned to work in the dump until 9 pm, with the mechanical shovel staying even later as it makes no noise. The amount of snow in the dump is massive, resembling a ski hill. And it is only mid-January! I understand the concerns of some residents who live near the dump and hear that annoying banging noise from the tractors and trucks. A few years ago we built a snow wall, which proved to double as a sound barrier. For some it is not good enough. As I have noted, we have a lot of contractors this can be difficult to resolve as the truck drivers change. The foreman delivers the message, but he has to repeat this every time new people come on site.

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The hill at the snow dump is growing.

In the city so far we have opened all streets, cleared sidewalks on one side and have started the second side on some streets. Our contractors, Canbec and CMS, have completed about 85 percent of their sidewalks- both sides.

Parking lots and all municipal buildings have been completed.   City employees and contractors have been working well together well and have been dealing equally well with the very problematic issue we have with private contractors pushing resident snow into the streets right after we clean.  

“Congratulations to our foremen team and our Operations Manager John Monteiro, who have been very dedicated to making the magic happen,” Ms. Newman said. “We received 36 centimeters and together with some really nice residents who have contacted me personally with tips, our teams were able to take care of some issues quickly.”


Felling of trees to occur in Ashkelon Gardens: Public meeting postponed

Mayor Brownstein, myself and Public Works Director Beatrice Newman are sending this letter out to residents who live closest to Ashkelon Gardens,  the forested area between the library and the Cambridge Court townhouse complex. This area has been badly affected by the Emerald Ash Borer.

Like many places on the island of Montreal, many of the ash trees in Côte Saint-Luc have been infected by the Emerald Ash Borer and have become sick or are dead.

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The forested area between the Library and your townhouse complex or apartment has also been infected. The trees there are sick and could potentially fall down on their own or even catch on fire if we don’t remove them.


We are hiring a contractor to fell these trees starting at the end of January or start of February 2018. During the work, you will hear the sounds of workers and chainsaws. The work will be carried out between the hours of 7am and 5pm to minimize any disruption to your sleep. After the trees have been felled, invasive plants will try to take over, but we have a plan to prevent that from happening and ensure that the area will be suitable for replanting. Once we are confident the area is ready, we will plant new trees later this year.


Like you, we are heartbroken that we are temporarily losing the beautiful forested area. Regrettably there was nothing we could do to save them. While we are replacing these trees, the new ones will take many years to grow to the size of what’s there now.


If you have questions, you can join us for an information meeting at a date to be determined at City Hall. We will share details that didn’t fit in this letter, including some of the technical details about the replacement trees.


Aux résidants de Manoir Camelia, Cambridge Court, Le Rothchild II, et Le Bellagio


Comme c’est le cas à plusieurs endroits sur l’île de Montréal, de nombreux frênes sont infestés par l’agrile du frêne à Côte Saint-Luc et ils sont malades ou déjà morts.


L’espace boisé compris entre la Bibliothèque et votre complexe de maisons en rangée ou votre immeuble d’appartements est lui aussi infesté. Les arbres dans cet espace sont malades et ils pourraient tomber par eux-mêmes ou même prendre feu si nous ne les abattons pas.


Nous avons engagé un entrepreneur pour abattre ces arbres fin janvier / début février 2018. Pendant les travaux, vous entendrez le bruit des travaux et des scies mécaniques. Les travaux s’effectueront entre 7 h et 15 h pour éviter le plus possible de perturber votre sommeil. Une fois les arbres abattus, des plantes envahissantes tenteront de prendre la place mais nous avons un plan pour empêcher cela et pour la plantation de nouveaux arbres dans le secteur. Après nous être assurés que le site est prêt, nous y planterons d’autres arbres plus tard cette année.


Comme vous, nous sommes dévastés de la perte temporaire de ce magnifique espace boisé. Malheureusement, nous n’avons rien pu faire pour sauver les arbres infestés. Même si nous voyons à remplacer les arbres abattus, il reste que les nouveaux mettront plusieurs années à atteindre la même hauteur que les frênes existants.

 


Snow dump work virtually completed

Each year I go to city council and insist that can allocation be made to deal with the huge ski hill-like structure that exists in our snow dump. The huge winter storm we had last March added to the mountain.

May was not a particularly warm month, so our Public Works Department brought in the heavy equipment recently. Today we stopped operations with the mechanical shovel.  The balance remaining is hard ice and will break the shovel if we continue. Ninety percent of the work has been done.  Work on cleaning the area will be done over the summer. I have asked Public Works to carry out an inspection to ensure any water is draining properly.

 

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In Côte Saint-Luc we are very proud about how we handled snow clearing

As we continue to dig out from the biggest snow storm the Montreal area has seen in years, I would like to applaud the work done by the City of Côte Saint-Luc`s Public Works Department.

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I have received a great deal of kind comments from residents in regards to how well  we  handled the snow clearing.  In fact, most of the Montreal media praised the work we did on the main roads. Please understand that this is a very difficult task and I was among the motorists on the Thursday morning stuck trying to get past the underpass on Cavendish. It was unavoidable and inconvenient, but later in the day all cleared up

“It was an emotional day for many residents,”  Public Works Director Beatrice Newman reported to city council. "Please help us help your residents understand why things appear to be a certain way while in the background, the city is working fervently to provide safe passage-ways in the city.”

The light on Guelph Road broke Thursday morning and stayed green. This meant that Westminster stayed on a red light. Traffic began to build up, employees rushed to help traffic. Public Security  directed traffic and electricians worked on determining and fixing the light. “Things like this happens when there are drastic changes in weather,” Ms. Newman said.

Cavendish Boulevard was congested, southbound. Our snow removal operations provided clear roads for our residents, but unfortunately once they hit CSL Road and Cavendish, they were faced with congestion. NDG kept their side of Cavendish at one lane. Therefore, our three lanes had to squeeze into their one lane. “Et voilà, major traffic accumulation on Cavendish and  CSL,”  Ms. Newman explained.

Fleet was at one lane from our city right through Hampstead. The objective at first is to clear the road with one lane for access. Then approximately 24 hours later, the blowing began. “We cannot start our operations earlier in the morning or traffic issues would be inevitable,” said Ms. Newman. “Only one lane would still be available in this case. We must consider the safety concerns first. This was not a regular snow storm. This was a blizzard with white out conditions, dangerous road conditions and more. We must have patience. Close to 40 centimeters fell and the process to remove it all will not be quick, we must work efficiently​and safely.”

We had five  teams working all day Thursday, five sidewalk cleaners, five loader/blowers, five 10 wheelers, five walkers and two salt trucks remained to follow the contractors as they salted the roads once the contractor blew the snow. Once snow falls on the asphalt  we secure it with abrasives.

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Our snow dump after the storm.

Two teams worked at the municipal buildings and one  worked on our special calls such as  snow blown accidentally on personal walkways, emptying public garbage, etc. One  employee was stationed at the snow dump on Marc Chagall in District 2, which now looks like an Olympic ski hill.

The balance of the areas around Yavne, Merton and Maimonides schools were done on Friday.   

We are working hard to do our best in operations and customer service.  

“In Public Security, our agents have seen their call volume go up by a factor of 2.5,” explained Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson. “Our agents have responded with professionalism and tact despite trying circumstances, horrible road conditions and lots and lots of snow. They have always kept the safety of our residents at the forefront and I have been impressed by their ingenuity and dedication.

“Our Dispatch Centre has been flooded with calls and complaints about everything from traffic to snow removal to cars blocking driveways. Despite being screamed and sworn at, they have maintained their composure and professionalism.”

Mr. Reichson noted that while  we did not activate our emergency plan, we kept it close at hand. We ensured that our evacuation routes remained as accessible as possible and were prepared to activate elements of the plan as required. “Despite what some residents have posted online, our response has been as strong and efficient as it can be,” he said. “ This was not just another storm, but rather an opportunity for our employees to shine and from what I have seen, all have risen to the occasion.