Jazz legend Oliver Jones performed a few songs to help inaugurate the first public piano in the City of Côte Saint-Luc on June 29 at Rembrandt Park in District 2. What a wonderful occasion and a proud moment for me as the councillor for the area and for the portfolio of Library and Culture. The weather was nice and we had a fantastic turnout not only from the public, but local and mainstream media - Global TV, CBC and CTV. Here is the Global TV report.
The piano will be available to the public all summer from around 8:30 am to 10 pm. It will be covered with a tarp every evening. Rembrandt Park is located on Rembrandt Ave. near Kildare Rd.
“Côte Saint-Luc is eager to launch the pilot project this summer and gives passers-by the opportunity to try out the new outdoor piano,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “We’re also proud to have a local resident – who also happens to be a jazz legend – help us inaugurate it.”
Public pianos have sprung up around the world in the last few years. Côte Saint-Luc decided to launch this pilot project when resident Louise Silverman donated her late mother’s piano.
A few months ago Rembrandt Avenue resident Phil Matlin approached me about the idea. I immediately approached our Director of Library Services Janine West, Manager of Cultural Development Danielle Bélanger, Associate City Manager Nadia Di Furia. and Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman. Once the first piano donation was in play we were ready to go.
The public piano movement started with the ‘Play Me, I'm Yours’ initiative in the United States. This is a wonderful program that affords us all a chance to people-watch or even sing and dance while someone is playing.”
We are indeed seeking the donation of more pianos. Each of them will be decorated. Let Danielle know at 514-485-6900, ext. 4205 if you have a lead.
We are all very proud to have an icon like Oliver Jones living in our community. He has helped inaugurate public piano programs elsewhere in the city and what a thrill it was for the audience to watch him perform a few tunes.
Our city manager Tanya Abramovitch has always wanted to turn Rembrandt into a "culture park." The back of the chalet is uniquely designed with a semi circle of stairs which people can sit on very comfortably. It was the perfect venue for Oliver Jones as there was not bad seat in the house.
There is something new at District 2's Rembrandt Park.
This week pétanque courts have made their debut. I saw a lot of these during my recent visits to Paris and Nice.
Pétanque is an extremely simple game, just like horseshoes. There's a target, and you have to get as close to it as possible. What makes it so appealing, is that you can be way ahead for a while, yet lose a second later, or vice versa. Because nothing is decided until the last player plays the very last boule. If he or she moves the target ball or knocks an opponent ball out of the way, the layout of the boules - and thus your score - may change dramatically.
This game is for people of any age, as strength or speed are not important. Pétanque evolved early this century from an old French bowl game (la boule Provencale), when one of the old champions, meanwhile suffering from arthritis and mourning his heydays, suggested there be no more running and jumping: everyone should throw the boules standing still, feet together, in a small starting circle. The old champion was back in the game! These days, on many market places in France, petanque is played day in, day out. While retirees are in the majority during weekdays, teenagers and everyone else who wants to unwind for a while will join them after school or work and on weekends.
So we invite players of all ages to gather for games of pick-up pétanque. You must bring your own balls and jack. If you are interested in participating in a league, contact François Marechal at email@example.com or 514-996-8709.
See this video:
New and experienced tennis players can get tips, improve their techniques, play games and win prizes at the Sports Experts Tour (Tournée Sports Experts) on Sunday, August 10 from 9 am to 11:30 am at District 2's Rembrandt Park (corner Kildare and Rembrandt).
The Sports Experts Tour, sponsored by Banque Nationale, is being held for the 21st year and once again visiting 70 communities across Quebec promoting tennis. This event is open to all players and levels from beginners to advanced, children, teens and adults can participate in this free event. Tips on technique, tricks, games, skills contest and many participation prizes are all part of this wonderful sporting event. In addition, participants will benefit from trying out new models of tennis products including Babolat, Diadora, Head and Wilson rackets. For more information about this event, please contact Alvin Fishman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 514-485-6806 ext. 2012.
“Tennis is a wonderful sport that you can play from age 5 to 105,” said Councillor Allan J. Levine, the council member responsible for the Côte Saint-Luc Tennis Club. “This event is a great way to introduce your kids to tennis. It’s a lot of fun for long-time tennis players, too.”
Tennis in Côte Saint-Luc
Côte Saint-Luc is home to seven public tennis courts located at Rembrandt Park and at the newly refurbished Caldwell Tennis Courts situated on Caldwell Ave. The courts are open every day from May 11 to October 12, 2014.
The two courts at Rembrandt Park (near Kildare Rd.) are free with a Côte Saint-Luc Fun Card. For non-residents or those residents without a Fun Card, court costs are $6 per person (or $5 per person age 17 and younger). To play at the Rembrandt Tennis Courts, a reservation is generally required. Call 514-485-8912 to reserve a court.
The five courts adjacent to Caldwell Ave. (between Kildare Rd. and Mackle Rd.) were recently renovated. The courts are reserved for a summer tennis camp on weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm, and are open to the public from 5 pm to 11 pm everyday. Courts are generally open to the public on weekends from 7 am to 11 pm. They are free of charge and no reservations are needed. First come, first served.
Private city-operated clay tennis courts are located at the Côte Saint-Luc Tennis Club (8215 Guelph Rd.), which was founded in 1959. Membership to the club is required for use of those courts and memberships are available by calling 514-487-7862.
I have received a number of inquiries re the status of the Rembrandt Park tennis courts, for which I worked long and hard over the years to obtain a much needed facelift to the tune of $167,000. Preliminary work began last fall, but we needed to wait for nice weather to arrive this spring (and it was late) to finish the job.
As Eric Ibey, the city's coordinator of Urban Development and our point man on the project explains, there are reasons for the delays. Notably, the late spring caused all contractors to be backed up this year which means everyone is running behind.
Here is Eric's update:
Surfacing: This requires one more coat and two days to cure after the final coat.
Fencing: This is lined up for . The company hired will be repairing the holes as well as fixing the bottom of the fence along the perimeter of both courts. That should represent two days of work.
New Lighting: The final wiring has been installed.
If all goes well people should be playing tennis by . Let's just hope the weather is cooperative and the stars align.
I am pleased to report that construction for the redevelopment of the two tennis courts and the addition of new lighting at Rembrandt Park is complete. The courts have been resurfaced and underground electrical conduits installed, along with the bases for the new lighting. Fencing has been fixed, as well as lighting installed. The contractor will return in the spring to apply the acrylic court surface.
This project has been several years in the making. I thank members of council for their support. A number of meetings took place with constituents. Many who play tennis there complained about the lighting and the poor condition of the coirts. As winter approaches, it is nice to think about the return of warm weather next spring and folks like my neighbour Moishe heading over for a game of tennis after supper - knowing he will have good lighting.
I recently attended a meeting of the Côte-Saint-Luc Tennis Committee, at which time the subject of Rembrandt Park was on the agenda. More than a year ago we were looking into adding new tennis courts at Rembrandt. The matter was discussed at a public District 2 meeting and followed up by months of consultations. There was a definite discomfort with the plan. For that reason, plus the fact that quotations for the expansion came in way over budget, we put the project on hold.
As you can read on Councillor Glenn J. Nashen's blog, the city has entered an agreement with the English Montreal School Board to bring the courts at the former Wagar High School back to life. That will occur next year and address the issue of adding more courts in the
At the Tennis Committee we came up with some new proposals regarding Rembrandt. My hope is to have a special placemaking session, whereby some area residents will be invited to be part of the process. New lighting will be part of any proposal that comes forward.
Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Put simply, it involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular space, to discover their needs and aspirations. This information is then used to create a common vision for that place. The vision can evolve quickly into an implementation strategy, beginning with small-scale, do-able improvements that can immediately bring benefits to public spaces and the people who use them.
Stay tuned for more information.
1. Tournée Sports Experts Tennis Event
When: Sunday, August 7, 2011, from 9 am to 11:30
Where: Rembrandt Park.
In case of rain, the event will be cancelled.
Cost: Free of charge (participation prizes and people can try new models of
Description:Now in its 18th year, the Sports Experts Tour visits 70
communities across Quebec promoting tennis. Players come to play with
experienced tennis players sponsored by Sports Experts.
Rafi Zeira (right), a District 2 resident, was introduced. As people entered the room they heard Rafi’s Accordion, a new CD he has just released with his wife Fay and their collaborators Michel Tordjman and Larry Hughes. All four were on hand to showcase the Jewish medley, which took a year and a half to produce. I also introduced special guests Councillor Steven Erdelyi, responsible for public works and the environment; Beatrice Newman, manager of customer service and administration; Charles Senekal; manager of engineering; Mohammed Ali, project manager in the engineering division and a CSL resident; Harold Cammy, manager of sports and facilities for Parks and Recreation. I explained that these meetings have been held once or twice annually since I was elected. Everyone was reminded that they can always call me at City Hall or send an email to email@example.com.
2. New Town Houses
Gerald Issenman (pictured below) was introduced as the developer of new townhouses on Marc Chagall Avenue. He is reviving the 21 unit complex which Jerome Winikoff had previously attempted to build. The same architects have been retained from the original project. Landscaping has been upgraded. If all goes well he hopes to starts building sometime in July, with units ready for occupation in December. Mr. Issenman owns the Côte Saint-Luc Building Corporation. Among his properties are the Bonaventure Arena, apartments on MacDonald Avenue and many more. Units will cost about $425,000 for an interior and $435,000 for an exterior.
3. Digital Signage
I expressed my appreciation for the Kazoo Digital signage we have up at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare. CSL gets a certain amount of promotional space and Kazoo sells the rest. It is working out nicely and Kazoo might add one or two more digital signs elsewhere in the city.
4. Rembrandt Park/Tennis Courts
Last year Harold Cammy was at the District 2 meeting, at which time he unveiled plans for us to build three new tennis courts at Rembrandt Park. There was a lot of opposition to this move and we took the time to consult. First and foremost, people were worrying about a lack of parking spots in the immediate area. In the meantime, all park renovations in the city were put on hold as we focused our financial objectives on the new $18 million Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC), two thirds of which will be paid for by the provincial and federal governments. In the meantime the city began negotiating a new lease with the English Montreal School Board for the five courts on the premises of the former Wagar High School. An agreement was reached and for the summer of 2012 those courts will be completely revamped. Mr. Cammy explained this will be far more cost efficient than constructing new ones at Rembrandt. There have been discussions at the council table, inspired by new city manager Tanya Abramovitch, to create a “cultural park” with picnic tables and space for performing arts. Over the years a lot of money has already been poured into this park. Mr. Cammy called on residents to send their ideas for what they would like to see the park used for to Councillor Cohen.
Comments and Suggestions
-There were suggestions that more benches be added. While this will be looked into, benches are costly. The option of sponsoring a bench on behalf of a loved one was raised. (The following day Beatrice Newman reported to me that some new benches had been delivered and installed.)
-Replace the sand near the swing areas with bark chips or recycled rubber. Councillor Erdelyi cautioned there may be health hazards with those options.
-Replace the old skateboard pit with a picnic table area.
-Fix the wet patchy spots in the area where the soccer pit once sat.
-Close up the cement garbage containers next to the benches
-Install a speed bump at Merrimac and Rembrandt where cars are making quick turns. (Manager Senekal said that if such a suggestion or complaint comes in writing it will be looked at by the Transportation Committee.)
-For the “No Dogs Allowed” sign adjust it to include the cost of a fine if you are caught as people continually ignore this rule.
-Introduce outdoor exercise equipment at parks (Councillor Erdelyi indicated that will in fact be occurring soon at a number of spots.)
-Bring back the rosebushes to Rembrandt Park (The following day Beatrice Newman confirmed that the bushes disappeared because they were dying and diseased. An order has been placed to plant new ones.)
5. Traffic Matters (Kildare and Cavendish)
I indicated that many of my calls are about this corner and there is no simple solution. I lauded Charles and Mohammed for how responsive they are in general to citizens, particularly in regard to Kildare and Cavendish. A lot of time and money has been devoted to this corner over the years. It is not an easy fix. Mr. Senekal explained that attention is now being devoted to the reconfiguration of Cavendish Boulevard and the new road (The Avenue) which will lead to the Mall housing development. Once that is in place phase two will involve some significant proposals vis-à-vis Cavendish and Kildare. Mr. Senekal and Mr. Ali have developed some impressive options to really improve the situation. People will have to be patient as this must be discussed at the council table first. There were many suggestions of how to fix the situation, including Shirley Rosen (below) who has been on top of this situation for a long time. A common complaint was that Police Station 9 should be giving out more tickets to cars which are repeatedly not waiting for a green arrow to turn left on Cavendish coming from Kildare. There was a request for me to address this concern to the local police commander. I then took the opportunity to announce that I wish to invite all residents of District 2 to submit their own ideas as to how to fix the problem.
There was a suggestion that we put cameras mounted at the corner of Kildare and Cavendish to help give out more tickets.
On a related issue, one resident of Marc Chagall suggests that the traffic pots – meant to slow down speeders – be painted yellow so they are easier to see.
6. Public Works
A main topic of discussion here was the height of snow dump on Marc Chagall Avenue. Dr. Paul Weinstein, who resides at Le Marquise next door, said that he is less concerned about the aesthetics than the amount of garbage there which he fears can spread disease. He also said that the state of the dump is leading to increased pigeon droppings on balconies. Across the street from Le Marquise, on part of the land where the new town houses will be built, he noted that proper grass cutting was not done and as a result white dandelions are growing. Beatrice Newman explained that someone from Public Works mistakenly thought that area was private property and this is why it was not attended to immediately. Dr. Weinstein also repeated a request he had about the planting of trees inside or directly outside of the fence of the dump. He reasons that eventually these trees might grow high enough to block the snow hill. We spoke to our horticulturalist, René Lapointe, who said that trees were in fact planted where he asked a number of years ago but they will never grow high enough to cover the hill. Furthermore, we did look into planting more but there simply is not any more sufficient fertile land to do so.
Dr. Harry Shizgal and other asked whether we could try to bring in equipment to cut down the size of the hill. I have asked for this to be done, but as Councillor Erdelyi interjected the estimated cost to do so is somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000. For budgetary reasons, he explained, the city will likely wait until the snow melts. Dr. Weinstein asked that we investigate any alternative options which perhaps were not looked at in the past such as covering the hill with something to make it melt quicker.
7. Cavendish Mall
Many people have been asking when construction will begin on the new housing development at the Cavendish Mall. Charles Senekal said that the first thing which needs to be done is the demolition of the pavement. Work will then begin for the infrastructure for the various streets. If all goes well, that phase could be completed by early fall.
8. Beth Chabad
I communicated with Rabbi Mendel Raskin of Beth Chabad last week. He can only say at this point that he hopes to see some progress on the first phase of the project soon, which would allow them to relocate from their temporary trailers and the space they rent at Bialik into their new home.
Mohammed and Charles chat with Aubrey Zelman, president of the Meadows Condominium Association and the owner of Gourmetchip.com.
Mayor Anthony Housefather and I will be sending the following letter out to the owners of vehicles who have been parking on the street without permits for the past several weeks:
The overnight parking tolerance that is currently in effect in this area of Ilan Ramon Cres., Sir Walter Scott Ave., Kildare Rd., Rembrandt Ave., and Merrimac Ave. is ending on Monday, July 26 at 8am. Because of road and aqueduct network renovations and two indoor parking garage repairs currently underway in the area, we can no longer allow all vehicles to park on the street overnight.
Any vehicle that does not have a valid overnight parking permit starting July 26 may be ticketed and/or towed, at the owner’s expense.
As an alternative to the overnight parking tolerance, (1) we are offering residents free parking at the city snow dump, and (2) temporary overnight parking permits are also available for guests.
1. Parking at the snow dump for residents
Residents can now park their vehicles for free at the city’s snow dump on Marc Chagall Ave., provided that they complete and return the application form. The snow dump has been inspected by the Quebec Ministry of the Environment, who has deemed it safe for parking. Parking in this lot is nonetheless at the owner’s risk. Only vehicles authorized by the city may park in this lot and unauthorized vehicles may be ticketed and/or towed.
To apply, complete the enclosed form and return to City Hall by mail or in person. Requests will be processed by the Public Security office and we will notify you by telephone if your application is approved.
2. Temporary overnight parking permits for overnight guests
Overnight guests may still obtain a temporary overnight parking permit by calling the Public Security office at 514-485-6960, 24-hours-a-day. Requests may need to be validated by a Public Security agent and proof of address may be required. Temporary permits for granted for a maximum of three days.
The City of Côte Saint-Luc is investing $426,000 to replace the underground aqueduct on Kildare Road. between Rembrandt Ave. and Merrimac Road and to repave that stretch of the street. The work has begun and will last until approximately August 15, 2010. A formal letter will be sent to all affected residents shortly.
Pipe replacement and road reconstruction
Normally, Côte Saint-Luc would reline the pipes to prevent leaks, which is a less invasive procedure. However, the state of the pipes under Kildare Rd. requires them to be replaced, which is why we need to open up the road surface. While this will cause traffic on this stretch of road to be disrupted, the work is necessary. Once the work is complete, the pipes should not need to be repaired or replaced for approximately 50 years. At the same time we will also be reconstructing the road once the pipes have been replaced. The road surface has been damaged due to prior water breaks and while it has been patched the time has come for proper resurfacing.
A temporary above-ground water network has been nstalled to provide water as well as to offer fire protection to buildings and townhouses along Kildare Rd. A specialized firm, Canbec, has been hired to carry out the repairs, and our own Engineering Department will supervise and confirm the quality of the work. Please note that that an employee from Canbec and/or its sub-contractor Colmatec, duly authorized by the city, may have to visit your building or townhouse to check your water connection. Canbec will also distribute additional information directly to your home.
If you have questions or comments about these repairs, you may call the following numbers:
• Weekdays between 7am and 4pm: Côte Saint-Luc Engineering Department, 514-485-6800 ext. 1501, or firstname.lastname@example.org, for general inquiries.
• After hours (emergencies): Côte Saint-Luc Public Security Department: 514-485-6960.
• At any time (day or night): Colmatec, 450-973-3366 or 514-712-1640.
• Côte Saint-Luc information line regarding water work: 514-485-6800 ext. 5500.
Today, June 28, there were two water breaks on Kildare Rd. which forced water to be shut off. Fortunately the damage was repaired quickly. Those affected are recommended to boil their drinking water for 48 hours. Stay tuned to www.cotesaintluc.org for more details.