Sir Walter Scott

Are the five buildings on Kildare Road and Sir Walter Scott about to be sold again?

The new ownership of  five residential apartment buildings on Kildare Road and Sir Walter Scott continues  to result in complaints being filed to myself and the city.

But here is some breaking news. I have learned that the buildings may sold again in the coming months, this time to a professional operator.

Group CLV sold the buildings to a group, represented by real estate broker Terry Geramanis, amid fears of possible renoviction.  The tenants were organized, hiring a lawyer and establishing a tenants association. In recent weeks I have received a number of calls by residents, notably complaining about a lack of communication.

To his credit, Geramanis has responded to all of my inquiries. 

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Terry Geramanis

There have been elevator issues in some of the buildings and Geramanis’ team has rectified those issues.

The problem now is that tenants say they can only e-mail their complaints to an address which is very short on responses.

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Trevor and Adele.

 

Geramanis says that  although an email has been provided to the tenants to ask questions and make requests, a direct phone line was also shared with them, indicating their representatives’ phone numbers. To this day,  he says, they keep receiving and answering calls coming directly from tenants in the building.  

David : (438) 816-4243 

Avi : (438) 299-9934

In the lobby of one of the buildings I visited, though, only the e-mail address appears on a notice.

“I need to make it clear that there is undeniable willingness on my part and such of my team to ensure viable tenancy and maintain the property in a state that allows the current tenants to live peacefully in their unit,” Geramanis stated. “Furthermore, my team and I are committed to addressing any concerns the tenants may have and maintaining open lines of communications. We understand the importance of being accessible and responsive."

As for the building caretakers,  originally employees of CLV,  tenants say they lack the proper equipment to do their job and are not as visible as before.

“In regards to custodians on site, following the sale, we had made the decision to maintain their contracts in place,” Geramanis responded. “To this date, they are still present on site and answer when tasked. They also keep us updated relating to any problems the building or the tenants encounter.”

As for the  lack of on-site employee’s working tools, Geramanis  says he wishes to clarify that this was caused by CLV repossessing most of the equipment and material that was used for building maintenance and thus following the sale the maintenance room was for the most part emptied. “However, my team and I are in communications with our on-site caretakers and should a work equipment be needed to efficiently perform a job or to complete a maintenance requisition, it will be provided,” he said. “On that note, tenants should not be worried of any service disruption in the building."

On Monday, tenants Adele and Trevor asked  if I’d come meet them at their building on Kildare Road. Adele said the physical look of the grounds is already deteriorating under the new owners; no flowers or greenery has been planted in front nor has been the grass been cut. There is a large pothole at the entrance of the lot (I’m not sure if this a joint issue with the neighbouring Westwood building) and a few others in the parking lot.

“Concerning landscaping, the only thing I can mention at the moment is that we are having discussions with various companies to find the best fit,” said Geramanis.

Adele showed me the water leaks she has in her apartment bathroom resulting in mould. One of our building inspectors visited the premises. As of this writing he has not heard back from the landlords and plans to begin issuing tickets.

“We are aware of the situation and are in communication with our team to ensure that the issues encountered in their unit are fixed,” said Geramanis. “We have one and the same goal: to ensure the safety and smooth operation of our properties, creating a comfortable living environment for all tenants. It is not our intention, nor is it in our interest to create a toxic environment where our liability and reputation would be on the line. Any dialogue we engage in is purely amicable, without any fear or threat and we are here to listen and work together to find reasonable solutions that benefit everyone involved."

Adele and Trevor also told me they have seen large rats in the garage.

I will continue to advocate for the tenants and keep my eyes and ears open re a possible sale. At one point Geramanis referred to me as a journalist. That is one of my professions, but this blog is reserved strictly for my role as a city councillor to keep my constituents in the loop on important issues.


Tenants concerned about renovictions get advice at City Hall meeting

The concern expressed by the residents of five buildings on Kildare Road and Sir Walter Scott over the presence of new owners and a fear of renoviction has resulted in the formation of a tenants association, the engagement of a lawyer and clear line drawn in the sand.

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The audience at Monday's meeting.

When Groupe CLV sold the five buildings in February to a group Gestion Galleon, residents sounded the alarm over suspicious evening visits from company representatives offering some tenants cash incentives to leave. This triggered worries about potential renovictions. The latter occurs when landlords use non-urgent renovations as a pretext to force tenants to vacate.  Landlords may harass tenants to force them out, and some send illegal lease non-renewal notices.

Councillor Dida Berku (a tenants rights lawyer for 40 years ) and myself have been very active on the file since day one. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein has been following the situation closely. Now our Urban Planning Department has stepped in. This type of action is fairly unprecedented. I have been on council for 18 years and in my District there are 16 rental buildings (and eight high rise condos). Tenant-landlord disputes occur in all of these buildings and I hear about them. We always have to draw a fine line between by-law infractions which we can intervene on or a dispute between a tenant and landlord which precludes us from intervening. That being said, our involvement in working with tenants to help stave off any serious problems is not something we have done in my time in office.

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Catherine Plawutsky

On March  25, our library helped organize a special information meeting for tenants of the five building with  LogisAction,  which provides assistance to tenants in NDG and finds solutions to problems related to their rental situation. It was good to see some of the leaders of the tenants association. We provided the use of our auditorium for free. Attendees signed in when they arrived. Councillor Berku, myself and Mayor Brownstein made opening remarks. Lawyer Justin Demers was on hand and Catherine Plawutsky from Logis Action gave a very informative presentation. 

Earlier in the day, our Associate City Manager Tanya Abramovitch held a meeting with the Urban Planning Department.  It is very important to emphasize that the e-mail to address any infractions is  [email protected] 

According to Tanya, the great majority of complaints the department has received, through in person appearances, phone calls, and emails, have related to threats, the rent cheques, and things that are not ones the city can do anything about. Those are complaints for the Régie du logement or even the police, and we have told them that.

There are certain things that are in the purview of the city, and certain things that are not. Elevators, electricity, plumbing, and ventilation of buildings this size are under the purview of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ).  Things like emergency lights, blocked exits, sprinklers, fire alarms, imminent walls of bricks falling, and defective generators are under the responsibility of the SIM. It is always better for the tenants to call directly, since they see things at all hours and live the reality. The RBQ says they will respond within 30 days but it is never that long.  We can make a complaint (and did for the elevator), but us calling versus residents does not move things along faster. The elevator complaint has been deposited at the RBQ, and the property owners have been informed that it has

In our by-laws, permits are required for most work, including the replacement of floors, cabinets, opening a wall, things that touch Gyproc. This is different than in Montreal, where for minor interior work you do not need a permit. Tanya points out that this is fortunate, because it forces the property owners to apply for permits for even small work on one unit.  Our Urban Planning Department also proactively contacted the property owners and let them know that they need a permit to do basically anything, and that they can’t even change the sign outside without going through the city. As of today, not a single permit request exists for any of these buildings. The department will not issue any if one is requested until our director of Urban Planning returns anyway. Our renoviction bylaw, adopted last fall,  only applies in the context of a permit, not before.  Urban Planning will flag Tanya immediately  if any permit request comes in for any of these buildings.

At the information session I informed  tenants that it would be helpful if they can tell us if they hear any sounds of construction (sawing, hammering, etc). If they dothey should contact Urban Planning  by email and let them know right away. We   will then send an inspector to check it out. If it’s on a weekend, we will pick it up on Monday and do what  is needed.

In the past, when these buildings were CLV-owned, there were certain complaints that occurred.  CLV took care of them right away. Our Urban Planning team is concerned that new owners may let this slip. If, for instance, there is any vermin,   contact Urban Planning directly. The department is keeping a log of complaints about these addresses for things that pertain to us. If there is anything to note, it will be flagged.

We do not have the resources to go and visit these buildings on a daily basis if there is no cause to do so. As soon as there is cause, we will log it and go. Having a lawyer on their team compiling a list of complaints would be helpful.

The owners are very aware that we are watching them closely. If there is movement, we will be ready,

The city cannot intervene on everything that is going on. Tenants need to exercise their rights, organize and help each other.  

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Major improvements about to get underway for Isadore Goldberg Park

From the day I was first elected as the city councillor for District 2, one of my objectives has been to clean up Isadore Goldberg Park. Strangely sandwiched between a number of buildings on Kildare Road and Sir Walter Scott, it has never been properly accessible to all.

While we have maintained the park and always kept it clean, our plan all along was to try and relocate it closer to Marc Chagall Avenue. One such consideration was the greenspace near the row of town houses. That was put on hold when we needed the land for a temporary lease in order to find an appropriate space for the  workers on the new Equinoxe apartment buildings to park their cars and store equipment. That lease  concludes next summer, at which time the developers must return the land to its previous form.

I would like to thank our Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman and her team for coming up with a solution to make Isadore Goldberg Park shine in its present surroundings. This week we sent letters to residents in the immediate area to inform of the improvements planned for the park, named after former Councillor Isadore Goldberg Park. Work will be done in  two phases. For starters we have removed invasive plants and tall weeds along the fence behind the townhouses and placed geo-textile and poured stone onto the newly cut pathway. This will provide a new entrance to the park from Marc Chagall Ave. In phase two, the city will add a fence along the path (and hopefully paving), benches, new lighting, and other features to the park. We will also give the lights a more decorative look. We hope to do a re-dedication and install a new visible sign.

There are two reasons why the city must remove invasive plants like buckthorn, phragmite, other tall weeds along with overgrown bushes and other bushes. First, this vegetation has attracted insects and rodents. Second, it is blocking our crews from accessing the park with equipment. We need proper access to the park to maintain and clean the park regularly as we do in all other parks in the city, remove old urban furniture in the park, and clean the sewer. Also, Côte Saint-Luc Public Security patrollers will be able to see more clearly into the park when doing their patrols.

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With horticulturalist Joane Warren and Beatrice Newman at the park.

As Ms. Newman notes, “we intend to make this park a beautiful space with an accommodating entrance for all.”

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The new gravel road.

 

I would also like to thank Sir Walter Scott resident Alexander Errore for his ongoing interest and encouragement for the state of this park

When the makeshift parking lot becomes greenspace again, I will meet with local residents to determine what we can do with that area as well.


Keeping an eye on traffic on Sir Walter Scott Avenue

Last summer I commissioned an in-house traffic study on Sir Walter Scott Avenue, following some concerns raised over speeding by both residents of this street and Ilan Ramon Crescent. Are traffic calming devices such as speed bumps or humps needed?

The study showed that the average number of cars per day was around 700 , which means a lot of people are coming and going as we knew. We usually use 10 km/h over the 85th percentile as our rough indicator of whether traffic calming is warranted or not. In our case, the 85th percentile was around 48 km/h, so not overly fast , but very near the mark. People seem to be driving faster in the south direction on average. I will discuss this with council and senior staff over the winter to see what kind of action we will take in the spring.

Our coordinator of Urban Development Eric Ibey has provided major support on this dossier. He is the city’s de facto traffic guru. Last June he was a special guest at my District 2 Information meeting. He listens to the concerns of residents and even goes to meet them when warranted.

Eric has enacted some interim measures, taking away the two or three parking spots that were between Ilan Ramon  and the stop sign on Kildare Road, on the west side  Sir Walter Scott. We believe this will improve visibility for people turning out of Ilan Ramon and create more room for people exiting and entering from Kildare.

Over the summer we had allowed parking on both sides of the street  on Sir Walter Scott. We made it clear this was being done strictly to accommodate the residents of the building at 6600 Kildare Road as their garage was being repaired. Work on that project is now complete so we restored the no parking rules as they were before.

 


Honouring a special constituent on the occasion of his 100th birthday

On the occasion of his remarkable 100th birthday, Côte Saint-Luc city council honoured long time District 2 resident Hyman Avrum Fishman at our September 9 meeting.

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I present Mr. Fishman with a certificate, surrounded by the mayor and council.

Hy is by no means your average centenarian. He still lives in his own apartment on Sir Walter Scott Avenue, in no need for someone to cook, clean or shop for him. Despite bad knees, he does his best to get around. His longevity may have something to do with him dragging his exercise bike into the hallway right outside his door and riding like the wind for half an hour at least several times a week, if not daily, says his friend and neighbour Bram Eisenthal.

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Mr. Fishman and his neighbour Bram Eisenthal.

A number of years ago Hy dedicated two city benches on Kildare Road in honour of his late wife Fay. He can be seen sitting there often during the spring, summer and fall months.

Hy has become something of a defacto grandfather to his two young neighbours, Alexia and David, children of Gina and Nicu. 

“Several of us in his building are very protective of him and we try to keep an eye on him and make sure he is safe and well,” says Eisenthal. “Hy's mind is sharp as a tack and his collecting of pins from around the world may have something to do with his continuing zest for life, something exceeded only by his passion for his beloved Habs.”


Congrats to the Oak Ridge Tenants Association for their picnic

I have always been fond of the people who reside in the Oak Ridge Apartment Building in District 2, located at 5795 Sir Walter Scott. This might be a rental complex, but it could easily pass for a condominium. Many of the residents have been there for years and they have an active Tenants Association, headed by Andrew Halmos. Professor Joseph Brody handled those duties before him.

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Tova Lauferman is another one of the movers and shakers there and she was  the one responsible for organizing a lovely picnic for residents on September 3 at Ashkelon Gardens. That is right in the back of City Hall and of course directly next door to the Oak Ridge.

Tova and her team had pizza, cheese bagels, bourekas and a whole lot more. It was a beautiful day and over the course of the afternoon special guests like myself -- as the city councillor  for the building- as well as Mayor Anthony Housefather and D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman dropped by. See the photo above. That is Tova in the purple shirt and Andrew next to me in the green.

I know that when I have done my door to door campaigning in that building, the reponse from those who greeted me was most polite and enthusiastic.

When I left the picnic, Tova and her team were so wonderful that they put together a delicious doggybag to enjoy as a I moved on to my next destination.

 

 

 

Tova Lauferman
5795 Sir Walter Scott