Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein has been extremely active in putting into action decisive measures to mitigate risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. CSL has been an early actor to declare a State of Emergency and in shutting down municipal services and facilities. The mayor has been communicating on an urgent basis with residents through its mass calling system.

Leading a city is difficult enough during normal times. During a crisis this is especially true. I was deeply involved in every CSL disaster for the last 40 years and playing a leadership role as City Councillor for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Ice Storm, power failures, home fires, apartment evacuation and underpass floods. CSL has been a leader in emergency measures for decades and is known across the region for its outstanding emergency services and readiness plans.

Currently, I am neck deep (and at times over my head) heading up communication efforts for the West-Central Montreal health authority, which includes the Jewish General Hospital as well as CSL’s Mount Sinai Hospital Centre, Maimonides and CLSC Rene Cassin. My team has been in crisis response mode for almost two weeks. More on that in another post.

Our all-volunteer EMS is unique throughout Quebec offering a 24/7 rapid response to medical emergencies. These life-saving volunteers are deserving of praise on ordinary days. What they are facing now, in keeping us safe, is nothing short of heroic.

Our volunteer Citizens on Patrol provides an extra layer of protection across the community. These 90 volunteers give us a sense of comfort and peace of mind as they circulate up and down every street in our city, watching over us and our property and acting as an early warning system to police, fire, ambulance, Hydro Quebec, public works and more.

Out of abundant concern for its older volunteers, many of whom are over 70 years old, the city has decided to halt this service for an indefinite period. This policy is unfortunate as there are still plenty of younger volunteers ready to do what is necessary and others in the community prepared to offer their time and to be trained to help their community in patrolling with vCOP. Our residents need to see these brightly identified patrollers, especially during times of crisis.

Fortunately, Public Security continues its patrols with professional agents around the clock.

The ill-advised and poorly communicated merger of police stations should be shelved for this year. Our populations and its leaders are poised in another direction and this is not the time for structural reorganization.

Emergency communications is a vital lifeline to our residents. CSL has a superb outbound calling platform that it has begun using during this crisis. The latest call from Mayor Brownstein succinctly and accurately describes the severity of the situation ordering snowbirds to stay home for 14 days and religious communities not to congregate at this time.

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein warns seniors to “stay at home” on CBC National News

As well, the mayor’s continuous presence in local and national media and the city’s declaration of a State of Emergency (by video hook up of City Council) has helped to focus attention on crucial preparation procedures such as self-isolation and shuttering religious and retail facilities.

Beth Chabad Cote Saint-Luc shuttered, along with all religious other institutions

It will be vital to the overall health of each and everyone of us, those around us and all across the country to heed the warnings and to prepare. It’s not too late.