Potential new location found for CSL synagogue

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A potential new location has been found for the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim synagogue in Côte St. Luc, on the site of the city’s public works yard on Mackle Road, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein announced.

“There’s a very large parking lot, and it’s the area closest to the dog run in that parking lot,” Brownstein told The Suburban. “The parking lot has about 80 to 100 spots, and it’s at the far end.”

The mayor said the city and the synagogue are now in the preliminary stage of looking at the alternative locale.

“I met with Rabbi Yehouda Benoliol and his group, and we gave them the size and configuration, and Urban Planning has given them the configuration documents in terms of what they can work with, and now they have to present a proposal to the Planning Advisory Committee.”

During the July 4 council meeting, several residents asked about the synagogue, in light of a recent register which 23 residents signed, calling for a referendum on a rezoning for the original location elsewhere on Mackle Road.

Seventeen signatures were needed to prompt a referendum. But as the result would be clear — enough to reject the original location — and a referendum would be costly, no vote will be held.

As a result, Côte St. Luc council withdrew the original rezoning bylaw at last week’s meeting, with seven councillors approving and Councillor Dida Berku abstaining because she is a lawyer in a case, unrelated to the zoning, involving Rabbi Yehouda Benoliol.

At a previous meeting, Brownstein said the community would work together to find a new location for the synagogue.

Côte-St-Luc to mark Canada’s 150th by planting 150 trees

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From right: Côte-St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, councillor Dida Berku and arborist Laurence Cloutier-Boucher at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Park in Côte-St-Luc, where 150 trees will be planted in honour of Canada's 150th birthday. In the last 10 years, 1,800 out of 10,000 city trees in Côte-St-Luc were felled due to disease and the push is on by the city to replant.
From right: Côte-St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, councillor Dida Berku and arborist Laurence Cloutier-Boucher at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Park in Côte-St-Luc, where 150 trees will be planted in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. In the last 10 years, 1,800 out of 10,000 city trees in Côte-St-Luc were felled due to disease and the push is on by the city to replant. JOHN MAHONEY / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Côte-St-Luc is planting 150 citizen-sponsored trees in its newly renovated Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.

Resident Rhoda Albert caught wind of this initiative during a recent city council meeting and was the first one down at city hall, sponsoring a tree for $150 in honour of her late mother, Masza Safran.

In return, Safran’s name will go on a plaque that will be displayed in the park. Corporate donors, for $500, can also get a name on the plaque.

“I think it’s a great idea and, you know, whoever I mention it to is very interested,” Albert said. “The reason I did it is because my mother loved plants. She loved trees. She loved parks and I thought it would be a great thing to do for my mother.”

Councillor Dida Berku, who spearheaded the project, said this isn’t about collecting donations for trees that only cost about $300 each to plant. Instead, it’s about citizen engagement in a time when trees are needed in the city and the nation’s milestone birthday is being celebrated.

There will be a kiosk set up during the city’s Canada Day celebrations in the park Sunday (postponed by Saturday’s rain forecast), encouraging people to participate in the reforestation of a city that has been hit hard in recent years by the emerald ash borer beetle and Dutch elm disease. Arborist Laurence Cloutier-Boucher was hired by the city two years ago to boost the battle against diseased and dying trees. In the last 10 years, 1,800 out of 10,000 city trees were felled due to disease.

A variety of indigenous trees are to be planted, including maple, birch, willow, evergreens and fruit trees. The trees will be of varying levels of maturity, Berku said. As they grow, citizens will be reminded of the larger reforestation effort that is costing the city about $60,000 a year to run. Over the last couple of years, the city has planted about 200 trees annually, but these 150 are in addition to that yearly average.

“We’ve planted over 400 trees in the last three years and the plan is to plant at least 200 trees a year as well as educate the public as to the importance of a tree canopy and why we have to replenish it,” Berku said. Trees provide a habitat for wildlife, she added, and “it’s what makes our city beautiful. They’re a natural air filter.”

Public works director Beatrice Newman said a shady tree in front of a home can cut air conditioning costs by 20 per cent. Protecting public trees is a priority, she said, to the point that, as city hall renovations continue, contractors were brought in with special equipment to scoop up and relocate mature trees.

“If you don’t have trees, you don’t have a proper city that meets the needs of the community,” said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, noting that the 150 trees will be growing in a fully revamped Trudeau Park. Renovated at a cost of $2.6 million, the park officially reopens Sunday and will boast several new features, including 10 wildlife sculptures by Canadian artist Shalom Bloom, play areas, water games, pathways and lighting.

Looking forward 50 years, Brownstein added: “For Canada’s 200th, imagine how big the trees will be.”

No referendum for new synagogue

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At its July 4 public meeting Cote Saint-Luc City Council voted to withdraw a bylaw dealing with a proposed rezoning of residential property for a new synagogue. Council has ended the process that would have lead to a potentially divisive referendum. Instead, the city and the congregation leadership have been in discussions on a more desirable piece of land on Mackle Road.

“I am very proud of our community in rallying together to respectfully discuss, in a positive manner, and to find solutions in seeking a new home for the Kollel,” said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. “We will work together to make this a reality as quickly as possible within the provincial legal process.”

District 6 Councillor Glenn J. Nashen said. “The city will do its utmost to help its residents and support its institutions,” in support of choosing to work toward a new location for the Kollel.

A register for a rezoning bylaw to enable the new synagogue to be created on Mackle Road by the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim was held on Thursday, June 15 at City Hall. 24 people signed the register. Only 17 were required to sign in order to call for a referendum.

The register was called for, under provincial law governing rezoning, after 33 out of 56 eligible residents signed a petition to demand the register last May.

“As the Councillor for the area (District 6) I believe it is important to keep our residents united and supportive of one another. I am confident that we are looking at a better solution to meet everyone’s needs,” Nashen added.

Mayor Brownstein, Councillor Nashen and city staff have met with the rabbi, Kollel leadership and with concerned residents after the register closed and assured everyone that we shall work together as a community to find the congregation a more suitable place for them in our City.

Mayor Brownstein said we are, “Moving quickly to find solutions and all parties are pleased with our proactive approach. We are a beautiful, proud community that shall always find solutions to accommodate each other through consensus building.”

Message to my constituents – Summer 2017 | Message à mes électeurs – été 2017

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Glenn J. Nashen
District 6
C’est toujours un honneur pour moi de servir les résidants du district 6 et toute la population de Côte Saint-Luc. La raison d’être de ma vie politique est de faire de CSL la plus sécuritaire des communautés et de faire en sorte que nos résidants soient heureux d’y vivre.
Nous accueillons les nombreux nouveaux résidants du district 6 dans les superbes maisons en rangée de Parkhaven Courtyard. Le maire Mitchell Brownstein et moi serons ravis de vous souhaiter la bienvenue à votre porte ce printemps. La dernière phase du projet sera bientôt déployée avec la construction de la tour d’appartements de prestige. Nous sommes heureux de pouvoir accueillir de jeunes familles dans des habitations modernes, souvent à proximité de leurs parents et de leur famille, au cœur de CSL – un véritable quartier familial !
Il y a onze ans, j’ai entrepris de mettre sur pied un nouveau groupe de bénévoles avec pour mission de patrouiller dans les rues, les parcs et les installations de la ville afin de renforcer le niveau de sécurité. Je tenais aussi à ce qu’ils soient disponible pour aider en cas d’urgences de grande envergure et pour donner un coup de main à nos résidants au besoin. Depuis ce temps, je dirige la Patrouille de citoyens bénévoles (vCOP), et à l’occasion je fais aussi une patrouille moi-même. Nous comptons maintenant plus de 80 bénévoles et notre patrouille dans les rues de la ville est sans précédent au Québec. Nous aidons lors des événements communautaires, nous vérifions les détecteurs de fumée dans les résidences, nous surveillons votre maison quand vous êtes en vacances, nous livrons des paniers de nourriture aux gens dans le besoin, et nous visiterons bientôt les personnes confinées à la maison. Merci à tous ces citoyens formidables qui s’engagent à faire leur part, ici à CSL, pour que notre communauté soit la plus sécuritaire de l’île. Pourquoi ne pas vous joindre à nous ? Vous trouverez plus d’information à CoteSaintLuc.org/fr/CSLvCOP.
Cette année, je me suis donné comme objectif de mettre sur pied la Société historique de CSL pour que nous puissions conserver les récits et les images qui relatent notre évolution, d’un village rural du 19e siècle à la communauté de banlieue moderne et florissante d’aujourd’hui. Un petit groupe de bénévoles travaillent déjà sur nos premiers projets et je vous invite à y participer. Vous avez peut-être une vieille boîte de photos de la vie à CSL dans les années 50 et 60, ou possiblement un témoignage à partager sur les temps anciens dans nos quartiers. Veuillez contacter la directrice de la bibliothèque, Janine West, à jwest@cotesaintluc.org ou au 514-485-6900.
Je suis fier de répondre à vos questions et à vos demandes et je fais de mon mieux, toujours avec enthousiasme, pour vous aider à trouver des réponses et des solutions aussi rapidement que possible. Depuis mon court mandat en tant que maire par intérim il y a un an et demi, j’ai entrepris de faire du porte-à-porte pour vous rencontrer en grand nombre. Je poursuis ma tournée, une rue après l’autre, mais je suis toujours disponible en ligne. Je vous invite à vous abonner à mon blogue, Nashen Notes, qui est une bonne ressource pour toute l’information locale à GlennJ.Nashen.com. Vous pouvez me suivre aussi sur Facebook et Twitter ou me joindre au téléphone à l’hôtel de ville ou par courriel à gjnashen@cotesaintluc.org.
Le bonheur est d’avoir des voisins formidables !

N

Glenn J. Nashen
District 6
It continues to be my honour to serve the residents of District 6 and indeed all of Côte Saint-Luc. My goals of making CSL the safest community and our residents as happy as can be remains at the centre of my political life.
We welcome the many new residents of District 6 in the beautiful Parkhaven Courtyard townhouses. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and I look forward to meeting you at your door this spring. Soon, the last phase of construction will focus of the upscale apartment tower. We are pleased to have modern housing to keep young families in the heart of CSL, many close to their parents and siblings — a real family development!
Eleven years ago I set out to create a new volunteer corps to patrol the city streets, parks and facilities in order to raise our level of safety. Furthermore, I designed it to be available to assist in large scale emergencies and to serve our residents in times of need. I have lead the volunteer Citizens on Patrol (vCOP) ever since (and occasionally I even do a patrol myself). We now number more than 80 volunteers and patrol CSL like no other group in Quebec. We help out at community events, verify smoke detectors in your homes, watch over your home while you’re vacationing, deliver food baskets to the needy and will soon make visits to shut-ins. My thanks to this amazing group of CSLers for doing their part to make us the safest community on the island. Please consider joining us. More information is at CoteSaintLuc.org/vCOP.
This year I set my goal on establishing the CSL Historical Society so that we can collect the stories and images that make up our journey from a farming village in the 19th century to the thriving suburban community of today. We have a small group of volunteers working on our first projects and I invite you to participate. You may have an old box of photos of life in CSL back in the 50s and 60s, or perhaps you can share a testimonial about earlier times in our neighbourhoods. Please contact Janine West, Library Director at jwest@cotesaintluc.org or 514-485-6900.
I pride myself in responding to you, my constituents, and in helping you to seek answers and solutions as quickly as possible. I’ve been making my way door-to-door trying to visit as many of you as possible since my brief term as Acting Mayor one-and-a-half years ago. While I continue block by block, I remain accessible online. Please subscribe to my blog, Nashen Notes, which is a great resource for local information at GlennJ.Nashen.com. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter or reach me by phone at City Hall or e-mail at gjnashen@cotesaintluc.org.
Happiness is having great neighbours!

New site now in the plans for new synagogue

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A register for a rezoning bylaw to enable a new synagogue to be created on Mackle Road by the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim was held on Thursday, June 15 at City Hall. 23 people signed the register. Only 17 were required to sign in order to call for a referendum.

The register was called for, under provincial law governing rezoning, after 33 out of 56 eligible residents signed a petition to demand the register a month earlier.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said if enough people sign the register, there will be no need for a referendum and, as a result, another location will have to be found for the synagogue.

The city wishes to help its residents and support its institutions. Given the results we will help the congregation to find a new location.

As the Councillor for the area (District 6) I believe it is important to keep our residents united and supportive of one another. I am confident that a better solution can be found to meet everyone’s needs.

Mayor Brownstein said he met with the residents and Rabbi Benoliol after the register closed and assured everyone that we shall work together as a community to find the congregation a more suitable place for them in our City.  The mayor said we are moving quickly to find solutions and all parties are pleased with our proactive approach and that he expects to be able to announce an excellent alternative shortly.  We are a beautiful, proud community that shall always find solutions to accommodate each other through consensus building, he said.

The happiest street in CSL District 6, so far

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This spring I’ve had the opportunity to visit many constituents at their doors. It’s always a pleasure to ring doorbells and chat in the warm spring sun with a light breeze. Especially so when it’s outside of an election period. Quebec’s November elections are poorly timed as the weather is often inclement and the sun sets early. No wonder other jurisdictions set their municipal elections during spring.

Great to meet up with Gady Avissar at his front door on Jellicoe Ave. Friendly as can be and a real happy fellow. Door to door is a family outing together with Judy and Jeremy.

Tonight I had the chance to talk with many residents on Jellicoe Ave. I love this neighbourhood as I grew up around the corner and spent half my life playing street hockey and hide-and-go-seek with my friends on the surrounding streets. We loved playing on the small connector between Jellicoe and Cork that we affectionately referred to as JelliCork.

I was joined by my wife, Dr. Judy Hagshi and my son Jeremy. This evening’s visit was also remarkable as not one resident had a complaint! People were genuinely happy. Happy with their street, with their neighbours, with city services, and yes, even with their City Councillor. Several people thanked me for knocking on their door and leaving my calling card. One really nice family gave my son a popsicle. How nice to be so happy.

Liane Fransblow and her son Myles happy to say hi on Jellicoe Ave.

I hope you’re happy in Cote Saint-Luc too. What makes you happiest about living here? Please comment.

And I hope to meet many more of you as I make my way from house to house in CSL. Meanwhile, please like me on Facebook or subscribe to my blog at GlennJ.Nashen.com.

PROPOSED NEW SHUL DIVIDES LARGELY JEWISH MONTREAL SUBURB

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This architect’s drawing of the proposed synagogue of the Sephardic Kollel Avrechim Foundation has been submitted to the City of Côte St. Luc.

Côte-St-Luc, Que. will open a register on June 15, which will allow eligible residents to have their say on whether to force a referendum on the proposed construction of a new synagogue in their neighbourhood.

The register will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 5801 Cavendish Blvd., second floor, to residents of the two small municipal zones affected and the adjoining area.

A referendum would be the final word on the project. But Mayor Mitchell Brownstein made it clear that if the minimum of 17 people sign, which seems likely given the opposition expressed to the project, the city will not proceed to a referendum, as required by provincial law.

Instead, Brownstein said city council will withdraw its approval of the rezoning that would allow the Sephardic Kollel Avrechim Foundation to build on its lot on Mackle Road, next to the Quartier Cavendish shopping centre.

On May 29, Côte-St-Luc council voted 4-2 to approve the final version of a bylaw amending the zoning of the land from residential to institutional.

By the May 25 deadline, 33 of 56 eligible residents had signed a request that a register be opened, a necessary legal step in the process.

The mayor stressed that if approval is withdrawn, the city will help Kollel Avrechim find another location, to which its leadership has indicated it is open. Brownstein said several alternative sites are being considered.

“The congregation is important and deserves a home,” he said, “and we will continue to work with (it).”

Moreover, Brownstein said a referendum would cost the city at least $30,000 “for no reason.… There’s no chance of winning.”

The issue has been delicate because the Montreal suburb does not want to be seen as banning a synagogue, or any religious institution. The project’s opponents submitted a petition with about 70 signatures to city council.

The city’s population is at least 60 per cent Jewish and all nine council members are Jewish.

The final rezoning bylaw was moved by councillor Sidney Benizri and seconded by Allan Levine. The first draft of the bylaw was adopted in March and a second version earlier in May by a 5-2 vote.

Councillor Ruth Kovac, one of the two dissenters, said she voted against the rezoning bylaw “not because I am against any religious institution. This is strictly a zoning issue.”

She thinks the lot is too small, especially if the congregation expects that it will continue to grow. Kovac, who earlier noted that she is sensitive to this issue as the child of Holocaust survivors, offered to personally help the congregation find a “better location.”

She suggested they might be able to find a location that’s closer to where most of its members live.

Architectural plans submitted by the foundation are for a three-storey building. In addition to Quartier Cavendish, the site, bearing the civic address of 6790-6792 Mackle Rd., is close to the Beth Israel Beth Aaron synagogue.

Kollel Avrechim, led by Rabbi Yehuda Benoliel, has been operating out of a duplex on Parkhaven Avenue for almost 20 years.

Kovac said she regretted that this matter is being “dragged” out and that it is “unfair” to residents to have them for a third time affirm their disapproval (she counted the petition and the request for a register as the first two instances).

Councillor Glenn Nashen, who represents the district where the zones are located, said he would have voted for the rezoning bylaw, but was unable to attend the meeting.

He blogged that, like Kovac, he believes this issue is purely over zoning and has “nothing to do with religion or support for a synagogue.

“We are a city of many religions, languages and residents of all backgrounds, even if the majority are of the Jewish faith. Some are very religious, others somewhat and yet others traditional or secular. We all live in peace and harmony in respect of one another, which makes Côte St. Luc an incredible place to live and to raise a family. Let’s be sure to keep it this way.”

Opponents of the project have raised concerns about increased traffic, noise and parking problems. They fear a second synagogue next door would lower their property values and mean higher taxes, because religious institutions are exempt from taxation.

Quartier Cavendish has also voiced strong opposition, because it thinks that people using the synagogue, especially during special events, would park on its property.

Rabbi Benoliel has said that the congregation would be respectful of those living nearby, and that their needs were taken into account during the planning of the project. At the urging of Brownstein, the leaders met with neighbours to try to allay their worries.

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