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 !

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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.

CSL council votes 4-2 to enable synagogue register

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Côte St. Luc council voted 4-2 Monday night for a rezoning bylaw to enable a new synagogue to be created on Mackle Road, even though it is being generally acknowledged the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim will very likely not be built in that location.

A register on the synagogue, in which residents can sign to express their desire for a referendum, will take place 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 15. More information on the particulars will be sent out by Côte St. Luc.

Councillors Allan Levine, Sidney Benizri, Sam Goldbloom and Mike Cohen voted in favour, while Ruth Kovac and Steven Erdelyi voted against. Councillor Glenn Nashen was absent, but passed on the message he would have voted in favour. Dida Berku, who has abstained from these votes, was also absent.

The vote came after enough signatories — 33 out of 56 eligible residents — signed a petition to spark a register, on which only 17 signatures would be needed to prompt a referendum. 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.

Brownstein said it is the city’s mandate to help all residents, and support religious communities. He added that even those who oppose that location for the synagogue want to help its congregants find a new location.

“I assure you now that we’re continuing to look into [potential] locations,” the Mayor said.

Kovac objected to council passing the bylaw to enable the register. The councillor emphasized that she is not against the synagogue, just the proposed location, as are the 33 residents who signed for a register.

“For me to drag this out to June 15 and ask these same residents to come a second time to say the same thing is a little bit unfair,” she added. “We already know we’re not going to a referendum.”

7 mature maple trees planted along Kellert Ave

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Seven mature maple trees sprung up like magic along Kellert Ave in District 6 thanks to the creativity of Public Works Director Bebe Newman.

“We are in the midst of saving many mature trees from our City Hall parking lot renovations by transplanting these trees throughout the city,” said Newman. “We started on Kellert. Drive by to see the difference. You will be quite pleased.”

28 have already been transplanted throughout the City. “Our intention is to install a small plaque identifying these trees as those transplanted from our City Hall parking lot,” Newman said.
Transplanted trees are now in these locations:
  • 4 trees on Freud
  • 6 maples on Kellert
  • 3 pines on Kellert
  • 2 pines in Ruth Kovac Park – Shalom side
  • 5 maples on Cavendish – some replacing those that were felled in front of the townhouses, the residents were very pleased
In addition, we have also enlarged our tree canopy this week by planting 51 trees in front of residents’ homes.
Councillor Ruth Kovac said, “Thank you to Bebe and the entire horticulture team! You are making a difference. The new residents will be delighted to have these.”
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein was extra pleased that the doomed trees in the soon-to-be-renovated parking lot were saved and instantly changed the landscape on several CSL streets. “We can be proud that our staff go the extra mile in creating and beautifying our community that brings us so much joy and happiness,” Mayor Brownstein said.

Thank you to Director Newman and to her dynamic team of the tree-loving Public Works Department. You have gone above and beyond and our residents are grateful for your dynamism and creativity and for prioritizing the environment be it for tree planting, flowers, park maintenance, our urban forest or for beginning our electric fleet and public charging stations.

See the video of the planting here.

CSL council votes 5-2 to allow rezoning process for synagogue

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CSL council votes 5-2 to allow rezoning process for synagogue

Côte St. Luc council voted 5-2 last week at a standing-room only meeting to pass a second reading of a rezoning bylaw that would enable the creation of a new synagogue on Mackle Road near Quartier Cavendish.

Councillors Glenn Nashen, Allan Levine, Mike Cohen, Sidney Benizri and Sam Goldbloom voted in favour, Ruth Kovac and Steven Erdelyi voted against, and Dida Berku abstained due to her involvement as a lawyer in a legal case unrelated to the rezoning but linked to a court case involving Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Yehouda Benoliel.

At a recent meeting, residents raised concerns about the potential for increased foot and car traffic, noise, late night activity, lowered property values, illegal parking and lost taxes for the city from a religious institution resulting in increased taxes for homeowners, and also brought up the phenomenon of “makeshift” synagogues on residential streets.

Those council members who voted in favour said residents will have their say by choosing whether to call for a register, which could then prompt a referendum. At last week’s meeting, one Mackle Road resident presented a petition, and told council that more than enough people signed to, as part of the bylaw process, potentilly force a referendum.

Councillor Allan Levine gave an impassioned speech in favour of the rezoning. The councillor said while he is grateful that, in Côte St. Luc, no one would vote against him because he is Jewish, others who are Jewish don’t have the same level of comfort — such as students wearing kippahs at Concordia University, and Jews living in France.

Kovac stressed that she was not opposed to the synagogue, but to the proposed location.

“I will not speak about religion or being Jewish — as a child of Holocaust survivors, I couldn’t be more sensitive,” she said.

Kovac explained that several years ago, the council went through an extensive and rigorous exercise of redefining the Cavendish Mall land, much of which is now residential.

“After public consultations, no one opposed the rezoning [to mostly residential from commercial] or the plans submitted,” she explained. “There were no surprises. Today, we are asked to spot zone one lot to accommodate a request for a religious institution.

“The Cavendish Mall… today has voiced their very strong opposition, knowing events taking place at the synagogue would spill onto their property and that parking would become an issue for their customers.

“My vote opposed to the motion is not opposed to the Kollel. I am pro the status quo, not anti-anything else. We should work together to find the appropriate alternate location, and we will work to help you find one, or to find a way to improve your current location.

“What some of the residents have already raised is that this organization has more than one tax-exempt property, they don’t have one, they don’t have two, they don’t have three, they have four or five. Is that really fair to the taxpayer, who this year had significant increases, and for the rest of the community to bear?” We contacted Rabbi Benoliel on this issue, and are waiting for a response.

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In my opinion:

As I said at this public council meeting, this matter 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 Cote Saint-Luc an incredible place to live and to raise a family. Let’s be sure to keep it this way.

This issue is strictly about the zoning that would be appropriate in this location. The requester, Rabbi Benoliel and the Kollel Avrechim have purchased this property and they have the legal right to request rezoning.

At the same time the residents in the immediate and adjoining area have the legal right, and the final say, on whether or not to permit the rezoning.

The mayor and majority of councillors have agreed to follow provincial law which calls for a three step process whereby residents have their say. This is the only way of having an definitive, official and legal count of those residents who are in favour or against the proposed project. 

The first step is underway and those who live in the affected and adjoining zone who oppose have until May 25 at 4:30PM to advise the city. Details available in this week’s Suburban Newspaper or at www.cotesaintluc.org/publicnotices.

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