Montreal wins Meadowbrook Golf Course battle in Supreme Court

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Meadowbrook is nothing short of an oasis that must remain green in perpetuity (GJN 2015)

This is absolutely tremendous news for Cote Saint-Luc and its neighbours and for all Montrealers. For those of us who have called for Meadowbrook to be preserved as greenspace and recreational use over the last 30 years our efforts will be of benefit for generations to come.

Glenn J. Nashen

René Bruemmer  •  Montreal Gazette • May 21, 2020

The long saga of Meadowbrook Golf Course that pitted developers vs. the city of Montreal in a $44-million lawsuit has made it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and the city has won.

The Supreme Court announced Thursday it has rejected Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific Inc.’s request to appeal a judgement of the Court of Appeal of Quebec that found in favour of the city.

As with all Supreme Court rejections for a leave to appeal, no reason was given.

Last November, Quebec’s Court of Appeal upheld a 2017 judgment by a Superior Court judge that had rejected a $44-million lawsuit against the city by Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific.

In the lawsuit, the developer argued it was owed $15 million in lost profits and $28.5 million in land value in what the developer considered a disguised expropriation by the city.

Groupe Pacific bought the land in 2006 for $3 million and was in talks with the city to build what it called an environmentally friendly, 1,600-unit residential complex dubbed Petite Rivière.

But the city argued its share of infrastructure costs for things like water and sewage pipes and a railway overpass would cost between $60 million and $150 million, and told the developer in 2010 it would not support development there.

Groupe Pacific charged that the city used high infrastructure costs as an excuse to block construction of its project in order to preserve the golf course as a green space following citizen protests.

Quebec Superior Court Judge Pepita G. Capriolo disagreed.

“The large number of difficulties that the developer faced before being able to start the project (negotiations with municipalities next to the site, with the city of Montreal, with Canadian Pacific and the suburban train authority AMT, the Ministry of the Environment, etc.) does not support the conclusion that only the actions of the city kept the developer from realizing the profits it had calculated,” she wrote.

In her judgment, Capriolo ruled Groupe Pacific had failed to prove the city had acted in bad faith, and noted that the city had not appropriated the land, which an evaluator has valued at $6.5 million. Under the city’s new land development management plan, Groupe Pacific is still free to operate it as a golf course or for other recreational purposes, she wrote.

Conservationists worked for more than 25 years to persuade the city to conserve the golf course lands.

rbruemmer@postmedia.com

For more articles and opinion on Meadowbrook search this blog

Meadowbrook developer loses appeal of lawsuit against Montreal | Montreal Gazette

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via Meadowbrook developer loses appeal of lawsuit against Montreal | Montreal Gazette

This is indeed good news in this decades long matter. The courts have recognized the actions of the City of Montreal in not allowing construction on the Lachine side to be reasonable and justifiable.

How much longer until we see Meadowbrook as a regional public park for all to enjoy?

Too much snow? Melt it away!

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With technology advancing faster than ever I’ve often wondered why snow clearing operations haven’t changed very much since I was a kid. I recall watching in utter amazement back in the ’60s as a parade of snowplows, dump trucks, sidewalk plows and snowblowers worked their way down Cork Avenue.  Sure they landed a man on the moon… Heck, I’m even named after the first man to orbit the moon! But this was happening right on my street. Snow clearing was really out of this world.

I never spent a moment thinking about the cost of acquisition and maintenance the rolling equipment, the manpower cost, the pollution spewing from the roaring engines or the danger to pedestrians as these trucks barreled down Guelph and Kildare headed to the snow dump. I didn’t know that there was more equipment to push the dumped snow up a mountain to await the great thaw. The noise caused by this whole procession didn’t bother me back then.

Fast forward a few decades and as a City Councillor I was responsible for millions of dollars in expenditures for everything I’ve described above. How much do we pay in our municipal tax bill just to cart away and pile up the snow? Millions upon millions. And now residents have pressured City Hall to hire even more equipment and labour to break down those mountains of dirty snow every spring to speed up the melting. An absolute waste of tax dollars, a danger to pedestrians, and environmental hypocrisy to those who proclaim to be a friend of the earth. There’s got to be a better way.

Click to enlarge

I discuss issues of technology with my friend Mitchell Herf and we thought a lot about it. What if we could melt the snow as soon as we pick it up and avoid the parade of additional expensive vehicles, reduce our manpower costs, eliminate the mountains of dumped snow and reduce the danger to pedestrians and the environment? Too good to be true? Actually, some towns are doing it already.

SRS-M150 snow melter by SRS Snow Removal Systems

 

It’s time for our progressive, innovative, smart city, Cote Saint-Luc, to test out one of these 21st Century solutions. Plow it, blow it, melt it and flush it down the sewers with just one truck and one operator. I know that Councillor Ruth Kovac wants to melt the snow on heated sidewalks so this should grab her attention and that Cllr. Dida Berku is all about environmental concerns and Cllr. Steven Erdelyi would like find ways to reduce expenses. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Public Works Director Bebe Newman are also reading this post and I hope they’ll all take up the challenge of researching new solutions for an age old problem and make our city safer, cleaner and cut down on costs.

 

The snow removal truck melts the snow and water is dumped into the sewers

 

Large snow melting dumpsters can be installed strategically during snow clearing

operations to cut down on unnecessary dump truck trips

 

 

40 electric buses coming to Montreal, Laval public transit networks | CBC News

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Way to go Montreal Transit Corp. Electric mobility is the way to go throughout Quebec.

 

Source: 40 electric buses coming to Montreal, Laval public transit networks | CBC News

Montreal’s plastic bag ban does not apply in Côte Saint-Luc

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Montreal’s plastic bag ban does not apply in Côte Saint-Luc

By: Mike Cohen

On August 23, 2016, the city of Montreal adopted By-law 16-051,  prohibiting the distribution of certain types of shopping bags in retail stores.

Reusable bags

The ban for merchants offering light plastic bags to consumers took effect on January 1, 2018. It applies to all establishments whose main activity is the sale of merchandise at the retail level. A grace period for compliance will be granted through June 5, 2018. Banned are: conventional plastic shopping bags (a thickness of less than 50 microns) and Oxo-degradable, oxo-fragmentable, biodegradable shopping bags, whatever their thickness.

Now let me advise you that this ban does not apply in Côte Saint-Luc. While I always have reusable bags in my trunk, be it for the grocery store or the pharmacy, I do not believe we should adopt a similar by-law.  Is it fair for someone who makes an unplanned trip to a store or for a senior or an individual using public transit who does not have any reusable bags handy? Yes, I suppose you can buy a new reusable bag at a number of stores. But should we force that on anybody?

I will be the first person to urge people to bring their own bag. I have more than a dozen in my trunk and the collection keeps growing. When I went on holiday to Tampa, I made sure to pack a few reusable bags and I used them for all of my grocery store visits.

Just understand your geography. In Montreal,  not covered by the by-law  are plastic bags used exclusively to transport foodstuffs to the cash counter of a retail store or to protect them, for hygiene purposes, from direct contact with other items (fruits, vegetables, nuts, bulk confectionery, prepared foods, meat, fish, bread, dairy products, etc.).

Côte Saint-Luc City Council will be addressing this with some kind of policy in the not too distant future.

Montreal appeals court order to bury Meadowbrook stream

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Part of the Little St. Pierre River wends through the Meadowbrook Golf Course, appeal, sewer, bury
Creek that runs through golf course is last remnant of a river that once flowed from the western slopes of Mount Royal to Old Montreal.Channelling the Meadowbrook creek into an underground storm sewer would result in lost opportunities to rehabilitate this sector, city says in its appeal.  PHOTO JO ANN GOLDWATER / LES AMIS DE MEADOWBROOK

Montreal is appealing a ruling ordering it to bury a contaminated creek on the Meadowbrook Golf Club that is the last remnant of the St-­Pierre River.

In an appeal presented in the Quebec Court of Appeal Wednesday, the city argues that Quebec Superior Court Judge Chantal Corriveau erred in her June 7 judgment obliging it to turn the creek into a sewer within 18 months. It notes that Quebec’s Environment Quality Act calls for integrated management of wetlands and bodies of water in keeping with the principles of sustainable development and requires authorities to prevent the loss of wetlands and bodies of water.

As part of a natural drainage basin, the brook “constitutes an important asset for which upgrading work is to be implemented,” the city argues, adding that plans to rehabilitate part of the St-Pierre River are being studied and a master plan on drainage basins on the island of Montreal is underway.

Restoring the creek could be a key feature of a plan for rainwater management in an area stretching from the Blue Bonnets site at Décarie Blvd. and Jean-Talon St. to the Lachine Canal, including a possible green corridor from the Meadowbrook Golf Course to the canal, the appeal says.

“On the other hand, channelling the Meadowbrook creek into an underground storm sewer would result in lost opportunities to rehabilitate this sector, create new, green infrastructures downstream and allow an outlet for excess water that would relieve pressure on underground infrastructures,” it says.

The winding, 200-­metre creek on the 57-­hectare golf course is “the last section of the former St-Pierre River that is still in existence,” the city notes.

The golf course straddles Côte St-Luc and Montreal, but the creek flows above ground only on the Montreal side, since Côte St-Luc diverted its section into the sewer system decades ago.

Developer Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific Inc., which owns the golf course, had sued Montreal, demanding that the creek be buried, describing it as nothing more than a ditch and an open-­air sewer.

However, judge Corriveau ruled the creek is indeed a river, based on a study by the Quebec environment department confirming it is part of the former St-Pierre. Originating on Mount Royal, it flowed through present-day Snowdon, Côte St-Luc, Ville St-Pierre and St-Henri — where it fed a lake on the site of the Turcot Yards — to Old Montreal. Explorer Samuel de Champlain described the river, then teeming with fish, when he explored Montreal in 1611.

The Meadowbrook creek is fed by a storm sewer in Côte St-Luc and disappears into a combined sewer in Montreal. Repeated studies have shown it is contaminated by fecal coliform bacteria originating in crossed sewer and storm-water pipes at as many as 218 addresses in Côte St-Luc and Montreal West.

In its appeal, the city argues the solution to the contamination is not turning the creek into a sewer but rather fixing the crossed connections.

Montreal had tried unsuccessfully to have the other two municipalities named as co-defendants in the lawsuit, since the contamination originates on their territory.

It also argues that the timetable set by Corriveau is not feasible. The judge ordered the city to apply to the provincial environment department for a permit to bury the river within four months, to clean up the contamination within 18 months and to decontaminate the former riverbed and banks within 24 months. That simply isn’t enough time to get the jobs done, the city says.

Based on previous experience of correcting crossed sewer pipes in Kirkland, it would take at least two to five years to fix the crossed pipes in Côte St-Luc and Montreal West, not counting the time needed for further investigation, the city says.

It asked the appeal court for permission to present new evidence on a viable solution, on a realistic timetable, and on which contaminants are polluting the creek.

Even though Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific won the case, it is also appealing the ruling. In an appeal filed July 5, the developer asks the court to order the city to eliminate the creek whether or not the environment department gives its permission, and whether or not it is contaminated.

The appeal seeks to “modify the earlier judgment so that the order clearly forces the city to achieve a result that puts an end to any flow of water on the surface of the property of the appellant and that this obligation not be subject to any condition.”

Since the creek is fed by a storm sewer, the city should be ordered to cut off the flow of water whatever the environment department decides, the appeal argues.

In September, Quebec Superior Court Judge rejected a $44-­million lawsuit by Groupe Pacific against Montreal claiming that the city had engaged in a “disguised expropriation” to block a proposed 1,600-unit housing project on the Meadowbrook site.

Groupe Pacific was demanding $28.5 million for the value of the land, and another $15 million for lost potential profits. Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific, a subsidiary of Groupe Pacific, bought the land in 2006 for $3 million.

In 2015, the city of Montreal designated its portion of the Meadowbrook site as “large green space or recreational,” marking a victory for conservationists who had battled for a quarter­-century to preserve the site from development.

Côte­ St-­Luc zoned its portion of the site as recreational in 2000.

mscott@postmedia.com

The shift to electric cars: Are we there yet?

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This is an excellent piece by Rene Bruemmer in today’s Montreal Gazette. Most people don’t realize the vast benefits of going all, or partially, electric. The Quebec government grant is significant and we have the lowest hydro electric costs in North America.

It’s been two years since I switched to an EV. My Chevrolet Volt, with an average 85 KM per charge covers all of my city driving needs and most of my highway journeys to the Laurentians. Beyond that, if I was to drive to Toronto, New York or Boston, I have no range anxiety as my gas engine charges my battery extending my range well over 500 KMs.

I plug in to a regular outlet in my garage every few nights to top up my battery for literally pennies a night as I rarely need a full charge. Our Volt, which we affectionately nicknamed “Evie”, quickly moved from second vehicle status to the primary position. We doubled our expected annual mileage thereby speeding up our return on investment for the up front added cost.

We feel good about doing our part for the environment, love the quiet roll of the car, the instant power of the electric motor, the ease of charging and paying for cheap, home-grown, clean energy and especially rolling silently past the gas stations with their $1.40 per litre signs.

Are you there yet?

 

Source: The shift to electric cars: Are we there yet?

My brand new 2017 Chevy Volt Electric Vehicle

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