vCOP to assist Montreal Fire Department in smoke detector blitz

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Members of Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol will have the chance to work side by side with the Montreal Fire Department this weekend in a blitz to get all residents to change their smoke detector batteries coinciding with the change to Daylight Savings Time.

vCOP will go door to door speaking to as many residents as possible to remind every one of the importance of keeping their detectors functional year round.

vCOP has assisted CSL Public Security and Montreal Police during its 6 1/2 years of service but this is the first time that it will have the opportunity to directly assist the Fire Department.

While our EMS volunteers used to work closely with our CSL Fire Department that all ended 10 years ago with the forced mergers and the transfer of fire services from CSL to Montreal.

I’m very proud that the services offered by vCOP continues to expand helping to make Cote Saint-Luc the safest community in the region.

When I launched the concept in 2006 I had a goal to recruit 100 volunteers and acquire several vehicles and bicycles to allow these patrollers to circulate at anytime of day or night.  I am so pleased that we have been able to expand our offering in the areas of emergency preparedness, searching for missing persons, distribution of water during service interruption, protecting residents from downed power lines, cables, trees and branches and now with fire safety and prevention.

Hats off to our nearly 100 volunteers and to our team leaders and supervisors.  Their efforts are making a difference in the lives of Cote Saint-Lucers on a daily basis.

If you’ve had any experiences with vCOP and would like to thank them too please click on ‘Leave a Comment’.

Suburbanites felt close to their local police departments

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The Suburban Newspaper, Aug. 15, 2012 – Click to enlarge

 

Cavendish Blvd. extension on ice, disappears from city budget | CTV Montreal

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Cavendish Blvd. extension on ice, disappears from city budget | CTV Montreal.

CTV Montreal
Published Sunday, Sep. 16, 2012 7:37PM EDT 

MONTREAL—It’s been talked about for years: the extension of Cavendish Blvd. But just when it seemed like ground was going to be broken, another road block hit when the city announced plans to pull the project from its latest budget.

When the city’s 2012-2013 budget will be presented this week, the $44 million project to extend Cavendish Blvd. north towards St-Laurent will be absent.

“Suddenly the City of Montreal is saying they want it removed. All of the other cities on the island, the demerged cities don’t, want it removed. We think it’s very important for all Montrealers and all people that live on the island,” said Cote-St-Luc mayor Anthony Housefather.

The two phased extension was supposed to connect the road between Cote-St-Luc and St-Laurent and ease traffic along the congested Decarie highway. The project seemed like it would finally happen in March as it was made a condition of the Blue Bonnet race track deal struck between the City of Montreal and the province.

But the extension was dependent on the re-election of the Liberals and since that didn’t happen, the city can’t guarantee it will get the funding.

“It was clearly indicated in the capital budget that the realization of the Cavendish project, like the Tramway, is dependent on government grants,” said Michael Applebaum, the mayor’s main lieutenant, in a statement.

“We have removed these projects from the budget to avoid inflating the budget unnecessarily.”

Talked about for decades, millions of dollars have been poured into feasibility studies to somehow connect the one kilometre gap between both stretches of Cavendish Blvd.—now divided by one of the island’s main east-west railroad trunks.

Housefather says he refuses to allow the project to go on the backburner again.

“I am confident that the logic is there for this to happen and that anybody who tries to put their blocks on it is going to get pushed out of the way because the vast majority of the people on this island want this project to happen,” said Housefather.

It will be up to the new Parti Quebecois government to decide if the road can go anywhere. The PQ’s MNAs will be sworn in on Monday.

 

Read more: http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/cavendish-blvd-extension-on-ice-disappears-from-city-budget-1.958562#ixzz26rX2iV1m

 

City of Montreal ‘pulls plug’ on Cavendish extension

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MONTREAL — The long-awaited Cavendish extension, which was part of a deal between the city of Montreal and the province, has suddenly disappeared from the three-year capital budget with no explanation, charges a Côte St. Luc city councillor.

Dida Berku calls the withdrawal of the $44-million project “a flagrant violation of a resolution unanimously adopted” by Montreal city council in March 2012.

And the move means the city is reneging on the deal it signed in March 2012 with the provincial government to develop the former Blue Bonnets race track land for the construction of between 5,000 and 8,000 homes, she said.

But Michael Applebaum, mayor of Côte des Neiges—Notre Dame de Grâce, said the deal was conditional on the money coming from the provincial government, and since there’s no indication that will happen, he had to take it out of the budget.

“I’m going to work very hard to get the money from the (provincial) government and when they do that, we’ll put it in the budget,” said Applebaum, chair of the city of Montreal’s executive committee.

The deal between the city and province called for the completion of phase one of the extension that would connect Cavendish Blvd. in St. Laurent to Royalmount Ave., and be built in five to 10 years at a cost of $44 million. It was included in the 2012-2014 three-year capital budget, but has mysteriously disappeared from the 2013-2015 budget released this week.

“I’m being realistic and not putting in the infrastructure budget if the money isn’t there,” Applebaum said. “(Those upset about this) should be asking the provincial government and the new minister of transport if this will be a priority for them.”

The proposed budget is to be presented to Montreal city council for adoption next week.

Anthony Housefather, mayor of Côte St. Luc, said the city would do everything to oppose the change.

“The proposal by the city of Montreal to remove these amounts … is a complete reversal of commitments made only months ago and is completely unacceptable to those living and working in the west end and West Island of Montreal,” he said in a statement.

The second phase of the extension, to link Royalmount Ave. to Cavendish Blvd. in Côte St. Luc, was to begin only after 2017.

Construction of the homes was only to start in 2017 and the city would use profits from the sale of the land to reinvest in the area as well as cover costs for studies to build the extension.

The 102-year-old Blue Bonnets racetrack shut down in 2009.

The Cavendish link was meant to ease traffic along the congested Décarie highway by connecting the northern and southern portions of the disjointed artery between St. Laurent and Côte St. Luc.

“It’s been one step forward and two steps backwards since the demerger,” Berku said. “What’s going on here?

“They just pulled the plug on it.”

Montreal council approved the $140-million extension in 2004, opened a project office and assigned it a $5-million budget to draw up plans.

But Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s $8.1-billion, 20-year transportation plan, made public in May 2007, put the project on the back burner.

Berku said when they asked Applebaum why the project was no longer in the budget this year, he told them ‘it was complicated.’

“But there’s nothing complicated about it, they just removed it from the budget,” Berku said.

smontgomery@montrealgazette.com

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

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CSL calls on Quebec, Montreal to prioritize Cavendish link

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CSL calls on Quebec, Montreal to prioritize Cavendish link

Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

March 21, 2012

Côte St. Luc council unanimously passed a resolution last week calling on the Quebec government and the City of Montreal to prioritize a link between Cavendish Boulevard in Côte St. Luc and St. Laurent, via Royalmount in Town of Mount Royal.

Côte des Neiges-NDG council recently passed a resolution asking Quebec to make the link a priority. Town of Mount Royal also passed a resolution. The link has been discussed for more than 40 years. During the merger years, a project bureau was set up specifically for the link, but while it came up with a design for the route, the project has remained on the shelf.

Councillor Dida Berku introduced Côte St. Luc’s resolution, which said that city reaffirms its support for the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish link and that it considers the project “a key element to improving traffic flow in the central portion of the island of Montreal. “The project should be included and designated as a priority in the next agreement between the Quebec Ministry of Transport and the City of Montreal,” the resolution adds.

Copies of Côte St. Luc’s resolution are being sent to Quebec Transport Minister Pierre Moreau, D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, Montreal’s executive committee, and all mayors and councils in the islandwide Montreal agglomeration. A copy will also be deposited at the next Montreal agglomeration meeting. The resolution was seconded by Councillor Glenn Nashen.

Berku said the concept and the plan for the link exist, and even went to the Quebec environment ministry. “And then the plug was pulled by the city of Montreal at the time of demerger,” she added. “We want to put it back on track, and now that the city of Montreal is negotiating an agreement with the Quebec transport ministry, we want them to put it back as a priority, and we’re very happy Côte des Neiges-NDG has adopted the same resolution. TMR has done the same. We hope our MNA and the transport minister will listen to our mayor and proceed to add this to their entente.”

Earlier at Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Anthony Housefather told council regular Bernard Tonchin that at a recent agglomeration meeting, he was told Montreal considered other projects higher priorities. “I stated this was unacceptable to Côte St. Luc, that there was money in the agglomeration budget for the extension of Cavendish that we pushed to have in when the transport plan was adopted at the last round, and the only impediment was that they didn’t know what the railways were going to do,” Housefather explained, adding that he was also told the railways are staying. “That fulfilled the criteria for Cavendish going ahead, because that’s what was stated in the transport plan.”

The mayor also said he asked for, and got, support from the Association of Suburban Mayors for the link, and that he and TMR’s mayor have written to Moreau, “asking for a meeting to once again discuss Cavendish and ask Quebec to make it a priority in the entente being worked out between the Quebec government and City of Montreal on funding for transport projects. We have continued to lobby our MNAs, and our MNAs advised me they continue to lobby the minister.”

***

CSL asks province, agglo, Montreal to support Cavendish extension

Isaac Olson, The Free Press

March 27, 2012

Right on the heels of a neighbouring Montreal borough’s pro-Cavendish-extension motion, Côte St. Luc also voted to demand Quebec’s support in what would, proponents say, finally give the West End a reliable alternative to the seemingly permanent congestion found on Decarie Blvd. and the expressway.

“Be it resolved that the city of Côte St. Luc reaffirms its support in favour of the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project,” said councillor Dida Berku reading from the motion’s conclusion. The city, she continued, considers “the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project a key element to improving traffic flow for public, private and active transit for the central portion of the island of Montreal.” Berku said a copy of the motion will be sent to provincial officials, all mayors/ councils within the agglomeration and deposited at the next agglomeration meeting.

The resolution states Montreal, by unanimous resolution of the city council, established a project bureau with a budget of $5 million with “a precise mandate to manage the Cavendish extension project, including the adoption of the final route proposal by 2006 and the design and completion of the work between 2007 and 2012.” However, Berku noted, “We are now in 2012 and what we know is, the only thing that has happened is the [project bureau] did do its work and they did conceive of a very good design.”

The concept and plan is there, she said, but things fell apart with the demerger and “we want to put it back on track.”

CSL’s measure goes beyond CDN-NDG’s by also demanding Montreal’s support. It’s Montreal that now needs to get behind the fight, said Mayor Anthony Housefather, as CDN-NDG does not represent the entire city.

When asked to confirm where Montreal stands on the issue, city spokesperson Darren Becker said the extension has been listed on the urban transportation plan’s to-do list since 2008 and the plan outlines a need to connect CSL’s Cavendish Blvd. with St. Laurent’s Cavendish Blvd. and Royalmount.

There is $45 million set aside in the budget for the some $150 million project, he continued, but it is up to the Quebec government to back the rest. While a few projects involving Metro and East End road renovations are topping the priority list, the Cavendish extension is still very much part of the transport plan, according to Becker, but Quebec needs to finance the project.

This is not the first time CSL’s council has voiced strong support for the extension nor is it a new issue. The borough of St. Laurent first passed a similar measure back in 1981 and, more recently, TMR hopped into the fray with a motion of its own.

“Remember, we are having more homes built behind the Cavendish Mall,” Bernard Tonchin told the council at the start of the March 12 meeting. “There are only two exits to get in and out of Côte St. Luc, and Decarie is impassable with all the construction going on now.

We desperately need Cavendish.” Housefather said, since 1998, CSL has been at the forefront of efforts to realize the extension. Housefather reported that he has been in touch with Montreal officials, like CDN-NDG mayor and executive committee chair Michael Applebaum. Applebaum said Montreal’s priorities were elsewhere, said Housefather.

The association of suburban mayors is supporting the extension, he said, and a joint letter has been sent to the Quebec government asking for support. The mayor pledged to continue bringing the issue up during agglomeration council meetings as, he said, there is money in the agglomeration budget to realize the project.

***

Extract from: Quebec to cede Hippodrome land to Montreal for ‘city within a city’

Bachand commits to Cavendish link

Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

March 28, 2012

••• Bachand also said constituents of the Outremont (Côte des Neiges} and D’Arcy McGee ridings should also be pleased, as part of the announcement reiterates Quebec’s commitment to the Cavendish-Cavendish link. As part of the Quebec-Montreal agreement, part of the funds gathered from land sales could be reinvested towards the extension project between St. Laurent, Town of Mount Royal and Côte St. Luc.

“There are reserves of $45 million that the city has already put in, in capital investments, and that is protected,” the minister said. “The city will make studies, in terms of updates on the cost of the project and then we’ll take it from there in future years.”

Bachand told The Suburban that recent resolutions from Côte des Neiges-NDG, Côte St. Luc and TMR played an important role in the link resurfacing again. The resolutions asked Quebec to prioritize the link. “For us and our MNAs, Cavendish is very important,” Bachand told The Suburban.  “The resolution passed in Côte des Neiges-NDG is very, very important, because it shows that a consensus exists now. Now, it’s time to update the studies on the cost of the project, for engineering. As part of the agreement, the city undertakes to update the studies to see what the project should look like at the end of the day.”

Bergman, the D’Arcy McGee MNA, was pleased with the Hippodrome and Cavendish announcements. “The Hippodrome will be good for ecology and modernize the west end of the city, and attract to the west end some wonderful housing, properly planned, with parks, playgrounds, schools and commerces to serve families,” he said. “This will help our family policy. “We’re also in a step in the right direction for Cavendish- Cavendish,” Bergman added. “The studies will be updated, looked at and certainly be part of the mix of this development. With the increase of housing in the Namur triangle and now with the development of the Hippodrome section, certainly north-south arteries will have to be further developed and this brings Cavendish into the mix. I’m delighted.”

CSL Police station 9 managing overnight patrols again

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CSL Police station 9 managing overnight patrols again

By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

February 22, 2012

Montreal police Station 9, which serves Côte St. Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West, recently resumed managing overnight patrols after several years, it was announced at the Montreal West and Côte St. Luc council meetings.

“We have increased surveillance overnight by Station 9,” said Montreal West Councillor Julie Tasker-Brown, in charge of the security portfolio on council. “We used to have to share the services of [NDG’s ] Station 11, which had a big territory, and now we get Station 9 back at night. That’s good news.” The overnight service resumed in late January. Station 11 had been managing the overnight patrols for more than three years.

At the February Côte St. Luc council meeting, Councillor Glenn Nashen, who has the security portfolio on his council, made the same announcement, pointing out that the patrols “are now run out of Station 9 vehicles in our territory. “This means it’s likelier we have more manhours being covered, not into NDG, but right here in Côte St. Luc, so we appreciate Commander Sylvain Bissonnette listening to us and our neighbours, and advocating on our behalf to bring this back after a hiatus of a few years,” Nashen added.

Mayor Anthony Housefather pointed out that after advocacy by Côte St. Luc helped save Station 9 from elimination, one of the agreements involved in keeping the Cavendish Blvd. station open was to have the night shift run out of Station 11.

“I guess it’s the same with demerger – the argument was ‘you lose it, you lose it,’ and eventually you get it back,” the mayor added.

Henry Aubin: Demerger has served suburbs well

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Henry Aubin: Demerger has served suburbs well

 

Support is growing for the re-consolidation of Montreal: Here’s why doing so makes no sense whatsoever

 

By HENRY AUBIN, The Gazette February 14, 2012

 

 

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Henry+Aubin+Demerger+served+suburbs+well/6148032/story.html#ixzz1mPbnkkVh

 

Jean-Paul L’Allier is one of most esteemed figures in urban affairs in Quebec. The stunningly ambitious and beautiful transformation of Quebec City’s old quarter took place largely during his lengthy stint as mayor (1989-2005). He’s Mr. anti-immobilisme.

 

So it’s interesting to know what he thinks of municipal government in Montreal.

 

In a speech Sunday at a meeting of Projet Montréal, he said the megacity’s 2006 demerger has “weakened Montreal.” L’Allier, who oversaw the relatively successful merger of Quebec City, says Montreal’s demerger of 15 towns and the simultaneous decentralization of power to the city’s remaining 19 boroughs prevent Montreal Island from bringing all its players (“forces vives”) together. “Some day,” he said, “this must be corrected.”

 

L’Allier thus lends more respectability to the wacky notion of a forced re-merger. Vision Montréal’s Louise Harel, who designed the original merger when she was municipal affairs minister, adores the idea. A popular La Presse columnist is touting it. I’m also starting to hear ordinary Montrealers scapegoating the demerger for the city’s problems and favouring re-merger.

 

This reminds me of how the whole merger concept began more than a decade ago. A few politicians spoke up for it; most people paid little attention because the idea seemed preposterous. Then the francophone media embraced the bigger-is-better premise, the politicians got bolder and before you knew it, whamo, it was done.

 

There was no public debate then. Promoters spewed nonsense (“economies of scale,” “lower taxes”) and refused to respond to fact-based counter-arguments (that have since proven accurate). They dealt with critics by ignoring them.

 

And that’s what’s happening all over again as the remergerites try to build public support. They deal with contrary arguments by pretending they don’t exist.

 

I invite these promoters not to hide from such critiques but to address them. Here are some:

 

–The demerger itself is not a problem. The megacity still claims 87 per cent of the island’s people, and the megacity can impose its will on the remaining 13 per cent when it comes to all intra-municipal matters (police, transit, arteries, fiscal help to poor areas, etc.). Note that not even Jean Drapeau, the most powerful Montreal mayor of our time, had such clout over the entire island.

 

–Granted, because of the decentralization of power to the boroughs, a mayor of Montreal has less power than his predecessors over the city proper. Borough power has created certain problems not in the public interest (for example, duplicated jobs, policies that are not co-ordinated with neighbouring boroughs). But it has also brought real benefits (citizens have a greater voice, services are better tailored to neighbourhoods’ needs). True reform would entail prudent, nuanced adjustments – not a wholesale return to centralization.

 

–Don’t blame the immobilisme on the demerger or on decentralization. The central city has had its hand in virtually all the major projects that have been stopped or delayed: the Casino, Griffintown, the extension of Cavendish Blvd., the covering of the Ville Marie Expressway, the modernizing of Notre Dame St.

 

–Empowered boroughs and demerged towns have almost nothing to do with the scandals staining Montreal. The waterworks contract, the SHDM mess, city hall’s roof and the auditor-general’s emails all reflect on the central city. That’s where the main rot is.

 

–The megacity’s first four years – that is, the time before the demerger – were no Golden Age. Operating expenses grew by 16.3 per cent, 2½ times the inflation rate. Real World 101: Units of governance get more inefficient the bigger they are. Demerged suburbs are using small size to make economies. Why stop them?

 

–What people expect most from municipal government is decent services. Angus Reid polls have shown that residents of demerged suburbs are consistently happier with their services than are residents of areas that were merged into Montreal. That’s no accident: Small units of government not only deliver services more cheaply, but better, too. They have closer supervision.

 

The case could be made that many people might gain if Montreal were to allow a further demerger.

 

That would make for a stimulating debate.

 

But we’ll never see one, not so long as serious, thoughtful deliberation over Montreal’s governance is taboo.

 

haubin@montrealgazette.com

 

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

 

 

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Henry+Aubin+Demerger+served+suburbs+well/6148032/story.html#ixzz1mPbdN1oy

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