|In Côte Saint-Luc we are very proud about how we handled snow clearing
by: Cllr. Mike Cohen
Posted: 18 Mar 2017 02:59 PM PDT
As we continue to dig out from the biggest snow storm the Montreal area has seen in years, I would like to applaud the work done by the City of Côte Saint-Luc`s Public Works Department.
I have received a great deal of kind comments from residents in regards to how well we handled the snow clearing. In fact, most of the Montreal media praised the work we did on the main roads. Please understand that this is a very difficult task and I was among the motorists on the Thursday morning stuck trying to get past the underpass on Cavendish. It was unavoidable and inconvenient, but later in the day all cleared up
“It was an emotional day for many residents,” Public Works Director Beatrice Newman reported to city council. “Please help us help your residents understand why things appear to be a certain way while in the background, the city is working fervently to provide safe passage-ways in the city.”
The light on Guelph Road broke Thursday morning and stayed green. This meant that Westminster stayed on a red light. Traffic began to build up, employees rushed to help traffic. Public Security directed traffic and electricians worked on determining and fixing the light. “Things like this happens when there are drastic changes in weather,” Ms. Newman said.
Cavendish Boulevard was congested, southbound. Our snow removal operations provided clear roads for our residents, but unfortunately once they hit CSL Road and Cavendish, they were faced with congestion. NDG kept their side of Cavendish at one lane. Therefore, our three lanes had to squeeze into their one lane. “Et voilà, major traffic accumulation on Cavendish and CSL,” Ms. Newman explained.
Fleet was at one lane from our city right through Hampstead. The objective at first is to clear the road with one lane for access. Then approximately 24 hours later, the blowing began. “We cannot start our operations earlier in the morning or traffic issues would be inevitable,” said Ms. Newman. “Only one lane would still be available in this case. We must consider the safety concerns first. This was not a regular snow storm. This was a blizzard with white out conditions, dangerous road conditions and more. We must have patience. Close to 40 centimeters fell and the process to remove it all will not be quick, we must work efficientlyand safely.”
We had five teams working all day Thursday, five sidewalk cleaners, five loader/blowers, five 10 wheelers, five walkers and two salt trucks remained to follow the contractors as they salted the roads once the contractor blew the snow. Once snow falls on the asphalt we secure it with abrasives.
Two teams worked at the municipal buildings and one worked on our special calls such as snow blown accidentally on personal walkways, emptying public garbage, etc. One employee was stationed at the snow dump on Marc Chagall in District 2, which now looks like an Olympic ski hill.
The balance of the areas around Yavne, Merton and Maimonides schools were done on Friday.
We are working hard to do our best in operations and customer service.
“In Public Security, our agents have seen their call volume go up by a factor of 2.5,” explained Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson. “Our agents have responded with professionalism and tact despite trying circumstances, horrible road conditions and lots and lots of snow. They have always kept the safety of our residents at the forefront and I have been impressed by their ingenuity and dedication.
“Our Dispatch Centre has been flooded with calls and complaints about everything from traffic to snow removal to cars blocking driveways. Despite being screamed and sworn at, they have maintained their composure and professionalism.”
Mr. Reichson noted that while we did not activate our emergency plan, we kept it close at hand. We ensured that our evacuation routes remained as accessible as possible and were prepared to activate elements of the plan as required. “Despite what some residents have posted online, our response has been as strong and efficient as it can be,” he said. “ This was not just another storm, but rather an opportunity for our employees to shine and from what I have seen, all have risen to the occasion.
March 20, 2017
March 12, 2017
I’ve said it many times before on this blog. Leave the clocks alone! We’re back on Daylight Savings Time where it should be. All the time.
Meanwhile, thanks to Joel Goldenberg who came across this Washington Examiner article published earlier this week that says what I’ve been saying for years: Don’t touch that clock. Actually, this piece argues from the perspective of staying on standard time, all the time. But what it really means, to me, is just pick one, only one, and leave it be.
Studies “have found that the time change interrupts sleep cycles, causing fatigue, lack of productivity and sadness,” the article added. Even worse, medical studies showed that daylight saving time also can lead to death. “Other studies show that the number of heart attacks spikes in the days following the March time change, and after the November time change, the frequency of heart attacks decreases,” the article reads.
So come on Canada. Let’s stay on DST.
Do you agree with me? Please share your comments here.
Search Daylight Savings Time to see my blog posts on this subject.
Washington Examiner: Daylight saving time may be killing you
December 20, 2016
In Canada, as the holidays approach this year, I have found the normal cheer somewhat subdued. The aftermath of Brexit and the U.S. elections has had an effect on many Canadians. There is a concern that the world is now a different place. We all knew that in recent years our world has become more dangerous with the rise of terrorist groups that do not play by any rules. But this year, the world seems to have become more divided by race, religion, gender, economic status, sexual orientation and ethnicity, and Canadians are wondering whether this will spread to our own country.
Are we different from the rest of the world? I myself felt somewhat glum as the holidays approached and wondered what I could do to regain my holiday spirit.
For me, my holiday miracle happened in the second week of December. Jewish and Muslim Members of Parliament gathered for what we called our “Christmas Dinner.” We shared our personal stories and provided each other with greater understanding of the history and diversity of our communities.
As a white man born in the 1970s to a relatively affluent professional family that has lived in Canada for well more than a century, I cannot remember ever having experienced anti-Semitism or any other form of discrimination. But the same is not true for some of my colleagues. I was in tears as I heard the stories of an older Jewish MP who talked about having been beaten up at a hockey game and having bones broken because he was Jewish. My heart hurt as a female Muslim MP, who has become a close friend, talked about being bullied in high school because she was brown and Muslim.
But what moved me the most was the candid story of a Muslim MP born and educated abroad who acknowledged that he came to Canada having numerous misconceptions about Jews and the time that it took for him to recognize them to be wrong. This only happened because Canada allows us to get to know one another and dispel myths about one another.
We left the evening, after many hours of discussion, convinced that we as a group could make a difference. There is nobody who can confront Islamophobia more effectively than a Jew, and there is nobody who can confront anti-Semitism more effectively than a Muslim. We left inspired to work together with Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Bahais and people of all religions, or no religion, to fight against discrimination in our country. In the same way that Charlie Brown found the real meaning of Christmas in that famous animated special that we see on TV each year and in the same way the Miracle on 34th Street proved Santa was real, this dinner brought back my holiday spirit.
Even though any country could go down the path of xenophobia, we in Canada are very lucky. We have a prime minister, a government and opposition leaders who are speaking out in favour of tolerance, understanding and brotherhood. We have people of good faith across the spectrum who believe that we need to stand up for one another. Not only do we have a Charter of Rights that protects us in law, but we have a populace that is generally inspired to care.
I left that dinner renewed in my confidence that Canada is and will continue to be a beacon unto the world and that we all have our part to play in making that be so. I will be happy during this holiday season, and I hope and pray that my fellow Canadians will be happy and optimistic as well.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays to all!
Anthony Housefather is the member of Parliament for Mount Royal and chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
August 24, 2016
By Councillor Mike Cohen:
While the Quebec government studies the issues of dangerous dogs and consults with municipalities, many of which have already implemented bans on pit bulls in particular, the City of Côte Saint-Luc is reinforcing an existing bylaw.
Our most recent bylaw regarding dangerous dogs was adopted in 2009. In the wake of a series of high-profile dog attacks, Public Safety Department has sent letters to current owners of pit bulls in our community that we have on record, asking that they be muzzled.
Is this strong enough? As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I know how it must feel for someone who has a pet they love, only to be threatened to have it taken away via legislation. Several municipalities do have laws on the books banning pit bulls. However, they are not the only breeds that pose a threat. We will wait to see what the Quebec government decides for that will impact on our future actions. In the meantime, I wish to urge the owners of dogs considered to be dangerous to please use a muzzle.
The City of Laval wants Ottawa to make changes to the Criminal Code of Canada to create uniform rules across the country to deal with the problem of dangerous dogs.Right now, it’s possible to charge owners of dogs who attack people with criminal negligence, but it rarely happens. Laval Mayor Marc Demers said that the article in the Criminal Code dealing with criminal negligence should be amended to make specific reference to the responsibilities of dog owners.”We would like the federal government to do its homework, so it would be all across Canada the same thing, it won’t change from city to city,” Demers told CBC News.”That way, across the country, if you bring up your dog to be vicious so he may attack somebody, you are responsible for that.”
March 8, 2016
The following article is an excellent interview with Cote Saint-Luc resident Andee Shuster that recently appeared on a blog (Medium.com). Kudos to Andee for emphasizing positive, forward thinking and by turning a complaint into a dialogue for change. This was the thinking behind our city’s purpose in implementing the SeeClickFix app. Please read and comment:
By: Caroline Smith
If we’re binge watching Parks and Recreation or Gilmore Girls, it seems like the common cultural understanding of the “concerned citizen” is someone who is complaining.
Or, as Leslie Knope says:
“What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.”
Andee Shuster, citizen of Cote Saint-Luc and active user of SeeClickFix, looks at things a little differently:
“Look, people don’t enjoy complaining. And, the people that have to be on the receiving end also don’t enjoy it either.”
Shuster is a long-time community activist within Cote Saint-Luc, Quebec who uses SeeClickFix to report non-emergency issues to City Hall with her phone or computer. “There’s literally nothing fun about complaining,” said Shuster, “But [SeeClickFix] really turns that around, making reporting an issue not feel like a complaint because of the communication and interaction with my government.”
She first used SeeClickFix this past summer when she went with her friend to take their kids to the local splash pad. When they got to the splash pad, the ground was slippery and moss was growing right where their kids were running.
Shuster thought: “The city should really fix this because it’s way too slippery for our kids to be playing on — we could improve this!” Her friend asked if she had heard about SeeClickFix. He showed her how he could take a quick picture of the issue and tag it, and how the app knew exactly where they were in the city before they pressed “Send!” together.
“The next time we went to the splash pad, it was much, much better!”
For Shuster, reporting the splash pad issue on SeeClickFix felt really good — and not just because it got fixed:
“It really didn’t feel like complaining to the city councilor or to the maintenance department. It was sort of a ‘Hey we’re here, this is what is going on, and I thought you should know’.”
Shuster felt like this kind of experience could have broader implications in her city:
“I think it’s about empowering your citizens. It’s not about an us vs. them or a management vs citizens. Instead it really brings people together around focusing on helping rather than complaining.”
But how does this happen? Shuster explains a bit more:
“It’s inclusive. It’s easy. It’s interactive. It’s fast and with very little effort you’re able to make a difference…I made an impact by saying that we could be doing something better.”
Plus, it’s kid-friendly:
“It’s something that easily be shown to other people, including teaching your kids — you can show them how to make a difference, that there are apps out there that help you to do good deeds.”
Lucky for us, Shuster’s experience is not an isolated one. Civic technology tools like SeeClickFix are being used across the country to create better, more productive and friendly conversations between citizens and their governments.
In particular, SeeClickFix was built to be a platform that is both high-tech andhigh-touch. In other words, it not only provides a space to have some of these conversations online, but enhances the offline conversations that will always (hopefully!) exist.
November 4, 2015
January 29, 2015
Canada, Language, Montreal, Published Opinion, Quebec Bill 101, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Commissioner of Official Languages, David Birnbaum, English-speaking Quebecer, Freedom of expression, Graham Fraser, Lawrence Bergman, OQLF, Philippe Couillard, Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, Robert Libman 1 Comment
The need for an Office of Anglophone Affairs to represent the interests of 800,000 English-speaking Quebecers is reasonable and quite evident.
First, having three cabinet members of the Quebec Liberal Party who come from the English-speaking community does not absolve the government from its ongoing obligation to its English-speaking population. Cabinet members come and go, so do governments, and cabinet members have many more responsibilities than uniquely watching out for linguistic issues of their constituents.
The last four decades have shown us that English-speakers promoted to cabinet are no guarantee that the rights afforded to the English-speaking community will be respected in each ministry and throughout the government.
No disrespect or lack of appreciation to our Anglo MNAs, past or present. Their competencies are far from limited to their mother tongue. In D’Arcy McGee riding, for example, David Birnbaum is off to a great start, is very interested in his constituency and his assistance is quite sincere, I have no doubt. Lawrence Bergman was a model MNA, of the highest calibre. Robert Libman (Equality Party) was elected specifically because of his position on language and Bill 101 and had wide community support because he was a thorn in the side of the government – a voice specifically for the English-speaking community.
An Office of Anglophone Affairs would be such a representative body that is sorely lacking in Quebec City.
Second, in an era when a judge of the Quebec Court rules that it is legitimate for the government to deny the rights and freedoms guaranteed to all Canadians and Quebecers, such as this week’s ruling to uphold Bill 101 with respect to marked predominance of French on signs, it is clear that the Quebec English-speaking community needs greater presence within government. An office, as suggested by Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, would be a good start.
Smaller English wording on signs will convince more people to speak French? Nonsense. This is nothing more than the government, through its OQLF, bullying small business owners, who have enough trouble making a living in this province without being restricted from communicating with their non French-speaking customers.
It is harassment of Anglo seniors who have difficulty reading much too small English wording in the few cases where English is even provided.
It is an insult to English-speaking Quebecers that their language is diminished by such mean spirited laws that do absolutely nothing to promote the French language
It is pure politic and it is contrary to what Philippe Couillard told us in last year’s election campaign (‘English is not the enemy’).
Finally, Quebecers were screaming their support for freedom of expression, alongside people of good will all across the planet just two weeks ago. Where are they today? Where are our business leaders demanding their freedom of expression to run their businesses as they see fit in order to create wealth in our province? Where are those politicians who waved their signs upholding freedom of expression? Where are all those marchers?
We’re quick to cry for freedom for everyone all over the world. I fully support that. But what about right here in Quebec, in Canada, where we have something called a ‘Notwithstanding Clause’ that allows our own government to deny our rights? What about our own freedom of expression?
All other provinces have an office for their French-speaking communities. Anglo Quebecers need a voice too.
Court quashes challenge to Quebec’s sign law (The Gazette)
Judge shoots down sign law challenge (CTV News)