Safer Cycling, a priority in CSL | Le cyclisme sécuritaire, un priorité

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Watch & Share: Safer cycling ranks high on my plans. I started the CSL Cycles route and lanes which I want to expand. I introduced the very first municipal helmet law in Canada!

Regarder et partager: Le cyclisme en sécuritaire occupe une place importante dans mes plans. J’ai lancé le program Cycle CSL. J’ai initié la toute première loi municipale sur le casque de vélo au Canada!

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Watch: Renewing our Parks and Playgrounds | Un renouvellement de nos terrains de jeux

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Watch and share: I have pushed for increased investment in upgrading our playgrounds. Imagination Park, in District 6 at the ACC, is unique and fun. I am advocating for an exciting renewal of our older park equipment to keep our youngsters active, playing outdoors.

Regardez et partagez: J’ai poussé pour augmenter les investissements et la modernisation de nos terrains de jeux. Imagination Park, dans le district 6, est unique et amusant. Je plaide en faveur d’un renouvellement de notre ancien équipement de parc pour que nos jeunes restent actifs et jouent à l’extérieur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge rejects developer’s lawsuit against Montreal over Meadowbrook

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Developer accused city of “disguised expropriation”

A Superior Court Judge has rejected a $44-million lawsuit against the city of Montreal over a proposed housing development on the Lachine side of the Meadowbrook Golf Course that failed to materialize.

In a 45-page judgement rendered Wednesday, Judge Pepita G. Capriolo ruled the city had not engaged in a “disguised expropriation,” as land owner Groupe Pacific alleged, nor was the city responsible for $15.5 million in potential profits the developer argued it could have made.

“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,” the judge wrote.

Real-estate developer 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.

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, and later presented a plan to build a pedestrian-friendly and environmentally responsible, 1600-unit residential complex dubbed Petite Rivière.

The city argued estimates of the infrastructure costs it would have had to shoulder to put in water and sewage pipes and a railway overpass ranged from $60 million to $150 million, costs that it would have taken at least 43 years to recoup in taxes. In 2010 it told Groupe Pacific it would not support development there because of the infrastructure bill, although it did not share its cost estimates with the developer.

“The judge got it right,” said Alan DeSousa, who was the executive committee member responsible for environmental issues for the city of Montreal in 2010. “It shows that cities do have the right and the ability to protect their environments.”

Côte-St-Luc councillor Dida Berku said the lawsuit is “very promising” for their municipality, which is the target of a $32-million lawsuit by Groupe Pacific that dates back to 2001.

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. Groupe Pacific has the right to appeal the decision.

rbruemmer@postmedia.com

twitter.com/renebruemmer

Meadowbrook judgment ‘bodes well for CSL’

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The Superior Court judgment favouring Montreal against the developer of the Meadowbrook Golf Course, Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific, bodes well for Côte St. Luc in its own legal case with the developer, say Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Dida Berku and mayoral candidate Robert Libman.

Groupe Pacific had sued Montreal for $44 million over the borough of Lachine’s refusal to allow residential building on its part of the site, which the borough attributed to high infrastructure costs. The other part of the site is in Côte St. Luc.

According to media reports, Judge Pepita G. Capriolo rejected Groupe Pacific’s contention that Montreal engaged in a disguised expropriation, and that the city was responsible for the developer losing $15.5 million in profits. Also according to reports, the judge ruled that many other factors prevented the development on the Lachine side.

 In the case of Côte St. Luc, the city was originally sued by the developer in 2000, when the city changed the zoning of its part of the golf course site from residential to recreational and commercial. The original lawsuit lay dormant for years, until Groupe Pacific changed its lawsuit to claim $32 million — $19 million of which was to force the city to basically buy the part of the land in its territory — a land swap: and $13 million for loss of profits.

As we reported in 2015, “the Quebec Superior Court did not allow the company to pursue the $19 million claim.”

Late in 2015, Groupe Pacific wanted to amend its lawsuit, to claim another $20 million. The developer wanted the Quebec Court of Appeal to state its opinion on the merits of such a re-amendment to the Quebec Superior Court. But the Court of Appeal ruled that it cannot decide on this in advance and that the Superior Court would have to decide if Groupe Pacific can reamend its claim. That is where the case with Côte St. Luc stands at this point.

Brownstein was pleased with last week’s judgement.

“The judgment in favour of Montreal is very promising for Côte St. Luc, because it essentially affirms what we have been arguing for years,” the Mayor said. “While there is still a case pending since [2000] against Côte St. Luc, this related decision validates many of our arguments.”

Berku, who has been defending the right of the city to maintain Meadowbrook for recreational use, said the decision is a “great victory for the right of cities to determine the best land use in the public interest. Montreal had the right to refuse to invest hundreds of millions in infrastructure, especially because all details of the project were not finalized.”

The councilllor added that the judge “decided that golf is a reasonable use, especially in light of the new urban plan adopted by the Montreal agglomeration in 2015, which designated all of Meadowbrook as green space for recreational use.

Libman, during a press conference Friday, was also very pleased. The zoning change from residential to recreational took place when he was Mayor of Côte St. Luc.

“It’s certainly very positive for Côte St. Luc — we were all waiting to see what the judgment would be on the Lachine side,” the mayoral candidate said. “I was going to be examined by the lawyers over the next few months. Now that there’s a precedent defeating the lawsuit against Lachine (Montreal), it certainly looks as though the lawsuit against Côte St. Luc for about $20 million will be dismissed, which is great news for our taxpayers and residents.”

Groupe Pacific has the option to appeal the latest judgment.

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In my opinion:
Fantastic news for Cote Saint-Luc. I have always been an enthusiastic and outspoken opponent of developing Meadowbrook. Just check out the very many posts on my blog for the history on this file. As City Councillor I will continue to fight to preserve this invaluable greenspace for future generations. I would be thrilled to have this space acquired by the Montreal Agglomeration to be shared by all across the West End as a regional park.

CSL inaugurates Shalom Bloom Sculpture garden

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On hand for all of the events celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday were Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and the entire Côte St. Luc council, Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather and D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum. The chairs of the Canada Day event were councillors Glenn Nashen and Ruth Kovac, and the MC for the events were CJAD personalities Dan Laxer and Laurie Betito.

The Shalom Bloom Sculpture Garden is in an area of the park with stunning, lifelike sculptures of various wildlife animals, including white-tailed deer, cougar, bighorned sheep and others. The sculptures were a donation by Bloom, who left his successful business in 1980 to devote himself full time to sculpting.

“This city is a wonderful place and the two mayors (Brownstein and his predecessor Housefather) really worked hard to bring this about,” Bloom said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the garden. “This is Phase 1, and hopefully, eventually, we’ll have another phase with a lot more sculptures in this magnificent park.”

Marco Pendenza of Super Excavation did the stonework, and Ron Williams was the consulting landscape architect.

“I was involved with the overall concept and design,” Williams said. “The early ideas were a natural environment where the animals would feel at home. It turned out great, I’m really pleased.”

Snowdon Councillor Marvin Rotrand also praised Bloom during the unveiling ceremony.

Later on, Birnbaum showed the winning videos of his riding-wide student competition, Canada 150: Your Story, My Story; and Lt-Gen. (Ret’d) Roméo Dallaire was inducted onto Côte St. Luc’s Human Rights Walkway for his work in preventing mass atrocities in Rwanda, his advocacy against the use of child soldiers and his general work for human rights. Dallaire’s son Willem was on hand for the dedication.

While most activities took place on July 2 because of weather concerns, the traditional citizenship ceremony, took place July 1 at the city’s Aquatic and Community Centre, and was presided over by former Canadian citizenship judge Barbara Seal. She, Brownstein, Housefather and Birnbaum welcomed the 39 new citizens from 18 countries. A “welcome home to Canada” video from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also played.

The July 2 event also included entertainment by indigenous performers and the retro band Replay, who alternated between Beatles and ‘60s hits sets. Brownstein himself sang John Lennon’s Imagine, which he linked to Côte St. Luc’s own advocacy for tolerance and respect.

The evening ended with a fireworks and laser show display, with musical accompaniment.

CSL golf tourney proves more fun than I imagined

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Five in this Foursome: Andy Lee, Glenn J. Nashen, Mike Cohen, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Police Commander Jean O’Malley

Had you asked me a few weeks ago I couldn’t tell you who Bill Lee was. I’m not the biggest sports fun, but despite my occasional venture to see the Expos at Jarry Park as a teenager I really didn’t know the names of the players all that well.

So when I was told that my recent foursome in the Cote Saint-Luc Golf Classic included Bill “Spaceman” Lee I was kind of excited to know I’d be meeting an astronaut. Well, that’s what I thought.

Truth be told, I was more excited that Police Commander Jean O’Malley of Station 9 would be one of my four besties for the day.

But life has a funny way of unfolding and once I was adequately briefed by my fellow rookie golfer Mike Cohen as to the background on Bill Lee the day was anything but usual.

For those that were as clueless as me, William Francis Lee III (born December 28, 1946), nicknamed Spaceman, is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher. He played for the Boston Red Sox 1969–1978 and the Montreal Expos 1979–1982. On November 7, 2008, Lee was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame, as the team’s record-holder for most games pitched by a left-hander (321) and the third-highest win total (94) by a Red Sox southpaw. On August 23, 2012, Lee signed a contract to play with the San Rafael Pacifics of the independent North American League at age 65.

In addition to his baseball experience, Lee is known for his counterculture behavior, his antics both on and off the field, and his use of the Leephus pitch, a personalized variation of the eephus pitch.[1]

Lee has co-written four books: The Wrong StuffHave Glove, Will TravelThe Little Red (Sox) Book: A Revisionist Red Sox History; and Baseball Eccentrics: The Most Entertaining, Outrageous, and Unforgettable Characters in the Game. In 2006, the documentary film by Brett Rapkin Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey featured Lee.

In 1988, Lee was the Rhinoceros Party presidential candidate running on a platform of bulldozing the Rocky Mountains so Alberta could receive a few extra minutes of sunlight and banning guns and butter. His slogan was “No guns, no butter. Both can kill.”[21]

In May 2016, Lee was chosen by the Liberty Union Party as its nominee for the 2016 election for governor of Vermont.[21] Lee, who had never heard of the Liberty Union Party before, was contacted by the party to run for governor and accepted.[4] Lee did not take campaign contributions.[22] His campaign slogan was, “So far left, we’re right”.[23] 

Lee lost the election, receiving 8,912 votes (2.78%).[25]

Commander O’Malley with Montreal’s Finest, ‘Officer’ Flick, Bill Lee and Glenn J. Nashen

True to his bio, Bill was as entertaining as can be, a ton of laughs. He reminisced about his olden days in Montreal, about his life experiences and his ‘retirement’ plans to move from Vermont to British Colombia. He was joined by his son and his adoring and charming wife, Diane.

Baseball player or not, Bill instructed me every step of the way, as I was completely out of my element with golf clubs in hand. We spoke about family, travel, and of course, baseball.

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum was a real sport golfing in his Expos T-Shirt, seen here at the ACC for lunch, with my dad, George, and me

Not to underscore (pun intended, as I really underscored) the importance of having the best coach the Montreal Police Department could offer, Jean had the patience of a saint in instructing me on proper posture, grip and swing. My game, only the second time out in my life, was dramatically improved by Jean’s coaching and the pressure of not making a complete fool of myself. Lucky for me, years of mini putt really paid off.

Oh, who am I fooling? I wasn’t even close to being close!

The honouree at this year’s tournament was Johnny Elias, a long-time volunteer and past owner of the Grand Slam Baseball School. “Johnny recently agreed to loan nearly 50 years’ worth of baseball memorabilia to Côte Saint-Luc,” said Councillor Mike Cohen.

Bill shared stories about his close relationship with Johnny Elias from the days he played with the Expos. When he was released in 1982, Johnny hired him to be an instructor at his camp. Bill has maintained a connection to our city for more than 30 years. “Johnny and I are like brothers,” Bill said.

The Pierre Brunet Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund was launched, sponsored by local McDonald’s franchisee Pierre Brunet. “The Fund will be used to help local families who need financial help to register their children in recreation programs. Funds will also support children with special needs. Pierre Brunet has been involved in helping our community for many years,” Mike Cohen said. “This new initiative will have a direct impact in the lives of many kids in our community.”

Brunet announced that $4,700 was raised at the two McHappy Days in CSL this year. CSL Men’s Club contributed $1400 by selling coffee to its members (courtesy of McDonald’s). Men’s Club funny man, Mannie Young, announced that his grandchildren Jesse, Zoe, Andie and Cooper Young, donated an additional $500. With spontaneous support from others including Steve Woloz from the CSL Model Aeronautics Association and MNA David Birnbaum the fund will be launched with more than $7,000. Now that’s the power of community!

Bill Lee was interviewed live on stage by the well-spoken and personable CSL resident and TSN 690 Radio show host Matthew Ross.  Lee was hilarious in his views on anything and everything and in telling bits of his fascinating life story. “Live in the moment,” the outspoken and provocative sports legend told the audience. “Don’t worry about the past or be concerned by what may come. Just enjoy thing right now.”

Thank you to event co-chairs Councillors Mike Cohen and Sam Goldbloom, to staff leads Harold Cammy and Alvin Fishman and to all the volunteers and sponsors such as Marc Ezerzer. It was really a great time and Mike and I got to meet a Montreal Expos legend and hang out with a Top Cop. What a great day.

CSL Trudeau Park overflows with Canada D’Eh pride

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Was I really in Cote Saint-Luc last night? Where else can one find a culturally diverse entertainment line-up, a homage to world-class leaders and artists, a gastronomical cornucopia, and a children’s wonderland all topped off by a spectacular fireworks and laser show in your own back-yard?

Beatles cover band Replay belts out classic 60s tunes at Canada Day 2017

 

The end of a beautiful rainbow: right here in CSL

 

The Buffalo Hat Dancers belted out traditional aboriginal chants, danced up a storm (literally) at Canada Day 2017. The rain started falling during their dance and ended when they were finished? Miracle? Maybe not.

 

Crowds were a plenty at Canada Day 2017

 

As co-chair of the event along with Councillor Ruth Kovac I was proud to add words of reconciliation during my address to the crowd in stating we were on the traditional territory of the Iroquois Nation. Ruth added native greetings as well.

The City of Cote Saint-Luc Council and Staff put on a show worthy of Canada’s Sesquicentennial. If you missed it here are some highlights:

The extraordinary, world-class Shalom Bloom Sculpture Garden is unveiled in Trudeau Park

 

The newly inaugurated Shalom Bloom Sculpture Garden can be enjoyed during a leisurely stroll through the park

 

Canada Day 2017 Fireworks and laser light show was spectacular

I must take this opportunity to give a shout out to the vCOP (volunteer Citizens on Patrol) squad, celebrating 11 years of invaluable service to our fine community. I launched this service with a dozen residents (most of whom are still going strong) and we’ve since grown to 92 amazing volunteers.

My vCOP team celebrates 11 years at Canada Day 2017. Assistant Supervisor for Events, Susie Schwartz, in black, took care of all coordination.

 

vCOP Supervisor Mitchell Herf patrols the park at Canada Day 2017 on electric scooter

 

Security and safety were top of mind last night and CSL EMS (Emergency Measures Services) and Public Security in conjunction with Police were out in full force ensuring that everyone felt safe and secure while enjoying the many varied activities and delights.

The volunteers from EMS are always full of pride in service to our community at Canada Day 2017

 

CSL Public Security was out in full force, under the watchful eye of Lt. Anthony Tsakon (left). Longtime patroller Scott Hunt joins me in this snapshot at Canada Day 2017

 

The Station 9 crew is back in blue, Celebrating Canada Day 2017 with our local police officers

 

Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson walks the beat with the new EMS mascot at Canada Day 2017

 

Public Security Agent Erwin Luden stands on guard for thee at Canada Day 2017

 

How fortunate we are to live in a vibrant community and a world-class metropolitan city all in a tolerant and generous country. Our residents seemed to share the same sentiment.

 

Such a lovely family: The Ullmans enjoy the festivities at Canada Day 2017

 

Food trucks abound at Canada Day 2017. From cheese treats to loads of lobster and everything in between. My wife, Judy Hagshi, prefers a good cheese (but where’s the wine?) at Canada Day 2017

 

Library Director Janine West and volunteer Carol Mindel join me at the CSL Historical Society booth. Old photos were on display. Volunteers and vintage pics are wanted!

 

MP Anthony Housefather had us chanting out C-A-N-A-D-A like our country was a Rockstar. Well, in that case I am a huge fan!

Jeff and Cheryl Nashen with their favourite MP, Anthony Housefather. Canada Day 2017

 

An honour to meet Wilem Dalaire, son of Canadian hero Lt. General Romeo Dalaire at Canada Day 2017

 

 

Wonderful, dedicated emcees Laurie Betito and Dan Laxer of CJAD 800

 

Ruth Kovac and I co-chaired this year’s Canada Day 2017 festivities in Cote Saint-Luc. Ruth, a Dutch immigrant, epitomizes the proud Canadian, and literally wears her Maple Leaf on her sleeve, and displays the Red an White all year long.

Judging from the smiles and cheers and the general good mod of the crowds pouring out of the park late at night a good time was had in celebrating Canada Day 150 in Cote Saint-Luc. Thank you to all the wonderful city staff headed by Nadia di Furia, Jonathan Shecter, Cornelia Ziga and Bebe Newman. Thanks as well to Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Ruth Kovac for their leadership.

 

See all the photos and videos here.

See Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog here.

 

 

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