The driving force of a Mensch: Harold Cammy

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Harold Cammy (right) with McDonald’s entrepreneur and philanthropist Pierre Brunet at surprise retirement party, Dec. 2018

Much has been said about Harold Cammy who takes his retirement after serving the city of Cote Saint-Luc for a remarkable 45 years. I’ve known Harold for most of my life and he has known my family for just as long. My reminiscence here is upon Harold, the character, as there’s not much I can add to the long list of accomplishments and achievements which can be read at some of the links below.

I begin my comment with Harold’s concluding ones, in his farewell address posted online:

We have the ability to be “kind” to people, to be “responsive” to people, to “support and assist” people because that is what a City and its staff should be doing. Making someone’s day just a little bit better…a little more enjoyable.

It doesn’t take a great effort to be kind and helpful…it just takes a little empathy, compassion and understanding of human behaviour.

“People will not always remember all the good things you do for them, but they will always remember how you made them feel about themselves”.

Harold and Beverly Cammy

We can learn a lot from Harold’s wise words. They are prophetic and introspective, philosophical and visionary. He lead his career, and obviously leads his life by these words. Many of us would be better off if we walked in Harold’s direction.

Indeed, whenever I would come across Harold during my many years as a City Councillor there was always a positive, cheery exchange. Always smiling, he would have the uncanny knack of making you feel important in his world, and invariably you’d walk away being a bit happier yourself.

A people-person by nature, Harold wouldn’t forget to ask how the family was doing, usually by name. ‘How’s George?’, he’d ask about my father. ‘Send him my regards,’ he’d say. ‘Say hello to Judy,’ my wife.

I was most always on the receiving end of peppy one-liners, a quick joke, a greeting or a comment from Harold. I’m sure he had plenty of reason to be gloomy or dreary over the years, but he chose the path of positive reinforcement: A firm handshake, eye-to-eye contact and a warm smile. He chose kindness and compassion. He chose to be charitable and he brought us all along. He was and is a real Mensch.

I salute Harold not only for his praiseworthy efforts for the residents of Cote Saint-Luc over these past 45 years, but for his kinder, gentler and humbler ways. This unpretentious career professional touched more lives than we can imagine. We’re all lucky to have benefited from his generosity of spirit and his acts of kindness.

Judy and I wish you a wonderful retirement, Harold, and many years of good health and continued happiness for you, Beverly and Lacey. I will always remember how you made me feel.

 

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Read more:

Mike Cohen’s blog and Harold’s retirement memories

Canadian Jewish News, Jan. 10, 2019

 

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Could CSL vCOP, PS and Police host summer camp for kids? Longueuil police host first ever camp for aspiring young detectives

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A group of kids took part in a day camp put on by the Longueuil police this week, where they got to learn about police work. (CBC)

What a novel idea in summer programming for kids. Sign up a group of pre-teens and expose them to first responders: police, fire, EMS, ambulance, public security and volunteer Citizens on Patrol. Teach them essential skills and expose them to these critical and life-saving services. Excite, inspire and educate them.

Would such a program be possible in Cote Saint-Luc and suburban Montreal municipalities? Would you sign up your pre-teen?

Source: Longueuil police host first ever camp for aspiring young detectives | CBC News

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!

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

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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.

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