Cote St. Luc pleads to keep police station

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Cote St. Luc pleads to keep police station
MAX HARROLD
The Gazette
Friday, May 04, 2007

Crime and anxiety could replace peace and security in Cote St. Luc if that city’s police station closes, a public hearing at Montreal city hall was told last night.

“Many of our seniors are Holocaust survivors and they feel a sense of security with the police being so close,” Ruth Kovac, a Cote St. Luc city councillor, told the hearing about a proposal to cut the number of neighbourhood police stations from 39 to 32, and eliminate Station 9 in Cote St. Luc.

Schools in her city have fewer bullying and drug problems and there is less speeding on Cavendish Blvd., because of Station 9, she said.

Under the plan, slated for implementation next year, 47 officers and police support staff now at Station 9 would instead be based in Cote des Neiges/Notre Dame de Grace borough, making response times to calls in Cote St. Luc a lot slower, Kovac said.

Fellow Cote St. Luc city councillor Glenn Nashen said police would lose touch with the needs of his city, and those of smaller Hampstead and Montreal West, also served by Station 9.

“We’re three cities,” Nashen said. “They’re one borough. Police will respond more to their larger master (Montreal). It’s inherently unfair.”

Montreal police couldn’t disagree more.

In a slick presentation to about 50 residents, local politicians and police officials in the ornate city hall chamber, police chief Yvan Delorme lauded the plan as a way to reinforce neighbourhood policing.

“The realities of crime now are different,” he said. “We have street gangs and terrorism to deal with,” he said. Just think of the Dawson College shooting last September and people can appreciate how police must adapt to new realities, he said.

On a smaller level, crime is also more complex. “A domestic violence call that would have required 30 minutes of our time in the early 1990s now requires three hours,” he told the hearing, without elaborating.

Under the proposed police reshuffling, 14 districts would be twinned: Districts 6 and 7 in St. Laurent would be merged, as would districts 27 and 28 in Ahuntsic, districts 39 and 40 in Montreal North, districts 43 and 44 in Rosemont and districts 47 and 48 in Mercier.

The reduction in neighbourhood stations, along with a new 24-hour call-in and Internet-based complaints centre, would see 200 more officers back on patrol because there would be fewer desk jobs, Delorme said.

Montreal police brotherhood president Yves Francoeur backed the plan, but with reservations, because it doesn’t cut enough stations. Police have been stretched thin since the introduction of 49 neighbourhood police stations in 1997, Francoeur said.

“This doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a step in the right direction,” he told the hearing.

For Cote St. Luc residents, losing Station 9 is like history repeating itself.

“I was there when (Cote St. Luc) had its own police department,” said Bernard Tonchin, 79, a resident of Cote St. Luc for 44 years. “Then the (Montreal Urban Community) came and we lost our police. We fought for decades to get a station back. And we did eventually (in 1993).”

A recent increase in anti-Semitic crimes necessitates a police station in his community, Tonchin said.

Jessica Znaty, a 19-year-old policing and security student at the Universite de Montreal, said a police station in Cote St. Luc sends a message to delinquents.

“It says ‘Stay away,’ ” she said.

The public security commission is to vote on the proposal on May 22, after which it will refer the matter to Montreal Island’s agglomeration council for a final vote.

mharrold@thegazette.canwest.com

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Plan 9 not likely to change, Editorial, West End Chronicle

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Plan 9 not likely to change
Editorial
West End Chronicle
April 25, 2007

The Côte St. Luc politicians did and said all the right things at their monthly council meeting last week when it came to the proposed merger of police stations 9 and 11, but in the end, don’t expect the police hierarchy to change their mind.

There are four stations serving the West End, two in Snowdon and Côte des Neiges, and one each in NDG (11) and Côte St. Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West (9). The police have decided they have too many neighbourhood stations, so they want to merge those four into two.

Now, think about how things have been going for those in Côte St. Luc since the demerger. They have been dumped on by the Agglomeration Council, where democracy is about popular as George Bush on the streets of Baghdad. Now, the CSL politicians and the residents they represent are being told they will probably lose their local police station.

When the merger takes place, which is supposed to be sometime next year, one can be pretty sure the station’s new locale will be in NDG. It won’t be at the present site of Station 11, because that station is too small. And it won’t be in the Cavendish Mall, which was the fervent wish of many Côte St. Lucers.

About 10 years ago, the police decided to follow the model that was very popular in many parts of the United States — smaller community stations. This decentralization plan was supposed to bring the police closer to the community and offer better services.

Now, we are being told that by merging stations, we will have more police on the streets providing better services. It’s a good thing these guys carry guns if they’re going to make these kinds of arguments.

Ruth Kovac, a well-respected city councillor representing District 8, was both passionate and persuasive last week when making the case for Station 9 staying put. She talked about the important relationships that local police officers have forged with residents. She pointed out that speeding on the major artery, Cavendish, has decreased because of the police presence, that seniors have a greater sense of security and that with the diverse ethnic population, particularly the Jewish population, that it’s important to have a strong police deterrent to those who would inflict their racist hatred on others. And that cultural exposure offers excellent diversity training to many of these officers, who tend to be young Francophones.

But it is probably top cop Yvan Delorme’s own words which make the best argument for keeping Station 9 in Côte St. Luc: “The citizen is at the heart of the neighborhoods policing model. Getting closer to our citizens is crucial for the development of our organization and the accomplishment of our mission. We know we have to do everything we can to develop this closer relationship.”

Kovac said the community has done such a good of helping the police — with programs like EMS and Vcop — that they have significantly reduced crime. Perhaps the move is, in some way, punishment for them doing such a fine job.

Next year, despite the resolution and the protestations, expect the merger of Station 9 and Station 11 to take place. And expect the new station, which perhaps they should aptly call Station 9-1-1, to be located somewhere in NDG.

While Kovac and her fellow councillors have all the good arguments, unfortunately in this case, they aren’t as well armed as their opponents.

Côte St. Luc passes resolution opposing Station 9 police merger

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Côte St. Luc passes resolution opposing Station 9 police merger

West End Chronicle, Apr. 19, 2007

Côte St. Luc city council has passed a resolution expressing opposition to the proposed merger of the Montreal police department’s Station 9 in Côte St. Luc with Station 11 in NDG.

According to plans for the reduction of stations in the neighbourhood policing system set up across Montreal island a decade ago, Station 9 on Cavendish Boulevard in Côte St. Luc and Station 11 on Somerled Avenue in NDG are scheduled be merged at a new and larger location yet to be determined.

The police department wants to reduce the number of stations across Montreal from 39 to 32. According to police officials, the Côte St. Luc and NDG stations are to remain in operation until the end of their leases in 2008.

Reading from a resolution tabled in city council last Monday evening, Councillor Glenn Nashen, the commissioner for public safety, noted that residents of the Borough of Côte des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grâce are currently served by three police stations, while the City of Côte St. Luc, the Town of Hampstead and the Town of Montreal West are served by only one.

“The residents of the City of Côte St. Luc, the Town of Hampstead and the Town of Montreal West fear that the removal of (their) neighbourhood police station would dramatically diminish the local police presence to undesireable levels,” Nashen said.

The resolution stated that the City of Côte St. Luc “unanimously opposes the merger of neighbourhood police station 9 and 11” and “insists on retaining a local neighbourhood police station in the territory of Côte St. Luc serving the population.”

The council of Côte St. Luc will join with the councils of Montreal West and Hampstead “to take all possible steps to prevent an unwanted merger of its neighbourhood police station without its consent,” the resolution added.

“The council of the City of Côte St. Luc demands that the Montreal police department and the Agglomeration of Montreal leave neighbourhood police station 9 as a local station.”

Councillor Ruth Kovac said that when Côte St. Luc lost its own police department in the late 1960s, and was subsequently served by the Montreal Urban Community police, service declined drastically, until Côte St. Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West decided to lobby for more police presence.

It took about 30 years, but the three municipalities finally got Station 9 as part of the community-based policing system. “We saw immediate improvement to our safety and security and response time,” she said. “As taxpayers, the residents of Côte St. Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West pay handsomely to the Agglomeration Council,” Kovac added.

“Why should we settle for any less of a service? If the new station would be located outside our territory, the police presence would be far less than the shifts that began and finished in Côte St. Luc. The negative impact to NDG would be minimal.”

Planned police station mergers raise questions at Hampstead council meeting

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Planned police station mergers raise questions at Hampstead council meeting
BY MARTIN C. BARRY
Feb. 8, 2007

Hampstead town council is facing questions over the planned merger of Station 9 in Côte St. Luc with Station 11 in NDG as part of an island-wide consolidation in the Montreal police department.

During Monday’s monthly council meeting, a Queen Mary Road resident asked Mayor William Steinberg how the Town plans to react to the two stations closing and being combined in a new location yet to be chosen.

“I think for the town to lose the little amount of policing we have now would be a bad thing,” said the resident. “You guys might want to consider speaking to the mayors of perhaps Côte St. Luc and Montreal West, and combining your resources.”

He said the three demerged municipalities might want to take the money they’re currently allocating towards public security, and use it to start their own police force, or stop paying into the Montreal Agglomeration and use that money saved to start a police force.

“You have no guarantee that once they merge their stations that you’re going to have more policing,” he added. “As a matter of fact, you’ll have less policing, because right now whenever there’s an incident, you’re seeing Station 9 cars and Station 11’s.”

Steinberg, who just returned this week from a lengthy vacation, said he was aware of the situation and had been in touch with Montreal West mayor Campbell Stuart and Côte St. Luc mayor Anthony Housefather.

“Nothing is going to be happening for quite a large number of months,” he said. “In the meantime, there will be subsequent meetings and we will see whether or not they are going to address our concerns. Certainly we’ve made it very clear that we do not want our level or service to be decreased in any way, shape or form.

“This is not something that’s being done only to Hampstead or only to Station 9,” added Steinberg. “There are a few different stations that are being merged. The whole reorganization is across the entire island and there are some logical, rational reasons for doing it. Nevertheless, we have expressed the concerns and we’re waiting for a response to that.”

Replying to the suggestion that Hampstead start launch its own police force, Steinberg said, “it’s illegal.” Under provincial law governing the Montreal Agglomeration, all municipalities must contribute for the upkeep of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montreal, which has a mandate to police the island.

Prior to delivering his monthly report, public security commissioner Abe Gonshor commented on the planned changes in policing policy. “We have taken into consideration the seriousness of the police department possibly closing the station,” he said. “We’re going to pursue this to make sure that service stays at the least the way it is, if not better.”

Cop shops set to merge

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Cop shops set to merge
Stations 11 and 9 could join together next year
BY MARTIN C. BARRY
Jan. 25, 2007

Police and elected officials in the West End have confirmed that a merger involving four local police stations could be taking place next year, affecting residents of Côte St. Luc, NDG and Côte des Neiges.

According to plans made public recently for the reduction of stations in the neighbourhood policing system set up a decade ago, Station 9 on Cavendish Boulevard in Côte St. Luc and Station 11 on Somerled Avenue in NDG would be merged at a new and larger location yet to be determined.

The police department wants to reduce the number of stations across the island from 39 to 32. In Côte des Neiges, stations 25 and 26 would be amalgamated into the island’s largest station. The combining of stations 9 and 11 would create the third-largest detachment, with about 100 officers.

Station 9 commander Sylvain Bissonnette told The Chronicle that the Côte St. Luc and NDG stations should remain in operation until the end of their leases in 2008. “One or the other doesn’t have the location to have those stations together,” he said. “We’re planning for the next year-and-a-half to make sure that by the end of the lease we’ll end up in a new location.”

Côte des Neiges-NDG mayor Michael Applebaum maintains the proposed mergers would free up more officers for patrol and other kinds of security duties. “The amalgamation of 25 and 26 would be the largest and the 11 and the 9 are not far beyond,” he said.

“The whole plan will be presented, there will be public consultation and then, of course, it has to go to city council to be accepted. There’s a process and it’s the police department who are putting that process in place.

“The objective here is to get the police department closer to the public and to ensure that there are more police officers out on the road doing their job,” he added. “Some people may be concerned about the closing of police stations, but I am open to that if it’s going to improve police services to the population.”

In Côte St. Luc, Councillor Glenn Nashen, the commissioner responsible for public safety, was contacted last week shortly before he was scheduled to discuss the issue with the commander of the police department’s West Division.

“The latest that I’ve been told is that no decisions have been made and no decisions will be made until all of the consultations take place with the local elected officials and possibly with community organizations,” said Nashen.

“No decision can be taken until a recommendation is made by the police service to the Public Security Commission that is part of the Agglomeration,” he added.

“Ultimately it’s the security commission that will, I guess, make recommendations to the executive committee of Montreal in consultation with the Agglomeration committee. They’re the decision-makers.”

Cop shops set to merge, Chronicle

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http://www.themonitor.ca/article-69447-Cop-shops-set-to-merge.html

Cop shops set to merge
Stations 11 and 9 could join together next year

January 25, 2007
BY MARTIN C. BARRY, West End Chronicle

Police and elected officials in the West End have confirmed that a merger involving four local police stations could be taking place next year, affecting residents of Côte St. Luc, NDG and Côte des Neiges.

According to plans made public recently for the reduction of stations in the neighbourhood policing system set up a decade ago, Station 9 on Cavendish Boulevard in Côte St. Luc and Station 11 on Somerled Avenue in NDG would be merged at a new and larger location yet to be determined.

The police department wants to reduce the number of stations across the island from 39 to 32. In Côte des Neiges, stations 25 and 26 would be amalgamated into the island’s largest station. The combining of stations 9 and 11 would create the third-largest detachment, with about 100 officers.

Station 9 commander Sylvain Bissonnette told The Chronicle that the Côte St. Luc and NDG stations should remain in operation until the end of their leases in 2008. “One or the other doesn’t have the location to have those stations together,” he said. “We’re planning for the next year-and-a-half to make sure that by the end of the lease we’ll end up in a new location.”

Côte des Neiges-NDG mayor Michael Applebaum maintains the proposed mergers would free up more officers for patrol and other kinds of security duties. “The amalgamation of 25 and 26 would be the largest and the 11 and the 9 are not far beyond,” he said.

“The whole plan will be presented, there will be public consultation and then, of course, it has to go to city council to be accepted. There’s a process and it’s the police department who are putting that process in place.

“The objective here is to get the police department closer to the public and to ensure that there are more police officers out on the road doing their job,” he added. “Some people may be concerned about the closing of police stations, but I am open to that if it’s going to improve police services to the population.”

In Côte St. Luc, Councillor Glenn Nashen, the commissioner responsible for public safety, was contacted last week shortly before he was scheduled to discuss the issue with the commander of the police department’s West Division.

“The latest that I’ve been told is that no decisions have been made and no decisions will be made until all of the consultations take place with the local elected officials and possibly with community organizations,” said Nashen.

“No decision can be taken until a recommendation is made by the police service to the Public Security Commission that is part of the Agglomeration,” he added.

“Ultimately it’s the security commission that will, I guess, make recommendations to the executive committee of Montreal in consultation with the Agglomeration committee. They’re the decision-makers.”

CSL council agrees to pay MMC $700,000 fee

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CSL council agrees to pay MMC $700,000 fee
Councillors Kovac and Nashen only dissenting votes on big-ticket bill
BY MARTIN C. BARRY
West End Chronicle
January 16, 2007

Côte St. Luc city council has agreed to pay the Montreal Metropolitan Community a fee that is larger than the City’s annual budget for public security.

The MMC, a governing body whose purpose has been questioned in other Montreal-area communities, is one of several layers of regional administration the Province created over the past seven years, in conjunction with the Agglomeration Council and the aborted municipal merger scheme.

While the Agglomeration Council coordinates major municipal services for Montreal Island, the lesser-known MMC has a much vaguer mandate to encourage long-term plans for the development of a wide swath of the greater Montreal region.

It operates on a budget of nearly $100 million annually. Côte St. Luc’s MMC payment for 2007 – the first installment of which was passed by council last Monday – totals around $700,000. Meanwhile, Côte St. Luc allocates about $600,000 each year for its public security needs.

Councillors Ruth Kovac and Glenn Nashen, who earned a reputation on the pre-merger city council for voting together on many issues, decided last Monday evening to stand out as the only councillors opposing the decision to pay the bill.

Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, another veteran councillor with a long history of voting in tandem with Kovac and Nashen, did not join them this time. “What does the MMC do?” Baily Road resident Avrum Shtern asked Mayor Anthony Housefather during question period.

“I mean, it sounds to me like a bureaucratic nightmare. Does it do anything? Couldn’t we just convince those guys who forced the merger on us to use the money for essential services? … $700,000 can go a long way for public security or fire or parks.”

Housefather said he agreed the MMC is highly bureaucratized. “I have no idea of what they’re giving us,” he said.

While pointing out that Montreal islanders are paying a large part of the bill for extending the Metro to Laval, he

added that it would be more appropriate for a division of regional costs to be worked out equitably.

Explaining her reasons for voting against the MMC payment, as she also did last year, Kovac said, “For me it’s another layer of government that hasn’t produced any results and I resent the costs that are implicated.” She said MMC staff hadn’t produced anything over the past year, other than a document issued in French only. “So I’m not served by it and therefore I will vote against it continuously.”

Nashen gave two reasons for his opposing vote. “I don’t really see the value of the $700,000 that we invest on an annual basis,” he said. While acknowledging that two suburban mayors sit on the MMC, Nashen said no information comes back that he’s aware of. “I think that the level of taxation is not commensurate with the representation that we have.”

2007-01-17-mmc-payment

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