CSL files motion to dismiss Meadowbrook developer’s $20 million lawsuit

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Suburban Newspaper, January 28h, 2015

Côte St. Luc filed a motion in Quebec Superior Court last year calling for the dismissal of a 15-year-old $20 million lawsuit brought by the developers of the Meadowbrook Golf Course against the city, Councillor Dida Berku told The Suburban Friday.

The motion to dismiss is expected to be heard in April. The original lawsuit was brought by previous developers when Côte St. Luc rezoned its portion of the golf course from residential to recreational.

The golf course is also in Lachine and part of Montreal West. The news of the dismissal motion comes as the Montreal city council and agglomeration council were expected to approve a land use and development plan this week changing the whole site’s designation from residential to recreational.

Groupe Pacific, the current developers of the golf course land, has already filed a $44 million lawsuit against Montreal, after plans for housing on the Lachine side were twice rejected by the city.

Regarding Côte St. Luc’s motion to dismiss, Berku pointed out that the developers’ lawsuit stayed in limbo for 14 years.

“Côte St. Luc made the call [to file a dismissal motion] last year when we found out about the $44 million lawsuit. We figured, we might as well get it to Superior Court and clear this up.
“The timing of this lawsuit was actually good, because it helps to crystallize the issues. The court will have to decide if it’s reasonable to wait 14 years on a motion to annul a zoning bylaw and on a motion to claim $20 million in damages. Our position is it’s an excessive delay and it should be dismissed.”

Groupe Pacific was not available for comment at press time.

Regarding Montreal’s land use designation change, Berku said that the mayors of Côte St. Luc and Montreal West, and those in Montreal “responsible for the planning and green space portfolios, will be meeting to further our common strategy, to see how to deal with this dossier.

“But what’s most encouraging, and what’s different today than before this decision was made, was the commitment, the undertaking Mayor Coderre made, that we will see this through and work together for a common purpose.
“He made the right and courageous decision, in the best public interest. The green space will serve not only the immediate neighbourhood, but the entire island of Montreal.”

Côte St. Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather was thrilled with the news of the land use designation.
“Protecting Meadowbrook has been something I and the council members, particularly Dida Berku, have been advocating for decades and was one of my key election promises in 2005 the first time I ran for mayor and a key element of the 2006 Côte St. Luc Strategic Plan,” he said.

Montreal West Mayor Beny Masella said the news is great for his town and the island as a whole.
“Zoning Meadowbrook as green space will help move Montreal closer to its goals of preserving an important percentage of land on the island,” Masella said

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Bowser and Blue – 10 years after demerger

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CSL demerger co-chairs, 10 years later: Mitchell Brownstein, Anthony Housefather, Glenn J. Nashen, Ruth Kovac

CSL demerger co-chairs, 10 years later: Mitchell Brownstein, Anthony Housefather, Glenn J. Nashen, Ruth Kovac (Photo Elaine Brownstein)

Bright sunshine greeted hundreds of happy residents of Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West last Sunday at the concert marking the 10 year anniversary of the demerger from the megacity. The feature performers were political-comic-balladeers Bowser and Blue.

The mayors and councillors took to the stage to revel in regaining their cities and touted the virtues of lower taxes, better services and happier residents than during the PQ government imposed four-year mega-merger fiasco.

Mayor Anthony Housefather is joined by councillors and Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg and Montreal West Mayor Beny Masela to celebrate 10 years of demerger from Montreal mega-city

Mayor Anthony Housefather is joined by councillors and Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg and Montreal West Mayor Beny Masela to celebrate 10 years of demerger from Montreal mega-city (Photo Elaine Brownstein)

George Bowser and Rick Blue entertained in their usual, clever and witty way, poking fun at Anglophones, Francophones, Montrealers, Quebecers and Canadians. They laughed at Montreal’s state of street repairs and crumbling overpasses, the Champlain Bridge and at our various accents and unique ways of saying Bonjour/Hi to begin a conversation with strangers.

 

George Bowser and Rick Blue perform in CSL Trudeau Park

George Bowser and Rick Blue perform in CSL Trudeau Park (Photo Peter Dascal)

Last week the three communities placed blue ribbons along their main streets as a reminder of the campaign that took place a decade earlier whereby the ribbons served as a symbol for those seeking to demerge. Then Borough Councillor Anthony Housefather served with Mitchell Brownstein, Ruth Kovac and myself as the CSL Demerger co-chairs. We worked tirelessly, with an army of dedicated volunteers, in an election-style battle like we had never seen.

Mayors Beny Masela (Montreal West), Bill Steinberg (Hampstead), Anthony Housefather (Cote Saint-Luc, Peter Trent (Westmount)

Mayors Beny Masela (Montreal West), Bill Steinberg (Hampstead), Anthony Housefather (Cote Saint-Luc), Peter Trent (Westmount) (Photo Elaine Brownstein)

Despite the difficulties the Liberal government introduced to regain our cities we succeeded with a successful referendum with the yes vote placing in the high 90% range. Cote Saint-Luc and its neighbouring towns, along with a handful of other suburbs were legally demerged from Montreal to carry on as autonomous municipalities, as was the case for nearly a century.

 

CBC News

Montreal West trying to make drivers respect stop signs

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BY ANDY RIGA, THE GAZETTE NOVEMBER 4, 2013

Q. Are the new sidewalk extensions on Westminster Ave. N. in Montreal West an error? My theory is the people who designed them and the person who contracted it miscommunicated. They appear to have been made too wide. Cars can’t even make the turn safely from the side street going north onto Westminster because it is next to impossible to not cross over the line into ongoing traffic, forget about any larger vehicle. Buses and large trucks now hit the curb.

Maria Roberts

A. There was no error, says Montreal West Mayor Beny Masella. He said the sidewalks are being widened at two intersections – where Westminster meets Curzon and Parkside Sts. – to get drivers to stop at stop signs. The project cost $140,000.

During public consultations in 2008, residents complained about lead-foot drivers on the street, Masella said.

“The cars were just not stopping,” he said. “We’re not talking about rolling stops – the old-fashioned American stops – we’re talking about people not even slowing down, just going through the stop signs.”

Westminster splits Montreal West in two. “All the recreation locations and all the schools are on the west side so I have a lot of people crossing that street,” Masella said.

The town called in a traffic engineer, whose sidewalk-extension plan was validated by another engineer, Masella said.

Thanks to the new extensions, cars driving either north or south on Westminster now have to slow down and stop when they reach Curzon and Parkside. “Because the extensions are in your way, you cannot continue in a straight line you have to curve around them,” Masella said.

Having the curb jut out into the street also makes pedestrians more visible.

“Pedestrians are moved away from the background, you see them better,” Masella said. “And it shortens the distance that they’re in the middle of the street. Before pedestrians were crossing four lanes, now they’re only crossing two.”

New markings on the road make it clear where cars turning from side streets have to be when they’re turning, he added. Cars have a full lane to turn into.

Some residents fear the new curb extensions won’t be visible in winter but Masella said he does not expect problems because Westminster is the first road that gets cleared after snowfalls.

“If three or four months down the line we see we’ve made the situation worse, we’ll fix it,” Masella said. “It’s nothing to shave them back a bit. I’m not saying I’m God and that everything the council does is right. If we made a mistake we can always fix it. It’s just concrete.”

Another major problem on Westminster has to do with train tracks that cross the street just south of Sherbrooke St. Dozens of commuter trains a day set off railway-crossing barriers, backing up traffic on Westminster, Sherbrooke and many nearby cross streets.

The Agence métropolitaine de transport has been studying ways to alleviate the problem, which is expected to worsen as new train departures are added.

Masella said the AMT is expected to reveal results of the study to the town soon.

Options include a car overpass or underpass but Masella said those options aren’t feasible because they would destroy Westminster’s business district.

“You can’t change the grade of the road,” he said. “The town’s position is the only acceptable solution there is to put the tracks down into a trench.”

Whatever option is chosen, a proposed fix is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars, money that the AMT currently doesn’t have.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Large crowd rallies against ‘Charter of shame’

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“We’re not going anywhere. We’re staying!”

These ominous words uttered by Mayor Anthony Housefather echoed off the walls of Cote Saint-Luc city hall in an impassioned speech that delighted the crowd.

Major personalities to take the microphone included Rabbis Chaim Steinmetz and Reuben Poupko, Father Peter Laviolette and Mayors Bill Steinberg of Hampstead and Beny Masella of Montreal West.

Housefather gave an electrically charged plea to about 700 enthusiastic residents who cheered him on in great support before he even uttered his first word.

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather addresses the large crowd

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather addresses the large crowd

“This is an odious bill that sends a message that some Quebecers are more equal than others,” Housefather said. “This is not the charter of most Canadians, most Quebecers or most Cote Saint-Lucers,” the mayor added saying that the government can remain secular. with equality between men and women without needing such legislation.

“We can light the Christmas tree and the menorah in front of city hall, we can employ staff wearing hijabs, kippas, turbans or crosses, and none of this interferes with offering excellent services at fair rates to our taxpayers,” said Housefather. The mayor added that the city will never fire anyone for displaying their religious convictions and that we will go to court to fight this bill should it ever become law.

2013-12-01-Chanukah-in-CSL-2013-010.JPG

“Some people have asked why as a city we are speaking out against the Charter,” said Mayor Anthony Housefather. “City government has an absolute right to speak out against the charter. Our council is unanimous in opposing it and, in fact, each and every city on the Montreal island has adopted positions against the charter. We are against the charter because it is a violation of both the Canadian and Quebec Charters of Rights and international treaties Canada has signed. It would reduce religious and linguistic freedoms in Quebec as the primacy of French is also bundled into the charter. In the same way CSL led the fight in opposing Bill 14 which would have reduced our residents linguistic rights we will also lead the fight against this charter. Indeed the charter is a municipal issue as it impacts our employees and how the municipality operates including forcing elected officials to adopt policies against their conscience.”

Photo Pascal Dumont

Photo Pascal Dumont

Housefather ended with a poignant reminder citing former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s famous quote that the ‘State has no business in the bedrooms of Canadians’. “Well, I say that the state has no business in the wardrobe of Canadians,” the mayor emphasized, to wild applaud.

Mayor Bill Steinberg announced his council was set to adopt a resolution after the rally vowing to ignore and to fight Bill 60 if it were ever to be adopted into law.

Photo Pascal Dumont

Photo Pascal Dumont

Rabbi Steinmetz, the spiritual leader of Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation, worried aloud that a year ago he would never have thought twice about wearing his kippah elsewhere in Quebec. Today, he would be worried for his children’s safety to wear a kippah outside of Montreal.  He referred to Bill 60 as the “Charter of darkness”. “It is destructive and divisive,” he said. “This is cheap demagoguery. A ploy to get better results at the ballot box.”

Citing the civil disobedience movement of Martin Luther King, the rabbi added, “We are here not just to oppose it Bill 60, but to deny its legitimacy. We will never respect this law. If it is ever passed, we will deny it and undermine it. We will act with civil disobedience and follow the lead of the Jewish General Hospital.”

2013-12-01-Chanukah-in-CSL-2013-006.JPG

After Father Laviolette’s remarks and illumination of the Christmas tree, the St. Richard’s choir sang Christmas songs in English and Italian and ended off on a unique and hugely appreciated rendition of: “We wish you a happy Chanukah.”

Rabbi Poupko of Congregation Beth Israel Beth Aaron added in, “I am glad they did not sing Silent Night. History has taught us that when rights are being trampled we must never remain silent.”

Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler was unable to attend the rally, but he sent a message calling Bill 60 ‘the Charter of shame’.

Mayor Masella acknowledged that while our communities have not elected PQ MNAs, “we need to tell the CAQ and the Liberals that there is no common ground here.”

After the rally, the large crowd moved over to the giant menorah where Chabad Rabbi Mendel Raskin, just back from his native Casablanca, Morocco, and Rabbi David Cohen led them in song and celebration.

The view from up above. The crowd spills into Cavendish Blvd. as lomos wait to begin the parade.

My view from up above as a light the giant menorah. The crowd spills into Cavendish Blvd. as limos wait to begin the parade.

I was privileged, as the Deputy Mayor, to climb into the ‘cherry picker’ to be hoisted up to the top of the menorah to light the six ‘candles’ (for night six of Chanukah) and sing the traditional blessings. The view was amazing from 30 or 40 feet in the air and I stated over the loudspeakers, “I hope Mme. Marois can see us lighting this menorah in Quebec City! These lights of freedom and celebration should shine bright across our province.”

In Chabad tradition, jelly-filled donuts were passed around along with dreydles and Chanukah-gelt (Chocolate coins) and several youngsters were chosen to ride in limousines – with illuminated Chanukah menorahs atop their roofs – through the streets of Côte Saint-Luc, holiday melodies blaring for all too hear.

Watch Global News from CSL

Watch CBC News from CSL (advance to 5 minute mark)

Watch CTV News from CSL (first news item)

Des juifs et des chrétiens de Côte-Saint-Luc se révoltent contre la Charte (Huffington Post)

Hampstead council votes unanimously to condemn Bill 60 values charter (Montreal Gazette)

Cote Saint Luc, Hampstead, Universities denounce Charter (CTV News)

West-end mayors vow to defy values charter | The Canadian Jewish News.

Cllr. Mitchell Brownstein on Global Montreal

Change needed at CSL-MoWest intersection: MoWest resident

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Change needed at CSL-MoWest intersection: MoWest resident

CSL engineering dept. recommends simple stop at corner: Housefather

Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

January 23, 2013

The flashing lights stop signal at Westminster and Westover in Côte St. Luc should be dismantled and replaced with a walk signal to improve pedestrian safety, council regular Daniel Markuze told Montreal West council at the late November meeting.

The signal is located north of the Westminster hump, right at the border with Montreal West, and has been in operation since 1963.

“Right now, they’re just flashing and it’s an accident waiting to happen,” he added. “The problem is for pedestrians. We need something where you press a button and its all right for people to cross. It’s needed especially for older people. It’s dangerous there.”

Mayor Beny Masella said Montreal West originally shared the cost with Côte St. Luc to install the flashing light signal. “Côte St. Luc, from what we’re understanding, is not sure they want to replace the lights completely, which is a $200,000 job, or just to change the controller, which is a $50,000 to $60,000 job. We’ve told them we’d probably be willing to participate in the costs. They’ve done a traffic study at the intersection, they’ve collected their data and it was supposed to be presented to their council. We asked that it be presented to our council to see if all of this is warranted. We’re waiting for that data [regarding traffic volume] to get back to us so we can make a decision how we can participate.”

Côte St. Luc mayor Anthony Housefather told The Suburban Friday that his city has done traffic counts at that intersection “and intends to leave this as a flashing light stop sign for now.

“All information we have is being shared with Montreal West,” the mayor explained. “The costs of this light, which are at the border of the two communities, were originally shared between the communities but Côte St. Luc has been maintaining it since installation. The costs of repairing the controller or replacing the light are not justified based on the assessment by our engineering department of the traffic at that intersection and they recommend using a simple stop. If Montreal West has other suggestions we will certainly consider them.”

Côte St. Luc Councillor Steven Erdelyi, who represents the area, said Montreal West originally installed the lights and Côte St. Luc helped pay for them and later, Côte St. Luc was in charge of their maintenance. Erdelyi said the current lights are 49 years old and need major work, and traffic studies have shown a 10 to one ratio between cars travelling on Westminster and cars on Westover. He said the data indicates a traffic light would not be necessary there, and that a regular or flashing stop sign are options. In comparison, at Côte St. Luc and Westminster where there is a button-controlled crossing such as what Markuze requested, “The ratio is roughly half and half between cars going on [the two streets]. Based on criteria from the Ministry of Transport, it doesn’t seem it’s necessary to have the traffic light” at Westover and Westminster.

Cavendish extension plans push forward

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Cavendish extension plans push forward

Posted By: CJAD news@cjad.com · 8/13/2012 5:48:00 PM

The Quebec Liberals today raised an idea that politicians have been talking about for decades.

No less than five west-end Liberal candidates are touting the project, four of them on hand in Cote St. Luc this afternoon to discuss extending Cavendish boulevard, beyond Cote St. Luc, and into St. Laurent: Lawrence Bergman from D’Arcy-McGee, Jean-Marc Fournier from Saint-Laurent, Kathleen Weil from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, and Pierre Arcand from Mont-Royal. Raymond Bachand from Outremont could not be there for the announcement.

There was no timetable or estimated cost. But what is on the table is the political will from the Liberal candidates to work with the city of Montreal to finally get the Cavendish extension done.

That commitment includes putting some of the government share of the profits of the sale of the Hippodrome land towards the project.

Liberal candidate for St. Laurent, Jean-Marc Fournier told reporters that the commitment to some of the funding was key to help convince and entice Montreal to push the project along.

“We could put a portion of it, we hope the best part. It’s up to the negotiation. We don’t want to take the decision from Montreal,” Fournier said.

St. Laurent borough mayor and Montreal executive committee vice-chairman Alan de Sousa said it’s a positive announcement.

“That’s a very important component of the puzzle and I can only be happy about that,” de Sousa told reporters.

But de Sousa said they still have to work out the details with the Transport Ministry.

Photo: Shuyee Lee (CJAD), Illustration: City of Cote St. luc

West End MNAs and Mayors, including D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman and Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, at press conference announcing Cavendish link

CSL mayor favours right on red

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By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

June 6, 2012

Côte Saint-Luc mayor Anthony Housefather, speaking for himself and not his council as a whole, supports allowing right turns on red lights on the island of Montreal. “I favour it because it is simply logical,” Housefather says. “There is no reason the island of Montreal should be different than everywhere else in North America. If there are downtown arteries where right on red should not exist or other arteries where it should not be allowed because of danger — perhaps Kildare/Cavendish for us — each city should just put up a sign saying no right on red at that intersection. If it ever came up for a vote at the agglomeration council I would certainly vote in favour of allowing right on red.”

But Montreal West mayor Beny Masella does not believe Montrealers are ready for right turns on red. His town, with perhaps one exception at the border with Côte St. Luc, does not even have a traffic light — not even the busy part of the commercial district of Westminster near the rail crossing.

But in terms of right on red in general for the island, “not yet. I don’t think we’re at the point where we can deal with it properly. “We’re not even stopping at pedestrian crosswalks yet, so if we think we can go when we have pedestrians crossing, that makes me a little nervous. I’d like to see us a bit more conscientious about stopping at the crosswalks when there’s a pedestrian there, and then we’ll go to the next step. Off the island might be a different story — there’s a lot less crosswalks. I’m not there yet to say I support right on red.”

In terms of other big cities, Masella said he was recently in the U.S. and saw how a car automatically stopped when a pedestrian was crossing a crosswalk. “I’d love to see us enforcing the rule about stopping for pedestrians on crosswalks, and then we could take the next step.”

In my opinion:  Mayor Housefather certainly speaks for me too.  It is ridiculous that a motorist may turn right on red in Laval, Quebec City or for that matter St. Sauveur, but cannot in Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead or Pointe Claire.  Put up a “No turn on red” wherever city’s determine those intersections are too congested and leave the other 99% to flow freely.

As for Mayor Masella’s point about not stopping for pedestrians in crosswalk, police should start ticketing. Our lax enforcement on pedestrian safety in Quebec is nothing short of shameful.

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