CP negative on CSL yards residential development

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Canadian Pacific responded negatively to a study released by students from McGill’s School of Urban Planning on the potential for a residential development in the Canadian Pacific railyards in Côte St. Luc, should CP ever vacate the land.

That land is where a Cavendish Blvd link would partially be located. The study was commissioned by the Coalition for the Relocation of St. Luc Rail Yards, among whose members is Côte St. Luc mayoral candidate Robert Libman. The feasibility report was presented to Côte St. Luc council, who forwarded it to CP.

During the August council meeting, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein made public a letter to him by Tony Marquis, CP’s senior vice-president, Operations East Region.

Marquis wrote that the St. Luc Yard in Côte St. Luc is a “critical component” of its rail network.

“The McGill student report… is not a feasibility study on a proposed relocation of CP’s St. Luc Yard, but rather a study of a possible alternative urban plan for the land presently occupied by the yard,” Marquis wrote. “The study offers no serious analysis of the numerous and complex factors associated with railway operations, rail capacity needs present and future, or the strategic location of the St. Luc Yard for CP as well as the larger national network.”

Marquis wrote that right now, there is no “business rationale to support CP relocating this yard to another site.”

Brownstein commented that he has a positive relationship with CP, and Marquis in particular and that the CP official himself had brought up the possibility of the yards moving to Les Cedres, west of Montreal.

“It’s not easy to do, but if we work and put our minds together and work in a collaborative fashion, it could perhaps one day be achieved,” the mayor said.

“Honey does more than vinegar, so the relationship I’ve built with CP allows us to work closely and find solutions,” the mayor added.

Libman told The Suburban he has a copy of the letter from Marquis.

“When I was mayor, I worked very closely with CP on reducing some of the irritants emanating from the rail yards,” the candidate said. “But in 2017, from an urban planning point of view, from an economic point of view, it is completely illogical that these yards, located at the geographic epicentre of the island of Montreal, occupying over 22 million square feet of extremely valuable land, should remain where they are, stifling the potential of the city. Occupying one-third of Côte St. Luc territory, it also impacts our residents as far as noise and access is concerned, and poses a potential security risk.”

Brownstein replied that the CP letter speaks for itself and that Marquis reiterated his points at a meeting the two had Aug. 13.

“He reiterated that the only stakeholder that would help move this matter forward would be a serious developer with the financial capacity to deal with such a large project,” the mayor told The Suburban. “The letter is very clear as to the relocation feasibility studies that would then be required.”

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Rail Safety Week is about safety around railway property

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CP Rail locomotives pass trough Cote Saint-Luc every day. Stay away. Stay safe.

From April 24 through April 30, Canadian Pacific CP will conduct rail safety blitzes in communities across their network – from Montreal to Vancouver – with participation from police agencies and schools to educate motorists, pedestrians and the general public about staying safe.

“When people use railway property or tracks as walking paths, they are risking their lives,” said Laird Pitz, CP’s Vice President and Chief Risk Officer. “Rail safety requires vigilance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We are asking everyone to consider their own safety around railroad property. The impact of an incident can have tragic consequences for all concerned, including family, friends and community.”

CP is proud to be the safest railway in North America, with the fewest reportable train accidents per million train miles among all Class 1 railroads for 11 years straight.

No space for kids or teens to squeeze through at Westminster evacuation gates

While we are pleased that crossing incidents declined in Canada last year, a sharp rise in trespassing incidents means we must continue to do more. Tragically, 46 pedestrians and 19 drivers lost their lives in these preventable incidents. This is in comparison to 31 pedestrian and 14 driver lives in 2015.

CP believes that one incident is too many. That is why they are working tirelessly, along with their community partners, to promote safety in and around railway property throughout Canada.

Cote Saint-Luc is surrounded by CP Rail yards and tracks. CSL Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and the entire City Council remind our residents to stay safe, to keep out of the rail yards and off of their tracks. Report any damaged or missing fences along railway property. Most importantly, take the opportunity to remind children of the extreme danger in ignoring these vital safety tips.

CP Rail Police patrol in the St. Luc Yards and will issue a hefty fine to trespassers

 

·         Did you know this week marks Canada’s Rail Safety Week? Remember to Look and Listen to Live!

·         This week we’re joining @CanadianPacific and all Canadian railways in reminding people to make smart decisions around tracks and trains

·         Scary stats: In 2016, 46 pedestrians and 19 drivers tragically lost their lives in preventable rail incidents

·         Always practice situational awareness around tracks and trains to keep yourself safe

·         This Rail Safety Week, choose the safe route to school or work and stick to it. Don’t let a shortcut cut your life short

·         If you use railway property or tracks as walking paths, you risk your life. Always use designated paths and crossings

·         This Rail Safety Week, speak to your children about dangers at level crossings and railway property

 

 

For more social media content, visit Operation Lifesaver’s website at www.oplifesaver.ca

Urban coyotes spotted in CSL

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There have been reports of coyote sightings in Côte Saint-Luc. The recent sighting (October 2016) was behind homes on Holland, near the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks.

Typically, coyotes are present along the gullies next to railroad tracks. In fact, CP has a program in place to trap coyotes, but it only starts on October 25, which is when hunting season opens in Quebec.

Urban coyotes do not feast on pets and garbage; they typically stick to a natural diet.

Due to sensationalist reporting, many urban residents think all coyotes are out to eat their dog or cat at the first opportunity or that they’re dumpster divers of the first degree. On the contrary, studies have shown that urban coyotes stick mainly to a natural diet.

According to wildlife experts, there are things people can do to discourage coyotes from entering back yards or private property.

Discourage coyotes from entering your property by removing brush piles or areas that may be perceived as a resting place or den.

Don’t feed coyotes. Ensure garbage, bird feed, and pet food is inaccessible. Avoid leaving food from fruit trees on the ground.

Keep pets attended and on leash. Supervise animals when they are in the yard. Cats should not be permitted to roam freely.
Do not turn your back on, or run from, a coyote. Stand tall, wave your arms and make lots of noise.

Trapping and killing or relocating urban coyotes does not reduce the overall population of coyotes.

A common reaction from urban and suburban residents when they learn coyotes are living in their areas is to ask for the removal of the coyotes, either through lethal means or by trapping and relocating them. However, animal control officers have learned through a lot of experience that this in NOT only a lot harder to do than it sounds, but does nothing to reduce the number of coyotes living in an area. In fact, it has the opposite effect.

Watch this video from the Town of Oakville for more useful information showing how to scare coyotes away from your property.

 

 

For more information visit the CSL website.

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City of Côte-St-Luc eyes CP rail yards for development

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Shaun Michaud, Montreal Gazette

The Canadian Pacific rail yards take up about one-third of Côte St-Luc — land that the city would like to re-purpose.
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein says owning that land “would be a great boon for the city,” which “desperately needs” the land for housing and business development. 
The railway company has owned the land well over 100 years, and Brownstein said CP could make a profit by selling. 
“I do believe that it’s a reality that could happen in the next five to 10 years with the proper plan,” the mayor said in an interview with the Montreal Gazette, adding developments similar to the future Quinze40 shopping complex in Town of Mount Royal and a residential redevelopment of the former Blue Bonnets racetrack on Décarie Blvd. in the Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough could increase the value of the rail yard land.

Brownstein, who has been in office since April, said during that time he has met with CP to discuss moving the train yard off island to Les Cèdres near Vaudreuil, and that the company wouldn’t be opposed to the idea as long as a reasonable development project were proposed. Brownstein said CP could make a financial gain by selling the land and relocating. 
But the Coalition for the Relocation of the St-Luc Rail Yards — a non-profit organization led by a former mayor of Côte-St-Luc and former MNA for D’Arcy-McGee, Robert Libman — says city hall isn’t doing enough, “and this is why citizens felt the need to create something to make it happen.”
“(The rail yards) are located at the geographic epicentre of the island of Montreal,” said Libman, an architect and real estate lobbyist. “It’s somewhat of an obstacle to economic development.”
If train operations were moved off the island, Libman said, Côte-St-Luc would find itself with 2.04 million square metres (though the city estimated it at 1.6 million square metres) of land in a prime location, which he valued at least $1 billion. Libman, who now runs Libcorp, an urban-planning consulting firm, said he has no intention of becoming personally involved in developing the land.
“The even number I used was based on the relative value of residential land in that area, which about $50 a square foot,” he said in an interview.
The city said it couldn’t confirm the land’s potential value. Potential developers would buy the land directly from CP.  
“Côte-St-Luc has right now the second-highest tax rate on the island,” Libman said. “And one way to expand Côte-St-Luc’s tax base would be to allow the rail yards to leave.”
Libman’s coalition has asked a class of graduate students at McGill University’s School of Urban Planning to come up with a redevelopment plan and feasibility study for moving the yards, including possible decontamination. In the meantime, the coalition sent a letter to CP Rail in mid-July to present its vision. CP hasn’t responded yet, Libman said. 
***

The CP rail yard in Côte-St-Luc is one of largest in Canada, linking Eastern Canada to the West and the United States. A variety of products, including wood, chemicals, plastic, metals, minerals, consumer products and oil pass through the yards, which also border St-Laurent, Lachine and the CN-owned Taschereau yards. 
Since the Lac-Mégantic disaster of 2013, which saw 47 people killed after a runaway oil train jumped the tracks and blew up in the centre of town, several cities have expressed concern about hazardous materials being shipped through their territories by rail. 
Libman’s group call the rail yards in Côte-St-Luc “a threat to safety and security” because of the dangerous elements that are handled there.
Mauricio Guitta lives on Wentworth Ave. close to the freight cars. He considers the move a welcome proposal. 
“My friend … he (lives) right in front of the trains. The whole house shakes and the lights shake and everything,” he said.
Still, not everyone in the neighbourhood agrees.
Yao Liu said he’d never heard of the idea and would rather keep the yards because they block off traffic and provide security to the family-friendly area.
“We don’t have a lot of traffic on our side,” he said. “Even in summertime when I open the windows, I hear nothing.”
The city’s communications manager, Darryl Levine, said the city would work with developers by re-zoning parts of the new district for both residential and commercial buildings. He added that Côte-St-Luc hopes property taxes from new business and homeowners would make up for losing revenue from CP’s property taxes CP.
As well, Levine said, the rail yards have for years stalled progress on a plan to connect Cavendish Blvd. from Côte St-Luc to St-Laurent.
“You have to build an overpass to go over all the tracks that are in the CP rail yard and you may also have to build an underpass beneath some of them and that’s hugely expensive,” Levine said. “It’s an important missing link in the road network.”
This summer, the city of Montreal put a reserve on a parcel of land adjacent to the yards necessary to build the missing link of Cavendish Blvd. and allay traffic woes in the area.
Yet the city would encourage potential developers to create a neighbourhood built around people rather than around cars, Levine said.
***
CP Rail would not confirm or deny holding relocation talks with Brownstein, but emailed The Montreal Gazette a pamphlet of its relocation policy, which describes the moving of rail lines out of a city as a “complex and serious issue,” requiring an extensive review to “determine the impact to customer service and the full cost to all stakeholders, which will be significant.”
Three Canadian prairie cities that are among the fastest growing metro centres in the country are similarly eyeing such spaces for development.
Regina is working on plans to redevelop the site of a former CP rail yard located in the heart of the city. Saskatoon is considering the possibility of relocating its rail yard. And the Manitoba provincial government even hired former Quebec premier Jean Charest to head a task force to analyze rail yard relocation efforts in Winnipeg. 
smichaud@postmedia.com
Twitter.com/shaun_mic

City of Côte-St-Luc lobbies Canadian Pacific to move its rail yards off island

CP ‘willing and interested’ to move St. Luc yards from CSL: Brownstein

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By Joel Goldenberg

The Suburban
Côte St. Luc mayor Mitchell Brownstein met very recently met with Canadian Pacific vice-president Mark Wallace to discuss the possibility of the railway moving the St. Luc yards, located in Côte St. Luc, off the island.
Brownstein was responding to council regular Irving Itman, who asked for information on his “favourite subject,” the long-awaited Cavendish Blvd. extension betwen Côte St. Luc and St. Laurent.
Brownstein met with Wallace, who is based in Ottawa, on July 8.
“Wallace came to see me, because he read in the media what was going on with respect to discussions between me and others about moving the yards,” the mayor said at the July 11 council meeting. “And he reiterated the fact that they’re willing to move the yards. They’re waiting for a project to come forward and there’s no need, in his opinion, for there to be an outcry from the public, because that’s not what is going to make it happen. What’s going to make it happen is the proper development proposal, and they’re completely ready and willing at this time, because they have land in Vaudreuil, to consider moving the yards.”
“What’s required to move the yards is a serious development plan that’s very financially interesting for CP Rail.”
Brownstein said Wallace asked him to “speak out, and let it be known that they’re willing and interested” to move the yards.
“He doesn’t need to know how many people in Côte St. Luc would want it, because he knows 34,000 people in Côte St. Luc would want it. It’s just a matter of the proper plan being presented.”
Brownstein and Wallace also discussed the Cavendish extension per se.
“He said that CP is in discussions with Montreal about [the city] purchasing CP land, and he will present his offer back to the Montreal agglomeration.”
Brownstein said he then spoke to Montreal executive committee chairman Pierre Desrochers about his meeting with Wallace.
“Desrochers assured me he’s looking forward to hearing back from CP, and that he will always be available to update me on the progress between CP and the City of Montreal. Desrochers told me he’s working with the provincial government on the other issues of funding.”
Brownstein vowed to ensure that all the parties involved in the extension issue keep talking to each other.
joel@thesuburban.com

CSL Mayor on first 100 days in office

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Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein gives a quick update on his first 100 days in office and on latest developments on Fleet Road, Cavendish extension, CP Rail, city events and staying in close contact with constituents.

Railway fire and explosions rock Cote Saint-Luc in Tabletop Exercise

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Emergency service leaders, city service directors, elected officials and community partners ‘raced’ to Cote Saint-Luc City Hall’s Emergency Operations Centre Thursday morning for a mock rail disaster. The exercise was coordinated by Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson in conjunction with Montreal Agglomeration’s Public Safety Centre.

The live action exercise included Montreal agglomeration police and fire services, Urgences Santé ambulance services, CP Police, West-Central Montreal Health, Federation CJA’s community security branch along with all services in the city of CSL.

CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson oversees the Emergency Operations Centre

The scenario involved an overnight train derailment that resulted in a fire and explosion, just east of the Westminster underpass, affecting 250 residents requiring immediate evacuation. Water and electricity was cut off. City personnel established an evacuation centre at the aquatic and community centre on Parkhaven at Mackle. Reichson gave orders to all service directors to huddle and coordinate with their first responders and personnel.

As city councillor responsible for emergency preparedness I can attest that it is evident why CSL is renowned for its level of readiness. The ongoing training, testing and preparing are well worth the investment in time and resources.

Police Commander Jean O’Malley confers with Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson. Executive Assistant Tammy McEwan keeps tabs on all decisions.

In this mock scenario I served as official spokesperson for the city in partnership with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, and neighboring municipalities and boroughs. A mock press conference was set up to inform our residents.

Several issues arose for the members of the Emergency Operations Centre to deal with on an urgent basis including diminished air quality, wind direction, sheltering of animals, providing kosher and non-kosher food, evacuation of mobility reduced residents and babies, registering residents willing to take in evacuees, distribution of drinking water and more.

Director Jordy Reichson consults with Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen

Participants dealt with a spreading power outage affecting the whole city. Traffic lights were out. Expectations were two days to restore all to normal.

The three hour scenario demonstrated the participant’s ease in dealing with unraveling urgent situations and in collaborating around the table to ensure the safety of our residents. Discussions, swinging back and forth effortlessly in French and English, flowed smoothly and in a spirit if great cooperation.

Montreal Fire Department Division Chief Martin Ferland and Police Commander Jean O’Malley update the leaders in the Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Operations Centre

Cote Saint-Luc residents can take pride in knowing that their emergency, city and community services along with mayor and councillors hold these exercises from time to time and place such a high priority in testing their skills and readiness. Through these exercises improvements and adjustments can be made, professional skills developed and relationships enhanced to be well prepared for the real deal.

On behalf of our residents, thank you to our dedicated leaders around the tabletop mock disaster. Your commitment to emergency services and to our residents and community is exemplary and greatly appreciated. Thank you to Sid-Ali Talbi of Centre de sécurité civile de Montréal and CSL Public Safety Chief Philippe Chateauvert and kudos to Jordy Reichson for his leadership in orchestrating a successful demonstration and return to normalcy for our city.

Councillor Ruth Kovac and I have been involved in emergency preparedness in Cote Saint-Luc for 36 years. I was involved in EMO in the 1987 floods and we both participated in leading city services in the 1998 Ice Storm and in preparation for Y2K. We’ve taken part in many exercises over the years and we were very impressed in how these leaders came together to deal with a sudden, life-threatening crisis in a calm and professional manner.

We’re in good hands in Cote Saint-Luc!

For more information on emergency preparedness in Cote Saint-Luc and to learn what you can do to better prepare your own family please visit the CSL Emergency Preparedness page here or GetPrepared.ca.

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