CSL to relook at tempo policy

By Joel Goldenberg
The Suburban
November 18, 2009

Côte St. Luc will take a new look at its policy restricting temporary garages, after an appeal by resident and former cable TV broadcaster Jay Rubinstein at last week’s city council meeting.

Some municipalities ban or restrict tempos because they are thought to be unsightly. Rubinstein was speaking on behalf of himself and his neighbour, who is recovering from cancer surgery. He also pointed out, “I’ve lived in the same house in Côte St. Luc for 54 years, with a wretched basement garage and whether I hire a snow removal firm or clean the driveway myself, it’s difficult to go up the driveway because of the slippery conditions after a snowfall,” Rubinstein said. “There is no service that will remove the accumulation of snow on the top of the car.

“I am 76-years of age, we have two cars, each parked in the driveways without shelter. There is no solution for us other than to erect a tempo shelter. Concerning the appearance, nothing is uglier than the dirty snow blown on my lawn by the city. This is Montreal, this is Quebec, this is where the snow falls and we need all the help we can get. I am asking to be granted permission immediately, as an exception, to be able to erect it. I really can’t get up the driveway anymore.

Mayor Anthony Housefather said the city does not want tempos for aesthetic and other reasons, but has allowed them since the early 1990s in cases where residents have no garage. The mayor also said that the way the bylaw is written, council does not have the discretion to grant an exemption “for hardship or any other reason. We would have to change the bylaw.

“I can take this as a request for us to review the bylaw, and to see whether or not it should be changed to allow tempos in other circumstances. We will take it under advisement.”

Housefather also told Rubinstein that the bylaw may not be changed, if at all, in time for this winter, as there is a lengthy process involving a notice of motion and draft bylaws at successive council meetings.

Councillor Allan Levine told the meeting that he supports tempos, “even when there is or is not a garage.

“There are certain circumstances that warrant quality of life, especially when it comes to seniors or special vehicles, that a tempo might be necessary.

In my opinion: I was a proponent in the mid-90s to allow CSL homeowners without a garage to erect a tempo during the winter months.  I said then, as I do now, that tempos are, well –  ugly.  On the other hand, many will argue that winter can be rather ugly too – at least in the city.  I do not believe most homeowners in CSL would want to see a proliferation of these tent-like structures on their block.

What’s your opinion?  Please submit your comment below and indicate what street you live on and if you think allowing them everywhere in CSL is a good idea. Forward this blog post to your friends in CSL and ask them to comment too.  City Council will review the bylaw and I will send all comments to the Council for consideration.