New site now in the plans for new synagogue

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A register for a rezoning bylaw to enable a new synagogue to be created on Mackle Road by the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim was held on Thursday, June 15 at City Hall. 23 people signed the register. Only 17 were required to sign in order to call for a referendum.

The register was called for, under provincial law governing rezoning, after 33 out of 56 eligible residents signed a petition to demand the register a month earlier.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said if enough people sign the register, there will be no need for a referendum and, as a result, another location will have to be found for the synagogue.

The city wishes to help its residents and support its institutions. Given the results we will help the congregation to find a new location.

As the Councillor for the area (District 6) I believe it is important to keep our residents united and supportive of one another. I am confident that a better solution can be found to meet everyone’s needs.

Mayor Brownstein said he met with the residents and Rabbi Benoliol after the register closed and assured everyone that we shall work together as a community to find the congregation a more suitable place for them in our City.  The mayor said we are moving quickly to find solutions and all parties are pleased with our proactive approach and that he expects to be able to announce an excellent alternative shortly.  We are a beautiful, proud community that shall always find solutions to accommodate each other through consensus building, he said.

PROPOSED NEW SHUL DIVIDES LARGELY JEWISH MONTREAL SUBURB

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This architect’s drawing of the proposed synagogue of the Sephardic Kollel Avrechim Foundation has been submitted to the City of Côte St. Luc.

Côte-St-Luc, Que. will open a register on June 15, which will allow eligible residents to have their say on whether to force a referendum on the proposed construction of a new synagogue in their neighbourhood.

The register will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 5801 Cavendish Blvd., second floor, to residents of the two small municipal zones affected and the adjoining area.

A referendum would be the final word on the project. But Mayor Mitchell Brownstein made it clear that if the minimum of 17 people sign, which seems likely given the opposition expressed to the project, the city will not proceed to a referendum, as required by provincial law.

Instead, Brownstein said city council will withdraw its approval of the rezoning that would allow the Sephardic Kollel Avrechim Foundation to build on its lot on Mackle Road, next to the Quartier Cavendish shopping centre.

On May 29, Côte-St-Luc council voted 4-2 to approve the final version of a bylaw amending the zoning of the land from residential to institutional.

By the May 25 deadline, 33 of 56 eligible residents had signed a request that a register be opened, a necessary legal step in the process.

The mayor stressed that if approval is withdrawn, the city will help Kollel Avrechim find another location, to which its leadership has indicated it is open. Brownstein said several alternative sites are being considered.

“The congregation is important and deserves a home,” he said, “and we will continue to work with (it).”

Moreover, Brownstein said a referendum would cost the city at least $30,000 “for no reason.… There’s no chance of winning.”

The issue has been delicate because the Montreal suburb does not want to be seen as banning a synagogue, or any religious institution. The project’s opponents submitted a petition with about 70 signatures to city council.

The city’s population is at least 60 per cent Jewish and all nine council members are Jewish.

The final rezoning bylaw was moved by councillor Sidney Benizri and seconded by Allan Levine. The first draft of the bylaw was adopted in March and a second version earlier in May by a 5-2 vote.

Councillor Ruth Kovac, one of the two dissenters, said she voted against the rezoning bylaw “not because I am against any religious institution. This is strictly a zoning issue.”

She thinks the lot is too small, especially if the congregation expects that it will continue to grow. Kovac, who earlier noted that she is sensitive to this issue as the child of Holocaust survivors, offered to personally help the congregation find a “better location.”

She suggested they might be able to find a location that’s closer to where most of its members live.

Architectural plans submitted by the foundation are for a three-storey building. In addition to Quartier Cavendish, the site, bearing the civic address of 6790-6792 Mackle Rd., is close to the Beth Israel Beth Aaron synagogue.

Kollel Avrechim, led by Rabbi Yehuda Benoliel, has been operating out of a duplex on Parkhaven Avenue for almost 20 years.

Kovac said she regretted that this matter is being “dragged” out and that it is “unfair” to residents to have them for a third time affirm their disapproval (she counted the petition and the request for a register as the first two instances).

Councillor Glenn Nashen, who represents the district where the zones are located, said he would have voted for the rezoning bylaw, but was unable to attend the meeting.

He blogged that, like Kovac, he believes this issue is purely over zoning and has “nothing to do with religion or support for a synagogue.

“We are a city of many religions, languages and residents of all backgrounds, even if the majority are of the Jewish faith. Some are very religious, others somewhat and yet others traditional or secular. We all live in peace and harmony in respect of one another, which makes Côte St. Luc an incredible place to live and to raise a family. Let’s be sure to keep it this way.”

Opponents of the project have raised concerns about increased traffic, noise and parking problems. They fear a second synagogue next door would lower their property values and mean higher taxes, because religious institutions are exempt from taxation.

Quartier Cavendish has also voiced strong opposition, because it thinks that people using the synagogue, especially during special events, would park on its property.

Rabbi Benoliel has said that the congregation would be respectful of those living nearby, and that their needs were taken into account during the planning of the project. At the urging of Brownstein, the leaders met with neighbours to try to allay their worries.

CSL council votes 4-2 to enable synagogue register

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Côte St. Luc council voted 4-2 Monday night for a rezoning bylaw to enable a new synagogue to be created on Mackle Road, even though it is being generally acknowledged the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim will very likely not be built in that location.

A register on the synagogue, in which residents can sign to express their desire for a referendum, will take place 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 15. More information on the particulars will be sent out by Côte St. Luc.

Councillors Allan Levine, Sidney Benizri, Sam Goldbloom and Mike Cohen voted in favour, while Ruth Kovac and Steven Erdelyi voted against. Councillor Glenn Nashen was absent, but passed on the message he would have voted in favour. Dida Berku, who has abstained from these votes, was also absent.

The vote came after enough signatories — 33 out of 56 eligible residents — signed a petition to spark a register, on which only 17 signatures would be needed to prompt a referendum. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said if enough people sign the register, there will be no need for a referendum and, as a result, another location will have to be found for the synagogue.

Brownstein said it is the city’s mandate to help all residents, and support religious communities. He added that even those who oppose that location for the synagogue want to help its congregants find a new location.

“I assure you now that we’re continuing to look into [potential] locations,” the Mayor said.

Kovac objected to council passing the bylaw to enable the register. The councillor emphasized that she is not against the synagogue, just the proposed location, as are the 33 residents who signed for a register.

“For me to drag this out to June 15 and ask these same residents to come a second time to say the same thing is a little bit unfair,” she added. “We already know we’re not going to a referendum.”

CSL council votes 5-2 to allow rezoning process for synagogue

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CSL council votes 5-2 to allow rezoning process for synagogue

Côte St. Luc council voted 5-2 last week at a standing-room only meeting to pass a second reading of a rezoning bylaw that would enable the creation of a new synagogue on Mackle Road near Quartier Cavendish.

Councillors Glenn Nashen, Allan Levine, Mike Cohen, Sidney Benizri and Sam Goldbloom voted in favour, Ruth Kovac and Steven Erdelyi voted against, and Dida Berku abstained due to her involvement as a lawyer in a legal case unrelated to the rezoning but linked to a court case involving Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Yehouda Benoliel.

At a recent meeting, residents raised concerns about the potential for increased foot and car traffic, noise, late night activity, lowered property values, illegal parking and lost taxes for the city from a religious institution resulting in increased taxes for homeowners, and also brought up the phenomenon of “makeshift” synagogues on residential streets.

Those council members who voted in favour said residents will have their say by choosing whether to call for a register, which could then prompt a referendum. At last week’s meeting, one Mackle Road resident presented a petition, and told council that more than enough people signed to, as part of the bylaw process, potentilly force a referendum.

Councillor Allan Levine gave an impassioned speech in favour of the rezoning. The councillor said while he is grateful that, in Côte St. Luc, no one would vote against him because he is Jewish, others who are Jewish don’t have the same level of comfort — such as students wearing kippahs at Concordia University, and Jews living in France.

Kovac stressed that she was not opposed to the synagogue, but to the proposed location.

“I will not speak about religion or being Jewish — as a child of Holocaust survivors, I couldn’t be more sensitive,” she said.

Kovac explained that several years ago, the council went through an extensive and rigorous exercise of redefining the Cavendish Mall land, much of which is now residential.

“After public consultations, no one opposed the rezoning [to mostly residential from commercial] or the plans submitted,” she explained. “There were no surprises. Today, we are asked to spot zone one lot to accommodate a request for a religious institution.

“The Cavendish Mall… today has voiced their very strong opposition, knowing events taking place at the synagogue would spill onto their property and that parking would become an issue for their customers.

“My vote opposed to the motion is not opposed to the Kollel. I am pro the status quo, not anti-anything else. We should work together to find the appropriate alternate location, and we will work to help you find one, or to find a way to improve your current location.

“What some of the residents have already raised is that this organization has more than one tax-exempt property, they don’t have one, they don’t have two, they don’t have three, they have four or five. Is that really fair to the taxpayer, who this year had significant increases, and for the rest of the community to bear?” We contacted Rabbi Benoliel on this issue, and are waiting for a response.

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In my opinion:

As I said at this public council meeting, this matter has nothing to do with religion or support for a synagogue. We are a city of many religions, languages and residents of all backgrounds, even if the majority are of the Jewish faith. Some are very religious, others somewhat and yet others traditional or secular. We all live in peace and harmony in respect of one another which makes Cote Saint-Luc an incredible place to live and to raise a family. Let’s be sure to keep it this way.

This issue is strictly about the zoning that would be appropriate in this location. The requester, Rabbi Benoliel and the Kollel Avrechim have purchased this property and they have the legal right to request rezoning.

At the same time the residents in the immediate and adjoining area have the legal right, and the final say, on whether or not to permit the rezoning.

The mayor and majority of councillors have agreed to follow provincial law which calls for a three step process whereby residents have their say. This is the only way of having an definitive, official and legal count of those residents who are in favour or against the proposed project. 

The first step is underway and those who live in the affected and adjoining zone who oppose have until May 25 at 4:30PM to advise the city. Details available in this week’s Suburban Newspaper or at www.cotesaintluc.org/publicnotices.

Synagogue rezoning on Mackle. Public info meeting, Monday, April 3, 7:30PM

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The City of Cote Saint-Luc has received a request from the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim who wish to construct a synagogue on Mackle Road, backing onto the Cavendish Mall parking lot.

Provincial law requires a notice of motion to be given at City Council on the draft bylaw to begin the zoning amendment process required to render the residential land for institutional use. The law provides for a public information meeting which will take place on April 3, 2017 at 7:30 P.M. Interested residents should attend this meeting at City Hall to learn about the project, ask questions and get answers in order to decide for themselves if they agree with the rezoning.

 

The residents within the adjacent zones (neighbouring streets) are the ultimate decision-makers on matters of rezoning.

A sign was placed in front of the property so that all residents may be adequately informed about the proposed changes. Additionally, a letter advising residents in the contiguous zones of the request and the public meeting is being delivered to the homes in question this week.

More information about the rezoning is available at CoteSaintLuc.org/publicnotices or by calling the Cote Saint-Luc Urban Development Department at 514-485-6800.

 

Rezonage d’un terrain dans le secteur du Mail Cavendish

Une proposition de rezonage d’un terrain résidentiel à un terrain institutionnel sur le ch. Mackle afin de permettre la construction d’une synagogue est en cours. Le terrain est entre l’entrée du stationnement arrière du Quartier Cavendish et du 6794 Mackle.

 

Une consultation publique aura lieu le lundi 3 avril à 19 h 30  à l’hôtel de ville, salle du conseil, 5801, boul. Cavendish. Pour en savoir plus, consulter l’avis public sur le site du terrain en question ou à CoteSaintLuc.org/fr/avispublics.

 

Pour toutes questions, envoyer un courriel à urbanplanning@cotesaintluc.org ou composer 514-485-6800, poste 1607.

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Synagogue proposed for Mackle Road next to Cavendish Mall, public info meeting April 3

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At last night’s Public Council Meeting the City of Cote Saint-Luc dealt with a request from the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim who wish to construct a synagogue on Mackle Road, backing onto the Cavendish Mall parking lot.

In recent years, the new homes on Kellert, and the four lots on Mackle between Kellert and the Mall parking entrance were added to District 6, which I represent. This property is the eastern-most point in the district.

The notice of motion was read aloud and City Council adopted the first draft bylaw to begin the zoning amendment process required to render the residential land for institutional use.

In fact, the property is currently composed of two lots that are currently zoned for a semi‐detached dwelling. The amendment would change the zoning from residential to institutional use.

The Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim is a religious institution that currently occupies, and conducts its affairs at 5750 Parkhaven Avenue. They are seeking to re-establish itself in a new premises to be built on a lot at 6790-6792 Mackle Road.

Rabbi Yehuda Benoliel is the spiritual leader of the congregation.

The City, having officially adopted the notice of motion and first reading of the bylaw, has started the legal steps for the request for rezoning.

The residents within the adjacent zones (neighbouring streets) are the ultimate decision makers. The law requires that eligible residents can demand a register to be opened for any neighbour that chooses to contest the rezoning.

The next step is a provincially-mandated public information meeting on April 3, 2017 at 7:30 P.M. as required by law. Interested residents should attend this meeting at City Hall to learn about the project, ask questions and get answers in order to decide for themselves if they agree with the rezoning.

A public notice is then given around mid to end of April for those residents who ultimately wish to sign a register to force a referendum on the issue.

Meanwhile, a sign will be placed by the City in front of the property so that all residents may be adequately informed about the proposed changes. More information about the rezoning is available by calling the Cote Saint-Luc Urban Development Department at 514-485-6800.

Shell gas station, car wash, Boni Soir dep open on Cavendish Boulevard

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With reporting by Mike Cohen

The much anticipated Shell Gas Station and car wash with a Boni Soir convenience store finally opened for business yesterday after a long delay since the closure of the previous self-serve gas bar.

This new facility sits in the northwest corner of the Cavendish Mall parking lot. Many residents have been asking when the station would finally open. There were many delays, most recently for Hydro-Quebec connections.

Pumps

Councillors Kovac and Nashen, Regional Manager Jacynthe Poulin, Mayor Brownstein, Councillor Mike Cohen and Operator/Owner Miriam and Alaedine Gouader

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillors Mike Cohen and Ruth Kovac joined me on opening day. The Cavendish Mall property borders on each of our districts. The entire facility is under the umbrella of Sobeys, the company which owns IGA. Territory manager Jacynthe Poulin was on hand with franchise operator Alaedine Gouader accompanied by his wife Miriam. We were very impressed with the operation, as were the excited clients walking in for their very first time.

Inside

Inside the Boni Soir

The conveniently located self-serve gas station will be open from 5 am to 11 pm, seven days a week.

Most impressive is the effort to erect bilingual signage throughout the new facility. Even the gas pumps are bilingual, language selection at the push of a button. This is hardly the case at surrounding self-serve stations so kudos to the new Shell Boni Soir operator.

Carwash

Watching the very first vehicle going through the colourfully illuminated car wash

The Boni Soir has freshly baked muffins and danishes prepared on the premises each day. What’s more, they are kosher! A 12 ounce cup of coffee will be available free for the first two weeks.

Plenty of staff serving customers

Plenty of staff serving customers

There is is a full array of snacks and dairy products. In addition they will soon have an alcohol permit.

Parents and their little ones were already crowding around the slush and candy machines. This is a nice-sized building, with a few tables and chairs for clients to enjoy a quick snack. There’s even a large public washroom, complete with a changing table. You can buy lotto tickets and use the BMO ATM machine as well.

Fresh baked Kosher muffins and pastry and gourmet coffee

Fresh baked Kosher muffins and pastry and gourmet coffee

Poulin pointed out that the car wash is completely touch-less and waste water is recycled and reused. Not only are there multi-coloured lights illuminating the car wash interior, even the soap is sprayed onto the vehicles in three colours. “It’s more fun for the kids,” Poulin said.

To add to the unique lighting, the colours will be adjusted to match the holiday or occasion, Poulin said with excitement. “Orange for Halloween, Christmas colours, any colour for any holiday,” she said.

Plenty of dairy products and cold drinks

Plenty of dairy products and cold drinks

When was the last time Côte Saint-Luc had a car wash? How about the old BP on CSL Road, which turned into a Petro Canada and then closed about two decades ago. I also recall driving through the old Texaco car wash across from the CSL Shopping Centre in the 60s and early 70s. The car tire would be snagged by a chain as the car was pulled past the Jetson-like machinery. Many people would exit their cars and walk along a glass encased corridor and follow their vehicle until it popped out on the other side.

Operator-Owner Alaedine and Miriam Gouader

Operator-Owner Alaedine and Miriam Gouader

Islem Amar Khodja set up a small kiosk in the Boni Soir to provide samples of his company`s delicious  gluten free nuts. The brand is call Royal Nuts and he has a number of packages on the shelf to choose from. Interestingly, these nuts are prepared in a “peanut free” facility.

Candy machines

Candy machines

This local store will quickly become a convenient hub of activity to run to for a quick snack, a jug of milk or a coffee and muffin along with a fill-up. Congratulations to Alaedine. Welcome to the neighbourhood.

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