Montreal wins Meadowbrook Golf Course battle in Supreme Court

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Meadowbrook is nothing short of an oasis that must remain green in perpetuity (GJN 2015)

This is absolutely tremendous news for Cote Saint-Luc and its neighbours and for all Montrealers. For those of us who have called for Meadowbrook to be preserved as greenspace and recreational use over the last 30 years our efforts will be of benefit for generations to come.

Glenn J. Nashen

René Bruemmer  •  Montreal Gazette • May 21, 2020

The long saga of Meadowbrook Golf Course that pitted developers vs. the city of Montreal in a $44-million lawsuit has made it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and the city has won.

The Supreme Court announced Thursday it has rejected Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific Inc.’s request to appeal a judgement of the Court of Appeal of Quebec that found in favour of the city.

As with all Supreme Court rejections for a leave to appeal, no reason was given.

Last November, Quebec’s Court of Appeal upheld a 2017 judgment by a Superior Court judge that had rejected a $44-million lawsuit against the city by Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific.

In the lawsuit, the developer argued it was owed $15 million in lost profits and $28.5 million in land value in what the developer considered a disguised expropriation by the city.

Groupe Pacific bought the land in 2006 for $3 million and was in talks with the city to build what it called an environmentally friendly, 1,600-unit residential complex dubbed Petite Rivière.

But the city argued its share of infrastructure costs for things like water and sewage pipes and a railway overpass would cost between $60 million and $150 million, and told the developer in 2010 it would not support development there.

Groupe Pacific charged that the city used high infrastructure costs as an excuse to block construction of its project in order to preserve the golf course as a green space following citizen protests.

Quebec Superior Court Judge Pepita G. Capriolo disagreed.

“The large number of difficulties that the developer faced before being able to start the project (negotiations with municipalities next to the site, with the city of Montreal, with Canadian Pacific and the suburban train authority AMT, the Ministry of the Environment, etc.) does not support the conclusion that only the actions of the city kept the developer from realizing the profits it had calculated,” she wrote.

In her judgment, Capriolo ruled Groupe Pacific had failed to prove the city had acted in bad faith, and noted that the city had not appropriated the land, which an evaluator has valued at $6.5 million. Under the city’s new land development management plan, Groupe Pacific is still free to operate it as a golf course or for other recreational purposes, she wrote.

Conservationists worked for more than 25 years to persuade the city to conserve the golf course lands.

rbruemmer@postmedia.com

For more articles and opinion on Meadowbrook search this blog

Montreal appeals court order to bury Meadowbrook stream

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Part of the Little St. Pierre River wends through the Meadowbrook Golf Course, appeal, sewer, bury
Creek that runs through golf course is last remnant of a river that once flowed from the western slopes of Mount Royal to Old Montreal.Channelling the Meadowbrook creek into an underground storm sewer would result in lost opportunities to rehabilitate this sector, city says in its appeal.  PHOTO JO ANN GOLDWATER / LES AMIS DE MEADOWBROOK

Montreal is appealing a ruling ordering it to bury a contaminated creek on the Meadowbrook Golf Club that is the last remnant of the St-­Pierre River.

In an appeal presented in the Quebec Court of Appeal Wednesday, the city argues that Quebec Superior Court Judge Chantal Corriveau erred in her June 7 judgment obliging it to turn the creek into a sewer within 18 months. It notes that Quebec’s Environment Quality Act calls for integrated management of wetlands and bodies of water in keeping with the principles of sustainable development and requires authorities to prevent the loss of wetlands and bodies of water.

As part of a natural drainage basin, the brook “constitutes an important asset for which upgrading work is to be implemented,” the city argues, adding that plans to rehabilitate part of the St-Pierre River are being studied and a master plan on drainage basins on the island of Montreal is underway.

Restoring the creek could be a key feature of a plan for rainwater management in an area stretching from the Blue Bonnets site at Décarie Blvd. and Jean-Talon St. to the Lachine Canal, including a possible green corridor from the Meadowbrook Golf Course to the canal, the appeal says.

“On the other hand, channelling the Meadowbrook creek into an underground storm sewer would result in lost opportunities to rehabilitate this sector, create new, green infrastructures downstream and allow an outlet for excess water that would relieve pressure on underground infrastructures,” it says.

The winding, 200-­metre creek on the 57-­hectare golf course is “the last section of the former St-Pierre River that is still in existence,” the city notes.

The golf course straddles Côte St-Luc and Montreal, but the creek flows above ground only on the Montreal side, since Côte St-Luc diverted its section into the sewer system decades ago.

Developer Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific Inc., which owns the golf course, had sued Montreal, demanding that the creek be buried, describing it as nothing more than a ditch and an open-­air sewer.

However, judge Corriveau ruled the creek is indeed a river, based on a study by the Quebec environment department confirming it is part of the former St-Pierre. Originating on Mount Royal, it flowed through present-day Snowdon, Côte St-Luc, Ville St-Pierre and St-Henri — where it fed a lake on the site of the Turcot Yards — to Old Montreal. Explorer Samuel de Champlain described the river, then teeming with fish, when he explored Montreal in 1611.

The Meadowbrook creek is fed by a storm sewer in Côte St-Luc and disappears into a combined sewer in Montreal. Repeated studies have shown it is contaminated by fecal coliform bacteria originating in crossed sewer and storm-water pipes at as many as 218 addresses in Côte St-Luc and Montreal West.

In its appeal, the city argues the solution to the contamination is not turning the creek into a sewer but rather fixing the crossed connections.

Montreal had tried unsuccessfully to have the other two municipalities named as co-defendants in the lawsuit, since the contamination originates on their territory.

It also argues that the timetable set by Corriveau is not feasible. The judge ordered the city to apply to the provincial environment department for a permit to bury the river within four months, to clean up the contamination within 18 months and to decontaminate the former riverbed and banks within 24 months. That simply isn’t enough time to get the jobs done, the city says.

Based on previous experience of correcting crossed sewer pipes in Kirkland, it would take at least two to five years to fix the crossed pipes in Côte St-Luc and Montreal West, not counting the time needed for further investigation, the city says.

It asked the appeal court for permission to present new evidence on a viable solution, on a realistic timetable, and on which contaminants are polluting the creek.

Even though Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific won the case, it is also appealing the ruling. In an appeal filed July 5, the developer asks the court to order the city to eliminate the creek whether or not the environment department gives its permission, and whether or not it is contaminated.

The appeal seeks to “modify the earlier judgment so that the order clearly forces the city to achieve a result that puts an end to any flow of water on the surface of the property of the appellant and that this obligation not be subject to any condition.”

Since the creek is fed by a storm sewer, the city should be ordered to cut off the flow of water whatever the environment department decides, the appeal argues.

In September, Quebec Superior Court Judge rejected a $44-­million lawsuit by Groupe Pacific against Montreal claiming that the city had engaged in a “disguised expropriation” to block a proposed 1,600-unit housing project on the Meadowbrook site.

Groupe Pacific was demanding $28.5 million for the value of the land, and another $15 million for lost potential profits. Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific, a subsidiary of Groupe Pacific, bought the land in 2006 for $3 million.

In 2015, the city of Montreal designated its portion of the Meadowbrook site as “large green space or recreational,” marking a victory for conservationists who had battled for a quarter­-century to preserve the site from development.

Côte­ St-­Luc zoned its portion of the site as recreational in 2000.

mscott@postmedia.com

Judge rejects developer’s lawsuit against Montreal over Meadowbrook

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Developer accused city of “disguised expropriation”

A Superior Court Judge has rejected a $44-million lawsuit against the city of Montreal over a proposed housing development on the Lachine side of the Meadowbrook Golf Course that failed to materialize.

In a 45-page judgement rendered Wednesday, Judge Pepita G. Capriolo ruled the city had not engaged in a “disguised expropriation,” as land owner Groupe Pacific alleged, nor was the city responsible for $15.5 million in potential profits the developer argued it could have made.

“The large number of difficulties that the developer faced before being able to start the project (negotiations with municipalities next to the site, with the city of Montreal, with Canadian Pacific and the suburban train authority AMT, the Ministry of the Environment, etc.) does not support the conclusion that only the actions of the city kept the developer from realizing the profits it had calculated,” the judge wrote.

Real-estate developer Groupe Pacific charged that the city used high infrastructure costs as an excuse to block construction of its project in order to preserve the golf course as a green space following citizen protests.

Groupe Pacific was demanding $28.5 million for the value of the land, and another $15 million for lost potential profits.

Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific, a subsidiary of Groupe Pacific, bought the land in 2006 for $3 million, and later presented a plan to build a pedestrian-friendly and environmentally responsible, 1600-unit residential complex dubbed Petite Rivière.

The city argued estimates of the infrastructure costs it would have had to shoulder to put in water and sewage pipes and a railway overpass ranged from $60 million to $150 million, costs that it would have taken at least 43 years to recoup in taxes. In 2010 it told Groupe Pacific it would not support development there because of the infrastructure bill, although it did not share its cost estimates with the developer.

“The judge got it right,” said Alan DeSousa, who was the executive committee member responsible for environmental issues for the city of Montreal in 2010. “It shows that cities do have the right and the ability to protect their environments.”

Côte-St-Luc councillor Dida Berku said the lawsuit is “very promising” for their municipality, which is the target of a $32-million lawsuit by Groupe Pacific that dates back to 2001.

In her judgment, Capriolo ruled Groupe Pacific had failed to prove the city had acted in bad faith, and noted that the city had not appropriated the land, which an evaluator has valued at $6.5 million. Under the city’s new land development management plan, Groupe Pacific is still free to operate it as a golf course or for other recreational purposes, she wrote. Groupe Pacific has the right to appeal the decision.

rbruemmer@postmedia.com

twitter.com/renebruemmer

Meadowbrook judgment ‘bodes well for CSL’

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The Superior Court judgment favouring Montreal against the developer of the Meadowbrook Golf Course, Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific, bodes well for Côte St. Luc in its own legal case with the developer, say Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Dida Berku and mayoral candidate Robert Libman.

Groupe Pacific had sued Montreal for $44 million over the borough of Lachine’s refusal to allow residential building on its part of the site, which the borough attributed to high infrastructure costs. The other part of the site is in Côte St. Luc.

According to media reports, Judge Pepita G. Capriolo rejected Groupe Pacific’s contention that Montreal engaged in a disguised expropriation, and that the city was responsible for the developer losing $15.5 million in profits. Also according to reports, the judge ruled that many other factors prevented the development on the Lachine side.

 In the case of Côte St. Luc, the city was originally sued by the developer in 2000, when the city changed the zoning of its part of the golf course site from residential to recreational and commercial. The original lawsuit lay dormant for years, until Groupe Pacific changed its lawsuit to claim $32 million — $19 million of which was to force the city to basically buy the part of the land in its territory — a land swap: and $13 million for loss of profits.

As we reported in 2015, “the Quebec Superior Court did not allow the company to pursue the $19 million claim.”

Late in 2015, Groupe Pacific wanted to amend its lawsuit, to claim another $20 million. The developer wanted the Quebec Court of Appeal to state its opinion on the merits of such a re-amendment to the Quebec Superior Court. But the Court of Appeal ruled that it cannot decide on this in advance and that the Superior Court would have to decide if Groupe Pacific can reamend its claim. That is where the case with Côte St. Luc stands at this point.

Brownstein was pleased with last week’s judgement.

“The judgment in favour of Montreal is very promising for Côte St. Luc, because it essentially affirms what we have been arguing for years,” the Mayor said. “While there is still a case pending since [2000] against Côte St. Luc, this related decision validates many of our arguments.”

Berku, who has been defending the right of the city to maintain Meadowbrook for recreational use, said the decision is a “great victory for the right of cities to determine the best land use in the public interest. Montreal had the right to refuse to invest hundreds of millions in infrastructure, especially because all details of the project were not finalized.”

The councilllor added that the judge “decided that golf is a reasonable use, especially in light of the new urban plan adopted by the Montreal agglomeration in 2015, which designated all of Meadowbrook as green space for recreational use.

Libman, during a press conference Friday, was also very pleased. The zoning change from residential to recreational took place when he was Mayor of Côte St. Luc.

“It’s certainly very positive for Côte St. Luc — we were all waiting to see what the judgment would be on the Lachine side,” the mayoral candidate said. “I was going to be examined by the lawyers over the next few months. Now that there’s a precedent defeating the lawsuit against Lachine (Montreal), it certainly looks as though the lawsuit against Côte St. Luc for about $20 million will be dismissed, which is great news for our taxpayers and residents.”

Groupe Pacific has the option to appeal the latest judgment.

N

In my opinion:
Fantastic news for Cote Saint-Luc. I have always been an enthusiastic and outspoken opponent of developing Meadowbrook. Just check out the very many posts on my blog for the history on this file. As City Councillor I will continue to fight to preserve this invaluable greenspace for future generations. I would be thrilled to have this space acquired by the Montreal Agglomeration to be shared by all across the West End as a regional park.

CSL golf tourney proves more fun than I imagined

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Five in this Foursome: Andy Lee, Glenn J. Nashen, Mike Cohen, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Police Commander Jean O’Malley

Had you asked me a few weeks ago I couldn’t tell you who Bill Lee was. I’m not the biggest sports fun, but despite my occasional venture to see the Expos at Jarry Park as a teenager I really didn’t know the names of the players all that well.

So when I was told that my recent foursome in the Cote Saint-Luc Golf Classic included Bill “Spaceman” Lee I was kind of excited to know I’d be meeting an astronaut. Well, that’s what I thought.

Truth be told, I was more excited that Police Commander Jean O’Malley of Station 9 would be one of my four besties for the day.

But life has a funny way of unfolding and once I was adequately briefed by my fellow rookie golfer Mike Cohen as to the background on Bill Lee the day was anything but usual.

For those that were as clueless as me, William Francis Lee III (born December 28, 1946), nicknamed Spaceman, is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher. He played for the Boston Red Sox 1969–1978 and the Montreal Expos 1979–1982. On November 7, 2008, Lee was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame, as the team’s record-holder for most games pitched by a left-hander (321) and the third-highest win total (94) by a Red Sox southpaw. On August 23, 2012, Lee signed a contract to play with the San Rafael Pacifics of the independent North American League at age 65.

In addition to his baseball experience, Lee is known for his counterculture behavior, his antics both on and off the field, and his use of the Leephus pitch, a personalized variation of the eephus pitch.[1]

Lee has co-written four books: The Wrong StuffHave Glove, Will TravelThe Little Red (Sox) Book: A Revisionist Red Sox History; and Baseball Eccentrics: The Most Entertaining, Outrageous, and Unforgettable Characters in the Game. In 2006, the documentary film by Brett Rapkin Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey featured Lee.

In 1988, Lee was the Rhinoceros Party presidential candidate running on a platform of bulldozing the Rocky Mountains so Alberta could receive a few extra minutes of sunlight and banning guns and butter. His slogan was “No guns, no butter. Both can kill.”[21]

In May 2016, Lee was chosen by the Liberty Union Party as its nominee for the 2016 election for governor of Vermont.[21] Lee, who had never heard of the Liberty Union Party before, was contacted by the party to run for governor and accepted.[4] Lee did not take campaign contributions.[22] His campaign slogan was, “So far left, we’re right”.[23] 

Lee lost the election, receiving 8,912 votes (2.78%).[25]

Commander O’Malley with Montreal’s Finest, ‘Officer’ Flick, Bill Lee and Glenn J. Nashen

True to his bio, Bill was as entertaining as can be, a ton of laughs. He reminisced about his olden days in Montreal, about his life experiences and his ‘retirement’ plans to move from Vermont to British Colombia. He was joined by his son and his adoring and charming wife, Diane.

Baseball player or not, Bill instructed me every step of the way, as I was completely out of my element with golf clubs in hand. We spoke about family, travel, and of course, baseball.

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum was a real sport golfing in his Expos T-Shirt, seen here at the ACC for lunch, with my dad, George, and me

Not to underscore (pun intended, as I really underscored) the importance of having the best coach the Montreal Police Department could offer, Jean had the patience of a saint in instructing me on proper posture, grip and swing. My game, only the second time out in my life, was dramatically improved by Jean’s coaching and the pressure of not making a complete fool of myself. Lucky for me, years of mini putt really paid off.

Oh, who am I fooling? I wasn’t even close to being close!

The honouree at this year’s tournament was Johnny Elias, a long-time volunteer and past owner of the Grand Slam Baseball School. “Johnny recently agreed to loan nearly 50 years’ worth of baseball memorabilia to Côte Saint-Luc,” said Councillor Mike Cohen.

Bill shared stories about his close relationship with Johnny Elias from the days he played with the Expos. When he was released in 1982, Johnny hired him to be an instructor at his camp. Bill has maintained a connection to our city for more than 30 years. “Johnny and I are like brothers,” Bill said.

The Pierre Brunet Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund was launched, sponsored by local McDonald’s franchisee Pierre Brunet. “The Fund will be used to help local families who need financial help to register their children in recreation programs. Funds will also support children with special needs. Pierre Brunet has been involved in helping our community for many years,” Mike Cohen said. “This new initiative will have a direct impact in the lives of many kids in our community.”

Brunet announced that $4,700 was raised at the two McHappy Days in CSL this year. CSL Men’s Club contributed $1400 by selling coffee to its members (courtesy of McDonald’s). Men’s Club funny man, Mannie Young, announced that his grandchildren Jesse, Zoe, Andie and Cooper Young, donated an additional $500. With spontaneous support from others including Steve Woloz from the CSL Model Aeronautics Association and MNA David Birnbaum the fund will be launched with more than $7,000. Now that’s the power of community!

Bill Lee was interviewed live on stage by the well-spoken and personable CSL resident and TSN 690 Radio show host Matthew Ross.  Lee was hilarious in his views on anything and everything and in telling bits of his fascinating life story. “Live in the moment,” the outspoken and provocative sports legend told the audience. “Don’t worry about the past or be concerned by what may come. Just enjoy thing right now.”

Thank you to event co-chairs Councillors Mike Cohen and Sam Goldbloom, to staff leads Harold Cammy and Alvin Fishman and to all the volunteers and sponsors such as Marc Ezerzer. It was really a great time and Mike and I got to meet a Montreal Expos legend and hang out with a Top Cop. What a great day.

Campaign to save Meadowbrook continues: Info meeting this Thursday

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Information meeting scheduled for continuous campaign to save Meadowbrook

Meadowbrook is nothing short of an oasis that must remain green in perpetuity

Many people in Côte Saint-Luc have heard about the ongoing campaign to save the Meadowbrook Golf Course from development and have it converted into a green space. Many have the impression that it is protected and that the work is over.

On ThursdayMay 11 (7 pm) Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook will hold an information meeting at St. Richard’s Parish in CSL (7070 Guelph Avenue, near Parkhaven) to update the public on the current status of the green space and to secure additional help to have the area converted into a regional nature park for the over 150,000 residents who live in the West End.

The meeting will feature several speakers and provide information on the green space and how it can be used by residents year-round for a variety of activities. There will be a special presentation on the many legal environmental battles in Montreal and a new legal defense organization, the Legacy Fund for the Environment.

All are welcome.

When: May 11th, 2017, 7 pm

Where: St. Richard’s Parish, 7070 Guelph CSL

For more information on Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook, go towww.lesamisdemeadowbrook.org, SOS Meadowbrook on Facebook or @Parc Meadowbrook on Twitter.

Source: MikeCohen.ca

Meadowbrook: Nature at its finest, just around the corner

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Meadowbrook. March 25, 2017. Source: Nigel Dove.

 

 

 

Meadowbrook. March 25, 2017. Source: Nigel Dove.

Meadowbrook case expected in court late this year

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 The ongoing legal case involving Meadowbrook Golf Course developer Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific and the City of Côte St. Luc is expected to be back at Quebec Superior Court at the end of this year, says Côte St. Luc Councillor Dida Berku.

“We are now preparing our defence and we’re in the middle of doing examinations, and the case should be inscribed by the end of the year for hearing on the merits,” Berku told The Suburban.

A separate case between the developers and the City of Montreal over the latter’s refusal to allow building on the Lachine side is expected this spring, the councillor added.

Côte St. Luc was originally sued by Meadowbrook’s developer in 2000 when the city changed the zoning of its part of the golf course site from residential to recreational and commercial. Developers have been wanting to place housing on the site, half of which is in Lachine, for more than 25 years.

The original lawsuit lay dormant for years, until Groupe Pacific changed its lawsuit to claim $32 million — $19 million of which was to force the city to basically buy the part of the land in its territory — a land swap: and $13 million for loss of profits, reduced by Quebec Superior Court from $20 million.

As we reported in 2015, “the Quebec Superior Court found that the revised case was a “new recourse” not allowed by the Code of Procedure, and did not allow the company to pursue the $19 million claim. The court also found Groupe Pacific to be the cause of the original lawsuit being in limbo for some 12 years.

Late in 2015, Groupe Pacific wanted to amend its lawsuit once again, to claim another $20 million. The developer wanted the Quebec Court of Appeal to state its opinion on the merits of such a re-amendment to the Quebec Superior Court. But the Court of Appeal ruled that it cannot decide on this in advance and that the Superior Court would have to decide if Groupe Pacific can reamend its claim. This was also Côte St. Luc’s position, Berku said at the time.

Court of Appeal dismisses Meadowbrook developer’s motion

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The Quebec Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed a motion by Meadowbrook Golf Course developer Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific, regarding the latest version of a lawsuit against Côte St. Luc that has wound its way through the courts for 15 years.

Côte St. Luc was originally sued by Meadowbrook’s developer in 2000 when the city changed the zoning of its part of the golf course site from residential to recreational and commercial. Developers have been wanting to place housing on the site, half of which is in Lachine, for more than 25 years.

The original lawsuit was on the backburner for years, until Groupe Pacific changed its lawsuit to claim $32 million — $19 million of which was to force the city to basically buy the part of the land in its territory — a land swap: and $13 million for loss of profits, reduced by Quebec Superior Court from $20 million.

Quebec Superior Court found that the revised case was a “new recourse” not allowed by the Code of Procedure, and did not allow the company to pursue the $19 million claim. The court also found Groupe Pacific to be the cause of the original lawsuit being in limbo for some 12 years.

Now Groupe Pacific wants to amend its lawsuit once again, to claim another $20 million. The developer wanted the Quebec Court of Appeal to state its opinion on the merits of such a re-amendment to the Quebec Superior Court. That appeals court hearing took place Friday and lasted three minutes.

“Their appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed,” said Côte St. Luc Councillor Dida Berku. “They wanted an opinion from the Court of Appeal as to whether or not they were precluded from claiming another $20 million. The judgment states that if they want to re-amend to claim another $20 million, they have to go back to Superior Court, and the Superior Court will decide. The Court of Appeal will not decide on the merits of their re-amendment in advance.”

Berku said the Court of Appeal judgment was basically quoting Côte St. Luc’s position in this matter.

joel@thesuburban.com

My debut at the CSL Golf Classic

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Quite the foursome: Sam Goldbloom, George and Glenn J. Nashen and Mike Cohen

Quite the foursome: Sam Goldbloom, George and Glenn J. Nashen and Mike Cohen

What a great day to become a golfer! A record 104 people teed off at the 36th annual Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic this morning at the Meadowbrook Golf Course. Not only was it my first time out for a game of golf  but it was also my first time at Meadowbrook, which I have advocated to preserve for more than 25 years. And best of all, I was joined by my dad to coach me along.
The format of play was called “Scramble” which helps speed up the game as players decide which golfer hits the best shot off the tee and then all players from that foursome play their next shot from that point. Play continues from hole to hole in the same fashion for the rest of the outing.

George Nashen giving tips on swinging and posture

George Nashen giving tips on swinging and posture

With tips and advice that even Tiger Woods would have benefited from, my 92-year-old father and veteran golfer, George Nashen, quickly upped my game from rank amateur to rookie superstar.
Unbelievably, I had the longest drive on four of nine holes compared to my friendly foursome including event co-chairs Mike Cohen and Sam Goldbloom along with my fatherly coach. I attribute my rookie success to decades of practice at mini-golf and playing Wii Sports with my kids. Or perhaps it was just beginners luck. In any case it was great fun.

Mike Cohen keeps his eye on the ball

Mike Cohen keeps his eye on the ball

What’s more, I was completely awestruck at the sheer beauty and grandeur of Meadowbrook. Finally, standing among century old trees, seeing the sprawling expanse of the fairways and amused by the three groundhogs that plowed their way across the course I was proud to have, at long last, validated my position in advocating the preservation of this priceless gift of nature in the heart of our city. It must stay green forever!

Meadowbrook is nothing short of an oasis that must remain green in perpetuity

Meadowbrook is nothing short of an oasis that must remain green in perpetuity

The golf outing was followed by an awards banquet honouring long-time volunteer Ron Yarin at the Aquatic and Community Centre.
Sam Eltes, president of Silver Star Mercedes-Benz, sponsored a hole-in-one contest. If someone achieved this feat they would have driven away in a brand new Mercedes-Benz. While my hopes were high, I fell embarrassingly short of the prize and will practice on my Wii for next time.

Not even a veteran golfer like George Nashen was able to snatch the top prize Mercedez... this year.

Not even a veteran golfer like George Nashen was able to snatch the top prize Mercedez… this year.

Many thanks go to the title sponsor, Freemark Apparel Brands and its Bench brand. Mark Routtenberg, president of Freemark  and former co-owner of the Montreal Expos, served as honourary chairperson for this year’s event. Routtenberg, who raised his family in Côte Saint-Luc, was the guest speaker at the luncheon and spoke about the Expos and the possibilities surrounding the return of baseball to Montreal.
“Montreal can definitely support Major League Baseball,” Routtenberg said at the banquet. “We have the taste for it.”
Honouree Ron Yarin was, and is, a huge baseball fan and those paying tribute referred to his life-long passion for the sport.

Ron Yarin was presented with a birthday cake sculpted as  Ebbets Field in NY

Ron Yarin was presented with a birthday cake sculpted as Ebbets Field in NY

Marty Labow, Yarin’s friend for 37 years called him (in Yiddish)” A Gute Neshoma,” literally,  A Good Soul. Both are also members of Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol. “We’d patrol from six in the morning till nine, then golf until noon,” Labow said. “When we didn’t feel like patrolling at six, we’d golf early in the morning and patrol afterwards.”

vCOP and volunteer superstar Ron Yarin

vCOP and volunteer superstar Ron Yarin

Harold Cammy is a longtime friend. “I looked up the definition of a ‘Mensch’ last week and I saw two words: Ron Yarin.”
Mayor Anthony Housefather said of Yarin, “He encompasses what Cote Saint-Luc is all about. Volunteerism, compassion, kindness and civic duty.”
Communications Director Darryl Levine produced a collage of photos and video in tribute to Yarin. “I was moved to tears,” said Councillor Mitchell Brownstein.
Speaking about the possibilities of Major League Baseball returning to Montreal, legendary sportscaster Dick Irvin asked Routtenberg, “Do we need a new stadium or can we get by with the old one?”
Routtenberg responded, “If they fix up the stadium and replace the roof it can work. It’s not the ideal site but in today’s economy we can save $400,000 this way.”
Rabbi Sidney Shoham attended to pay tribute to his old friend Yarin as well. “When the Beth Zion was just built in 1956 we played baseball in Westminster park, just in front of the shul,” the rabbi recounted. “Our team was named Westminster Homes.”

Beth Zion "Old-Timers" George Nashen and Rabbi Sydney Shoham

Beth Zion “Old-Timers” George Nashen and Rabbi Sydney Shoham

Other local personalities participating in the annual outing and luncheon included Police Commander Marc Cournoyer and his predecessor at Station 9, Sylvain Bissonnette. Even Montreal Police Mascot Flick was out on the links, with police escort by Sargent Bryan Cunningham. Jazz great and Cote Saint-Lucer Oliver Jones was there as was Mayor Anthony Housefather and the City Council.

Police mascot Flick with his trusty sidekick Sargent Bryan Cunningham conduct a golfers ID check on George and Glenn J. Nashen

Police mascot Flick with his trusty sidekick Sargent Bryan Cunningham conduct a golfers ID check on George and Glenn J. Nashen

I thank my good friend Mike Cohen for being persistent in inviting me out to golf course for the last ten years. His nudging finally paid off. Thanks to his co-chair, my friend and old neighbour on Cork Avenue, Sam Goldbloom as well. The two, along with Recreation stalwarts Harold Cammy, Alvin Fishman and the energetic staff and volunteers of the entire department put on a great event. I’m already looking forward to my next game, next year!

CSL Golf Classic co-chairs Mike Cohen and Sam Goldbloom relaxing after a brutal 9 holes!

CSL Golf Classic co-chairs Mike Cohen and Sam Goldbloom relaxing after a brutal 9 holes!

Meadowbrook lawsuit hits snag in court

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Free Press | May 27, 2015 | Click to enlarge

Free Press | May 27, 2015 | Click to enlarge

 

Suburban | May 27, 2015 | Click to enlarge

Suburban | May 27, 2015 | Click to enlarge

Entire Meadowbrook parcel now protected from development

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Free Press | Feb. 10, 2015 | Click to enlarge

Free Press | Feb. 10, 2015 | Click to enlarge

Is Overdevelopment Just Par for the Course?

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This is an excellent article that appeared in the Link from Concordia University this week outlining the 25 year struggle to save Meadowbrook.

Is Overdevelopment Just Par for the Course? | Special Issue | The Link.

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

City of Montreal gives Meadowbrook Golf Course a green designation

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This is FANTASTIC news! Congratulations to all those involved in the 25-year fight to preserve Meadowbrook. Special kudos to Councillor Dida Berku! I have followed this dossier and spoken out about it many times and I am elated to learn of these latest developments (about no development!). More personal thoughts to follow…


For a quarter century, the 57 hectares of wide-open verdant terrain inhabited by the Meadowbrook Golf Course have been eyed by eager developers. Residential projects of anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 units have been proposed for the property straddling Côte-St-Luc and Lachine.

For just as long, a dedicated group of conservationists known as Les Amis de Meadowbrook and their supporters have battled to preserve one of the area’s few remaining large green spaces. Ultimately, they would like to see the course transformed into a public park.

The conservationists appear to have scored another victory. In the land use and development plan for the island of Montreal, which spells out the development vision for the city and its adjoining municipalities, and is expected to be adopted Wednesday by the city’s executive committee, administrators have changed their initial designation of the Meadowbrook site from “residential” on the Lachine side to “large green space or recreational.” Côte-St-Luc changed its zoning on its side to recreational in 2000.

The Montreal urban agglomeration land use and development plan in turn influences the city of Montreal’s urban plan and that of its 19 boroughs, including Lachine.

The Meadowbrook file generated the largest number of briefs presented in the fall to the committee taking recommendations on the land use plan, said committee member Éric Alan Caldwell. His Projet Montréal municipal party made the same recommendation, and the committee voted unanimously that the Meadowbrook site be zoned green.

Once the zoning has switched to green, a developer would have to convince city councillors to change it back to residential in order to start a project, a process that would be “difficult,” Caldwell said.

Groupe Pacific purchased the property in 2006 for $3 million and has been lobbying to build on the Lachine site. As late as February 2013 it submitted a request to build as many as 1,500 housing units. Montreal city council rejected the bid, saying it was not interested in covering the costs for a new road, bridge and water and sewage pipes into the development. Media reports have pegged those costs at $160 million.

Groupe Pacific launched a $44-million lawsuit against the city last February, claiming damages for not being allowed to begin construction. Côte-St-Luc was hit with a $20-million lawsuit in 2000 by the previous owners of the land, Marathon Realty, the real-estate arm of Canadian Pacific, after it changed its zoning for the site. The case is still before courts.

Groupe Pacific did not respond to requests for interviews Tuesday.

Caldwell said he could not comment on the legality of a municipality switching zoning designations after a developer has bought a property zoned residential because the cases are still before the courts.

“What I can say is it’s legitimate for a municipality to want to define how it will be developed, and one of the necessities of urban life is to have enough green space. … If we create development plans, it’s to create a template that reflects the entirety of our needs. And the vision of the future is a motion that a municipality has the right to propose.”

There is nothing in the new zoning that would force Meadowbrook to become a public park, Caldwell said. It can remain a golf course.

rbruemmer@montrealgazette.com

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