Meadowbrook Golf Course: Developer Groupe Pacific wants to build up to 1,500 housing units on Lachine’s portion

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Developer Groupe Pacific may be dreaming about a major residential development at Meadowbrook but Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum has thrown cold water to wake them up.

This is welcome news from Applebaum, who today marks 100 days in office as Mayor of Montreal.

Continued public opposition to development is necessary on the Lachine side to ensure the developers and elected officials get a clear message that Meadowbrook should remain green, and become accessible, for all Montrealers and suburbanites for generations to come.

For more on Cote Saint-Luc’s efforts to preserve Meadowbrook as a green space, and my own opinion, please enter “Meadowbrook” in the search field.

Meadowbrook Golf Course: Developer Groupe Pacific wants to build up to 1,500 housing units on Lachine’s portion (Montreal Gazette) Link removed

Welcoming a new mayor

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Mayor Applebaum surrounded by proud family members shortly after being sworn into office

It was an honour for me to attend today’s swearing in of the 42nd mayor of Montreal, Michael Applebaum, representing the Jewish General Hospital as well as the city of Cote Saint-Luc. The Hall of Honour was packed with city councillors and community leaders from many cultural and religious communities as well as from the civil service and other walks of life.

Applebaum’s rise to power marks much more than the first Anglo mayor in a century and the first Jewish mayor (since the last acting Jewish mayor in 1927).

It marks a point in Montreal and in Quebec where we have moved past language issues to select a leader based upon skill, integrity and commitment. This moment in time is about unification rather than division, about a political maturity.

I hope that the opportunities that lie ahead for Montreal to rebuild its political image and rebrand the city are successful. And most of all I hope that the future for all who reside on the Island of Montreal and throughout Quebec will be a bright one.

That’s a tall order for Mayor Applebaum but he is driven and committed and I wish him the very best in this challenging year.

Historic vote for Montreal Mayor

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What a week at Montreal City Hall!

Michael Applebaum has made the local history books becoming the first English-speaking mayor in 100 years. Also, Montreal has not seen a Jew in the Mayor’s chair since Joseph Shubert was appointed Acting Mayor of Montreal for a period of three months, on August 29, 1927.

Although the vote was a squeaker with Applebaum taking 31 votes to Richard Deschamps’ 29 votes, there were three spoiled ballots which could have shifted the outcome the other way. The vote for interim mayor was a secret ballot of Council members only since Mayor Gerald Tremblay stepped down less than one year prior to the next general election on November 3, 2013.

Councillors Ruth Kovac and Glenn J. Nashen with CDN-NDG Borough Mayor Michael Applebaum

The fact that a by-election was not needed saved Montreal taxpayers about $10,000,000 according to media reports.

Michael Applebaum has shown himself as an honest, hard working and dedicated Borough Mayor and Chair of the Executive Committee. I have seen him in action with regard to the expansion of the Jewish General Hospital as well as other issues in the Cote des Neiges-NDG borough. He is on top of his files and thoroughly understands the needs of his constituents.

Any criticism of his French-language skills is ridiculous. His French is excellent, regardless of his accent. Even Montreal opposition leader Louise Harel said that she wished she spoke English as well as Applebaum speaks French. In fact, he didn’t even speak a word of English during his pre-vote address to Council! (It wouldn’t have hurt).

Applebaum will now lead not only Montreal City Council and his borough, but also the Agglomeration Council responsible for regional services including the Montreal Island demerged municipalities, the Ville Marie downtown borough and the Montreal Metropolitan Community.

Councillors Ruth Kovac, Glenn J. Nashen and Sam Goldbloom discuss local issues with Cote des Neiges – NDG Borough Mayor Michael Applebaum (2nd from left)

Huge responsibilities, demands and expectations lie ahead for Applebaum. If he succeeds in cleaning up the image and reputation of Montreal and setting the course for a solid future as an independent mayor don’t be surprised to see his name on next year’s ballot (regardless of today’s intentions).

So, congratulations Mayor Applebaum. I wish you great success and courage in all the lies ahead. As a Cote Saint-Lucer I’m looking forward to your leadership and vision to benefit all those who reside on the Island of Montreal and across the region.

Applebaum’s French not good enough?

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La Presse is reporting that there are concerns among Union Montreal’s ranks that Michael Applebaum‘s proficiency isn’t good enough to serve as interim Mayor of Montreal. The unnamed sources are quoted as saying that Applebaum’s French is not good.

Gimme a beak!

The voters of the largest borough in Montreal have re-elected Applebaum for more than a decade. Clearly his voters are content with the way he communicates in whatever language, presumably the majority of it in French.

He was also chosen to serve on the executive committee and to take on the all important role of managing a 4 billion dollar budget.

To suggest that he lacks decent communication skills is yet another slap in the face of every Anglo Quebecer that has made efforts to conduct various aspects of their lives in French. This climate of Anglo bashing since the PQ election has been a stain on Quebec’s reputation across Canada and damages civic cohesion here at home. No wonder we haven’t had an Anglo Mayor of Montreal in over 100 years.

Applebaum has proven his skill in the political arena. Don’t ask him to write a French test now.

Helen Fotopulos mairesse par intérim? | Karim Benessaieh | Montréal.

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CSL, TMR request Cavendish link meet with new government

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Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

October 31, 2012

Côte St. Luc mayor Anthony Housefather and Town of Mount Royal mayor Philippe Roy have written, on behalf of the Association of Suburban Mayors, to the new PQ transport minister Sylvain Gaudreault and Montreal-area minister JeanFrançois Lisée, to ask for a meeting on the long-delayed Cavendish link.

“This is in response to [Montreal executive committee chairman] Michael Applebaum‘s comments that [if we] can convince the PQ to put Cavendish back on the agenda, [Montreal] will be happy to put the money in the budget,” the mayor told council regular Irving Itman.

Housefather was referring to Applebaum’s response to Côte St. Luc’s complaint that Montreal was placing Cavendish on the backburner because the project was withdrawn from Montreal’s proposed three-year Capital Works Budget for 2013- 2015, even though it was included in last year’s three-year budget (2012-2014).

Applebaum told The Suburban a few weeks ago that it was withdrawn because Quebec had not yet transferred funds for an earmarked $44 million, and that documents regarding the transfer of the Hippodrome land to Montreal for future housing have not yet been finalized. One of the conditions of the Hippodrome project is for Montreal to put aside $44 million for the first phase of the Cavendish link project. This agreement was ratified unanimously by Montreal city council this past March 26. According to media reports, Applebaum said those not happy with the current situation should approach the PQ on the issue.

Housefather’s response was prompted by Itman’s call for a commission to be established on the issue, because of the many promises and delays regarding Cavendish. Itman added that in response to a question he asked at Montreal city hall, Mayor Gérald Tremblay “sent me a timetable of the Cavendish project, [according to which] we should now be cutting the ribbon. “Is it not time to call a commission of inquiry, public or private, to find out whether there is a Cavendish project that is going through or not?” the resident asked. “Do we just forget about it for the next century, or will there really be a serious attempt to build it?”

Housefather said a commission would be ‘pointless. “It investigates acts, it doesn’t determine what people’s thoughts are on a matter,” the mayor added, pointing out that Côte St. Luc has been fighting for the extension for more than 12 years. “I’m doing my best, and I’ve continued to do my best throughout the period I’m mayor. We need the Quebec government to put the money forward and say they’re willing to spend the money to build the project and you need the City of Montreal to then say ‘we’re also willing to put money in and prioritize the project.’ “What is needed is political will.”

Itman said a commission would look into why the project has been placed on the backburner numerous times. He commended Housefather’s own efforts.

“That’s not what an inquiry is for,” the mayor said. “That’s when you bring judges and lawyers in to review the actions of the past and usually, to inquire into illegal acts. Cavendish is a political issue.”

Cavendish Blvd. extension on ice, disappears from city budget | CTV Montreal

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Cavendish Blvd. extension on ice, disappears from city budget | CTV Montreal.

CTV Montreal
Published Sunday, Sep. 16, 2012 7:37PM EDT 

MONTREAL—It’s been talked about for years: the extension of Cavendish Blvd. But just when it seemed like ground was going to be broken, another road block hit when the city announced plans to pull the project from its latest budget.

When the city’s 2012-2013 budget will be presented this week, the $44 million project to extend Cavendish Blvd. north towards St-Laurent will be absent.

“Suddenly the City of Montreal is saying they want it removed. All of the other cities on the island, the demerged cities don’t, want it removed. We think it’s very important for all Montrealers and all people that live on the island,” said Cote-St-Luc mayor Anthony Housefather.

The two phased extension was supposed to connect the road between Cote-St-Luc and St-Laurent and ease traffic along the congested Decarie highway. The project seemed like it would finally happen in March as it was made a condition of the Blue Bonnet race track deal struck between the City of Montreal and the province.

But the extension was dependent on the re-election of the Liberals and since that didn’t happen, the city can’t guarantee it will get the funding.

“It was clearly indicated in the capital budget that the realization of the Cavendish project, like the Tramway, is dependent on government grants,” said Michael Applebaum, the mayor’s main lieutenant, in a statement.

“We have removed these projects from the budget to avoid inflating the budget unnecessarily.”

Talked about for decades, millions of dollars have been poured into feasibility studies to somehow connect the one kilometre gap between both stretches of Cavendish Blvd.—now divided by one of the island’s main east-west railroad trunks.

Housefather says he refuses to allow the project to go on the backburner again.

“I am confident that the logic is there for this to happen and that anybody who tries to put their blocks on it is going to get pushed out of the way because the vast majority of the people on this island want this project to happen,” said Housefather.

It will be up to the new Parti Quebecois government to decide if the road can go anywhere. The PQ’s MNAs will be sworn in on Monday.

 

Read more: http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/cavendish-blvd-extension-on-ice-disappears-from-city-budget-1.958562#ixzz26rX2iV1m

 

City of Montreal ‘pulls plug’ on Cavendish extension

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MONTREAL — The long-awaited Cavendish extension, which was part of a deal between the city of Montreal and the province, has suddenly disappeared from the three-year capital budget with no explanation, charges a Côte St. Luc city councillor.

Dida Berku calls the withdrawal of the $44-million project “a flagrant violation of a resolution unanimously adopted” by Montreal city council in March 2012.

And the move means the city is reneging on the deal it signed in March 2012 with the provincial government to develop the former Blue Bonnets race track land for the construction of between 5,000 and 8,000 homes, she said.

But Michael Applebaum, mayor of Côte des Neiges—Notre Dame de Grâce, said the deal was conditional on the money coming from the provincial government, and since there’s no indication that will happen, he had to take it out of the budget.

“I’m going to work very hard to get the money from the (provincial) government and when they do that, we’ll put it in the budget,” said Applebaum, chair of the city of Montreal’s executive committee.

The deal between the city and province called for the completion of phase one of the extension that would connect Cavendish Blvd. in St. Laurent to Royalmount Ave., and be built in five to 10 years at a cost of $44 million. It was included in the 2012-2014 three-year capital budget, but has mysteriously disappeared from the 2013-2015 budget released this week.

“I’m being realistic and not putting in the infrastructure budget if the money isn’t there,” Applebaum said. “(Those upset about this) should be asking the provincial government and the new minister of transport if this will be a priority for them.”

The proposed budget is to be presented to Montreal city council for adoption next week.

Anthony Housefather, mayor of Côte St. Luc, said the city would do everything to oppose the change.

“The proposal by the city of Montreal to remove these amounts … is a complete reversal of commitments made only months ago and is completely unacceptable to those living and working in the west end and West Island of Montreal,” he said in a statement.

The second phase of the extension, to link Royalmount Ave. to Cavendish Blvd. in Côte St. Luc, was to begin only after 2017.

Construction of the homes was only to start in 2017 and the city would use profits from the sale of the land to reinvest in the area as well as cover costs for studies to build the extension.

The 102-year-old Blue Bonnets racetrack shut down in 2009.

The Cavendish link was meant to ease traffic along the congested Décarie highway by connecting the northern and southern portions of the disjointed artery between St. Laurent and Côte St. Luc.

“It’s been one step forward and two steps backwards since the demerger,” Berku said. “What’s going on here?

“They just pulled the plug on it.”

Montreal council approved the $140-million extension in 2004, opened a project office and assigned it a $5-million budget to draw up plans.

But Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s $8.1-billion, 20-year transportation plan, made public in May 2007, put the project on the back burner.

Berku said when they asked Applebaum why the project was no longer in the budget this year, he told them ‘it was complicated.’

“But there’s nothing complicated about it, they just removed it from the budget,” Berku said.

smontgomery@montrealgazette.com

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/City+Montreal+pulls+plug+Cavendish+extension+C%c3%b4te+councillor+Dida+Berku+says/7249065/story.html#ixzz26dn8Sbxr

Letter to the Gazette: Anglo leaders are not gone

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Letters to the editor

Montreal Gazette

Re: Anglo leaders are long gone, Aubin, Gazette, September, 11, 2012:

Anglo leadership suffered a fatal blow by the withdrawal of federal funding a dozen years ago. Alliance Quebec had advocated forcefully on behalf of English-speaking Quebecers for many years and was a pillar of national unity. While AQ has withered away into the Quebec Community Groups Network, a smaller yet important group for the many rural Anglo communities throughout Quebec, there still exists several outstanding and capable individuals who represent sizable English-speaking communities.

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather is a young, dynamic and outspoken rights advocate. As president of AQ he acquired substantial knowledge of Quebec’s vast Anglo communities. Westmount Mayor Peter Trent is an eloquent spokesperson and renowned civic leader. Michael Applebaum is one of the highest ranking elected officials in the City of Montreal, representing the largest borough and most Anglo-populated of districts. These are but three obvious top picks for Pauline Marois to meet with in order to open vital channels of communication.

If Marois truly has the desire to reach out to English-speaking Quebecers she will find leaders willing to dialogue.

If government truly wants to develop Anglo leaders they can inject funds to sustain its advocacy organizations.

What’s truly sad is that the Quebec elections demonstrated that there is no interest on the part of federal or provincial leaders in supporting English-speaking Quebecers.

Glenn J. Nashen

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Anglo leaders are long gone

It’s a mystery who Marois could meet because there is a void in the English community

BY HENRY AUBIN, THE GAZETTE SEPTEMBER 11, 2012

The poll in Saturday’s Gazette asked whether Premier-elect “Pauline Marois and leaders of Quebec’s English community should meet as soon as possible.” Seventy-four per cent of respondents said yes (including 79 per cent of anglos and, encouragingly, 73 per cent of francophones).

An anglo gunman’s deadly outburst outside a Parti Québécois victory rally would have made such a meeting top of mind for many poll respondents. But other issues, too, could benefit from discussion between anglo leaders and Marois, who held herself aloof from the Englishspeaking community during the campaign – issues such as the PQ’s plans to subject small businesses to the same francization rules as big companies, to bar francophone and allophone students from English CEGEPs and to withhold Quebec “citizenship” from immigrants who don’t speak French.

But there’s a problem. The people Marois would meet with is a mystery. Anglo leaders? What anglo leaders?

As a graduate student at the Université de Montréal, Jonathan Lang, noted in The Gazette the day before the poll, there’s a lack of “anglophone leaders popular enough, and who represent this diverse community strongly enough, to be able to speak forcefully on its behalf.”

It’s hardly a new problem. Reed Scowen, a former Liberal MNA from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, made the same point in 2007, declaring that the English community’s “leadership infrastructure has disappeared.”

Twenty or 30 years ago, the anglo community was teeming with leaders – think, for example, of Alex Paterson, Victor and Michael Goldbloom, Eric Maldoff, Gretta Chambers, Joan Fraser, Peter Blaikie and, to cite a couple of less mainstream figures, Robert Libman and William Johnson. But that period is long gone. Little has changed since Scowen’s observation of five years ago: “Most people, when asked for a name (of a leader), might refer to the director of an anglophone educational institution, health centre or religious organization; these are competent people, but with public interests that do not go beyond their professional mandate.”

Why the 21st-century void? Leaders generally come from the ranks of the educated, and the post-1976 anglo exodus from Quebec included a disproportionately large number of these. A study by William Floch and Joanne Pocock has found that 61 per cent of all anglos born in Quebec who had earned bachelor’s degrees had moved to other parts of Canada by 2001. It’s even more distressing for those with master’s degrees, 66 per cent, and PhDs, 73 per cent. (Note that these figures, based on Statistics Canada data, only reflect moves to other provinces or the territories. That means that if moves to the U.S. and other countries were included, the figures would be even higher.)

The immigrants who are making the anglo community more heterogeneous are often preoccupied with establishing themselves professionally and contributing to their own ethnic community.

Add to that the changing zeitgeist. It was often common among welleducated, relatively well-to-do families to instill a sense of civic responsibility. They agreed with the saying, “Of those to whom much is given, much is expected.” To be sure, this attitude had a whiff of elitism – but of a good kind.

This sense of obligation to the community has given way to a new individualism. To be sure, the trend holds also in French Quebec (sociologist Guy Rocher has noted that the ideal of social solidarity is giving way to the “ideology of personal success”) and to the West in general.

I think the decline in church-going might also be a factor. That’s not only because of religious teaching per se (the “Of those to much is given” quote is biblical) but also because of the social dimension. Churches bring people together. They build a sense of community involvement that people can carry into their secular lives.

Though these attitudinal changes transcend English Quebec, they are felt particularly hard here because that community is a minority. Minorities can’t afford a leadership void if they aim to stay robust.

But let’s get back to that Gazette poll. Even though three-quarters of Quebecers might favour a meeting between Marois and anglo leaders, she has given no hint she’d like to meet with them, and there are no such leaders to invite even if she wanted to. The situation is not just absurd but sad.

Given the ongoing exodus of educated anglos and the thinness of respect for civic involvement, filling the leadership void won’t be easy.

haubin@montrealgazette.com

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Anglo+leaders+long+gone/7221343/story.html#ixzz26M64Olv9

Federation of Canadian Municipalities unite local leaders

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A playground that is safe and fun for kids of all ages, public security agents patrolling in environmentally friendly vehicles, major green spaces returned to public use and residential streets that are designed to slow down traffic making it safe for children to play – these are the dreams dancing through councillors’ heads upon returning from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities‘ annual general meeting.

Cote Saint-Luc Councillors Sam Goldbloom, Ruth Kovac, Steven Erdelyi, Allan Levine and I were in Saskatoon from June 1 to 4, and we returned eager to share best practices from other Canadian municipalities.

Councillors Ruth Kovac, Glenn J. Nashen and Sam Goldbloom discuss local issues with Cote des Neiges – NDG Borough Mayor Michael Applebaum (2nd from left)

We had a unique and privileged opportunity to sit in on plenary sessions to hear from the national leaders, including the Conservative  government’s infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel, NDP Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair, Liberal Leader Bob Rae and Green leader Elizabeth May.  All political parties spoke of the necessity to continue the infrastructure program that allowed Cote Saint-Luc, as one example, to build a first-class Aquatic and Community Centre.  The government announced that steady funding of municipalities would continue to great applause.

Councillors Steven Erdelyi, Sam Goldbloom and Glenn J. Nashen meet with newly elected FCM president Karen Lebovici

We also took part in learning sessions on a wide array of topics from the environment to public safety, financing to waste management.  The study tours were particularly motivating.  Saskatoon has designed parks and playgrounds with incredible imagination to make them educational and entertaining and fully respecting the environment.  They built in maximum involvement from the community, in planning, and financing partnerships.  There was so much to learn from their examples that could benefit the residents of Cote Saint-Luc and I am looking forward to working on the redesign of our flagship Trudeau Park in creating an even better use of public spaces.

Saskatoon has done a remarkable job at revitalizing their waterfront along the North Saskatchewan River. This water play feature is a major drawing for young children to learn about the local history, geography and culture and to have a good time splashing around.

We are bringing back best practices from across the country as to how other municipalities deal with issues that we all have in common, whether it’s water management, roads and sewer, recreational facilities or disaster readiness.

The river passes through downtown and the suburbs. Saskatoon is in the midst of a 100 year development plan to rehabilitate the area for recreation and leisure.

I was particularly impressed with the human touch offered by the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS).  The officers, from Deputy Chief Parnel to Sargent Patrick Barbar (relocated from the Montreal area)  were friendly and approachable, pleased to teach anyone interested about all the SPS does for its local citizens.

Saskatoon Police Services has acquired an armoured personnel carrier used in operations where the safety of its officers is better protected and dangerous situations are able to be neutralized quicker.

The SPS demonstrated the effectiveness of its K-9 force, remote-controlled camera-mounted mini-helicopter used to get close to situations where their personnel might otherwise be in direct danger and explained how they work with landlords in high crime areas to create safer and more hospitable areas.

Councillor Ruth Kovac meets the friendliest Sargent in Saskatchewan, officer Patrick Barbar.

Similarly the Saskatoon Transit folks were friendly, personable and very helpful.  Granted they were shuttling 1500 local government officials around their city however it showed how all civil servants are the front line personnel interacting with our citizens and that their style of communications and expression plays an important role in creating a customer-service oriented city.

We elected a new FCM president to lead the organization for the next year.  Councillor Karen Lebovici of the City of Edmonton, Alberta is no stranger to Cote Saint-Luc.  She visits our city regularly as her parents live here.  We invited her to meet our council on an upcoming trip to discuss how our local government can continue to be a voice on the national stage.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May addresses municipal leaders on the role we play locally in protecting the environment for future generations

Outgoing President Berry Vrabanovic of Kitchener, Ontario gave a humourous and engaging speech about his work at the national and international level.  Watch this terrific short episode as Berry does a Rick Mercer style rant about on the importance of Canada’s communities and cities – the place we call home.

CSL calls on Quebec, Montreal to prioritize Cavendish link

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CSL calls on Quebec, Montreal to prioritize Cavendish link

Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

March 21, 2012

Côte St. Luc council unanimously passed a resolution last week calling on the Quebec government and the City of Montreal to prioritize a link between Cavendish Boulevard in Côte St. Luc and St. Laurent, via Royalmount in Town of Mount Royal.

Côte des Neiges-NDG council recently passed a resolution asking Quebec to make the link a priority. Town of Mount Royal also passed a resolution. The link has been discussed for more than 40 years. During the merger years, a project bureau was set up specifically for the link, but while it came up with a design for the route, the project has remained on the shelf.

Councillor Dida Berku introduced Côte St. Luc’s resolution, which said that city reaffirms its support for the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish link and that it considers the project “a key element to improving traffic flow in the central portion of the island of Montreal. “The project should be included and designated as a priority in the next agreement between the Quebec Ministry of Transport and the City of Montreal,” the resolution adds.

Copies of Côte St. Luc’s resolution are being sent to Quebec Transport Minister Pierre Moreau, D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, Montreal’s executive committee, and all mayors and councils in the islandwide Montreal agglomeration. A copy will also be deposited at the next Montreal agglomeration meeting. The resolution was seconded by Councillor Glenn Nashen.

Berku said the concept and the plan for the link exist, and even went to the Quebec environment ministry. “And then the plug was pulled by the city of Montreal at the time of demerger,” she added. “We want to put it back on track, and now that the city of Montreal is negotiating an agreement with the Quebec transport ministry, we want them to put it back as a priority, and we’re very happy Côte des Neiges-NDG has adopted the same resolution. TMR has done the same. We hope our MNA and the transport minister will listen to our mayor and proceed to add this to their entente.”

Earlier at Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Anthony Housefather told council regular Bernard Tonchin that at a recent agglomeration meeting, he was told Montreal considered other projects higher priorities. “I stated this was unacceptable to Côte St. Luc, that there was money in the agglomeration budget for the extension of Cavendish that we pushed to have in when the transport plan was adopted at the last round, and the only impediment was that they didn’t know what the railways were going to do,” Housefather explained, adding that he was also told the railways are staying. “That fulfilled the criteria for Cavendish going ahead, because that’s what was stated in the transport plan.”

The mayor also said he asked for, and got, support from the Association of Suburban Mayors for the link, and that he and TMR’s mayor have written to Moreau, “asking for a meeting to once again discuss Cavendish and ask Quebec to make it a priority in the entente being worked out between the Quebec government and City of Montreal on funding for transport projects. We have continued to lobby our MNAs, and our MNAs advised me they continue to lobby the minister.”

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CSL asks province, agglo, Montreal to support Cavendish extension

Isaac Olson, The Free Press

March 27, 2012

Right on the heels of a neighbouring Montreal borough’s pro-Cavendish-extension motion, Côte St. Luc also voted to demand Quebec’s support in what would, proponents say, finally give the West End a reliable alternative to the seemingly permanent congestion found on Decarie Blvd. and the expressway.

“Be it resolved that the city of Côte St. Luc reaffirms its support in favour of the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project,” said councillor Dida Berku reading from the motion’s conclusion. The city, she continued, considers “the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project a key element to improving traffic flow for public, private and active transit for the central portion of the island of Montreal.” Berku said a copy of the motion will be sent to provincial officials, all mayors/ councils within the agglomeration and deposited at the next agglomeration meeting.

The resolution states Montreal, by unanimous resolution of the city council, established a project bureau with a budget of $5 million with “a precise mandate to manage the Cavendish extension project, including the adoption of the final route proposal by 2006 and the design and completion of the work between 2007 and 2012.” However, Berku noted, “We are now in 2012 and what we know is, the only thing that has happened is the [project bureau] did do its work and they did conceive of a very good design.”

The concept and plan is there, she said, but things fell apart with the demerger and “we want to put it back on track.”

CSL’s measure goes beyond CDN-NDG’s by also demanding Montreal’s support. It’s Montreal that now needs to get behind the fight, said Mayor Anthony Housefather, as CDN-NDG does not represent the entire city.

When asked to confirm where Montreal stands on the issue, city spokesperson Darren Becker said the extension has been listed on the urban transportation plan’s to-do list since 2008 and the plan outlines a need to connect CSL’s Cavendish Blvd. with St. Laurent’s Cavendish Blvd. and Royalmount.

There is $45 million set aside in the budget for the some $150 million project, he continued, but it is up to the Quebec government to back the rest. While a few projects involving Metro and East End road renovations are topping the priority list, the Cavendish extension is still very much part of the transport plan, according to Becker, but Quebec needs to finance the project.

This is not the first time CSL’s council has voiced strong support for the extension nor is it a new issue. The borough of St. Laurent first passed a similar measure back in 1981 and, more recently, TMR hopped into the fray with a motion of its own.

“Remember, we are having more homes built behind the Cavendish Mall,” Bernard Tonchin told the council at the start of the March 12 meeting. “There are only two exits to get in and out of Côte St. Luc, and Decarie is impassable with all the construction going on now.

We desperately need Cavendish.” Housefather said, since 1998, CSL has been at the forefront of efforts to realize the extension. Housefather reported that he has been in touch with Montreal officials, like CDN-NDG mayor and executive committee chair Michael Applebaum. Applebaum said Montreal’s priorities were elsewhere, said Housefather.

The association of suburban mayors is supporting the extension, he said, and a joint letter has been sent to the Quebec government asking for support. The mayor pledged to continue bringing the issue up during agglomeration council meetings as, he said, there is money in the agglomeration budget to realize the project.

***

Extract from: Quebec to cede Hippodrome land to Montreal for ‘city within a city’

Bachand commits to Cavendish link

Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

March 28, 2012

••• Bachand also said constituents of the Outremont (Côte des Neiges} and D’Arcy McGee ridings should also be pleased, as part of the announcement reiterates Quebec’s commitment to the Cavendish-Cavendish link. As part of the Quebec-Montreal agreement, part of the funds gathered from land sales could be reinvested towards the extension project between St. Laurent, Town of Mount Royal and Côte St. Luc.

“There are reserves of $45 million that the city has already put in, in capital investments, and that is protected,” the minister said. “The city will make studies, in terms of updates on the cost of the project and then we’ll take it from there in future years.”

Bachand told The Suburban that recent resolutions from Côte des Neiges-NDG, Côte St. Luc and TMR played an important role in the link resurfacing again. The resolutions asked Quebec to prioritize the link. “For us and our MNAs, Cavendish is very important,” Bachand told The Suburban.  “The resolution passed in Côte des Neiges-NDG is very, very important, because it shows that a consensus exists now. Now, it’s time to update the studies on the cost of the project, for engineering. As part of the agreement, the city undertakes to update the studies to see what the project should look like at the end of the day.”

Bergman, the D’Arcy McGee MNA, was pleased with the Hippodrome and Cavendish announcements. “The Hippodrome will be good for ecology and modernize the west end of the city, and attract to the west end some wonderful housing, properly planned, with parks, playgrounds, schools and commerces to serve families,” he said. “This will help our family policy. “We’re also in a step in the right direction for Cavendish- Cavendish,” Bergman added. “The studies will be updated, looked at and certainly be part of the mix of this development. With the increase of housing in the Namur triangle and now with the development of the Hippodrome section, certainly north-south arteries will have to be further developed and this brings Cavendish into the mix. I’m delighted.”

CDN-NDG supporting Cavendish extension

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CDN-NDG supporting Cavendish extension

CSL’s Housefather wants the rest of Montreal to support the effort

Isaac Olson, Free Press

March 13, 2012

In a motion launched by Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand, the CDN-NDG borough council voted on March 5 to ask the “Quebec government to make extending boulevard Cavendish one of its priorities.”

Currently, Cavendish Blvd. runs from NDG’s St. Jacques Blvd. to the city of Côte St. Luc where it is cut off by train tracks. Many would like to see a bridge built over the tracks, connecting Cavendish to Royalmount Ave. and the St. Laurent borough. St. Laurent already extended its Cavendish Blvd. with hopes that someday Quebec would follow through with a link the CSL’s website says “will improve accessibility to, from and within this sector for all means of transport.”

While borough mayor Michael Applebaum voiced strong support for the motion, NDG councillor Peter McQueen voted against it due to what he called a lack of details in the motion.

In a follow-up interview, Côte St. Luc mayor Anthony Housefather said that, while the borough and area municipalities are continuing this lobby effort, many are frustrated that Montreal’s centre city council isn’t jumping into the fray.

A similar motion was passed by TMR back in January, CSL has continued to lobby the province and St. Laurent first passed this motion on March 10, 1981.

Voices from Montreal

“The whole construction cost of Cavendish to Cavendish would be about $150 million and it’s very clear that the city of Montreal doesn’t have $150 million to invest,” said Applebaum. “It’s an important link in the network and what we’re saying to the provincial representatives is: Now is the time to put up the money in order to realize the extension.”

During the meeting, Rotrand said there are CSL residents who can see over the tracks to where they want to go — an as-the crow- flies trip that would take about a minute — but they must travel east on Fleet, north on Decarie and back west again. He added, “The whole west end of the city is enclaved and it has to be dis-enclaved.”

St. Laurent borough mayor Alan DeSousa told the Free Press his borough first began lobbying the province for this extension 31 years ago and there have been subsequent motions since. “The extension of Cavendish to the south has always been of interest to our community,” said DeSousa. With many provincial officials and surrounding municipalities supporting the extension, DeSousa predicted “we’re at a threshold where we can resolve this issue.”

 

Housefather says link is vital

Housefather said he recently asked Applebaum for Montreal’s support of the extension during an agglomeration meeting, but was told Montreal’s priority’s are more focused on East End projects. Citing CSL as a city in need of better road access, Housefather described the extension as “the most important missing link in the Montreal road network.” It would give people more time to do things like enjoy their family or exercise rather then wasting hours trapped in daily congestion or re-routing around what could be a short trip over the tracks, he said. The extension, he added, would also limit the amount of pollution caused by so many idling cars.

Working in concert with supporting municipalities, CSL is doing “whatever we can to put this project on Quebec’s priority list” and Housefather applauds any support Montrealers provide, but he would like to see Montreal’s entire city council follow through and stand unified behind the vital project.

When asked if there are concerns for increased traffic in the area as NDGers, Hampsteaders and many others use it as a thoroughfare, Housefather said the reduction in traffic on area roads as well as the increase in accessibility for CSL residents outweighs any potential congestion issues. Cavendish could be outfitted to handle the changes and, overall, the “greater good” needs to be considered.

McQueen votes nay

McQueen later explained that he voted against the measure because there was no mention of the Royalmount connection, the De La Savanne Metro station or active/public transit in the motion. “For us, the link from both CSL and from St. Laurent to Royalmount and under-utilized De la Savanne Metro station is key to the whole project,” stated McQueen. “You might ask why I did not attempt to amend the motion, but given the frosty (no seconder) reception of my eminently reasonable motion asking Transport Quebec to hold a public information session in NDG, you can understand my exhaustion at their unanimous non-cooperation with my point of view.”

RVHS move recommendation reversed

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The Suburban Newspaper, January 11, 2012

Royal Vale High School’s future to be decided Wednesday

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Parents cautiously optimistic about Royal Vale High School’s future. (Montreal Gazette)

In Côte St. Luc, Mayor Anthony Housefather said he still hopes the EMSB will open an English public high school in his city. Côte St. Luc never asked for Royal Vale high school to be moved, Housefather said.

“Côte St. Luc is simply asking for a mainstream English high school in the former Wagar building,” he said. “We’re confident that the presentation we made to the EMSB will hopefully yield us one.”

 

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Parents+cautiously+optimistic+about+Royal+Vale+High+School+future/5969110/story.html#ixzz1j3x2DNhn

EMSB hearings on Royal Vale

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…and from the Suburban News, Dec. 13, 2011…

Major school changes: Temperatures rise at hearings

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Major school changes: Temperatures rise at hearings

By Brenda Branswell, GAZETTE Education reporter
December 6, 2011 11:06 PM

MONTREAL – “Keep us as we are.”

That was one of the messages to English Montreal School Board commissioners on Tuesday from Royal Vale School parents who oppose a proposal to relocate its high school to Côte St. Luc.

And it was reinforced by other parents who cheered them on, holding up signs with messages like “We Love Royal Vale the Way it is!” and “Don’t Steal our School!”

“Royal Vale is an elementary and a high school together. Please leave it alone. Let it stay as a gem in your crown,” said Anouk Benzacar, who has two children at the school.

After a somewhat low-key start this week to the EMSB’s public hearings on major school changes, the temperature rose a few degrees on Tuesday with the Royal Vale proposal that has sparked petitions on both sides of the debate and seen the City of Côte St. Luc and the borough of Côte des Neiges/Notre Dame de Grâce staking out opposing positions.

The EMSB is considering a series of proposals to close, merge and relocate schools. Commissioners will vote on the recommendations next month. Côte St. Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, who has been pushing to bring a mainstream English public high school to Côte St. Luc, argued in favour of the Royal Vale proposal.

“You need to look at it from the best future of the board – and the best future of your entire school network, which is why I imagine the long-range planning (committee) made the suggestion and put the proposal on the table,” Housefather said.

The board’s long-range planning committee obviously looked at the fact that only 15 of 46 Royal Vale graduates who left Grade 6 went on to its high school, he said.

Royal Vale is a kindergarten-to-Grade 11 school under the same roof in N.D.G. The recommendation suggests that its elementary section would stay at the school’s location with the high school section moving to the Giovanni Palatucci facility, the former Wagar High School building. According to the scenario, Royal Vale’s high school would share the building with John Grant High School, an alternative special education vocational centre.

Marymount Adult Education Centre, which is in the Palatucci facility, would have to be relocated to an empty building that becomes available next summer.

“If you move (Royal Vale’s high school) it is very, very clear that the enrolment will continue to diminish and eventually you will close that facility,” CDN/NDG borough mayor Michael Applebaum told commissioners. “And I don’t think that is what you’re looking to do.”

It’s the third EMSB proposal in recent years to relocate Royal Vale to Côte St. Luc. The board’s planning committee has said enrolment “could increase” with more students from Côte St. Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West, especially those attending private schools in the area.

“We sincerely believe that the Royal Vale student body would be very well served by the excellent Giovanni Palatucci Facility and its nearby enviable Cote St. Luc facilities,” said the brief submitted by the city of Côte St. Luc. “We are confident that if Royal Vale were located in Côte St. Luc, it would also attract a considerable number of new students from our city as well as from other nearby municipalities,” it said.

The assertion that establishing Royal Vale in Côte St. Luc would bring in students from the private sector “is anecdotal only,” Royal Vale’s governing board stated in its brief. “In fact, no true market survey has been made.”

Wagar High School closed in 2005 due to low enrolment.

Carlyle School’s governing board was also scheduled to present a brief on Tuesday. The long-range planning committee has proposed closing Carlyle in Town of Mount Royal and shifting its students to Coronation Elementary School in Côte des Neiges.

Commissioners also heard from St. Raphael’s School community about a proposal to relocate its elementary and secondary programs to another school facility that closed in June that it deemed appropriate. St. Raphael’s works with students with behaviour problems to help reintegrate them back into mainstream schools. The brief submitted by St. Raphael’s governing board concluded by saying: “We hope you will recognize the need for St. Raphael to remain in our building.”

On Wednesday the hearings and will deal with several proposals including one to close James Lyng High School and another to merge St. Gabriel and St. John Bosco elementary schools.

 

bbranswell@montrealgazette.com

 

 

 

 

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