Montreal elections: Traffic, parking and daycare are on voters’ minds in Côte-St-Luc: Montreal Gazette

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Côte-St-Luc voters will choose between incumbent Mitchell Brownstein and former mayor Robert Libman.

Longtime Côte-St-Luc resident Carole Blank says she’s “happy with everything” about life in the west-end municipality of more than 34,000 – a community with more than two dozen parks, an enviable aquatic and community centre complex, a stellar library and an almost even split between rented and owned dwellings. Although there are many older residents, the median age of 45.7 has dropped from 49 in 2016.

Côte-St-Luc residents, along with voters in other municipalities, go to the polls Nov. 5 to elect a mayor and council; in Côte-St-Luc, seven of the eight council seats are being contested. In the run-up to the election, the Montreal Gazette stopped by the Eleanor London Côte-St-Luc Public Library to get a sense of issues important to residents.

Keren Shemesh, who was browsing at the Cavendish Blvd. library with her son, 18-month-old Max Blauer, said she’d like to see more private daycares in Côte-St-Luc, particularly those with spaces for children under the age of two.

Pleased as he is with the facilities and “how everyone is friendly,” Miguel Laliberté said he wouldn’t mind a few small tweaks, like more late-night buses and parking signs he could interpret more easily.

For Julio Laufer, who with his wife, Dorothy, was waiting for a tablet class to start, traffic and the state of the roads are issues. Had the long-talked-about (and recently approved) Cavendish Blvd. extension from Côte-St-Luc to St-Laurent been in place connecting the two dead ends of Cavendish, the commute to his Côte-de-Liesse-area workplace would have been considerably shorter.

The condition of the roads and the long-promised Cavendish extension are issues for CSL residents Dorothy and Julio Laufer. (John Mahoney / MONTREAL GAZETTE)

Bernard Arbitman also wants to see the extension built – “There’s no quick exit now from Côte-St-Luc except for the Cavendish underpass,” he said – and would like overnight parking on city streets permitted. Currently it’s not.

Côte-St-Luc voters will be choosing between the current mayor and a former one. Incumbent Mitchell Brownstein, acclaimed as mayor in 2016 when longtime mayor Anthony Housefatherresigned after winning the federal seat in Mount Royal for the Liberals, had served as a city councillor since 1990. A lawyer by profession, he calls himself a full-time mayor – the kind of politician who gives out his personal cellphone number to constituents.

Traffic and parking are the issues for CSL resident Bernard Arbitman, who was reading a newspaper at the Eleanor London CSL Public Library, Tuesday October 17, 2017. (John Mahoney / MONTREAL GAZETTE)

Challenger Robert Libman, an architect and urban planner, was a provincial MNA from 1989 to 1994 and mayor of Côte-St-Luc from 1998 to 2005. He returned to private life and opened his own architectural consulting firm but returned to politics in 2014 and won the nomination in Mount-Royal for the Conservative Party of Canada; he was defeated by Housefather in the 2015 federal election.

There is substantial overlap in their platforms and both candidates consider reducing taxes, seeing through the Cavendish extension, improving roads and relocating and redeveloping the CP rail yards among their top priorities.

For resident Matthew Ross, whose home borders on the yards, their relocation is “my Number One issue.” Aside from advantages for the city linked to redevelopment of the area, which constitutes virtually a third of the municipality’s territory, Ross said he would welcome an end to the noise and odours generated by the yards.

CSL resident Carole Blank, checking out books from the Eleanor London CSL Public Library, says she is “happy with everything” in her municipality as residents prepare to vote for a mayor and councillors in the Nov. 5 municipal election. Tuesday October 17, 2017. (John Mahoney / MONTREAL GAZETTE)

Despite their agreement on issues, a seemingly personal rivalry between the candidates has become evident. Each has levelled insults against the other on Let’s Chat CSL, a closed Facebook group for residents. And during a recent television debate moderated by Jamie Orchard of Global News, the two interrupted each other, talked over one another and traded barbs.

One issue that has garnered media attention involves Libman’s role as in-house architect coordinating new projects with Olymbec, a real-estate company that owns parcels of land on the site of the future Cavendish extension. Brownstein has said this creates a potential conflict of interest. In fact, the land in question in the eventual corridor has already been reserved for expropriation – and was reserved before Libman entered the race.

As mayor, he said he would recuse himself in the event of a zoning issue or development project in Côte-St-Luc in which a potential conflict existed, “to be perfectly transparent … and to avoid perceived conflict.” But the Cavendish extension is not such an issue, he said, “because it is a done deal.”

“There is no conflict and will not be a conflict,” Libman wrote in his Let’s Chat CSL post. “It’s already reserved. I’ve been pushing this project for the past 15 years, well before I ever started working as an architect with Olymbec. Let’s stick to the issues in the campaign and let the democratic process unfold fairly and with respect for all candidates.”

Both mayoral candidates are seasoned politicians and each has his supporters. Turnout for municipal elections in Quebec tends to be low: Fewer than half of those eligible voted in the 2013 municipal elections, although that’s slightly more than voted in previous elections. But as one Côte-St-Luc councillor observed: “I think the good news about all this is that we will get a strong voter turnout. And that is good for democracy.”

sschwartz@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/susanschwartz

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Meeting the residents, door to door

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Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and I meet up with Whitehorne resident Shalom Zobin

 

The response we’ve received at the doors is overwhelmingly positive. The mayor has been making his way through every district of Cote Saint-Luc while I work my way through District 6. It’s wonderful to meet so many residents, to hear their concerns and to answer their questions. I wish I could meet each and every one of my constituents but understandably not everyone is home when I pass by. However, more than ever we are all connected be it by phone, email, social media or by other means.

We are so happy to hear that the vast majority of residents are very pleased with life in Cote Saint-Luc, with city services and programs and indeed with the Administration and Mayor and Council.

Some residents have very local concerns about situations on their block and these need to be addressed, street by street. Much has to do with slowing down traffic. While we’ve made several improvements, say residents, such as lowering speed limits and traffic calming measures, more needs to be done. Working together with our traffic engineers and local police we will find new solutions to meet the challenges in keeping our residents safe.

Please reach out to us by phone, email or on Facebook. Mayor Brownstein and I are pleased to respond to any questions and we look forward, with your support on November 5, to continuing to serve you and to keep you safe.

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La réponse que nous avons reçue aux portes est extrêmement positive. Le maire a fait son chemin dans tous les districts de Cote Saint-Luc pendant que je continue mon travaille dans le district 6. C’est formidable de rencontrer tant de résidents, d’entendre leurs préoccupations et de répondre à leurs questions. J’aimerais rencontrer tous les résidents de district 6, mais, de façon compréhensible, tout le monde n’est pas à la maison quand je passe. Cependant, plus que jamais, nous sommes tous connectés par téléphone, courrier électronique, médias sociaux ou autre moyen.

Nous sommes tellement heureux d’apprendre que la grande majorité des résidents sont très satisfaits de la vie à Cote Saint-Luc, avec les services et les programmes de la ville et même avec l’Administration et le Maire et le Conseil.

Certains résidents ont des préoccupations très locales concernant les situations sur leur rue qui doivent être abordées, rue par rue. Ont parle beaucoup de ralentissement du trafic. Bien que nous ayons fait plusieurs améliorations, disons les résidents, tels que l’abaissement des limites de vitesse et les mesures d’apaisement de la circulation, il faut faire plus. En collaboration avec nos ingénieurs de la circulation et la police locale, nous trouverons de nouvelles solutions pour relever les défis de la sécurité de nos résidents.

Veuillez nous contacter par téléphone, par courrier électronique ou sur Facebook. Le maire Brownstein et moi-même sommes ravis de répondre à toutes les questions et nous espérons, avec votre appui le 5 novembre, de continuer à vous servir et à vous garder en sécurité.

 

 

Battle heats up in Côte Saint-Luc

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The race is heating up in Côte Saint-Luc with clashing personalities battling it out for mayor.

Incumbent Mitchell Brownstein is seeking a second term.

He’s being challenged by former mayor Robert Libman who is trying to get his old job back.

 

WATCH: The former mayor of Côte Saint-Luc has decided to run for re-election, but as Global’s Tim Sargeant reports, Robert Libman is a registered lobbyist. This has incumbent Mayor Mitchell Brownstein questioning his rival’s true interests.

Global News Report

Chabad fills Trudeau Park for Simchat Beit HaShoeivah

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Chabad Cote Saint-Luc held its annual celebration of Simchat Beit HaShoeivah last night in Trudeau Park. Many hundreds, perhaps a thousand people or more were in attendance to hear internationally renowned chanteur Avraham David. There were games and food for the children, videos and lots of live performances.

Councillors Allan J. Levine, Sidney Benizri, Steven Erdelyi, Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac along with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Anthony Housefather, MP, at the Chabad CSL celebration in Trudeau Park

 

Rabbi David Cohen invited the Mayor and Council along with the Member of Parliament up on stage and thanked us all for our work in building an extraordinary community and in welcoming Chabad to put on their events.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein stressed that CSL is a unique and special community in which we strive to be tolerant, respectful and neighbourly, one to another. “People are moving here, not only from other areas of Montreal and Laval, but from France and other countries in order to live in peace and security and in order to be comfortable in living Jewish lives without fear.”

Anthony Housefather, an eloquent orator in several languages, said that Canada is known worldwide for its multicultural policies of encouraging and supporting cultural communities, such as ours in CSL.

Rabbi Cohen passed the mic to each councillor to bring greetings for a Happy New Year to which I added by good wishes in Yiddish and Hebrew.

Chag Sameach one and all. A gut yontif un a ziseh yor!

Quite the crowd in Trudeau Park for Simchat Beit Hashoueva celebrations

 

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Chabad Cote Saint-Luc a tenu sa célébration annuelle de Simchat Beit HaShoeivah hier soir dans le parc Trudeau. Plusieurs centaines, peut-être mille personnes ou plus étaient présents pour entendre chanteur international, Avraham David. Il y avait des jeux et de la nourriture pour les enfants, des vidéos et beaucoup de spectacles.

Les conseillers Allan J. Levine, Sidney Benizri, Steven Erdelyi, Glenn J. Nashen et Ruth Kovac, ainsi que le maire Mitchell Brownstein et Anthony Housefather, député était la pour les célébrations.

Le rabbin David Cohen a invité le maire et le conseil avec le député sur la scène et nous a remercié tous pour notre travail dans la communauté et en accueillant Chabad pour faire valoir leurs événements.

Le maire Mitchell Brownstein a souligné que CSL est une communauté unique et spéciale dans laquelle nous nous efforçons d’être tolérants, et respectueux, les uns aux autres. «Les gens se déplacent ici, non seulement dans d’autres régions de Montréal et de Laval, mais de la France et d’autres pays pour vivre en paix et en sécurité et pour être à l’aise dans la vie juive, sans peur».

Anthony Housefather, un orateur éloquent dans plusieurs langues, a déclaré que le Canada est connu dans le monde entier pour ses politiques multiculturelles visant à encourager et à soutenir les communautés culturelles, comme la nôtre à CSL.

Le rabbin Cohen a passé le micro à chaque conseiller pour faire une salutation pour une bonne et heureuse année à laquelle j’ai ajouté par ses vœux en yiddish et en hébreu.

Chag Sameach lecoulam!

 

The time of renewal in Cote Saint-Luc

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sukkot20painting

This past week my family and I joined Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, members of City Council and MP Anthony Housefather in Rabbi Mendel and Mrs. Sarah Raskin’s Chabad Cote Saint-Luc Sukkah for a lovely dinner in celebration of the holiday of Sukkot.

Rabbi Raskin welcomed us and expressed his wish that we would be returned to Council on November 5, “to continue our important work for the community”.  He invited each of us to say a few words to the overflow crowd.

The Mayor spoke about happiness and enjoying every moment of life, referring to the harmony that exists in Cote Saint-Luc among all groups, be it linguistic, religious or any other.  He praised the work of the Rabbi and Mrs. Raskin and congratulated him on his 30+ years of building community in Cote Saint-Luc.

When my turn came I spoke about renewal. Next week we begin reading the Torah once again from the very beginning and so too I pledged my own personal renewal: my commitment to serving the residents of Cote Saint-Luc, looking out for their safety and security, ensuring we remain the safest place to live on the Island of Montreal.

CSL is a big Mishpacha, a family, where residents help one another through volunteerism to strengthen our community one family at a time.  No matter the language, nor one’s religious affiliation, we are a close community, highly respectful of one another.  This experience has made CSL a magnet for families emigrating from France, Russia, Argentina and other places where their religious beliefs and background could not be publicly displayed nor celebrated, as evidenced by the number of recent arrivals to Canada sharing a meal with us in the Sukkah.

After an elaborate five course meal for over 113 invited guests, the Rabbi lead us onto Cavendish Boulevard to dance in the street.

Sukkot is also called “The Time of Our Joy” (Zman Simchateinu) – a special joy pervades the festival. Celebrations and festivities fill the synagogues and streets with song, music, and dance until the wee hours of the morning. Earlier that day I was overwhelmed by the welcome that the Mayor and I, together with former MNA for D’Arcy McGee and Minister of Revenue, Lawrence Bergman, received at Congregation or Hahayim. And the very next day we were welcomed to Beth Chabad Hechal Menachem for their Sukkot services for both Sephardim and Ashkenazim, beautifully united in the same synagogue.

Thanks to Rabbi Mendel and Mrs. Sarah Raskin for bringing overwhelming joy and deep compassion to the people of Cote Saint-Luc and beyond.

  • For forty years, as our ancestors traversed the Sinai Desert prior to their entry into the Holy Land, miraculous “clouds of glory” surrounded and hovered over them, shielding them from the dangers and discomforts of the desert. Ever since, we remember G‑d’s kindness and reaffirm our trust in His providence by dwelling in a sukkah – a hut of temporary construction with a roof covering of branches – for the duration of the autumn Sukkot festival. For seven days and nights, we eat all our meals in the sukkah – reciting a special blessing – and otherwise regard it as our home.

 

Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen celebrating with Rabbi Mendel Raskin in Trudeau Park

La semaine dernière, ma famille et moi ont rejoint le maire Mitchell Brownstein, les membres du conseil municipal et le député Anthony Housefather chez le Rabbin Mendel et Mme Sarah Raskin de Chabad CSL dans leur Sukkah pour un dîner très agréable dans la célébration de la fête de Souccot.

Le Rabbin Raskin nous a accueillis et a exprimé son souhait que nous serions retournés au Conseil le 5 novembre, “pour suivez notre travail important pour la communauté”. Il a invité chacun de nous à dire quelques mots aux invités.

Le maire a parlé de bonheur et de jouir de tous les moments de la vie, en se référant à l’harmonie qui existe dans à Côte-Saint-Luc parmi tous les groupes, qu’il soit linguistique, religieux ou autre. Il a salué le travail du Rabbin et Mme Raskin à amener les jeunes familles et l’a félicité pour ses 30 ans de travaille important à CSL.

À mon tour, j’ai parlé de la renouvellement. La semaine prochaine, nous recommençons à lire la Torah une fois encore dès le début. Alors, j’ai promis mon propre renouvellement personnel: mon engagement à servir les résidents de Cote Saint-Luc, en respectant leur sécurité et leur sécurité, en nous assurant que nous restons l’endroit le plus sûr pour vivre sur l’île de Montréal.

CSL est une grande Mishpacha, une famille, où les résidents s’entraident par le biais du bénévolat afin de renforcer notre communauté, une famille à la fois. Peu importe la langue, ni l’appartenance religieuse, nous sommes une communauté solide, très respectueuse l’une de l’autre. Cette expérience a fait de CSL un atout pour les familles émigrant de la France, de la Russie, de l’Argentine et d’autres lieux où leurs croyances et antécédents religieux ne pouvaient pas être publiquement exposés ni célébrés, comme en témoigne le nombre d’arrivées récentes au Canada partageant un repas avec nous dans le Succah.

 

My family is a wonderful blend of Sephardi and Ashkenazi tradition

 

Plus tôt ce jour-là, j’ai été si heureux par l’accueil que le maire et moi-même, ainsi que l’ancien député d’Arcy McGee et le ministre du Revenu, Lawrence Bergman, ont été reçus lors de la Congrégation Or Hahayim. Et le lendemain, nous avons été accueillis à Beth Chabad Hechal Menachem pour leurs services Sukkot à la fois pour Sephardim et Ashkenazim, magnifiquement unis dans la même synagogue.

  • Depuis quarante ans, comme nos ancêtres ont traversé le désert du Sinaï, avant leur entrée dans la Terre sainte, miraculeuse “nuages de gloire” entouré et planait sur eux, les protégeant contre les dangers et inconvénients du désert. Depuis, nous nous souvenons la gentillesse de Dieu et de réaffirmer notre confiance dans sa providence par habitation dans une soukkah – une cabane de construction temporaire avec une couverture de toiture de branches – pour la durée de la fête de Souccot. Pendant sept jours et nuits, nous mangeons tous nos repas dans la Souccah – réciter une bénédiction spéciale – et par ailleurs le considérer comme notre maison.

Après un diner extraordinaire, le Rabbin nous a inviter à danser sur sur le boulevard Cavendish.

Souccot est appelé aussi “Le temps de notre joie” (Zman simchateinu) – une joie particulière imprègne le festival. Célébrations et fêtes de remplir les synagogues et les rues avec des chants, de musique et de danse jusqu’aux petites heures du matin.

Merci à Rabbi Mendel et Mme Sarah Raskin pour apporter la joie immense et une profonde compassion pour le peuple de Côte Saint-Luc.

CSL candidates go at it on Global

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Côte St. Luc mayoral candidates Mitchell Brownstein and Robert Libman debated the issues last Thursday on Global TV’s Focus Montreal, hosted by Jamie Orchard.

Libman praised Côte St. Luc as an “incredible municipality.

“But I don’t believe we’ve achieved our full potential, we can do a lot better with the right leadership,” he added.

 Brownstein said that since he became mayor a year and a half ago, “I negotiated a deal with the City of Montreal whereby Côte St. Luc will be paying $4.8 million less for essential [island-wide agglomeration] services, reduced our debt by $4 million and we’re running a surplus of $1.9 million in 2016. I settled collective agreements with our three unions.”

The debate dealt with the most prominent issue in Côte St. Luc for the past 50 years — the long-awaited Cavendish Blvd. link with St. Laurent. Libman said he ended the longstanding impasse prompted by former Mayor Bernard Lang’s opposition.

“In 2000, I developed a consensus that I proposed to the Quebec Transport Ministry and the municipalities in the surrounding area were in agreement with us,” he said. “The City of Montreal created a project bureau with a $5 million budget at the time, public studies and environmental tests were prepared and ready to go for the extension to be completed in 2010, and 15 years later, it’s still not there. We need someone with an urban planning and architectural background that I have to really push this file forward.”

Brownstein said the ceding of the Hippodrome land from Quebec to Montreal last June for a housing development has a condition that the Cavendish extension “must go forward.

“It didn’t happen by itself. As soon as I was elected, I made a commitment I would push Cavendish forward, and I met with Montreal executive committee chairman Pierre Desrochers. We had a meeting with our MNA David Birnbaum, four ministers came, and all the five mayors — everyone was committed to moving it forward. I met with CP and CN for the first time together in my office. The result was that Minister Carlos Leitao announced with Mayor Denis Coderre that there will be an extension…”

“That was the biggest non-announcement,” Libman began, before both spoke over each other.

“If Robert [was going to] to move it forward, he would have been able to do it when he was on the Montreal [megacity] executive committee, but now he can’t do it at all,” Brownstein countered.

‘That’s when we announced it,” Libman responded. “The file was going to go ahead, and 15 years later it’s still sitting on the backburner.”

Brownstein then said Libman is a lobbyist for the development company Olymbec, “and there is a reserve on a piece of land owned by Olymbec that is required for the Cavendish extension. He will have to recuse himself from the whole debate!”

“This is so typical of this whole campaign,” Libman said. “All of the allegations, ridiculous comments…”

Orchard asked if the Olymbec land is under reserve, and if it is required for the extension.

“A piece of land owned by Olymbec has been reserved by the City of Montreal, but it doesn’t affect what I do…” Libman said.

“Would you have to recuse yourself from that debate?” Orchard asked.

“To be perfectly transparent, just to avoid any perceived conflict, perhaps I would, but it’s not even necessary, I’ve spoken with ministry officials about that,” Libman said.

Last week, Libman told The Suburban that while he is registered as a lobbyist, “I have no choice —every architect and urban planner that meets with city officials has to do that.”

At another debate at the Or Hahayim Synagogue Brownstein raised the issue of remerger as a “possible” threat. “The threat is not imminent,” he said, “But there have been Mayors who have told me that they’ve heard discussions of the possibility. I wouldn’t want to say more because I don’t want it to happen. I heard it at the municipal level. Certain people at the municipal level would like that to happen.” Brownstein declined to reveal further details.

Libman said Brownstein’s contention is a “scare tactic. “I have tried over and over again to bring issues to the fore that affect Côte St. Luc residents going forward regarding taxation, urban planning challenges, infrastructure and roads, transparency and creative programs for our city and he hasn’t advanced a single idea,” the candidate said. “All he does is try to spin the 15-year-old demerger tale and shy away from the real issues.”

Watch the debate here.

Lots of likes on Lockwood

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Lockwood resident Tom Reichman with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Glenn J. Nashen

 

Mayor Brownstein and I had a wonderful evening meeting with residents on Lockwood Avenue earlier this week. Residents were very enthused about receiving a visit by their elected officials and given the opportunity to discuss issues important to them right at their doors. I truly enjoy engaging with my constituents in their neighbourhood as I do not only during election campaigns, but in between as well, whether taking walks with my family through District 6 or in cycling around and stopping to chat here and there.

The Mayor and I were so pleased to hear the very favourable remarks about residents’ impressions about the new Shalom Bloom Sculpture Garden in Trudeau Park, about the new services for kids at the Aquatic and Community Centre and about how pleased they are with city services and programs.

CSLers feel safe and secure in their neighbourhoods and this gives me great pride as I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy working with our public safety volunteers and staff ensuring that we remain the safest place on the Island of Montreal. As the founder of volunteer Citizens on Patrol I am so proud of our 92 amazing volunteers who instill a sense of security throughout the community.

What an extra special treat it was to meet up with resident Tom Reichman. Tom greeted us with a great, friendly smile and was effusive in his love for CSL and his appreciation of this tremendous place we call home.

“Dear Glenn, It was a pleasure meeting you and Mitchell Brownstein this evening,” Tom wrote to me later that evening. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the many years of service that you have given us as our Councillor in District 6.  We have lived  here for 30 years and have had a few situations where we asked for your help.  In each instance you addressed and resolved the problem in a timely manner. We have always felt that you were a phone call or an email away.”

Tom, I return the thanks, and more. Your positive and generous feedback, and that of so many constituents that I meet as I work my way to every single door in the district, adds the fuel that fires my passion for serving my constituents and my drive to provide new and exciting ideas to continue improving our quality of life here in CSL.

To you Tom, and to all CSLers, thank you for your support and encouragement!

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