Côte Saint-Luc will save $4.8 million thanks to fairer funding formula for island-wide service | Des économies de 4,8 millions $ pour Côte Saint-Luc grâce à une formule de financement plus équitable pour les services d’agglomération

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Côte Saint-Luc will save $4.8 million thanks to fairer funding formula for island-wide service
The City of Côte Saint-Luc as part of the Association of Suburban Municipalities has negotiated a $4.8 million reduction in its share of payments to the agglomeration of Montreal for island-wide services over over the next three years–savings that can be used to fund local programs, pay down our debt and reduce taxes by paying less interest on debt.
“The new formula will allow us to keep more money in Côte Saint-Luc for programs and services that our residents value as well as allow us to reduce our debt and our overall tax rate,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said. “It is extremely good news.”
The ASM has argued for years that the percentages were not fair. Mayor Denis Coderre must be commended for being a fair partner in the City of Montreal that worked with us to find a fairer formula.
Côte Saint-Luc will continue to pay into the island-wide Agglomeration of Montreal for services like police, fire, and public transit but at a lower rate.
Thanks to an agreement between the City of Montreal and the Association of Suburban Municipalities, the formula is changing. As a result, Côte Saint-Luc will be sending less money to the Agglomeration than we do today: $798,541 less in 2017, $1,597,081 less in 2018 and $2,395,622 less in 2019. That’s a savings of between 3 percent to 8 percent each year, compared to what Côte Saint-Luc previously paid the Agglomeration.
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Des économies de 4,8 millions $ pour Côte Saint-Luc grâce à une formule de financement plus équitable pour les services d’agglomération
La Ville de Côte Saint-Luc, de concert avec l’Association des municipalités de banlieue, a négocié une réduction de 4,8 millions $ de sa quote-part à l’agglomération de Montréal pour les services fournis à l’ensemble de l’île au cours des trois prochaines années – des économies qui pourront être utilisées pour financer les programmes locaux, payer notre dette et réduire les taxes en payant moins d’intérêt sur la dette.
« La nouvelle formule nous permettra de garder plus d’argent à Côte Saint-Luc pour les programmes et les services que nos résidants apprécient et elle nous aidera à réduire notre taux de taxation global, a dit le maire Mitchell Brownstein. C’est une excellente nouvelle. »
L’AMB soutient depuis des années que les pourcentages ne sont pas équitables. Le maire Denis Coderre, qui mérite d’ailleurs d’être félicité en tant que partenaire honnête à la Ville de Montréal, a travaillé avec nous afin de mettre au point une formule plus équitable.
Côte Saint-Luc continuera de payer sa part à l’agglomération de l’île de Montréal pour les services tels que la police, la protection incendie et les transports publics, mais à un taux inférieur.
Grâce à un accord entre la Ville de Montréal et l’Association des municipalités de banlieue, une nouvelle formule a été établie. Ainsi, les versements de Côte Saint-Luc à l’agglomération seront inférieurs à ceux que nous faisons actuellement : 798 541 $ de moins en 2017, 1 597 081 $ de moins en 2018 et 2 395 622 $ de moins en 2019. Cela représente des économies de 3 à 8 % chaque année, par rapport à ce que Côte Saint-Luc payait à l’agglomération jusqu’ici.
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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

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

http://link.videoplatform.limelight.com/media/?mediaId=01f4acbcf283426c8ed5263567265b89&width=480&height=321&playerForm=Player

Meadowbrook developer launches $44M lawsuit against Montreal

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The Suburban, February 26, 2014

The more than 25-year saga of the attempted development of the Meadowbrook Golf Course took a new twist as it was revealed that a subsidiary of its latest owner, Groupe Pacific launched a $44 million lawsuit against the City of Montreal.

The city has twice rejected the developer’s plans for housing on the site, saying the infrastructure needed would be too costly. Groupe Pacific’s Suzanne Deschamps was not available for comment at press time.

In the early 1990s, other attempts were made to develop the site, but plans were shelved after much protest against development. In subsequent years, Côte St. Luc rezoned its side of the site recreational. The other side is primarily in Lachine.

Campbell Stuart, former Montreal West mayor and now spokesman for Les Amis de Meadowbrook, says the lawsuit involves transferring the Lachine part of the site to Montreal in exchange for $44 million, which would include more than $850,000 in damages. Groupe Pacific had launched a lawsuit against Côte St. Luc for $20 million when the city rezoned the site.

“We found it unacceptable for Groupe Pacific to have bought a $3 million, 57-hectare property in 2006, lobby illegally for years, trying to get the city to buy into a project and when the city refuses to throw $100 million at them as a subsidy, they turn around and sue the city for $44 million,” Stuart told The Suburban Monday. “It’s gouging. And the reason they can’t build on it was obvious when they bought it. They knew it couldn’t be developed because the Office de consultation publique de Montréal had already said ‘don’t build on it, turn it into an eco-territory’ and two years previously, the mayor of Montreal said he would protect it.”

In a previous interview, Deschamps denied she breached any codes or laws regarding lobbying.

Stuart also pointed to last year’s rail disaster in Lac Mégantic. One reason cited by activists not to develop the site is its close proximity to rail lines.

“The city mandated its urban planning department to, in unanimous resolutions of the agglomeration and city councils, put in its urban plan the 300-metre safety setbacks, which means it can’t be built on. But it could never be built on.

As well, Les Amis de Meadowbrook provided a 2012 letter from CP’s Breanne Feigel to Côte St. Luc councillor Dida Berku, saying the feasibility of a residential project on the site, in light of the proximity to rail lines, is “not compatible with our operations in the area…. CP does not support the location of any residential development directly adjacent to active rail corridors and yards.

Stuart said the lawsuit is “not just attacking the City of Montreal, they’re attacking us, the taxpayers. And we’re pleased with the city, they’re doing the right thing.”

More:

Terrain de golf Meadowbrook: 44 millions réclamés à la Ville (La Presse)

Citizen’s group decries developer’s lawsuit against city over Meadowbrook golf course (Montreal Gazette)

CBC News (Advance to 8:15)

In my opinion:

The landowners of Meadowbrook Golf Course continue on the futile path of a residential development adjacent to a major rail yard and commuter rail lines notwithstanding the horrific lessons learned by last year’s Lac Megantic disaster. The railway association reported almost twenty years ago that any such development would require explosion-proof glass and special ventilation systems.

Developing Meadowbrook as a residential development is contrary to the founding principles of this land acquisition, originally purchased by the railway for recreation and leisure by its employees long before Cote Saint-Luc homes mushroomed in the late 50s and 60s. And with the influx of tens of thousands of West End residents through the decades the need for green space for recreation, sport and leisure has only become more obvious, not to mention the need for this land mass for air purification and filtration, for separation of the polluting smokestacks of Lachine industry down the bluff,  for safe distance between rail lines and houses, for cooling the West End from Urban Heat Islands and more.

The City of Montreal shouldn’t budge from its position of refusing the development proposal, just as Cote Saint-Luc has done for many years now.

Please search “Meadowbrook’ on this blog for the complete history on this important issue.

CSL renews push to extend Cavendish

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In a unanimous resolution the City Council of Cote Saint-Luc tonight adopted a resolution, together with its suburban partners, calling for the Montreal Agglomeration to include $44 Million in its 2014 capital expenditure budget toward Phase 1 of the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish link. The resolution falls in line with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s election promises (and we thank Mayor Coderre immensely for this position) to see the completion of this much-needed link between Cote Saint-Luc, Montreal, TMR and St. Laurent.

The resolution calls for the “optimal scenario” also known as the Cote Saint-Luc scenario, being an indirect link between the two dead ends of Cavendish, meaning rather than a straight line the link would connect to the new Hippodrome development in the Snowdon district as well as to the TMR scientific park.

The extension project has never been closer to reality despite 50 years of discussions. The responsibility to finally get the shovel in the ground lies with the City of Montreal acting on behalf of the Montreal Island Agglomeration.

This is good news for local commuters who need more efficient access to the West Island, the airport and to points north and north-east.

Even motorists who use Fleet Road will benefit by reducing the daily gridlock through Hampstead, further complicated by that town’s confusing left turn restrictions off of Fleet Road.

With the demolition of the Turcot interchange scheduled in the coming years we can expect a decade of traffic congestion across the West End and southern portion of Montreal. Cote Saint-Lucers and neighbouring residents will greatly benefit by quickly connecting toward the north and west, to Autoroutes 15, 13 and 40 and to Decarie. The route should also open up faster routes to the Metro system.

 

RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE REALIZATION OF THE CAVENDISH BOULEVARD EXTENSION PROJECT

 

WHEREAS the Cavendish Boulevard extension (the “Cavendish Extension”) is indicated within the 2008 Transport Plan of the City of Montreal (“MTL”);

 

WHEREAS the completion the Cavendish Extension is the responsibility of MTL (on behalf of the Montreal Island Agglomeration) (“Agglomeration”);

 

WHEREAS MTL conducted various studies (“the Studies”) regarding the Cavendish Extension between 2005 and 2007 which led to an optimal scenario (the “Scenario”);

 

WHEREAS the Scenario must currently be adjusted to reflect the new realities; in particular, the development of the Hippodrome site (the “Site”);

 

WHEREAS updating the Cavendish Extension must also consider collective and active transport in order to optimize the management of actual and future movement within this large sector;

 

WHEREAS the updating of the Cavendish Extension route must also consider the requirements associated within the presence of railway activities of CP and CN in particular, those with respect to security;

 

WHEREAS MTL, in respecting the requirements of the Deed of Cession (the “Deed”) concerning the Site, must proceed with an updating of the Studies analysing the new context of the Site as well as other projects that are earmarked for this sector (such as the Cité scientifique, the projet Triangle Namur/Jean-Talon and the reconfiguration of the Côte de Liesse access) and must also take into account the capacity of Decarie Boulevard (article 5.2.4. and article 6.2.4);

 

WHEREAS this requirement contained within the Deed necessitates revisiting the planning of the Cavendish Extension; a prerequisite that will permit the Cavendish Extension to be realized;

 

WHEREAS monies were earmarked in September of 2013 by the Montreal Agglomeration Council to update the Studies in view of allotting monies for the Cavendish Extension within the Agglomeration’s Capital Expenditure Budget (“CEP”);

 

WHEREAS an amount of forty-four million dollars ($44,000,000.00) must thus be allotted within the Agglomeration’s CEP pursuant to the requirements contained within the Deed by and between MTL and the Quebec Government (article 5.2.3);

 

It was

 

MOVED BY COUNCILLOR DIDA BERKU

SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR ALLAN J. LEVINE

 

AND RESOLVED:

 

“THAT the Cavendish Extension be realized on the basis of an optimal scenario and to adjust said scenario to the new realities (described above-herein);

 

THAT the Cavendish Extension be further realized by having the concerned parties strongly collaborate to ensure its efficiency and success;

 

 

THAT the aforementioned forty-four million dollars ($44,000,000.00) mentioned above herein be inscribed within the 2014 Capital Expenditure Program for the Agglomeration of Montreal;

 

THAT a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Quebec Minister of Transport, Sylvain Gaudreault and be deposited at a Montreal Agglomeration Council Meeting.”

CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

City council: New rules would prevent construction near tracks, railway yards

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City council: New rules would prevent construction near tracks, railway yards. (Montreal Gazette) Link removed.

In brief:

  • Montreal has adopted new rules that would forbid the construction of new buildings within 30 metres of busy train tracks and 300 metres of a railway yard.
  • The new rules would also outline steps that could be taken to improve safety and reduce nuisances like noise and vibrations from rail operations, such as installing safety fences, berms and noise barriers.
  • Montreal city council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt the new guidelines, drawn up by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Railway Association of Canada. They would be included in Montreal’s new urban plan, which must be adopted by the end of 2014.
  • Montreal’s agglomeration council is also expected to approve them Thursday, extending them across the island of Montreal.
  • Côte-St-Luc city councillor Dida Berku has been calling for more than 20 years for municipalities to adopt railway setback guidelines for development and said she was “elated” when Montreal city council adopted them.
  • The new guidelines could mean the controversial development of the west-end Meadowbrook golf course would not be allowed to proceed. The golf course, which is in Lachine and Côte-St-Luc, has a train yard on its north and west side, with train tracks running east-west through the golf course itself. Several housing developments have been proposed for the site over the past 25 years. Montreal has said building municipal infrastructure for the site is too costly.

This is excellent news.  I have supported this theory in order to safeguard residents living near rail lines and yards for 20 years and I’ve echoed Dida Berku’s call to protect Meadowbrook, in large part, because of this potential danger.

It is sad that this position by the City of Montreal had to follow such a horrible tragedy but Lac Megantic has served as a wake up call for municipalities across Canada.

Cote Saint-Luc has been very progressive in assuring Meadowbrook’s future as a green space. This resolution, soon to be presented to the Montreal Agglomeration Council will give greater assurance on its ultimate preservation.

 

CSL budgets modest tax increase

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At last night’s public meeting, Côte Saint-Luc City Council adopted its 2013 budget for local and agglomeration operating expenses.  An average single family home (valued at $470,000) will see a modest increase of $78 in taxes or 1.32 percent, well below the rate of inflation.

The total budget amounts to $65M which breaks down as $37M in local costs and $28M in island wide agglomeration costs.

The City will continue to invest in critical infrastructure (water distribution network, roads, sidewalks, etc.) as well as in rejuvenating its oldest park equipment.

As Councillor responsible for Public Safety I am quite pleased that the city will continue its important investments in this area ensuring top quality volunteer EMS response, the steady expansion of the volunteer Citizens on Patrol as well as Public Security, Emergency Communications and Emergency Preparedness.

Also, the CSL Cycles program will continue to roll out with new bike lanes stretching from Cavendish, along Baily toward the Cote Saint-Luc Shopping Centre, to tie in to the NDG network running up West Broadway.  A new lane will also be painted along Kildare Road from Westminster to Shalom and through Ruth Kovac Park to reach the Cavendish Mall.

Unfortunately, Cote Saint-Luc is obliged to spend about half-a-million dollars on the Montreal Metropolitan Community, an added level of regional government for which we have very little input and see very questionable results.  I concur with the Gazette’s civic affairs columnist Henry Aubin who has argued for years that the Montreal region is overburdened with layers of bureaucracy from multiple transit authorities, government departments and agencies, all adding to our tax burden at one level or another.

Fortunately, with the municipal demergers in 2005, Cote Saint-Luc controls well over half its local taxes and sets priorities locally on services closest to the resident.

Here is a detailed copy of the CSL 2013 budget presentation.

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