CSL Public Library is still an oasis

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Nearly every day I am reminded that we, Cote Saint-Luc residents, are so fortunate to live in one of the best cities. The drive to maintain this stature and to constantly strive to make improvements, large and small, is a primary focus of the City Council and Administration. Afterall, a responsible administration should be motivated by continuous quality improvement in order to provide excellent services and experiences to its citizenry. It should engage in management techniques to ensure that taxpayers are receiving a strong return on their investment. These dividends are paid out in recreational, leisure, sports and cultural offerings – baseball fields, tennis courts, arenas, pools, parks and libraries. It is the first responder that rushes to your home when someone falls ill. It is a smooth and clean street, it’s the employee who picks up your garbage and recycling and it’s efficient snow removal. It is the full civic gamut of facilities, infrastructure, services and personnel.

 

We live in a society with finite resources. We make choices every day as to where to allocate our limited funds. It would be easy to wave a magic wand and spend like there’s no tomorrow, currying favour with each interest group: the baseball players, the swimmers, the skaters, those who stroll in the park, those who never recycle or compost and much prefer twice-a-week garbage pickup, the kid next door who’d rather leave his car in front of your house all night long and the library patron who’d like the facility to stay open late every night even though very few others may be around at those hours.

 

These idealistic exaggerations are very real. City Councils are faced with such decisions daily: how to please most constituents, most of the time, at the lowest cost possible? And such is the reality in Cote Saint-Luc departments and programs, including the Public Library. Traditionally open twelve hours each and every day of the year this gem of an institution cost taxpayers nearly three million dollars in 2015. Faced with the reality of administering a $67 million municipal budget, the need to protect our aging infrastructure, respecting the elderly homeowner living on a fixed budget with diminishing personal investments and the annual exercise to keep any tax increase in line with the rate of inflation, all directors are tasked with reviewing each budget line.

 

In preparing for the 2016 budget for our city the library came up with about $250,000 in compressions. Half of this, about $125,000, is directly attributed to shortening the hours of operation during very quiet periods on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Our counts show that as few as 10-15 patrons are typically present in the later hours. Therefore, we agreed to close at 6:00 p.m. on the weekend. The unfortunate reality is that such decisions also affect employees, in this case 10 on-call auxiliary staff.

 

The library continues to stay open to 10:00 p.m. on all other nights, longer hours than all other public libraries on the Island of Montreal. We stay open throughout the holidays when many others close completely. We are literally open 24 hours a day with our virtual library of downloadable books and magazines. Our Library Lounge at the Aquatic and Community Centre will remain open seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. most nights, as a place to read and relax, to pick up and drop off a book for free.

 

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this incredible public library, I am reminded of my many visits to its original location upstairs at the Cote Saint-Luc Shopping Centre and to hundreds of other visits through the years. It is a place that has and will continue to make Cote Saint-Luc the envy of many other residents across the region and still is an oasis for its thousands of patrons.

 

Glenn J. Nashen

Acting Mayor

Cote Saint-Luc

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Read more:

Readers incensed over reduced library hours (Montreal Gazette, Dec. 24, 2015))

For decades, Côte-St-Luc’s public library has been the envy of Montreal residents because of its numerous services and famously long opening hours — its doors are open 365 days of the year, 12 hours a day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the exception of holidays when the opening hours are shortened. It is free of charge to Côte-St-Luc residents.

ALLEN MCINNIS/MONTREAL GAZETTEThe Eleanor London Library is “a sanctuary from the madness of the streets,” one supporter wrote.But starting Jan. 5, the municipality has decided to close the library at 6 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, saying few people use it then and the city needs to trim its budgets to offset escalating costs.

The changes are not going over well with some in the community who fear it will lead to further cuts. The outcry there echoes dissatisfaction voiced elsewhere in Montreal about limited library hours, particularly during the holidays.

“To its patrons (the Eleanor London Library) was, and is, far more than a library,” wrote Côte-St-Luc resident Sharon Zajdman in an open letter to the community. “It is an oasis and a sanctuary from the madness of the streets. For those with nowhere to go and no family to be with, especially at holiday time, the library is a lifeline.”

In several Montreal boroughs, municipal libraries are closed for the majority of the holidays, starting Dec. 24 and running until Jan. 2. All four libraries of the city’s most populous borough, Côte-desNeiges — Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, home to 165,000 residents, will be closed for eight of 10 days during the holidays, shutting from Dec. 24 to 28 and again from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2.

“This is a time of year when children and their parents can take full advantage of our public community libraries,” a borough resident who asked not to be named wrote in a letter to the Montreal Gazette. “Libraries also provide a valuable community resource open for the elderly and isolated adults who don’t have a family to share the holidays with.”

The borough has closed its libraries for most of the holidays for the last few years to allow staff time off during a period when the libraries are less utilized, said Sophie Paquet, a communications officer for the borough. She suggested there are other city-run resources, like the Biodôme and the planetarium open during the holidays, for citizens to use.

Cutting evening hours at CôteSt-Luc’s library will save the municipality $125,000 a year, by reducing the work hours of 10 on-call auxiliary workers, interim mayor Glenn J. Nashen said. In total, the city is looking at cutting $200,000 to $300,000 from the library budget, in part by laying off staff members in 2016.

“We are looking to trim our budgets wherever possible to keep our taxes in check,” without sacrificing services to citizens, Nashen said. “After 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, there are only about 10 people left in the library. I think there are still a lot of positives there. We are open more than virtually any library in Montreal, 365 days a year, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday.”

Nashen said he and his city councillors have received only six complaints about the reduced hours from citizens. With a limited tax base and limited resources, the city is looking at every department to find savings, he said.

Zajdman said the city should find others areas in which to cut costs, such as to its $18-million aquatic centre instead of a beloved cultural institution that will turn 50 in 2016.

“We get that you need to save money, but why here, where are your values,” she said.

“Don’t do it at the expense of our library. Don’t play with our money …

“You either rescue the library or you lose my vote.”

Côte-St-Luc is holding a byelection in early April to elect a new mayor to replace Anthony Housefather, who was elected as a member of Parliament for Mount Royal in the October federal election.

Online comment by Shirley Nadell:

The Eleanor London Library is a gem! If the City needs to save some funds to perpetuate the wonderful services it provides then that decision must be made.

I think the judgement to reduce library accessibility for but 12 hours in an 84 hour week is both reasonable and acceptable. The determination of the closings at 6pm (instead of 10pm) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the evenings which have the least number of citizens in attendance, will provide substantial savings.

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Letters: Cutting CSL Library hours is fine (Montreal Gazette, Dec. 26, 2015)

Re: “Readers incensed over reduced library hours” (Montreal Gazette, Dec. 24)

I beg to disagree with those complaining about the reduced hours at Eleanor London Côte-St-Luc Public Library. The services we are getting at this library are beyond efficient — they are extraordinary — with a huge range of reading at one’s disposal.

I believe that keeping the doors open until 10 p.m. daily is unnecessary, as a significant percentage of the inhabitants of Côte-St-Luc are elderly and not given to gallivanting at night.

Daytime is perfectly sufficient, and yes, if that helps to cut costs, why not?

Selma Menezes, Côte-St-Luc

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Open letter to CSL: “Save the Eleanor London Library”

  • By Sharon Zajdman, Special to The Suburban, Dec 23, 2015
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I am a Cote St. Luc resident and a patron of its library. This week I was shocked and dismayed to discover that, not only will hours during the upcoming holidays be truncated, but also, beginning January 5, evening hours for half the week will be permanently axed, and several services are being eliminated. When I inquired further, I learned that staff members have been “terminated” without warning—a week before Christmas. Their duties will be divided among library employees who have survived the purge, and will now have to work harder, while receiving less.

For many years this borough was blessed with a great mayor. His ambitions reached beyond this neighbourhood so, unselfishly, his constituents gave him what he wanted, and voted him into Parliament. That was two months ago. A good deed never goes unpunished. It appears we are now being led by a rudderless bunch of bean counters whose first official independent act has been to attack our library.

The Eleanor London Library is a 50-year-old institution that began life in an upstairs corner of the Cote St. Luc shopping center. It was called The Cote St. Luc Library, then. It was the visionary librarian Eleanor London who nurtured and steered a tiny establishment into a treasure chest of literature, film, music, and cultural programming. The Eleanor London Library developed into the envy of every other borough. It was open 12 hours a day, seven days of the week, for every single day of the year. To its patrons it was, and is, far more than a library. It is an oasis and a sanctuary from the madness of the streets. For those with nowhere to go and no family to be with, especially at holiday time, the library is a lifeline.

Ten years ago, when Montreal’s City Hall forced its boroughs to merge while simultaneously axing a $300,000 dollar grant to the Eleanor London, library patrons were offered a choice; accept truncated hours and lose programs, or accept new fees. Without hesitation nor resentment, patrons opted to pay out of pocket in order to keep the library open and running fully and full-time.

In the past five years, while library patrons continued to pay for what had once been subsidized, and library hours were cut on legal holidays anyway, a $22 million dollar state-of-the-art community and aquatic center was built, opened, and has been maintained.

Cote St. Luc is a financially comfortable neighbourhood. While the rest of this province descended into Comic Opera Land, there were still signs of intelligent life in this neighbourhood. They seem to be disappearing. Firing employees a week before Christmas is the act of a ruthless and brutal factory owner, not the action of a civilized suburban administration. Gouging the guts out of a cultural institution that has proven itself a beacon of light in the darkness is the act of philistines. A cultured community is a civilized community.

I ask Cote St. Luc residents who care about culture and the civility it represents to contact City Hall and make their voices heard. If fighting for our values cannot reverse this cynical decision, then I urge the community to purge City Hall in the same manner as City Hall has purged our library, and vote the current administration out of office.

editor@thesuburban.com

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A reality check on the CSL library

I have just read the open letter from Sharon Zajdman and would take this opportunity to spell out a few facts of life for her.

The Cote Saint-Luc Library stands out among city libraries and it is supported almost entirely by taxpayers as a place to borrow and obtain books, records and films for use in our homes. And even after what I feel are minor changes, the Library is an example of a prime service.

Every so often, as is the case in most well-administered communities, services must be reviewed and updates implemented as necessary.

For those of us who use the library, and I take out an average of 3 books a week when in Cote Saint Luc, the cutting off of a few hours on week-ends, particularly in the evening when very few citizens but many staff could be found on hand, the decision to curtail some hours was no surprise. I would have thought it should have been done several years ago.

Ms. Zajdman feels that the library is for people with nowhere to go. That is not the object of a library. Regretably, there may be the odd person who has spent the week-end evening sitting around at the library, but at what cost?

Additionally, Ms. Zajdman errs when she refers to the A.C.C. as having cost $22 million when in fact the total was less than $17 million, of which the City paid only one-third.

If a person has nowhere to go on Saturday or Sunday evening, he/she could always go to the A.C.C. to sit around in the unattended library reading room there, or maybe catch swimmers or basketball players in action.

As for those who have been laid off, yes, it is unfortunate and the timing might not be the best, but they were temporary workers and had to know there was always the possibility that their positions would be eliminated.

I have made some inquiries and learned that the anticipated saving is about a quarter of a million dollars and that other necessary compressions have also taken place in other municipal government areas. Hopefully none should adversely affect the terrific public service rendered by Cote Saint-Luc’s managers, staff and elected officials.

At a time when many costs are rising and revenues are not necessarily keeping up with the times, even with some cuts, a mild increase in our property taxes had to be implemented.

Would Ms. Zajdman have preferred that all our residents pay more in their property taxes instead of acting responsibly as they did?

Sidney Margles

CSL

 

 

CSL’s Sidney Margles receives Lieutenant Governor’s Seniors Medal

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Sidney Margles Lt Governor Medal 2015

Congratulations to Sidney Margles of Côte Saint-Luc who recently received the Lieutenant Governor’s Seniors Medal. Sidney is a former president of the Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club, and one of the first volunteers at vCOP. He was also the city’s volunteer of the year for 2012.

Housefather packs the house down south

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Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather addresses the CSL Men’s Club in South Florida (Photo: Sid Birns)

 

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather will go to great length to connect with his constituents. That was the case this past week as the mayor traveled to South Florida to spend a few days poolside and to meet with the CSL Men’s Club during their annual winter luncheon.

Thousands of CSLers spend their winters down south and the greatest concentration can be found in the Deerfield Beach area with several hundred being residents at Century Village. CSLers can easily be spotted at shopping malls, golf courses, restaurants and shows in Hollywood, Hallandale, Pompano Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, Delray and neighbouring communities right up to West Palm Beach.

Over 250 of them gathered last Wednesday, along with their wives, for the annual winter luncheon, at the posh restaurant in the Seminole Casino, to dine and meet guest speaker Mayor Housefather. The mayor spoke to the capacity crowd about the progress of the City of Cote Saint-Luc over the last nine years since demerger and plans for the future. He discussed antisemitism and the global threat of terrorism and how governments needed to balance quick action with respect for civil liberties. He also discussed human rights and the importance of protecting those rights at home and around the world.

The pivotal question during the exchange portion was asked by former club president Peter Sternberg. “What can voters do if they want to support you [Housefather] as the Liberal nominee in the next federal election while at the same time wanting to support Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his steadfast backing of Israel?” Sternberg asked. Housefather gave a reasoned and convincing response in saying that electing him to represent our constituency will lead to the utmost support for Israel, without any doubt.

Remember that Housefather was educated at Herzliah High School, has traveled to Israel several times, recently competed in the Maccabiah games there winning a staggering seven medals and speaks Hebrew very well.

The mayor was flanked by CSL leaders including club president Sydney Kronish, past president Sidney Margles, program chief Mark Kotler and CSL Men’s Club paparazzi Sid Birns and Jack Frank. My parents, Phyllis and George Nashen, were in attendance along with many of their friends including Roz Axelrod and Jack and Lil Margolis.

My father marveled at how Housefather spoke so fluidly for some 40 straight minutes, without any notes whatsoever, his usual style. “Anthony didn’t hesitate to jump among a variety of interesting topics,” George said. “He was very well received by the hometown crowd.”

I was last year’s guest speaker in Boca and was so impressed at seeing 200 CSLers show up for this luncheon. It was great fun meeting and speaking with our elder leaders and neighbours and I look forward to being invited again in the future, perhaps joining my friend Anthony Housefather at the podium.

Bravo to the Men’s Club and its leaders, to our active residents and our eager and talented Mayor Anthony Housefsather.

Cote Saint-Luc seniors living it up in South Florida

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Enjoying lots of CSL camaraderie at Men's Club luncheon in Boca Raton with George Nashen (left) and Syd Kronish (right)

Enjoying lots of CSL camaraderie at Men’s Club luncheon in Boca Raton with George Nashen (left) and Syd Kronish (right)

The Cote Saint-Luc Senior Men’s Club is active well beyond the borders of Cote Saint-Luc, or even Canada for that matter. Earlier this week I had the good fortune of meeting up with them as a guest speaker at their annual mid-winter luncheon in Boca Raton, Florida. Over 200 members and spouses packed the Bonefish Grill Restaurant in Boca Raton for a little catch up on news and events from back home, entertainment, delicious food and mingling with friends and neighbours.

Beth Zion past president Joe Presser (right) and guests enjoying the warm times down south

Beth Zion past president Joe Presser (right) and guests enjoying the warm times down south

I was asked to bring greetings on behalf of the City Council and to speak about current affairs in our city as well as at the Jewish General Hospital where I serve as Director of Public Affairs and Communications. I happily obliged updating the group on the opening just two days earlier of the new JGH Emergency Department, about the brief submitted by the JGH to the National Assembly against Bill 60 (the Charter of Quebec Values) and about the upcoming season of JGH Mini-Med School.

From Shalom Ave in CSL to Century Village in Deerfield Beach. My childhood neighbours from Cork Ave Ruth and Moe Gerstein.

From Shalom Ave in CSL to Century Village in Deerfield Beach. My childhood neighbours from Cork Ave: Ruth and Moe Gerstein.

CSLers were also pleased to learn that property tax increases had been kept in line with the rate of inflation at 0.9% and a new Emergency Notification System will be implemented this Spring. I encouraged members of the Men’s Club to consider joining CSL volunteer Citizens on Patrol, modeled after the group of the same name in the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Deerfield Beach.

Entertainer extraordinaire from Montreal to South Florida, Ian Cooney, was the "Life of the party."

Entertainer extraordinaire from Montreal to South Florida, Ian Cooney, was the “Life of the party.”

Ian Cooney is an amazing entertainer who is familiar to many Montrealers. Cooney has written hundreds of jingles you’ve heard over the years from the Schreters commercial (“Shop Schreters, you’ll save a lot of money…”) to the longtime Meldrum the Mover ad on CJAD to the Nana Musical for the JGH. He was also a member of the Shaare Zion Congregation Choir for many years. Now located in South Florida, Cooney is the one to call for all sorts of parties, large or small, for corporate and institutional jingles or for any entertainment need. He can be reached via his website or at 561-221-3508.

Men's Club funny man Manny Young

Men’s Club funny man Manny Young

I was most pleased to publicly endorse CSL Mayor Anthony Housefather’s bid to become the Liberal Party of Canada’s candidate in Mount Royal riding. While Housefather spoke last week to several hundred members of the Canadian Club at Century Village in Deerfield I was among a couple hundred more “locals” most of whom hail from Mount Royal riding which includes Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead, TMR and the Snowdon District.

The best supporters a candidate can have. Myrna and David Housefather.

The best supporters a candidate can have. Myrna and David Housefather.

The crowd was most receptive and eager to support Housefather’s candidacy and agreed with my assertion that he would be a tremendously vocal Member of Parliament. With the grim prospect of a PQ majority on the horizon we surely need a loud voice in the Canadian Parliament to support National Unity against separatism, to defend the English-speaking community in Quebec against oppressive language laws and the ridiculous language cops as well as to safeguard religious expression against Bill 60.

What residents of the riding need to do now is sign up as a member of the party so that they can attend the upcoming nomination meeting in the riding to elect Housefather as the official candidate.

Lots of interest in signing up to support Anthony Housefather

Lots of interest in signing up to support Anthony Housefather

I spoke with some of those in attendance who told me they want to support Prime Minister Harper in the next election. I respect that opinion and frankly I too am awestruck and so appreciative with his solid support of the State of Israel. To those of you who have drifted toward the conservatives I said the following:

  • At this point we are talking about supporting Anthony as the Liberal nominee. We are not voting in a general election. Given that Mount Royal has always voted Liberal since the riding was created back in the 1940s it would be strategically wise to select the best candidate for this party in this riding. Obviously you can vote for whomever you wish come the elections (although we hope that choice will be for Anthony Housefather).
  • In the long run, our system doesn’t allow us to vote for Prime Minister, just for our Member of Parliament. To that end, regardless of party (or level of government for that matter) my preference is to choose the very best candidate who will work for us locally. Once in office, our MP should fight for our local rights, serve and protect our interests, speak up on matters of local concern. Who better than Anthony to continue to fight for our rights as he has done in matters of language, national unity and so much more. In this arena I expect he will be one of the most outspoken representatives on the national scene for years to come.

I have worked side by side with Anthony for 15 years both in the municipal sphere as well as advocating for Quebec’s English-speaking community. I know he is the right representative for our community. I closed off my portion in asking everyone to join me in nominating him as our local Liberal candidate.

George Nashen (centre) and Herbert Paperman (right) kibbitz as the Men's Club luncheon wraps up

(L to R) Henry Geneile, George Nashen and Herbert Paperman kibbitz as the Men’s Club luncheon wraps up

The CSL Men’s Club is a magnificent group, ably headed by President Sidney Margles, that delivers quality programs and social interaction to keep seniors better informed, entertained and intellectually stimulated. Couple this with winters away in the warmth of the Florida sunshine and you have a winning formula for quality, healthy times for so many special Cote Saint-Lucers.

Enjoy your winter and I look forward to seeing you all safe and sound back up north real soon.

Duo performance at CSL Men’ Club

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Mark Cotler, Dr. Judy Hagshi, Glenn J. Nashen, Sidney Margles

Mark Cotler, Dr. Judy Hagshi, Glenn J. Nashen, Sidney Margles

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with the Cote Saint-Luc Men’s Club at their weekly Thursday morning meeting.  Being a very cold January morning I figured most members would be away in Florida and I’d speak to a small group of a couple of dozen members. I should have known better than to underestimate the resolve of this group of dedicated and proud members of civic-minded and active seniors and its uber-determined president Sidney Margles. Almost 150 people showed up that morning!

I was asked to speak about the Jewish General Hospital’s position on Bill 60, the so-called Charter of Quebec Values. Being one of the key authors of this major position paper, and official spokesperson for the hospital, I was very pleased to inform the membership about the position taken by the JGH Board of Directors and its newly appointed Executive Director, Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg. After all, this is an establishment that this group supports fiercely, as volunteers, contributors, users and so on.

The energy and pride in the room was palpable as I told them that the JGH would remain true to its founding principles of being an institution providing “Care for all.” Under no circumstances would the hospital trade away its values and ethics set in place 80 years ago in being an institution that welcomes all people regardless of faith, language, religion, etc…  The JGH stands firmly opposed to the draft legislation that would erode basic freedoms as guaranteed in the Quebec, Canadian and Universal charters protecting minority rights and freedoms.

I also offered a brief photo tour of the soon to be opened, brand new state-of-the-art Emergency Department in Pavilion K at the JGH.

Then it was time for me to introduce the real keynote speaker, my better half, Dr. Judy Hagshi. Dr. Hagshi spoke about how to prepare for a doctor’s visit so that the interaction is as effective as possible.  Taking notes and sticking to just one or two issues per visit are key she emphasized.  She also highlighted the importance of having an accurate written account of your medical history and medication list to present when meeting a new doctor or in an emergency situation.  The conclusion was a reminder to everyone that the best defence against getting sick is still getting a flu shot and washing your hands.

Housefather packs the house in Florida

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Reported by Sydney Margles and George Nashen

The Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc, Anthony Housefather, says the biggest challenge we are facing now is the attempt by the Quebec PQ government to water down the right of many municipalities to remain “bilingual”.

Mr. Housefather was in Deerfield Beach, Florida, today where he addressed the mid-winter luncheon of the Cote Saint-Luc Mens’ Club. He told a capacity audience of more than 200 that Bill 14, tabled by the Parti Quebecois minority government, would allow the PQ government to remove bilingual status from municipalities where the mother tongue English-speaking population fell below 50%. Currently the law only allows bilingual status to be removed at the request of the city council. This has never occurred in any of the 86 cities or boroughs with bilingual status.

Mayor Anthony Housefather

Mayor Anthony Housefather

Housefather explained that originally the criteria to obtain bilingual status was that a majority of the residents of the city did not speak French as their main language.

The PQ changed the criteria 10 years ago to make it a majority of residents whose mother tongue was English, using the most restrictive definition of the English-speaking community.

At least half of the cities and boroughs with bilingual status today would be under threat including Cote Saint-Luc where although over 75% of the population uses English as their primary official language and over 66% speak English at home, slightly less than 50% of residents declared English to be their mother tongue. Over 37% of residents of Cote Saint-Luc stated on the census that their mother tongue was neither English nor French with the main languages mentioned being Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew and Romanian. Many of these people use English in the home today and most consider themselves to be part of the English-speaking community.

Mayor Housefather has spearheaded a drive to have all of Quebec’s municipalities that have been declared bilingual to work together to oppose Bill 14. He is also calling on individuals to lobby their members of the Quebec National Assembly. The Quebec Liberal party has already indicated it is opposed to the Bill and he expects the CAQ will also be against it, thus preventing its passage.

The capacity luncheon was held at the Deerfield Buffet on US1.  Syd Kronish chaired this event for CSL Mens’ Club with members in attendance from Palm Beach to Hallandale.  President Sydney Margles was in attendance along with George Nashen, Jack Margolis, Eli Moscovitz, Eddie Wolkove, Jack Birns and Ron Rush.

CSL celebrates volunteers with a splash

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In Côte Saint-Luc we can never say thank you enough for all of the magnificent efforts of our hundreds of dedicated and energetic volunteers.  So, yesterday we threw a Brunch Celebration at our fantastic Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC) as a small thanks.

The party room was decorated with the Olympic flag as well as those of many of the countries which have hosted the games. Our City Council hosted the event to fete our volunteers from many different community areas.

Councillor Steven Erdelyi’s family along with City Manager Tanya Abramovitch and Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and his son Jeremy celebrating with CSL volunteers

Our volunteers are active in many facets of Parks and Recreation (individual sports, seniors, the CSL Dramatic Society), the Library, Public Safety (Emergency Medical Services and volunteer Citizens on Patrol) and even the CSL Cats Committee.

Sidney Margles (in blue) receives the Volunteer of the Year Award from Mayor Anthony Housefather (in yellow) along with Councillors Ruth Kovac, Mike Cohen and Glenn J. Nashen

The Edward J. Kirwin Award for the Volunteer of the Year went to Sidney Margles, the devoted president of the CSL Senior Men’s Club. A former Town of Mount Royal councillor, broadcaster and radio executive, Sid and his wife Merle chose to settle in CSL  for their retirement years. “Retirement” is a funny word because Sid is more active than some people who work full time. He has brought the Men’s Club to a level we have never seen before and worked alongside council and staff as the ACC took shape.

Mayor Housefather spoke glowingly about the ACC. He listed the competitive swim team as just one example of what we should be proud of, making a bold prediction that when we reach the 2020’s there will be CSL swimmers in the Olympics.

The brunch was followed by an “Open Pool” as many of us headed down for fun in the ACC.  The recreation pool is not only a kids water paradise, many seniors can be seen aqua-cizing in the shallow, warm water.

The competition pool was the place for my first time on the “Wibit”, a very large, inflatable water toy challenging swimmers to race across the “obstacle course” without falling in.  The pictures below will indicate I had some difficulties staying afloat.

 

Bravo to everyone involved with the Volunteer Brunch. That includes our Public Works Department for providing the centrepieces at each table. Thanks to Director David Taveroff and his staff as well as to Councillor Kovac who chaired the event.

Most of all, thank you to our volunteers of every age and category.  I’m especially proud of the men and women who give their time so freely at the CSL Emergency Medical Services and volunteer Citizens on Patrol.  The EMS crews are on duty 24/7 ensuring rapid, skilled and compassionate care to residents of and visitors to our city.  We are the only city on the Island of Montreal to be so fortunate to have this incredible life-saving service.

And an enormous Thank You to the 80 members of vCOP who patrol our streets, parks, playgrounds and municipal buildings at all hours of the day and night to help us feel a little more secure.

You are all Olympians to me and to so many of our residents who greatly appreciate all you do to make Cote Saint-Luc the very best city in Quebec.

(Mike Cohen contributed to this post).

Finance Minister visits CSL Senior Men’s Club

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Mayor Anthony Housefather, Finance Minister Raymond Bachand, Councillor Mike Cohen, Men’s Club President Sidney Margles, MNA Lawrence Bergman

 

Yesterday the Cote Saint-Luc Senior Men’s Club welcomed D’Arcy McGee Member of the National Assembly Lawrence Bergman with special guest Raymond Bachand, Quebec Minister of Finance.

A lawyer by profession, Bachand also has a doctorate of administration from the Université de Montréal and an MBA from Harvard University.  He was elected MNA for Outremont in a by-election in December 2005, and re-elected in 2007 and 2008. He headed the ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation, and the ministère du Tourisme. Premier Jean Charest appointed him Minister of Finance and he was also entrusted with the Revenue ministry.

Mr. Bergman began by presenting Senior Men’s Club President Sidney Margles with a $1,000 cheque from the Quebec government for the Men’s Club. 

Bergman then introduced Bachand, whom he credited with assisting on three important files in the riding: the saving of our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program; the millions of dollars of support from the government for the Aquatic Community Centre which is being funded by the Quebec and Canadian governments and Côte Saint-Luc; and another substantial contribution to the construction of Pavillion K of the Jewish General Hospital which will focus on patients requiring emergency treatment, surgery, or intensive, coronary, or neonatal intensive care.

“For Pavillion K I was originally told I had a half hour to discuss our role with the premier,” Bergman recalled. “When I walked into his office, who was sitting there but my good friend Raymond Bachand. Now I knew I would be successful. And I was.”

Bergman also recalls going to Israel with Bachand and sharing in the experience of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum. “I can only describe with one word and that is a mensch,” Bergman said, referring to the Yiddish translation for “a person of integrity and honour.

Bachand captivated the audience with a power point presentation on the Quebec economy and left time to answer questions. “Our five-year financial framework will stay in place,” he commented. “We are going back to a balanced budget, we are going to control our debt. But we are doing so while protecting health and education. That’s a choice we’ve made in Quebec.”

In March Bachand tabled a “stay the course” budget, meaning he intends to keep on the path toward eliminating the provincial deficit by 2013-2014. “The Quebec economy is going well,” he assured us. “During the recession we were very active in providing financial support to good companies and stepped in with guaranteed bank loans. As a result we created an additional 60,000 jobs. If we had done nothing, by 2013-2014 we would have had a $12 billion deficit.”

(With reporting by Cllr. Mike Cohen)

CSL Senior Men’s Club toast another year

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Last week I attended the annual  Côte Saint-Luc Senior Men’s  Club gala dinner and dance. The theme was “Fun-Tastica” and the hundreds on hand enjoyed wine, hor d’oeuvres, and a delicious dinner. Party animator George Thomas  got everyone dancing and singing.
 
Mayor Anthony Housefather gave an enthusiastic speech heaping praise on the “builders of our community,” who bought homes and built families in the post war years when Cote Saint-Luc was blossoming (in the mid 50s to mid 60s).  Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee Lawrence Bergman told the crowd it was his pleasure to help seniors in any way he could at the provincial level. 
 
Men’s Club President Sidney Margles thanked the City for its ongoing support of the club and looked forward to next year’s dinner being held in the new Intergenerational and Aquatic Centre in Cote Saint-Luc.
 
Joel Sourkes was honoured as “Man of the Year”  for his 12 years of dedication to the group.  He and his wife of 68 years, Rose, sat proudly at the head table.
 
Harold Moscovitch stole the microphone for the second year as host and emcee.
 
This annual affair is a unique and fun opportunity to literally walk down memory lane.  A large number of attendees lived in District 6 and were among my supporters when I first ran for office in 1989.  As former neighbours, I went to school or played in the streets, with many of their children some 40 years ago.  Fast forward to today, and almost all have sold their homes and moved into condos making way for young families.  District 6 may have changed dramatically in 20 years but it is very nice to see so many familiar faces still residing in Cote Saint-Luc, and I join the Mayor is saluting these “builders”.
 
The Cote Saint-Luc Men’s Club is an extraordinary group that has weekly activities, many of which are packed, throughout the year.  For information about the group contact City Hall.
 

 

Glenn with Harold Moscovitch

Margles Innaugurated

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Greeting the new President

I recently attended the installation breakfast of the Côte Saint-Luc Senior Men’s Club along with Mayor Anthony Housefather and a number of members of city council.  The Mayor “installed” the new executive committee of this dynamic, and civic-minded group of seniors, as well as its new President, Sidney Margles

“This is a city that all of you helped build. The Men’s Club helps make this an outstanding community,” the Mayor said. 

Outgoing President Ted Baker passed the top job on to Sidney, well-known for his distinguished career as a radio announcer for the former Standard Broadcasting Company. This included time at CJAD, where he gained notice for his coverage of the October Crisis in 1970. Sidney eventually moved on to become an executive for Standard. While living in Town of Mount Royal he served as a City Councillor there. His wife Merle was then executive assistant for many years for the late Sheila Finestone, Member of Parliament for the Mount Royal riding. 

Sidney was inaugurated into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2009. 

The Senior Men’s Club is a wonderful organization. Besides their weekly Thursday morning meetings with guest speakers, they organize many outings and excursions. Sidney said he is tired of seeing seniors sitting around the food court of the mall and has announced that on Tuesday afternoons a camera club will soon debut. And seniors who do not know how to operate a computer or the internet will benefit from a beginner’s course at the Côte Saint-Luc Public Library. The new centre will provide many more opportunities. 

Mayor Housefather formally installed Sidney and his board into office and stated with great pride that when the next president is appointed, this event will take place in our brand new Aquatic and Intergenerational Centre. As we plan for this exceptional facility, the Senior Men’s Club and the ladies Senior Social Club are being consulted every step of the way. This will be their new home, a significant upgrade from the quarters the city currently rents at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre. 

Other officers include Harold Moscovitch, Syd Birns, Michael Kutz, Irving Hazenoff, Edward Wolkove, Sid Barnett, Jacob Posel, Lionel Weinstein, Ruby Cobrin and Gerrick Segal. 

Best of luck to President Sidney Margles and the executive of the Cote Saint-Luc Senior Men’s Club.

Suburban Newspaper article

CSL to revisit BBQ bylaw

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CSL to revisit BBQ bylaw

By Joel Goldenberg

The Suburban, October 21, 2009

Côte St. Luc will be revisiting is 44-year-old bylaw regarding the use of barbecues on apartment and condominium balconies, Mayor Anthony Housefather told resident and council regular Sidney Margles.

Margles asked council to “seriously consider the safety of our citizens in high-rise buildings.”

“When will you take the appropriate steps to clarify, once and for all, that open-flame fires on balconies, where the walls are not fully fire-proofed, be prohibited. By definition, walls that have glass windows and doors leading to these balconies are not fully fireproofed.”

Margles pointed out that many seniors live in these buildings and that strong winds are an element of danger regarding barbecues, as are forgetfulness and the possible inability of firefighters to reach upper levels of highrises.

“These are but a few factors that should lead any thinking person to realize that open-flame barbecues are a potential danger on balconies. You all know a municipality has a right to write a bylaw that has stricter regulations than those of other jurisdictions. Many municipalities in Canada and the U.S. have a full ban on barbecues on balconies, so we would not be unique.”

“I am asking that you reaffirm the current ban on barbecues on balconies unless the balcony is wider than seven feet and that you would advise those who would rush out and buy barbecues now or to change their condo documents to wait until after the election and after council can revisit this entire issue and come up with the wisest decision.”

Housefather replied that he would not want to “stifle consumerism” in terms of barbecue manufacturing.

“But it is indeed the case that the council has agreed to re-review the bylaw and councillor Glenn Nashen has announced his intention of bringing it back to council in November. So if anyone was planning to buy a barbecue now, I would encourage them to wait until next spring when council can review the bylaw and determine if any changes need to be made.”

Station 9 merger could add to hate crimes risk, says CSL official – World – The Monitor

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The Monitor, May 7, 2007

BY MARTIN C. BARRY

 

 

 

A proposed merger of the Montreal police force’s Station 9 in Côte St. Luc with Station 11 in NDG could compromise safety at a time of rising concern over hate crimes, says a Côte St. Luc official.

 

 

 

The consolidation of Station 9 with Station 11 is one of seven proposed neighbourhood police station mergers outlined in a plan for an island-wide reorganization. The strategy was submitted last Thursday by police chief Yvan Delorme to the Agglomeration Council’s public security commission.

 

 

 

Addressing the commission’s members at Montreal city hall, Councillor Ruth Kovac pointed out that Côte St. Luc has the highest proportion of senior citizens in Quebec — many of whom are Holocaust survivors — and that they currently benefit from a sense of security that is beyond measure. “With many religious institutions in Côte St. Luc often a target of threats, we need the police to know and understand the population,” she said, adding that “this cannot be achieved from a distance.”

 

 

 

Allan Adel, an official of B’nai Brith Canada who is co-chair of the Montreal Jewish Community Security Coordinating Committee, emphasized the increasing importance for the police force to create a specialized hate crimes unit. “It’s important that this is established, because all crimes are important, but many different crimes have different characteristics which require different expertise,” he said. “Many of the police are generalists and it’s important to have the expertise required that a hate crimes unit would entail.”

 

 

 

Councillor Glenn Nashen, Côte St. Luc’s commissioner for public safety, pointed out Delorme’s stated goal of avoiding a return to the mega-station concept that preceded the implementation of neighbourhood policing in the late 1990s. “We want to avoid a mega-poste … which would be created by this merger,” said Nashen.

 

 

 

Noting that “the pendulum seems to swing backwards and forwards” when new police administrations come into office, Côte St. Luc resident Sidney Margles said community policing had been successful over the past decade. “So why now make yet another change to create a larger, more centralized station, when it has been acknowledged decentralization to smaller units made it more efficient and more consumer friendly?” he asked. “I say leave Stations 9 and 11 alone.”

 

 

 

Predicting that the merger of the two stations will be “forced” if it is completed, Hampstead mayor William Steinberg said the residents of Hampstead, Côte St. Luc and Montreal West are overwhelmingly against losing Station 9. “Forced merger between our towns and Montreal did not work,” said Steinberg. “We’ve been there. Let’s not make the same mistake again.”

 

 

 

Côte St. Luc mayor Anthony Housefather, who sits on the Agglomeration’s public security commission, was optimistic that those opposed to the Station 9 merger would get a fair hearing. “I have a right to vote and I have a right to make my points heard,” he told The Chronicle. “I believe that Mr. (Claude) Dauphin, as the chairman of this commission, will very respectfully listen to our comments.”

Station 9 merger could add to hate crimes risk, says CSL official – World – The Monitor.

Suburban debate cancellation story causes kerfuffle

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Suburban debate cancellation story causes kerfuffle, 1997-05-28