See Westmount on Wednesday-Night.com ; Westmount Examiner ; City of Westmount ; Westmount Independent
We commend the Westmount Independent for their excellent coverage of the arena issue, although we still dislike their PDF format which requires lots of scrolling.
More on the arena project from Don Wedge’s interview with Patrick Martin (PDF, scroll to page 5)
We ask: what was the standout moment of 2012, and what’s coming up in 2013?
(Westmount Examiner) Peter Trent: 2013 will be the year the Westmount Recreation Centre opens up. It is bigger than any project Westmount has ever taken on. The fact that we are on schedule and more or less on budget is extremely good news, and I can’t wait to have a formal opening next year.
I think that now that’s it’s gone, people start to realize how big and clunky that old arena was. We have more green space, we’ve opened up the area visually. The idea that we are pioneering a new way of building a recreation centre is really very exciting to me.
Jacques Chagnon, MNA for Westmount-Saint-Louis
In 2012 my biggest surprise has been seeing what is going on at the McGill University Health Centre, and the allegations of financial mismanagement. I will be watching that closely in the upcoming year.
The New Year will be a great one for Westmount, with the opening of the new arena and pool project.
Nicholas Hoare’s final goodbye
(Westmount Examiner) To residents of Greene Avenue, it’s the end of an era. After 40 years on the street, Nicholas Hoare book store will close its doors forever on December 31st.
The independent bookshop specializing in high-end British books decided not to renew its lease, which expired in June. Strong community support was not enough to overcome the fact that times are changing, owner Nicholas Hoare said.
All that remains is the business of closing. Hoare says the store will officially close at the end of December, but will stay open on an ‘ad hoc’ basis throughout January, to allow customers to redeem gift certificates and make exchanges. The books themselves will be packed up and sent back to the warehouse. See also Nicholas Hoare.com
Ex-Montreal city engineer spent $250K in kickback cash at casino
‘I’ve always been uncomfortable with this money,’ says Gilles Surprenant
(CBC) … Surprenant was in charge of plans and specifications for construction contracts. He said he received his first payment from entrepreneur Frank Catania for a job in Westmount in the early ’90s. He estimated the amount as $3,000 or $4,000.
The contract estimated to be worth $250,000 was for a water main system for the City of Westmount.
Catania allegedly bid $500,000 for the project and offered Surprenant the money to earn the contract.
Will the future MUHC hospital exacerbate Westmount’s traffic problems?
(Westmount Examiner) The coming of the MUHC hospital and the rebuilding of the Turcot interchange will mean significantly more traffic for Westmount if actions are not taken to mitigate it, NDG borough councillor Peter McQueen warned yesterday.
Westmount is not immune to collusion and bid-rigging: Trent
(Westmount Examiner) With the Charbonneau commission investigating the widespread problems of corruption and collusion in the construction industry, Westmount mayor Peter Trent took the microphone at Monday night’s city council to state what might be an obvious truth: Westmount is not immune.
Trent said that Westmount faces many infrastructure problems, beginning with the streets, which are in poor shape.
“The concrete looks like it has been gnawed by rats,” he said. “The quality of the work has not been up to snuff.”
Trent said that part of the problem stems from the merger period, when capital works was cut back, and debt skyrocketed. Still, he says he cannot rule out the possibility that there may be other issues at play. “Certainly if there’s collusion, if there’s bid-rigging, it’s likely that could also lead to problems with the quality of the work,” he said.
Trent said that in Westmount, at least two companies received a large share of contracts, and described himself as “concerned.”
Westmount Municipal Association asks Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission to reconsider proposed riding name
The Westmount Municipal Association, representing the interests of Westmount residents, businesses, and taxpayers, is asking the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission to reconsider its proposal to drop Westmount from the name of the newly redistributed riding which includes all of Westmount.
The name change is opposed by many residents of Westmount, as well as residents of Montreal West and Notre-Dame-de-Grace. Westmount City Council has passed a resolution strongly objecting to the name Wilder Penfield and insisting that Westmount be included in the name of the riding.
Liberal Jacques Chagnon runs for an eighth term
(Westmount Examiner) Chagnon has been serving as an MNA continuously since 1985 – first in the riding of Saint-Louis, then in its successor, Westmount-Saint-Louis. He has formerly held the posts of Minister of Education (1994) and of Minister of Public Security (2003-2005), and is currently serving as Speaker of the National Assembly.
In his campaign launch, he highlighted what he sees as some of his recent accomplishments: working on the MUHC project, securing funding for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, his work as President of the Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas, and securing $20 million in funding for Westmount’s arena project.
In Westmount, the most complicated short-term issue is erecting a sound wall [between Westmount’s southern border and the Ville-Marie expressway]. At one point they were going to put up a sound wall, but it did not include the railway. It’s pointless to have a sound wall that protects us from the Ville-Marie autoroute, but if a train goes by, you hear it. So I had to meet with people within the ministry, to make sure that we make a wall, but in the right place.
I want to take advantage of the rebuilding of the Turcot interchange, because they will redo that part of the Ville-Marie at the same time; they will probably dig it under Westmount. But they are going to re-think the commuter train patterns at the same time. That will probably involve more trains. And people don’t want more trains, more noise. So we have to make more moderns trains.
Mayor Trent vows to fight electoral district redistribution
(Westmount Examiner) Westmount mayor Peter Trent is promising to fight a proposed redrawing of the federal electoral map which would place the city in a new, radically altered riding which would not bear Westmount’s name.
Trent called the idea of dropping Westmount’s name from the riding “an attempt to eradicate history.”
The name Wilder Penfield (after the famous Canadian neurosurgeon) “doesn’t tell anybody where the riding is,” the mayor said.
A resolution passed at Monday’s city council stated that “the proposed changes to the riding name of Wilder Penfield ignores Westmount as a community of interest and a community that is integral to the riding’s identity.”
The resolution also pointed out that since 1914, the name of Westmount had been included in the various electoral districts’ names (with a brief exception from 1924-1933). It went on to describe Westmount as an ‘iconic neighbourhood’ with historic and architectural value, and also pointed out that Doctor Penfield Avenue, which runs through downtown, is not even part of the new district.
[Our former neighbour] Albert Millaire loves the stage and Westmount
(Westmount Examiner) You might not know it but in one of the quiet homes, tucked away on Mount Pleasant Avenue, lives Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Okay, not the real person, but the actor who played him on TV, Albert Millaire. The Westmount resident spoke to us recently about his love for the theatre, the stage, the golden era of television and his current play Dear Liar now running in the Eastern Townships.
New Westmount by-law echoes controversial Bill 78
City Councilor Patrick Martin remarked, almost at the last minute, that there was an oversight in the draft legislation. It turns out that the wording was not identical to the Montreal version after all. Section 1 was missing a phrase mentioning that the assemblies to be regulated are only those, which occur in a public place.
The Westmount Municipal Association and participatory democracy
(Westmount Examiner) As opposed to representative democracy, where citizens vote and assume that their representatives will do the right thing, participatory democracy implies more involvement on the part of citizens than simply casting their votes.
An article in the March 12, 2012 Gazette shows this trend is continuing in the Plateau and describes how residents can have input into where they want their money spent.
One type of democracy does not preclude the other, in fact, participatory democracy should enhance representative democracy by making it even more effective. -
Currently the Quebec government is trying to improve citizen participation by using technology to give and receive information to and from citizens. The Gautrin report on how to bring open governance to Quebec has as one of its recommendations, sessions to offer help in mastering the technology.
Nicolas Hoare bookstore gets new lease on life
The Nicolas Hoare bookstore is getting a new lease on life, and all the businesses on Greene Avenue are breathing a sigh of relief, as the renowned bookshop that was set to close its doors at the end of its lease on July 1st, will now remain open for the foreseeable future.
Wayne Larsen: And so it goes…
Well, it’s been a great ride…
This will be my last column for The Examiner, as I have opted to move on after 14 years of writing about Westmount in what I reckon works out to nearly 600 editorials and countless articles, features and reviews – not to mention about a dozen editorial cartoons.
No sappy De Profundis here, folks, just a few memories and heartfelt thanks to all who have made this entire experience a great pleasure, from the 1998 ice storm crisis to the current Westmount Recreation Centre controversy, through five office moves and an array of personnel changes at the paper. There has never been a shortage of events and issues in this community, and that has kept things interesting throughout my tenure.
What a loss for the Westmount Examiner, the City. Wayne’s professionalism, journalistic integrity and love of the community will be sorely missed.
Westmount deemed a historically significant community
Parks Canada recognizes opulent architecture and landscape heritage
From the Communities in Bloom competitions to numerous municipal merit awards, Westmount is no stranger to receiving accolades from across the country.
Another honour was bestowed upon Westmount this week through Canada’s program of historical commemoration, when Parks Canada included this community as one of four places declared to have historic significance.
The announcement, made on Tuesday by federal Environment Minister Peter Kent, included praise for Westmount based on its “opulent architectural and landscape heritage,” as well as its overall integration into an urban setting.
We have resisted posting reports of the never-ending bickering over Westmount’s ‘arena project’, however Wayne Larsen’s thoughtful editorial There’s nothing tony about misinformation in response to the Gazette article of 9 August (see below) puts things into perspective, as does a calm and well reasoned letter from Nigel Penney in support of Wayne’s position. Bravo both!
Project to replace aging rink in tony Montreal enclave viewed as unnecessary
When three levels of government get together to pay for a spiffy new rink for local amateur hockey players and figure skaters, it’s usually the type of project that skates untroubled to the goal.
But this is no ordinary hockey rink, and Westmount, with some of Canada’s most exclusive postal codes, is no ordinary community.
With shovels poised to cut into the earth early next year, an outcry has suddenly arisen against a plan to build two full-size underground hockey rinks right on the edge of the bucolic ponds and paths of Westmount Park.
Opposition to Westmount mega-complex swells
Too late to change $37M plan for pool and hockey rink, councillor says
(Gazette)Critics are calling on the City of Westmount to rethink its plan for a $37-million megacomplex featuring two underground NHL-sized hockey rinks, an outdoor swimming pool and a green roof, a concept believed to be unique in North America.
The ambitious Westmount Recreation Centre project for Westmount Park has prompted brawls at recent council meetings, filled up the letters page in the Westmount Examiner and generated an online petition titled Change Westmount Arena Plan.
On Monday evening, the petition had 1,552 signatures.
Westmount Mayor Peter Trent said last week that it’s too late to modify the plan at this stage and that bids for the construction project will start at the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012.
Opponents of the project deplore what they see as a lack of transparency by city council, excessive costs, and a faulty needs analysis for the demographic of Westmount. They say the arena project caters more to kids who attend private schools in the area, like Selwyn House, than the actual aging population that lives there and uses the park now.
But also see Eada Rubinger‘s fine letter to the editor of August 15, which will disappear from the Gazette website, so we reproduce it here:
“I am a resident of Westmount who supports the new arena/pool project.
I read your article with some dismay. Let’s start with the inflammatory headline. Just because a petition gets a bunch of names on it does not mean “opposition” is actually “swelling.” I was approached by a person on the street seeking signatures on that petition last week, and her utter misrepresentation of the project verged on outright lies and hysteria.
As for the “mega-complex,” we are essentially adding half a skating rink and dramatically improving and upgrading the other facilities (outdoor pool, teen centre, tennis courts etc.) as compared with what exists now.
As well, the proposal calls for the utmost respect for the surrounding parkland, greater environmental concerns and neighbouring residents. Opponents make it sound like the Olympic village.
Let’s look closely at your article:
1.You write that the debate has prompted brawls at recent council meetings” – what? Fisticuffs? You would be hardpressed to find a municipality where civility and open democracy are more obviously at work. This is a community where residents are engaged and participatory and the mayor and city councillors respectfully welcome all input. There has never been a “brawl” at any council meeting.
Moreover, there have been invitations to public-consultation meetings throughout this entire process during the past two to three years, and several changes were brought to the project in response to concerns raised. Mayor Peter Trent is showing conscientious leadership on this issue in making every opportunity available for constituents to weigh in on the subject.
2. Opponents say “the arena project caters more to kids who attend private schools in the area .. than the actual aging population that lives there and uses the park now.” Check the actual demographics of Westmount. This is a family oriented community absolutely teeming with kids, a huge majority of whom, regardless of what school they attend, use our athletic facilities for sports and recreation throughout the year.
Adults – young and not-so-young – play hockey and love to skate, too. And they prefer not to start their games at 11 p.m. when the kids have finally finished playing.
Our rinks are in demand and will be used by a large cross-section of the population.
When I was approached by the breathlessly outraged opponent to the project on the street last week, she objected to the survey having been circulated when “everyone was on holiday” as a pretext to argue that all constituencies were not fairly consulted.
Actually, it was in April. This is another example the misinformation used to garner signatures.”
Westmount planning $37 million arena and pool
(CTV) — The City of Westmount is planning a $37 million rebuild of its arena and pool, but critics say the project is too big, too expensive, and not suitable for Westmount Park. Daphnee Azoulay is one of those critics who loves the park just the way it is. .. CTV also gives air time to the critics
However, as one letter points out: why is this news now. This has been planned for years and Westmount residents knew this was coming. It’s already been discussed to death in our own local papers as well. Slow news day?
A charming tribute to Westmount from Barbara Kay
Giving the family home one last hurrah
(The National Post) Tonight will be our last night in the big Edwardian pile of a house my husband Ronny and I have called home for 32 years. The movers come tomorrow morning.
Months ago we bought a downsizer, a bright, modern, no-nonsense box of a house with just enough room for us and two visiting grandchildren. It needed, and got, a full renovation, and now it is perfect.
I have always lived in big cities and can’t even imagine living in the ‘burbs or a town. And yet, in all the ways that matter emotionally and psychologically, I need to live in a “village.” So I didn’t even bother house-hunting beyond a very small radius, because I knew I couldn’t be happy anywhere else but my particular ‘hood.
Westmount halts McGill super hospital construction
(CBC) The city of Westmount has shut down part of the construction site for the new McGill super hospital after builders failed to get a building permit.
Westmount Mayor Peter Trent said builders had no right to start work without getting the paperwork sorted out first.
He accused hospital officials of evoking the “important persons act” by ignoring a legal process that everyone, right down to homeowners, must follow.
Roslyn reunion organizers use Facebook to track down the Class of ’78-’79
Chalk up another one for social networking.
When former Roslyn School students Eric Rosen, Marc Creel and Lynn Nikides first got the idea to organize a reunion of their grade six graduating class, they knew they had their work cut out for them. Contacting every member of the Class of 1978-79 meant a long, often frustrating search that began last February. Addresses and phone numbers had changed over the years — not to mention names — as the students scattered far and wide. … In the end, more than 30 former classmates reunited on the weekend of Sept. 25-26 for a series of events that included dinners and a tour of their old school.
Westmount plan gets cold shoulder
Bylaw allows city to borrow $37 million
(Gazette) Some residents are accusing Westmount’s city council of playing dirty pool by adopting a bylaw allowing the city to borrow $37 million to build a sports complex in Westmount Park.
Westmount Mayor Peter Trent responded yesterday, however, that residents were informed the bylaw vote was coming three months ago and it should not have come as a surprise.
Westmount, Montreal feud over MUHC traffic
Using Glen Rd. could save city $9M: Bergeron
(Gazette) Montreal’s urban-planning point man is appealing to Westmount to allow McGill’s future superhospital to use Glen Rd. as a key entry and exit point for trucks during construction, and for employees and deliveries once the hospital opens.
Westmount’s 5 Saisons signs 20-year lease – another thorny issue resolved by Mayor Peter Trent
On Monday, RAMCO unveiled its plans for a six-storey condominium building with 25 residential units and some commercial space. The 5 Saisons will occupy about 10,000 square feet of the ground floor – roughly the same amount of floorspace that it currently occupies. The building’s terrace will be converted into a public square, which will be leased to the city of Westmount for $1 a year. The city will manage the square. (Westmount Examiner) Condo project will include Les 5 Saisons
Mayor asks citizens to support latest arena concept
In a radical new approach to Westmount’s arena/pool project, Mayor Peter Trent this week revealed a $37-million proposal to build the arena underground – a concept believed to be unique in North America.
The plan, still at the conceptual stage, includes two NHL-size rinks, changing rooms and other amenities at the current site in Westmount Park. All would be buried under grass and tennis courts to create “the ultimate green roof,” the mayor states in an information mailing to all residents this week. Skylights would bring natural lighting into the arena.
Council allows demolition but demands no-build servitude
Aberdeen garden wins out
City council has reversed the ruling of its Demolition Committee and will allow the owner of 20 Aberdeen Ave. to knock down the 1932 house to create a side garden for his family home to the north at number 24. [The decision] was based on condition he provide the city with a servitude of non-construction in perpetuity.
Westmount millionaire denied demolition permit
(Gazette) A Westmount resident who purchased a $1.5-million house next to his so he could tear it down for a better view and a garden was denied a demolition permit Monday by the city. Scott Jones, a steel-company executive, bought the Depression-era house at 20 Aberdeen Ave. in July. Since November 2007, Jones and his family have been living in a larger house at 26 Aberdeen, which directly overlooks the more modest cottage built in 1932.
Reprieve for the 5 Saisons
(Westmount Independent) Efforts to save Les 5 Saisons have resulted in a six-month reprieve. It was slated to close at the end of its lease this Saturday, December 5, to make way for redevelopment of the Greene Ave. site. Mayor Peter Trent told the Independent the “stay of execution” would allow time for the city and property owner Jacob Attias to work out an agreement. This could lead to finding a way to incorporate the retailer into the proposed development.
Mix of old and new form council
(Westmount Examiner) While most Montrealers were glued to their computers and televisions to watch the big showdown between Gérald Tremblay and Louise Harel on Sunday night, Westmount city hall was abuzz with activity as local officials and residents gathered to watch an unfolding drama of their own — the incoming results of Westmount’s 2009 municipal election.
Official Election Results
City receives arena/pool grant contract
Project deadline pushed to 2015
(Westmount Independent) With only a few days remaining until Westmount elects its new council, the city has received a much-awaited draft contract for its $20-million arena grant that extends the building deadline to 2015 from 2011. “My reaction is spelled out in capital letters: RELIEF,” said Mayor Peter Trent in announcing the news last week. “We will still have to move quickly on the project, however.” The grant, he said, is based on the old design that was presented at public information sessions last April. “But I feel confident we can make some changes and would hope to have a large scope for change.”
Wayne Larsen: This week’s Meet the Candidates evening in Victoria Hall was a rousing success, in fact it may go down as one of the more memorable that the Westmount Municipal Association and the Examiner have organized over the past 10 years — ranking up there with the time an enraged Keir Cutler sprang from his front-row seat to refute a point made by borough mayoral candidate Richard McConomy, and the time everyone went home humming after a homeless federal election candidate presented his platform in the form of a rousing song. More
Swearing-In of Peter F. Trent, Mayor of the City of Westmount
Today, Thursday, October 15 at 12 p.m. at Westmount City Hall, the swearing-in ceremony of Peter F. Trent was held, acclaimed Mayor of Westmount (sic). Also elected without opposition were Mr. Victor Drury and Mr. Patrick Martin, who were sworn in as Westmount City Councillors.
Acclamations: A failure of democratic process? Government statistics may suggest otherwise
(Gazette) When word spread in Westmount that Peter Trent was planning to run for his old job of mayor, people who had been planning their own mayoral bids put their political ambitions on hold.
Trent acclaimed mayor
(Westmount Examiner) Peter Trent, Westmount’s former mayor who spearheaded the successful struggle to demerge from the megacity, has been declared the winner by acclamation of the 2009 mayoralty race, nearly a month before the Nov. 1 municipal election.
Trent received word at city hall late last Friday afternoon, along with incumbent District 1 candidate Patrick Martin and District 3 candidate Victor Drury. Like Trent, they won when no one else filed candidacy papers for their positions.
According to new electoral rules, elected officials have 30 days to decide when they want to be sworn into office. “At this point, I’m still undecided as to exactly what date I’ll be sworn in,” said Trent. More on Westmount elections
Other districts are contested:
Young to challenge Lulham, Samiotis taking on de Castell
With the filing of papers for District 7 on September 25, Mavis Young entered the municipal election against incumbent councillor Cynthia Lulham. Young, a resident of the ward, has a science background and works for Health Canada in regulatory affairs. She is a founding member of Save the Park! A profile of Young will appear in next week’s issue. As the Independent went to press, it found out that Theodora Samiotis intended to run against incumbent councillor John de Castell in District 8.
Canada-Quebec Investment of $19,969,440 to the City of Westmount for the Arena/Pool Renewal Project
The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for Canada Economic Development, today joined Jacques Chagnon, Member of the National Assembly, for Westmount-Saint-Louis, acting on behalf of Laurent Lessard, Quebec’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy, in announcing that the City of Westmount will receive $19,969,440 in joint government funding under the Communities Component of the Building Canada Fund – Quebec for infrastructure works.
The project involves the construction of a sports complex on two levels, with a surface area of approximately 8,000 square metres. This building will mainly comprise two indoor skating rinks, a 25-metre outdoor swimming pool, a leisure pool, multi-purpose rooms and a youth centre. See Westmount Independent page 24 for comments)
Westmount Park sports complex plans draw applause and criticism
(Gazette) It took years of lobbying and a world-wide economic downturn, but Westmount officials were smiling yesterday when they learned two-thirds of the cost of the city’s new sports complex will be shared by Ottawa and Quebec. Westmount will receive a total of $20 million in federal and provincial government stimulus funding in order to replace the 50-year-old rink and outdoor swimming pool in Westmount Park.
Arena meeting reveals many unanswered questions (Westmount Independent .pdf page 1)
Surprise! Grant almost $20M
It was later revealed during citizen questioning, however, that many aspects had not yet been studied. As well, the costing did not include a number of related costs such as street, sewer and water work, and relocation of the junior tennis courts. Management fees are also excluded. Some 40 citizens’ questions and comments ranged from hearty endorsement to a number of concerns that included overbuilding the site, noise from the relocated pool, assessments of future needs and demographics, an indoor pool, optional sites and alternatives to chlorine use at the pool Arena/Pool Renewal Project: Public Information Meeting
Stuart Robertson had far-reaching impact on Westmount (Westmount Independent .pdf p.2)
Robertson was a former president of the Westmount Municipal Association (WMA), and the founder of most of the city’s horticultural and conservation programs including the first initiatives to prevent erosion on Summit Park. He was instrumental in the hiring of a city horticulturist, the start of the first community garden, the walking tours and the plant exchange. He founded the Horticultural Advisory Committee and co-founded the Westmount Horticultural Society where he was quick to pinch hit as a guest speaker on sudden notice. “Summit Park was one of his passions,” recalled Peter Trent, who served with Robertson on the council of mayor May Cutler. “He did a lot of work to mark paths and initiate steps to stop the degradation of the park.”
CBC’s Stuart Robertson dies at 65
He was the co-founder and former president of the Westmount Horticultural Society. From 1987, until he was hired by the CBC, Robertson also served as a city councillor in Westmount.
Gazette’s longtime gardening columnist Stuart Robertson has died
He served as president of the local chapter of the Periodical Writers Association and as local rep for the Garden Writers Association of America. A long-time resident of Westmount, Robertson served as president of the Westmount Municipal Association and as a Westmount city councillor, and he was the founder of the Westmount Horticultural Society.
Never known as retiring, Trent’s back on the ballot
Municipal merger foe re-emerges
(Gazette) When Peter Trent holds a news conference next week to announce his return to local municipal politics, there will be no question of him trying to reinvent himself. Trent is a stable political compound with plenty of goodwill in the demerged Montreal suburbs and the English-speaking community of Quebec as a whole.
Drury, Ikeman step up
The race for Westmount city council heated up this week with word that lifelong Westmounter Victory Drury is seriously considering making a run, while Ste. Catherine Street resident Gary Ikeman has confirmed that his name will also be on the Nov. 1 ballot.
Westmounters ready to welcome back Peter
By P.A. Sévigny
(The Suburban) If former Westmount mayor Peter Trent finally decides that he will, after all, present himself as a candidate to become the city’s once and future mayor, he could be one of the city’s few politicians who will have nothing to worry about once the polls are closed and the votes are counted.
He’s back! Trent prepares to run
(Westmount Independent) People have been calling for his return. And last Friday, Peter Trent revealed he is “very seriously” looking at running for mayor in Westmount’s November 1 elections.
Wayne Larsen: PR firm fumbled media event
Jonathan Goldbloom & Associates, the public relations firm hired to handle the press conference, dropped the ball big time when it came to announcing it to the local papers. My first and only official notification of the event was a “reminder” e-mail I received at 9:20 a.m., just over an hour before Mayor Marks was due at the microphone. Luckily, I was already on my way to city hall by then, having caught wind of the impending announcement on the 7 a.m. radio news and confirming the starting time with a city councillor.
Wayne Larsen: Marks steps down
Mayor won’t seek re-election in November
The long-time community leader has announced that she will not seek a second term as mayor, capping an 18-year career at city hall in which she served as city councillor, borough mayor and most recently mayor of the reconstituted City of Westmount.
Westmount Mayor Karin Marks won’t seek re-election
(Gazette) As Marks leaves municipal politics, there are signs that small town independence might be trumped by big city pragmatism. The centralization of city services is already an election issue in Montreal, and Louise Harel, the former PQ minister who oversaw the mergers is now running for the mayoralty of Montreal. Does Marks think Westmount and its sister suburbs are living on borrowed time? “I think, given the political fallout of the last merger, no one wants to hear the word ‘merger’ again,” she said. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t a real concern over what sort of changes could be made by the back door.”
Westmount: Karin Marks quitte la politique
La mairesse de Westmount, Karin Marks, tourne la page: elle ne se présentera pas aux prochaines élections municipales.
(La Presse) Mme Marks était la représentante des 15 villes de banlieue de Montréal qui ont défusionné à la suite de la décision du gouvernement de Jean Charest de revenir sur les fusions municipales de 2001. Elle avait été élue pour la première fois conseillère en novembre 1991.
23 June 2009
Henry Aubin: Winners, losers in the demergers
The fifth anniversary of the demerger referendums, one of the most convulsive times in local politics in memory, slid by quietly last weekend. The dust still hasn’t settled from this event in which 15 of the 28 suburbs that were forcibly merged with Montreal in 2002 voted to secede.
The Nov. 1 election will be for not only mayor of Montreal but for the ruler of all Montreal Island, including the 15 suburbs. The same person wears both hats. Yet suburbanites are ineligible to vote. The principle of “no taxation without representation” is sacred elsewhere in the democratic world. But, thanks to Quebec’s demerger law, it won’t apply here for the second straight election. Note the only legislator who nagged the government on this issue, Mario Dumont, left politics in March. Expect this democratic outrage to continue for a good long time.
1 June 2006
Andrew Sancton: Municipal Mergers and Demergers in Quebec and Ontario .pdf
Jean Charest and Dalton McGuinty were both elected as premiers of their respective provinces of Quebec and Ontario in 2003; they had both opposed municipal mergers while they were in opposition; and they both had promised while in opposition to create a mechanism for municipal demergers. Charest followed through on his promise and demergers have taken place; McGuinty reneged. Most observers would probably judge that McGuinty has handled the issue more effectively than Charest. The purpose of this paper is to describe the similarities and differences in the political context in which both leaders were working, to explain their different responses, and to assess the relative merits of the different approaches taken by the two premiers.
1 January 2005 – Inroads: A Journal of Opinion
Montreal demergers: an update.
INROADS15 WE DESCRIBED THE PROCESS LEADING UP TO THE JUNE 20 demerger referendums in Quebec municipalities. (1) We paid particular attention to developments in Montreal where a new administration under Gerald Tremblay came to power in January 2002 in the “One Island, One City” that had been created by the PQ government. The Tremblay administration was soon confronted with changes following the 2003 provincial election campaign, in which Jean Charest’s Liberal Party promised to submit the mergers to the people directly concerned for their approval. The changes took the form of a law, Bill 9, which opened the door for old municipalities to revert to their former status as separate, independent entities, albeit with much reduced powers, and set out a series of stages through which it could take place, the last being a referendum. As a result of the June referendums, opponents of the Montreal megamerger managed to carve out a large chunk of their new island-city, including a huge crescent-shaped piece at its southwestern end, comprising 28 per cent of its land area and 15 per cent of its population.
22 June 2004 – Inroads: A Journal of Opinion
Breaking up is hard to do: merger and demerger in the Montreal megacity.
In NOVEMBER 2000, PREMIER LUCIEN BOUCHARD’S PARTI QUEBECOIS government introduced Bill 170 to merge a number of Quebec municipalities. The PQ forced the bill through the National Assembly over angry opposition. There were large and noisy (but peaceful) street demonstrations by citizens of smaller municipalities condemned to disappear through the creation of “megacities” in Montreal and Longueuil (just south, across the St. Lawrence River), Quebec City and Levis (also just south, across the St. Lawrence River), Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivieres and the Outaouais and Saguenay regions. Elsewhere in the province, many rural towns and villages were also merged. Montreal’s immediate neighbour to the north, the city of Laval, created by a 1960s merger, was spared.