Montreal 2019

Written by  //  July 26, 2019  //  Montreal  //  No comments

Montreal 2017 -2018
Montreal’s wood-burning ban starts Oct. 1, 2018

26 July
Pauvre Montréal!
Pierre Delorme, Professeur honoraire à l’Université du Québec à Montréal
Il est désolant qu’une fois au pouvoir les partis de gauche oublient trop souvent leurs devoirs envers tous les citoyens et qu’ils ne sont pas les propriétaires d’une vérité qu’ils peuvent imposer sans considérations démocratiques. En outre, ne devraient-ils pas aussi considérer qu’il en coûte 400 $ de plus pour vivre à Montréal en comparaison des banlieues environnantes (selon les chiffres de la Société d’hypothèques et de logement).
(Le Devoir) Dans une large proportion, les Montréalais ont applaudi à l’élection d’une nouvelle équipe qui annonçait résolument un vent de changement. Ce parti politique municipal se plaçait, de façon claire et affirmée, à gauche de l’échiquier politique. Or, comment expliquer les décisions autoritaires impliquant de lourdes charges pour les plus démunis des citoyens de Montréal ? Comment comprendre que l’on ne semble pas sensible, à l’Hôtel de Ville, au fait que l’augmentation des taxes et d’autres frais municipaux touche principalement les plus pauvres de notre société ?
Tôt après l’arrivée au pouvoir de Projet Montréal, lors du dépôt et de l’adoption du premier budget, les élus au pouvoir ont décidé d’augmenter la taxe foncière, que l’on qualifiera d’une autre manière pour ne pas donner l’impression que l’on renie une promesse électorale formelle. Sur qui retombe cette charge financière inattendue ? Bien sûr sur l’ensemble des propriétaires. Mais étant donné que 60 % des Montréalais sont locataires, il est bien facile de comprendre que celle-ci leur sera refilée.
Par la suite, l’augmentation du tarif des parcomètres et des contraventions liées au stationnement peut s’analyser avec les mêmes critères. Les plus pauvres seront les plus touchés. Je pense, par exemple, aux livreurs qui travaillent au salaire minimum et qui auront tôt fait de recevoir une contravention pour quelques minutes de retard. …  Aussi, si l’on en croit les rumeurs qui courent, les nouvelles taxes et autres tarifs ne sont pas terminés. Pensons seulement aux multiples projets d’en introduire plusieurs dans le discours du démissionnaire Luc Ferrandez. On peut être à juste titre très inquiet.
Plus récemment, l’arrondissement d’Outremont a décidé d’imposer des frais pour les véhicules stationnés dans toutes les rues de l’arrondissement. À qui cette mesure, décidée de façon autoritaire, fera-t-elle le plus mal ? Bien sûr aux travailleurs des commerces et des restaurants. Comment comprendre qu’un parti politique qui devrait défendre par tous les moyens dont il dispose les plus fragiles de notre société décide de pareilles mesures.
Et l’on se surprendra que les Montréalais quittent Montréal pour s’établir en banlieue. Si les élus au pouvoir ne comprennent pas cette réalité, c’est parce qu’ils se sont vite enfermés dans une logique bureaucratique et ont oublié le discours démocratique qu’ils ont prêché tout au long de la campagne électorale, et même bien avant.
Montréal ne semble plus appartenir aux Montréalais. Elle est devenue la propriété d’une poignée d’élus qui prennent des décisions comme bon leur semble sans consulter les citoyens. Comme en témoigne cette décision de bloquer la voie Camillien-Houde l’an dernier. La consultation qui s’est effectuée a posteriori et la recommandation de l’Office de consultation publique ont bien démontré que cette décision avait été une erreur.

4 July
How Montreal is preparing for the ‘scooter-pocalypse’
Can e-scooters prevail in Montreal, a city of grumpy commuters and potholes?
E-scooters can already be found in upwards of 50 U.S. cities and dozens of cities in Europe. Citylab, a website about ideas and issues in modern cities, declared 2018 the year of the scooter. Venture capitalists have valued two of the leading companies, Lime and Bird, in the billions — and there are signs the companies are a solid investment: last year in the United States, e-scooters overtook shared bikes as the most popular form of shared transportation.
But will they be popular in Montreal? This is a city where cyclists loathe distracted motorists and daydreaming pedestrians; pedestrians believe motorists and cyclists are homicidal and crazy; and motorists are convinced that cyclists and pedestrians are law-breaking criminals deliberately trying to slow them down.
Social housing plan for old Montreal Children’s Hospital site at risk
An agreement to build social housing units within a $400-million development at the site of the former Montreal Children’s Hospital may be on shaky ground.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said Wednesday she’s “not happy” that the negotiations are ongoing, and not comfortable with a development firm that is “not respecting its promise.”
The agreement to build social housing, made two years ago, was a condition for the city’s acceptance of the project, she said. Last year, Devimco, one of the project’s developers, said it couldn’t build an elementary school on the site because it couldn’t wait any longer for the provincial government and school board to provide plans. [Too late to include school in old Montreal Children’s site, developer says]

28 June
New Samuel De Champlain Bridge built for performance, not style, says architect
Inaugurated on same day as old bridge was in 1962, this one’s built to last 125 years
The architect behind the new Samuel De Champlain Bridge is telling Montrealers not to be disappointed by its appearance, as function and on-time delivery were the design priorities.
Poul Ove Jensen defended the minimalist look of the bridge on the eve of its official inauguration Friday.
Friday’s inauguration comes 57 years to the day after the first Champlain Bridge opened on June 28, 1962.
The new bridge — one of North America’s largest infrastructure projects – opened to northbound traffic June 24. It will open in the other direction on July 1, Canada Day.
The old Champlain Bridge will close permanently late Friday, and its demolition, set to begin next year, will take about three years to complete at an estimated cost of $400 million.

2 June
Montreal to propose new rules to increase affordable housing
(Global) As home prices continue to climb, the city is getting ready to table a bylaw this month requiring condo developers to build a certain number of off-market units for every shiny new residential tower they want to erect.
The city promised the new rules will be flexible enough so as to not stymie the building boom, but developers are worried Mayor Valérie Plante’s administration will make future projects unprofitable. See Montreal unveils plan to create 12,000 social and affordable housing units (25 October 2018)

25 May
City rebuked amid ‘humanitarian crisis’ in Cabot Square
While homeless men and women are suffering in Montreal’s Cabot Square, experts say the city has been slow to act on a growing crisis.
With no long-term solutions in place, there is a shelter looking to fill the void left by the Open Door. The Benedict Labre House — a shelter that’s moving west from downtown — is making an offer on some land near Atwater Ave. and has the funding to build 36 transitional housing units for the homeless.
But those would only be available in two years at the earliest.

15 May
Plateau Mont-Royal borough mayor Luc Ferrandez announces he’s leaving politics
In a major blow to Mayor Valérie Plante, Plateau Mont-Royal borough mayor Luc Ferrandez is quitting politics, saying he has failed to convince the mayor of the “gravity of the situation” and the need for stronger measures to combat climate change.
A key player in Plante’s Projet Montréal party, Ferrandez announced his unexpected resignation via social media late Tuesday afternoon.
As the man responsible for large parks and green spaces on the executive committee, he shepherded the administration’s controversial plan to ban cars from some parts of Mount Royal.
His dream of eliminating through traffic on the mountain were thwarted when Plante this month agreed to implement a public-consultation report’s recommendation that instead will transform the road across Mount Royal into a slow moving, tree-lined scenic drive.
Plante has in recent weeks announced a series of environmental and climate-change measures — on fossil-fuel investments, one-time-use plastic packaging,oil furnaces, and the offsetting of greenhouse gases created by flights taken by city officials.
But they weren’t enough for Ferrandez.

6 May
City of Montreal to ban oil heating by 2030 in bid to fight climate change
Plante explained that in a bid to have a carbon neutral real-estate stock, the city chose to tackle the issue of fuel oil.
“This product still represents 28 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions on the island for the residential sector, and 14 per cent of emissions for the commercial and institutional sectors, ” she said.
Plante said all municipal buildings will have moved away from oil heating systems by 2021.
The ban, which will only fully come into effect in 2030, targets all sectors including residential, industrial and institutional buildings.
The city will be drafting new regulations to prohibit oil heating systems in new buildings, as well as in all existing buildings undergoing major renovations.
Plante acknowledged the conversion could put a financial strain on some homeowners, but pointed to existing programs — such as Chauffez Vert, or Heat Green — which offers financial incentives to those making the switch.

Plante fumes as Quebec considers possible expansion of REM
Montreal’s mayor says the move would strain the métro’s already congested Orange Line and betrays “a lack of understanding of the reality.”
Transport Minister François Bonnardel announced Monday the government has asked Quebec pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec — which is paying for a half of construction of the 67-kilometre light rail line and has the contract to manage it — to study adding two new branches to extend the line’s reach into central Laval to the Carrefour Laval shopping centre and southeast to Chambly and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
At the same time, the Coalition Avenir Québec government is asking them to examine a “new public transit system” to connect downtown with east-end Montreal.

1 May
Montreal to allow traffic over Mount Royal, but it will no longer be a ‘highway,’ mayor says
Public consultations office recommends maintaining traffic on Camillien-Houde Way
The mayor’s announcement comes after the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) recommended it stay open.
The OCPM found that when cars moved to alternate routes, it caused congestion on surrounding roadways. The closure also created a perception accessing the mountain was harder. It required a consultation to establish these truths?
Based on the data provided and the opinions expressed, the pilot project didn’t seem to “solve the problem of security and sharing of the road,” said Dominique Ollivier, head of the OCPM, on CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.

Martin Patriquin: Luc Ferrandez’s F-bombs targeted a troublesome truth
Plateau mayor Luc Ferrandez got heat for his flooding-inspired Facebook screed, but he is right, both in his timing and intent.
“We know we shouldn’t build in flood zones, we know we should protect the remaining woods, we know we have to revise the law on wetlands, we know we shouldn’t build a third bridge in Quebec City, we know we shouldn’t build two stadiums in the same city, we know we shouldn’t expand the airport, we know we should put a deposit on glass bottles, we know we should better sort what we throw out, we know we really shouldn’t build oil pipelines,” he wrote. But we do it anyways, Ferrandez said, because we’re “spoiled children.”
… Precious few politicians speak troublesome truths at inconvenient times. Ferrandez did just this. To wit: the Quebec government drew up a flood management plan in 1976 yet only implemented it 30 years later, by which time many of those flood zones were dotted with housing and development. That’s because we’ve mostly left the delicate art of urban planning up to the municipalities, whose main source of revenue is property taxes. Before he went to jail on various fraud and breach of trust charges, former Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt was adept at greenlighting construction in flood zones, which by virtue of being near water had higher property values and thus commanded more municipal taxes. Many of the houses currently sitting underwater are indictments of this blatant municipal conflict of interest. And yet by not acting — not after 2011, not after 2017 — we just repeat the mistake.

26 February
Montreal rejects concerns, approves $175-million composting plant
The municipal opposition and suburban mayors called on the city to suspend approval, citing the plant’s ballooning size and cost
Montreal set to embark on waste-treatment plan critics say is outdated
“No one builds large composting centres anymore.”

23 February
Josh Freed: Icy sidewalks wouldn’t be a problem if you’d listened to me and heated them
Sorry to rant about this issue again but there’s recent reason to rant.
You may remember city hall nixed former Mayor Coderre’s plan to heat Ste-Catherine’s sidewalks during the Great Downtown Reconstruction. But this winter is a showcase for why we need them.
The city claimed heated sidewalks were too difficult and costly, but several cities I’ve visited in winter have long had them, from Oslo and Helsinki to Sapporo, Japan.
It’s too late to heat up the first phase of Ste-Catherine’s renovation. We missed the ice-breaking boat. But there’s plenty of time to reconsider Phase 2, as well as our planned McGill College Ave. plaza.
Mayor Plante is focussed on a Pink Line, a great idea for someday, but a far-off dream with highway-loving Premier Legault at the provincial budget wheel.
Yet a “Heat Line” cutting through downtown Montreal is a realistic project we can fund ourselves. If it was electric-powered, it might even appeal to Quebec as a Hydro “sidewalk” showcase.
Environment Canada predicts many more weather-swinging winters like this one, so let’s start winterizing our city like we do our homes.

4 February
This is totally absurd!
Parents camped out all weekend for kindergarten spots in English public schools
“It’s the only French immersion school in the district,” one parent said. “I think in this day and age it’s ridiculous that we have to do this.”
At Royal Vale School — also in N.D.G. — where parents have been lining up for roughly the last 30 years, the atmosphere was almost festive on Sunday evening. Some parents had pitched tents, others were huddled around a bonfire watching the Super Bowl, which someone had managed to stream from a cell phone and project onto a white blanket.
On the door of the school was a hand-drawn list with 36 names on it, each hoping to snag one of 40 spots expected to be available next September.
EMSB spokesperson Mike Cohen said the lineups are a good sign schools are offering excellent education options that are popular with parents.
Parent blasts ‘downright dangerous’ need to wait overnight to secure spot at EMSB schools
Parents at Royal Vale and Edinburgh Elementary started waiting days in advance of registration
Montreal parents camp out, miss work for spots at English schools

Brownstein: ‘Coming back is certainly an option,’ Denis Coderre says
He has lost many pounds but none of his candour. Montreal’s ex-mayor on everything from snow-clearing to the Expos — and his possible return.


16-28 January
Opinion: Royalmount isn’t merely a zoning issue
Had T.M.R. acted as a planner, it would have looked at the project in its context and at its long-term impacts.
By Raphaël Fischler, professor of urban planning, Université de Montréal
The problem with suburban mayors and with many other municipal officials is that they understand zoning better than planning. Zoning is designing municipal regulations that set conditions for the delivery of a permit to develop a piece of land. Planning, on the other hand, is setting policies for the long term.
T.M.R. approached the Royalmount project purely as a zoning issue. Had it acted as a planner, it would have looked at the project in its context and at its long-term impacts.
Martin Patriquin: Concerns about Royalmount extend beyond traffic
There is a distinct possibility the mega-mall project will be a short-term success but a long-term failure.
… the roughly 4 million square-foot behemoth [is] slated to be plunked onto the industrial scrapes of T.M.R. by 2022. The city of Montreal’s own study says it will increase the number of cars on the already overburdened Décarie interchange by nearly 20 per cent, and cannibalize clientele from nearby shopping centres.
Outdated concept or economic home run? Facing-off over Royalmount plan
Will the project be a boon for the local economy or a $1.7-billion white elephant? Opponents and proponents of Royalmount squared off at city hall Wednesday.
As far as projects go, Royalmount would be a sort of city within a city; requiring the construction of stores, restaurants, hotels, theatres, a cinema, a waterpark, parking lots and up to 6,000 condo units all located in the Town of Mount Royal. … urban planner, Richard Grenier, suggests that such a massive investment in brick and mortar retail puts Royalmount on the wrong side of history. He cited a 2017 report by Crédit Suisse that warns that up to 25 per cent of American malls will close within the next four years.
The report points to the rise of e-commerce as a factor that’s making malls increasingly irrelevant in the lives of young consumers.

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