Montreal 2019-2020

Written by  //  October 15, 2020  //  Montreal  //  No comments

Montreal 2017 -2018

Montreal using recycled wine bottles to replace Darwin bridge on Nuns’ Island
Project will replace 10% of cement with glass powder, equivalent of 70,000 wine bottles
(CBC) Both Montreal and the SAQ are touting this bridge construction technique as a worldwide first, but CBC could not independently verify that claim, as adding crushed glass to concrete is not a new practice.
The SAQ has been promoting the technique since 2004, having helped found a chair position at the Université de Sherbrooke that specifically focuses on recycling recovered glass.

5 October
Quebec weighs whether to move Montreal General Hospital to N.D.G.
Looking at affordable option of new construction at superhospital site after study finds it would be impossible to complete a planned $300-million modernization on budget.
– The MUHC’s original plans in the late 1990s called for the Montreal General to be part of the superhospital. But in 2003, following the SARS epidemic that swept through hospitals in Toronto, Quebec’s health minister at the time, François Legault, decided the prudent course of action would be to keep the Montreal General as a back-up to the superhospital.
– Among the unanswered questions at the Glen is whether the site has enough space left to accommodate both the Montreal General and the Montreal Neuro. Westmount would probably have many questions to ask of the MUHC regarding the construction of pavilions that would likely overlook its nearby residential neighbourhoods.

28 September
Quebec announces new COVID-19 restrictions starting Thursday as 3 regions put on red alert
Quebec Premier François Legault says three regions are being moved to the highest COVID-19 alert level, and stricter health measures are now necessary to curb the rate of transmission.
Those regions include Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches, south of the provincial capital.
The new restrictions are set to last for 28 days (until Oct. 28) in the red zone.
The following new measures will take effect as of midnight Wednesday into Thursday in the three regions:
Ban on home gatherings, with some exceptions, such as a single caregiver allowed per visit.
All bars, casinos and restaurants are closed (takeout only).
Libraries, museums, cinemas and theatres will also be closed.
Being less than two metres apart will be prohibited. Masks will be mandatory during demonstrations.
Houses of worship and venues for events like funerals and weddings will have a 25-person limit.
Hair salons, hotels and other such businesses will stay open.
Schools will remain open.
The government has been urging people to stop socializing for a month in order to slow the spread of the virus. Now that it is prohibited to gather in homes, Legault said the public security ministry is now exploring how the regulation will be enforced.

15 September
Brownstein: Could David Heurtel be next mayor of Montreal?
Although he has yet to announce his intentions, the name of former Quebec environment and immigration minister David Heurtel keeps popping up in conversations about Montreal mayoral candidates
Heurtel has plenty on his plate right now. A former Quebec minister of the environment and immigration, he is presently counsel for the legal firm of Fasken, an adjunct professor at Concordia, a political analyst on radio and TV, the chairman of a non-profit stay-in-school program, involved with a justice pro-bono group and a member of the Expert Advisory Committee of the Association for Canadian Studies’ COVID-19 Social Impact Network. Yup, Heurtel ticks off many of the right boxes. And he’s a dog lover to boot.

12 September
Thousands of Montrealers march to protest against wearing masks
Several speakers railed about fake news and downplayed the seriousness of the virus. “It’s not that serious. It’s like a bad flu and I read a story that said masks don’t contain the spread.”
The march was ostensibly designed to protest against government regulations regarding masks in public places. It came on a day when Quebec introduced a new level of enforcement and fines for those who flout the rules.
But the marchers represented an assortment of groups with a variety of grievances. There were signs directed against the WHO and the provincial and federal government. Premier François Legault and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were denounced as traitors and murderers.
There were a number of signs that read: “Better to die free than to live without freedom.” They included the tagline rael.org, a reference to the so-called UFO religion whose followers believe humanity was created by extraterrestrials.

7 September
Plante under threat from possible Coderre run, poll suggests
By Frédéric Tomesco
With the next municipal election still more than a year away, a new CROP poll shows the former Montreal mayor would have bested incumbent Valérie Plante had an election been held late last month.
Only 41 per cent of Plante’s backers in the 2017 election would have voted for her again had the election been held now, according to the poll. By contrast, 62 per cent of Coderre’s 2017 voters would make the same choice, CROP said

2 September
Allison Hanes: Getting workers back to downtown offices a tough sell
Mayor Valérie Plante is going to have work cut out for her in attempt to help save dying centre of the city.
Some companies have given up their office space permanently while others have never reopened despite Quebec giving the green light to 25 per cent occupancy in workplaces back in July.
The elimination of time lost commuting or trying to navigate construction detours is wonderful for the average employee able to work remotely. (And it may be great, too, for those who can’t but are benefiting from less crowding aboard public transit or less road congestion.) But it is bad — very bad — for the economic vibrancy of beleaguered downtown Montreal, as well as public transit agencies around the region that have seen ridership plummet.
Mayor Valérie Plante and her blue-ribbon panel of economic experts launched yet another appeal to Montrealers this week to help save the dying centre of the city.
Telecommuting has allowed many families that were typically run ragged by the relentless pace of modern life before COVID-19 to achieve a more sane work-life balance. Most of us are loath to give it up now.
On top of that, many people are still rightly worried about the risks of catching COVID-19 and are trying to limit their contacts or travels. Plante finds herself walking a tightrope between urging strict compliance with public health guidelines and trying to keep the economy from imploding.
As mayor of both Montreal and the Ville-Marie borough, it is incumbent upon her to do everything to try to keep downtown alive. Small businesses, like restaurants and cafés, are on the brink of bankruptcy now that their clientele, including 100,000 university students and an additional 10 million tourists, have disappeared.

31 August
Lise Ravary: Toppling statues won’t change a thing
I don’t much care for Sir John A. Macdonald, but these thugs didn’t have a mandate from the people to rid the city of his likeness.
A crowd of about 200 cheered as a few men removed Sir John A. from his pedestal on Saturday under the nose of police who stood and watched, while a crime against public property was taking place. How is that acceptable?
Some applaud the gesture, others, like me, find it despicable and dangerous. Not out of love for Canada’s first prime minister, but out of respect for the country Canada has become, the people who made it what it is, its political traditions — enough with importing American-style political actions and causes — and for our democracy.
To quote Jean-François Lisée: “It’s not up to a group of demonstrators to decide whether his statue must be destroyed.”
John A. Macdonald loses his head as protesters topple statue
What started as a noisy but peaceful march in support of changes to police funding and policies turned ugly Saturday when protestors pulled down the statue of John A. Macdonald in Place du Canada.
The demonstration, which consisted of more than 200 mostly young people organized under the banner of the Coalition for BIPOC Liberation, wound its way from Place des Arts through a steady rain.
Shortly after arriving at Place du Canada, it became apparent the statue of Canada’s first prime minister was a target. The protestors employed banners to hide their actions as they climbed up the base of the statue and pulled it down. The statue’s head fell off when the statue hit the ground.

18 August
Brownstein: Queen of Crescent Street bartender calls it quits after 39 years
[Donna] Cotton has just called it a bartending career here after 39 years at, among other spots, Winnie’s and Ziggy’s, and will soon return to her B.C. roots. Her glass may be three-quarters full, but she sees increasingly foreboding times in the city’s downtown core. …while the coronavirus has exacerbated woes, Cotton, like others, points out that the situation downtown had been in increasingly dire straits for many years prior. Constant road construction had already been driving many from downtown.
Yes, our city infrastructure is crumbling and road work must be done. But all at the same time?
Lise Ravary: City’s pedestrianization projects are downright ugly
Nice ideas to beautify downtown are ruined with cheap furniture and concrete blocks.

10 August
Should Montreal Subway Honor Polarizing Priest or Jazz Genius?
(NYT) A fight to rename a metro stop pits those who want to celebrate a revered Black musician against those who want to retain the name of a priest who espoused equal rights for Francophone Quebecers — and also anti-Semitism.

6 August

Terrebonne bike path will be extended, despite N.D.G. residents’ ire
Area residents have been vocal in their opposition to the bike path, taking to social media to deplore a lack of consultation and the removal of hundreds of parking spots.
Despite backlash greeting the first phase, the Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough intends to forge ahead with plans to build a bicycle path along the entirety of Terrebonne St.

21-23 July
Allison Hanes: Sending out an SOS for downtown Montreal
Despite lingering fears about COVID-19, it’s up to us now to save our empty city, which is in cardiac arrest and badly needs resuscitation.
Even though the economy has mostly reopened and public health restrictions have eased, most of downtown’s usual denizens are missing in action.
These include: 100,000 university students who have no reason to be on campus since courses have moved online; 300,000 office employees who are still working from home; and 10 million of the annual horde of 11 million tourists. Who knows when or if they’ll all be back on a regular basis?
Josée Legault: Montréal, ville fantôme/
(Journal de Montréal) Pour bien des Montréalais, la crise sanitaire est un puissant révélateur d’une ville sur le déclin en termes élémentaires de qualité de vie.
Des Montréalais quittent carrément leur ville. Le télétravail s’imposant, en banlieue ou en région, ils s’achètent une plus grande maison et des espaces verts qui, en ville, sont inabordables pour le commun des mortels.
Pour ceux qui, nombreux, ne peuvent pas acheter de propriété, la pénurie grave de logements fait le reste. À ce chapitre, l’hypocrisie des autorités municipales depuis des années, tous partis confondus, a fait des ravages.
Les yeux bien fermés, elles ont laissé pulluler les évictions et les Airbnb, ces mines d’or pour proprios entrepreneurs. Résultat : le « parc » de logements de qualité a fondu comme neige au soleil.
Montréal est maintenant une ville de spéculateurs et d’entrepreneurs obsédés par la maximisation des profits. Quand on voit des condos neufs annoncés à 500 000 $ pour 500 pieds carrés (!), on en voit toute la rapacité.
Le « plan de relance » du centre-ville annoncé hier par la mairesse, Valérie Plante, tient quant à lui du cataplasme sur une plaie ouverte
Montreal injects $400K to draw shoppers downtown, stimulate economy
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says the city will invest $400,000 into “developing and animating” its downtown sector, as part of a $22-million plan to relaunch Montreal’s economy, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This just gets nastier and nastier and now the NYT is paying attention
Firing of Museum Director Stirs Debate and an Official Inquiry
The government of Quebec is reviewing the termination of Nathalie Bondil, who led the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for many years, because of a dispute over why she was let go.
MBAM: votre jupon dépasse, Monsieur Jarislowsky
Monique Jérôme-Forget
(La Presse) Dans votre plaidoyer, vous estimez que Mme Bondil a dévié de la vocation du MBAM en excluant supposément l’importance de sa propre collection. Serait-ce plutôt votre frustration face au Musée qui a refusé votre collection personnelle à la suite de la décision des conservateurs, tout comme ceux de la Vancouver Art Gallery qui l’ont, eux aussi, refusée ?
Stephen Jarislowsky: Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal: le C.A. a pris la bonne décision
(La Presse) En privilégiant l’art populaire aux dépens de sa collection d’art canadien et québécois, Nathalie Bondil abusait de la faiblesse du conseil
Le tableau noir du Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal
(Le Devoir) L’offre présentée à la flamboyante directrice générale et conservatrice en chef du Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (MBAM) a ainsi été perçue comme une forme de mise sous tutelle par la principale intéressée.
Fired museum head Bondil says board chairman told her ‘You bug me’
(The Gazette) On Thursday, the Quebec government announced it has ordered an external inquiry into the behaviour of senior management and the board of directors of the museum following the firing of Bondil. The provincial government said since it gives $16 million a year to the museum, it has every right to ask questions about its governance.
At the same time, museum directors around the world have slammed the Montreal museum’s board of directors for dumping Bondil.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts terminates director-general’s contract
Nathalie Bondil, who brought blockbuster shows devoted to Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and fashion designer Thierry Mugler to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, is leaving after the board of directors announced on Monday it is immediately terminating her contract, which would have expired in a year.
In a statement released in French, the board said Bondil’s departure as director-general follows a report by the independent human-resources consultant Le Cabinet RH on the museum’s working environment, which some employees called “toxic.” Bondil, an international museum leader who has directed the Montreal museum since 2007, had tripled its visitor numbers and doubled its physical space, winning plaudits for both community outreach and popular exhibitions.
Le C.A. du MBAM veut mettre Nathalie Bondil sur la touche

17 July
Quebec court gives OK to Cirque du Soleil’s ‘stalking horse’ deal to sell itself
A takeover proposal from the Cirque du Soleil’s secured creditors has been approved as the benchmark bid for a court-supervised auction of the insolvent entertainment company.
The creditor proposal replaces a shareholder offer as the so-called stalking horse bid, which establishes the minimum conditions to be met for potential rival bids.
Other bidders have until Aug. 18 to submit a fully funded offers that are at least $1.5 million US higher than the creditor bid, under a process overseen by the Quebec Superior Court.
Telecommunications conglomerate Quebecor Inc. says it is no longer interested in participating in the auction, while Cirque founder Guy Laliberte, who sold his stake in February, remains interested.

13-15 May
‘Society failed’: Legault visits Montreal as Quebec becomes the world’s seventh deadliest COVID-19 epicentre
(National Post) The province recorded 131 new deaths linked to the virus on Thursday — 91 of them in the hard-hit city
Montreal — the epicentre of the COVID-19 contagion in Canada and Legault’s hometown — is still so “fragile,” the premier said, that he had little choice but to cancel the rest of the school year for elementary students in the area.
Legault took some responsibility for the repeated failures to bring the contagion in Montreal under control, especially within the city’s long-term care homes, where the majority of the province’s deaths have occurred. But it’s Quebecers as a whole, he said, who have let this happen to Montreal.
Asymptomatic carriers under spotlight as Montreal cases top 20,000

Why are so many people getting sick and dying in Montreal from Covid-19?
The city is at the center of the crisis in Canada and Quebec is now the seventh deadliest place in the world for daily deaths
(The Guardian) Montreal, a city touted by tourist guides as “North America’s Europe” for its rich culture and joie de vivre, is Canada’s centre for Covid-19. Of the entire country’s 70,000 cases and 5,000 deaths, the city of 2 million people has 20,000 cases and more than 2,000 deaths, or about 64% of the entire province’s death toll.
Those numbers have catapulted Quebec into an unfavourable position: it is now the seventh deadliest place in the world for daily coronavirus deaths, according to Quebec newspaper La Presse.

27 March
Montreal declares local state of emergency over fears of COVID-19 outbreak among city’s homeless
‘Our homeless people need resources, and they need them now,’ says Mayor Valérie Plante
(CBC) The City of Montreal has been empowered by the province to declare a local state of emergency in an effort to contain the further spread of COVID-19 among people living on the streets.
That local state of emergency went into effect at 4 p.m.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said Friday that the city is not under quarantine, but a local state of emergency had to be declared in order to respond to the looming crisis in the homeless community.
Resilience Montreal, a day centre for the homeless, set up tables in Cabot Square Thursday in an effort to maintain social distancing while assisting the city’s homeless population.
“The city is not under lockdown, nor is it under quarantine. Not today. Not tomorrow,” she said. “If it happens it will be done in a coherent and orderly way. We are not at that point at all.”
Plante said the city now has the power to take over private properties to shelter people and to order needed supplies or food quickly, as needed.

  • Quebec currently has 2,021 confirmed cases and 18 deaths attributable to COVID-19.
  • Montreal has the majority of cases: 971. There has been one death in Montreal, a 67-year-old Outremont man.
  • Five Montreal firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in self-isolation.
  • Catholic churches in Montreal will ring their bells for 10 minutes on Sundays until Easter to show support for front-line health care workers and to comfort the public. 
  • Public transit service in Montreal and Quebec City will be reduced starting Monday.
  • Bus company Orléans Express is temporarily halting intercity service, as of midnight Saturday.

19 February
So sad, we have lost several in front of our building
Ash trees are coming down on Mount Royal as beetle battle continues
Trees are coming down in the Piedmont sector of Mount Royal Park this week, as the city continues its efforts to slow a beetle infestation. The cuts on Mount Royal are part of a broader operation in nature parks across the island that will see 40,000 ash trees felled. The cutting must be done during the winter to minimize impact on soil and vegetation and on breeding and nesting birds. Cutting and removing infected trees during winter months can also prevent the beetle larvae from emerging from the trees to continue their life cycle.

18 February
2,000 housing units planned for old CBC building in Montreal
The project will be made up of condo units, rental apartments, social housing units and office space.
Developers MACH and Devimco are teaming up to build at least 2,000 housing units in Maison Radio-Canada — a 4.5-million-square-foot site that will be called the Quartier des lumières when it is vacated by employees of the public broadcaster. The investment is being made in conjunction with the Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ. Employees will move to a new building being built nearby by January 2021.
The MACH and Devimco project will be made up of condo units, rental apartments, social housing units and office space. There will also be 54,000 square feet of green space as part of the project.

10 January
Florence Richler, a woman of ‘incomparable, luminous grace,’ dies at 90
“Florence Richler had an incomparable, luminous grace,” Louise Dennys, executive vice-president of Penguin Random House, said Friday. “Yet for all her gentle modesty and her reticence about her place in Mordecai’s writing, there is no question in the minds of anybody who knew them well, that when it came to his work, she was fiercely tough-minded and as insightful as she was unfailingly supportive.”
After Mordecai died of cancer in 2001, Florence moved to Toronto where she pursued an independent life, gardening, travelling and socializing with a wide circle of friends. She remained an avid reader and a devoted patron of music and theatre, despite the visual limitations of macular degeneration.
Florence Richler died after a short illness in Toronto, surrounded by her family, early on Jan. 10. Full obituary
Former senator Leo Kolber, a pillar of business and politics, dies
Former senator Leo Kolber died in Montreal on Jan. 9, 10 days shy of his 91st birthday.
When he was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008, Kolber was cited as having been an outstanding contributor to Canada’s business, political and philanthropic scenes for more than 40 years.
A former Liberal Party of Canada national revenue committee chair, Kolber served in the Senate from 1983 to 2004, during which time he was chair of the standing committee on banking, trade and commerce.
He established the Cadillac-Fairview Corporation, one of the largest real estate companies in North America, and was a member of numerous corporate boards over the years.

2-3 January
Thursday’s will not reopen and condos will likely be built at site, owner says
“I think Thursday’s, unfortunately, ends here,” said Torrance Ragueneau. “Times have changed, downtown has changed.”
The Ragueneau family, which owns the building, confirmed Friday it’s looking to move on from the restaurant business and already has a handful of potential buyers interested in the building for condo purposes. …
On Friday, Ragueneau said the Nakis family bought the business and signed a promise to purchase the building in 2018. The deal was supposed to close in early December, but plans changed. “I couldn’t come to an arrangement to buy the whole building the way I had wanted to,” Nakis said this week. According to Montreal’s property assessment roll, the building had a value of roughly $10.5 million in 2018.
Ragueneau said his family’s decision to leave Thursday’s behind was never one that was taken lightly — “it was his baby,” he said of his father, who’s now in poor health — but years of seeing Crescent St. change made it clear they made the right choice.
“The parking, the construction, the changing laws,” he said. “It’s not the same as it once was. Instead of fighting against the movement, we’re accepting it and moving on.”
Crescent Street Icon Thursday’s Shuts Down, Laying Off Dozens With No Notice
The fired staff are critical of owner Chris Ann Nakis, whose family also part-owns famed deli Schwartz’
Nakis took ownership of Thursday’s in late 2018, taking it over from the Ragueneau family, who had operated it for decades.
Nakis’ family also owns the adjacent Sir Winston Churchill complex on Crescent, at least two Baton Rouge restaurants, and co-owns famed deli Schwartz’s alongside singer Céline Dion and other partners.
Montreal homicides of 2019: a near-record low, but a tough year for police
24. Astrid Declerck, 48; Dec. 25
Police responding to a 911 call Christmas morning found Declerck, who had been shot, in critical condition inside her home in the Haddon Hall complex on Sherbrooke St. W. They also found the body of her spouse, 60-year-old Yvan Almodovar. Declerck was taken to a hospital, but died hours later. According to Le Journal de Montréal, two of the couple’s children, both in their teens, were home when their mother was killed. Police believe Almodovar shot Declerck and then took his own life. According to court records, the couple had filed for a separation in September.

28 December
The French invasion of Montreal
In Plateau Mont-Royal, the accents give it away: les français, it seems, have taken over. And they’re spreading to other neighbourhoods.
The big surprise is that the French are not just limiting themselves to the Plateau and neighbouring areas: Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, for example, has the next-highest number of French people, followed by Ville-Marie, Hochelaga—Maisonneuve and Villeray—Parc-Extension.
There are some 60,000 French nationals registered with the Consulat général de France à Montreal, living in and around the metropolitan area. The actual numbers are estimated at close to double that according to [Sophie Lagoutte, the consul general of France].
French people come here for a multitude of reasons, she said, from Montrealers’ and Quebecers’ much-vaunted “ouverture d’esprit” (open-mindedness) to the relatively cheap rents, affordable real estate and ample career options.

6 December – 30th anniversary of the Montreal massacre
‘Tragedy into a triumph’: 14 beams of light shine as Montreal Massacre remembered
14 universities from Newfoundland and Labrador to B.C. pay tribute to victims of 1989 attack
Hundreds stood silently Friday evening at the top of Montreal’s Mount Royal to remember the women killed at École Polytechnique 30 years ago.
Fourteen beams of light — one for each woman — illuminated the city skyline, in what has become an annual tradition to mark the Dec.6, 1989 shooting.
Family and friends were joined by a host of dignitaries including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier François Legault, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and Gov. Gen. Julie Payette.

Loreen Pindera: I’ve been a journalist for 35 years — the Polytechnique massacre left a scar on all of us
I rushed out not knowing if, through static, the police scanner said ‘fire’ or ‘gunfire’ that horrible night
Anne-Marie, Anne-Marie, Annie, Annie, Barbara, Barbara, Geneviève, Hélène, Maryse, Maryse, Maud, Michèle, Nathalie, Sonia.
I committed those names to memory 30 years ago, in alphabetical order, beginning with Anne-Marie Edward, a childhood friend of my son’s father. Keeping this ritual, acknowledging their existence, seems like the least I can do.
How engineers of the Montreal Massacre generation are changing the world
Accomplished women share thoughts on their engineering careers and impact of the tragedy
On Dec. 6, 1989, a gunman walked into École Polytechnique de Montréal and killed 14 women. During the rampage, the man, who had failed to gain admission to the university, shouted, “You’re all a bunch of feminists and I hate feminists!”
Most of those women were studying to be engineers. The brutal, targeted mass shooting hit close to home for other female engineering students of the same generation.
Among them was Mary Wells, …  now Dean of Engineering and Physical Science at the University of Guelph. One of her current projects is an online tribute to the victims of the Montreal Massacre called 30 Years Later. Created in collaboration with Engineers Canada and the deans of engineering schools across the country, it profiles 30 women who graduated in engineering within three years of the massacre.

26 November
Mayor Valérie Plante and executive committee chairman Benoît Dorais have unveiled their 2020 $6.17-billion operating budget.
Tenants could be hardest hit by property tax increases
Residential property taxes increase by an average 2.1 per cent, despite the mayor’s promise to keep them within the inflation rate.
But those hardest hit could be tenants, with taxes on apartment buildings with six or more units increasing by an average of 4.5 per cent.
Hikes for multi-unit buildings will be particularly steep in central neighbourhoods, with tax bills set to soar by 8.4 per cent in downtown Ville-Marie. They will rise by 5.8 per cent in Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, 5.7 per cent in Outremont, 5.1 per cent in the Plateau Mont-Royal, 4.9 per cent in the Sud-Ouest and 4.6 per cent in Verdun.
Plante acknowledged that her administration is concerned about how the increases will affect tenants, coming at a time when rising rents and an increase in evictions are making it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing.
Meadowbrook developer loses appeal of lawsuit against Montreal
The court upheld a 2017 judgment by a Superior Court judge that had rejected a $44-million lawsuit against the city
Quebec’s Court of Appeal has ruled against a real estate developer in its long legal battle with the city of Montreal over a proposed housing development on the Lachine side of the Meadowbrook Golf Course.
The court upheld a 2017 judgment by a Superior Court judge that had rejected a $44-million lawsuit against the city by developer Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific Inc. In its lawsuit, the developer claimed it was owed $15 million in lost profits and $28.5 million for the value of the land for what the developer considered a disguised expropriation by the city.
Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific Inc. had been in talks with the city since 2007 about a 1,789-unit housing development it hoped to build on the land, which it had purchased from another developer in 2006 for $3 million.

1 November
Trick-or-treat travesty? Opinions split on whether Halloween can just be rescheduled
In Quebec the promise of rain, strong winds on Oct. 31 prompted many cities to delay Halloween
The announcement came as Environment Canada issued a wind warning for Montreal, Quebec City, and the communities in between. “Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage,” it said.
Many cities followed Montreal’s lead, while some decided on a compromise — to have trick-or-treating take place on both Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
In Montreal, dozens of trees were knocked down Thursday night as winds reached 100 kilometres per hour. By Friday morning, 67,000 homes and businesses were without power.

19 October
Allison Hanes: Montreal deserves better from the CAQ government
Mayor Valérie Plante recently presented her requests of campaigning federal leaders. But the needs of cities go well beyond electoral promises.
(Montreal Gazette) The CAQ swept to power on a wave of suburban and rural support, taking only two seats in Montreal. So naturally, Quebec has its own ideas about what Montrealers want and need. And in the province’s eyes, it’s not the pink and green priorities Plante champions (even if the mayor has found a way to see a possible western extension of a proposed tramway line through a rose-coloured lens). It’s no wonder, then, that Plante’s signature Pink Line of the Montreal métro and efforts to fight the climate crisis top her wish list for campaigning federal party leaders. Like her counterparts across the country, Plante is left to seek support and financing from the federal government for projects that have fallen out of favour with the city’s provincial masters. It’s not supposed to be this way.
Montreal plans to divert 85% of garbage away from landfills by 2030
Among other measures, every resident is being asked to reduce the amount they throw out by about 10 kilograms each year.
The plan calls for each Montrealer to reduce the amount of garbage they throw away by about 10 kilograms each year and eliminate single-use plastic. New bylaws will crack down on clothing manufacturers that throw out unsold items.
Also, by incentivizing grocery chains to donate food to food banks and to compost what they must throw out, the city hopes to reduce food waste by 50 per cent in the next decade.
The city wants 100 per cent of schools and large apartment buildings on the island to be composting by 2025. More than 20 schools will participate in a composting pilot project starting next year, and the city said it will begin to improve the way it collects organic waste in 2020.

2 October
Beryl Wajsman: Praise for Plante
We have criticized Mayor Valerie Plante often in this space for certain of her green policies from the closing of Camielien-Houde Road, to the reduction of traffic lanes on St. Catherine to the massive park she plans for Pierrefonds that would end the projected building of 6000 much needed housing units for the island. But today is a moment to applaud her quick action against the broken promises of the developers of the large-scale condo project on the site of the old Montreal Children’s Hospital.
When the developers — which include Devimco and High-Rise Montreal — got approval for the sprawling multi-tower project, it was on the condition that they agreed to build 180 social housing units on the site. That agreement was made two years ago.
Ten days ago the developers announced they were cutting out the units altogether from the plans. This came on the heels of the developers’ earlier announcement that a school that was in the original plans would also not be built though a cultural centre would be. Plante’s response to the developers about face was swift and in the best interests of the public. …
Plante said, “Enough! The promoters were well aware of the conditions and it was absolutely necessary to have social housing. That’s why they got approval for the project.” She then announced that the developers could go ahead and build their sixth tower of the project, but at the original zoning of 4 stories not 20 as was agreed when the social housing component was negotiated.

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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