The City of Côte Saint-Luc actively gives its position through brief at the municipal, provincial or federal level. We also write op-eds and opinion pieces in newspapers. The page provides a summary of the issue and links to more information.
The ABCs of cannabis legalization in Quebec (2018)
The City of Côte Saint-Luc held an information session regarding the legalization of cannabis on Monday, November 5, 2018, at 7pm, at the Bernard Lang Civic Centre, 5801 Cavendish Blvd. Lawyers from De Grandpré Joli-Coeur LLP presented information to the public, with an emphasis on how the legalization affects landlords, tenants, and condominum owners.
A north-south Cavendish Blvd. link is the missing piece in the island of Montreal road network. Initial discussions on connecting its two parts started in the mid 1960s and major studies were done in 1981, 1988, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2000.
The goal of the Cavendish extension project is to complete the road network to:
Create north-south link from Côte Saint-Luc to Borough of Saint-Laurent
Create east-west link to Décarie Blvd.
The Cavendish link will improve accessibility to, from and within this sector for all means of transport and to ensure that the traffic conditions are conducive to the economic prosperity and well-being of residents.
The green circle represents the end of Cavendish Blvd. in Côte Saint-Luc. The yellow circle represents the end of Royalmount in TMR. The red circle represents the end of Cavendish in Saint-Laurent.
In the early 1960s, the Cavendish extension generally referred to the road’s push north from Fleet Rd., past the railway tracks and towards what were then empty fields. The first step was to extend it north to the St. Luc Rail Yards, which is what indeed happened. The second step, was to go even farther north, over the rail yards and towards Ville Saint-Laurent, Hwy 520, Hwy 40, and Hwy 13 in time for the 1967 World’s Fair.
The project stalled and eventually opposition from previous administrations of Côte Saint-Luc kept the project off the radar. However, since 1998, the city has supported re-launching the project. City officials have the governments of Montreal, Quebec and Canada, presented numerous briefs, passed resolutions and kept the issue front and centre.
Côte Saint-Luc has active support from Mayor Denis Coderre in Montreal including the project being listed in the three-year capital expenditures budget and reserves being placed on plots of land needed for the eventual extension as well as $222,000 being presently spent by the agglomeration of Montreal for the studies on the overpass/underpass route. Also, Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao announced on June 6 that the province has officially ceded the Blue Bonnets land to Montreal. This is important news because it means that the Cavendish extension is absolutely necessary if the Blue Bonnets land is to be developed and is a required condition by Quebec.
Côte Saint-Luc also have local MNA David Birnbaum and MP Anthony Housefather working behind the scenes in Quebec City and Ottawa to secure the necessary funding, mayors from neighbouring communities all in support, and buy-in from Canadian Pacific, and Canadian National who own the land through which the road extension must pass.
Minister • Ministre Pierre Arcand (Mont-Royal), Mayor • Maire Philippe Roy (TMR), Mayor • Maire Alan DeSousa (Saint-Laurent), Mayor • Maire Russell Copeman (CDN-NDG) Minister • Ministre Jean-Marc Fournier (Saint Laurent), Mayor • Maire Mitchell Brownstein (Côte Saint-Luc), David Birnbaum (D’Arcy-McGee), Mayor • Maire William Steinberg (Hampstead), Minister of • Ministre de Transport Laurent Lessard (Lotbinière-Frontenac), Pierre Desrochers (Montréal).
Protecting Meadowbrook Greenspace (2011)
The City of Côte Saint-Luc wants to protect the greenspace in western Côte Saint-Luc and eventually turn it into an urban recreational area. The city has presented briefs and made representations to various levels of government over the years.
Brief presented to Metropolitan Land Use and Development Plan – October 2011 (PDF)
Brief presented to the Montreal Urban Agglomeration Land Use and Development Plan.
Part 1 deals with the designation of Meadowbrook in the Urban Plan as a Green Space Recreational. Annex for Part 1 (PDF)
Part 2 relates to the proximity guidelines which should be adopted for all new development along railway corridors, plus annexes (PDF)
Cavendish Mall redevelopment project (2010)
On June 7, 2010, the City of Côte Saint-Luc held an information session so residents could learn about the plan tentatively agreed to by the city and the owners of the Cavendish Mall to demolish the southern half of the building and build 38 detached single-family houses, 18 semi-detached homes, and 55 townhouses. The city hopes the development will attract young families.
The City of Côte Saint-Luc has agreed to a new residential redevelopment and the creation of a new town center on the site of the Cavendish Mall. The city hopes the development will attract young families through a mix of housing.
The residential development is all on private property owned by the owners of the Cavendish Mall. The city is not the developer. Rather the city has a responsibility and authority to approve the rezoning from commercial to residential.
Here are some key facts about the proposed residential development:
Reasons for the development
Cote Saint Luc needs a new modern town centre, which will rejuvenate the neighbourhood and bring new vitality to the city.
In order to remain financially viable, the Cavendish Mall needs to consolidate its commercial space and redevelop the part of the Mall, which is no longer needed. Without this development, the fear is that the Cavendish Mall would close entirely and the land would either be vacant or a further decline would occur. In order to prevent this scenario, Côte Saint-Luc believes the proposed residential development is best for the neighbourhood of the Cavendish Mall and for the city as a whole. It will add younger population, will enhance our tax base and create a walkable vibrant community in the heart of the City.
Here are some key facts about where we are in the process.
After more than two years of negotiations, Côte Saint-Luc has agreement with the mall on how the area will be re-zoned.
On June 7, 2010, Côte Saint-Luc held an information session so residents could learn about the plan and provide feedback.
Only June 14, 2010, Côte Saint-Luc held a Public Consultation meeting so residents could learn about the plan and provide feedback.
Size and scale
This is the largest re-development project in Côte Saint-Luc in 25 years (since musical streets in the mid 1980s).
Current square footage of the Cavendish Mall: 140,407 sq. m. (1,511,328 sq ft.)
Square footage of the new development: 73,743 sq m. (793,763 sq. ft)
Half the Cavendish Mall will remain and the other half will be demolished (the part between the tower and Kildare Rd.)
Types of developments
Originally, the Cavendish Mall owners had wanted to build high-density residential buildings, with approximately 1,100 units. Côte Saint-Luc negotiated for more than two years to ensure than no high-density structures were built. Only 111 homes will be built in the short term. The mixed-use building and seniors residence won’t likely be built for several years. But even after the entire project is complete, there will only be 451 units-less than half as many as the private developers originally wanted.
The new development will include the following low- to medium-density housing:
38 detached single-family homes
18 semi-detached homes
300 seniors residences, connected to the mall (in two 8-storey towers)
40 condos or offices on top of mixed use building (commercial at street level)
The area behind Congregation Beth Israel Beth Aaron, is currently zoned for a r structure of up to five stories. The new zoning will make is low-rise residential, which is preferable for all neighbours in the area.
All existing green spaces are protected and, in fact, new green spaces will be added to the new development. Taken together, these measures listed below will help reduce the heat-island effect. Replacing a parking lot with green lawns and parks is much better for the health of residents of the city centre.
Ruth Kovac Park is protected
The Seniors Garden is protected
The development will add three new green public spaces totaling 6,689.5 sq. m. (72,000 sq. ft.) at the corner of Cavendish/Kildare and Cavendish/new City Hall Avenue.
The homes will have larger front set backs than usual and this will mean more green space for the whole project.
The Cavendish Mall will add grass and install tree islands to its remaining parking lot.
Public transit buses will stop at the new door to the Cavendish Mall, making it much more convenient.
City centre atmosphere
Côte Saint-Luc saw this development as an opportunity to create a town centre atmosphere and a more walkable community. Here are some of the features:
Street level commerce on centre street
Two pedestrian walkways
Proximity to commerce, library, city hall, arena, public works building, parks and recreation building, aquatic centre
Upgrading the urban furniture (benches, lampposts), sidewalks, textured street paving, vegetation will make this an elegant town centre
By limiting the development to low and medium density buildings, the city helped ensure that new vehicles are kept to a minimum.
The new development will produce less traffic than when the Cavendish Mall was busiest in the 1970s and 1980s
No traffic lights are planned as the new residential development will discourage through traffic
Côte Saint-Luc required that the new development had more off-street (private indoor garage) parking than any other area of the city.
Two parking spaces per unit (which is higher than standard of 1.5 parking spaces per unit)
This translates to more than 250 designated private parking spaces
All underground garage will be built and operated according to provincial government rules and regulations (car exhaust is not a problem in any of the 18 townhouse projects in Côte Saint-Luc).
Once the plan is officially approved by the City Council, the construction period will begin. Here is a rough timeline of the next steps:
Demolition will take about 30 days and will comply with all environmental regulations
New road infrastructure (including sewers) will be built in about 3 months
New homes begin construction around spring 2011
For more information, call the Côte Saint-Luc Department of Public Affairs and Communications at 514-485-6800 ext. 1802.
Mayor Anthony Housefather and councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Dida Berku spoke before a Quebec National Assembly commission on Thursday, November 15, 2007. The commission is studying Bill 22, which was tabled by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Nathalie Normandeau earlier this year.
The bill includes a series of reforms to the island-wide urban agglomeration council and includes a provision to allow Côte Saint-Luc EMS to continue responding to Priority 1 (i.e., life threatening) emergency medical calls. Without such a provision, the Montreal fire department would take over responsibility of these kinds of medical calls in 2009.
Article by Mayor Anthony Housefather, as it appeared in the Montreal Gazette, January 31, 2007.
In June of 2004, The Gazette editorially counselled suburban voters to vote against demerger. Fortunately, most suburban residents didn’t take The Gazette’s advice and 15 municipalities on the Island of Montreal and four municipalities on the South Shore were reconstituted on Jan. 1, 2006 with their own mayors and councils in charge of local services once again.
While your editorial on Jan. 27 recognized the unfairness of the forced mergers, the arrogance of the mayor of Montreal and the absurdities and injustices of the agglomeration council, you again opined that: “If they had known then what we know now, we believe, many suburbanites would have stifled the impulse to vote themselves out of mega-Montreal.”
That passing comment demonstrates that the editorial board of The Gazette is as out of touch on this issue today as it was in June 2004. I believe that if there were a referendum today, the majority for demerger would be even higher than it was in 2004 because residents of the demerged cities have seen their local services gradually return to the levels that they expect and deserve.
While it is true that the agglomeration council is an unfair structure and an affront to democracy, so was the megacity.
When I campaigned for demerger, I always stressed that the principal reason for demerger was that local councils would have complete control over our human resources and the services our residents care most about such as snow-clearing, garbage collection, recycling, recreation programs, libraries and public security. Demerger would also restore our ability to tax to pay for such programs and ensure that that local services would eventually return to pre-merger levels. I think most reconstituted cities have achieved this and our residents recognize it.
In Cote St. Luc, for example, given the fact the local municipality once again controls human resources, we have been able to appoint a young and energetic management staff that has worked tirelessly with council to rebuild our services and we have established a management policy that is fair to managers but also affordable given our size.
We have also been able to restore good relationships with our local unions, and have enjoyed a year of total labour peace. We now control our own collective-agreement negotiations which means we can sit down with the unions and agree on terms that make sense for our city and our employees.
In megacity Montreal, human-resources policies are set by the central city and not the boroughs. Had we stayed in Montreal, we would have continued to have Montreal dictate human-resources policy and we would have continued to be hostage to the city of Montreal’s struggles with its unions. Not a good scenario.
The reconstituted municipalities now are able to raise money for local services through the local tax bill. We decide locally how much money we need to run our services effectively. Boroughs within Montreal do not have that luxury and simply receive the amount of money the Montreal executive committee decides to allot for local services. Their only option is to levy a surtax to raise additional funds leading to average tax hikes in a borough like LaSalle of approximately 17 per cent.
Meanwhile, a year after demerger, through visibility and control of finances, most demerged cities have seen an average increase of local residential taxes that is less than the rate of inflation while having far greater amounts to spend on local services than they did as boroughs of the city of Montreal.
As demerged communities we have once again been able to introduce new and innovative services or improve what existed in Montreal. In Cote St. Luc, for example, we regained control of our local water network and this year fixed breaks in an average of a few hours compared with the several days it took while we were part of Montreal.
We introduced a Voluntary Citizens on Patrol Program that has been heralded by the police as an excellent enhancement to public security and have agreed with our blue-collar union to do garbage collection in-house at a significant savings to the increased tender prices that came in this year.
We have once again been able to ensure that our public library has sufficient funding to serve our residents by charging non-residents for membership. Other demerged cities have their own accomplishments and it is very rare that I hear any resident of a demerged city wishing that they were part of the megacity once again.
Sure, the agglomeration council is a source of constant frustration. As always when it comes to regional services, we pay a lot and get very little with no real say. I join my colleagues in calling for the Liberal government to undo the structure it has created to provide a fairer, more accountable and more democratic regional level of government that can not be abused by the city of Montreal.
I do believe that one day a Quebec government will change this structure as almost everyone agrees that it makes no sense. That being said, if we had not demerged, we would have continued to have no real say over any services, local or regional and the improvements to local services that our residents have seen since demerger would not have occurred.
Let me assure The Gazette that suburban residents do not regret the decision that they made in 2004 to leave the megacity. It was a good decision; it was the right decision.
THAT the Cote Saint-Luc City Council hereby requests that the MTQ and MCC take the necessary steps in order that all traffic signs and electronic alerts/messages dealing with public safety or health be in both French and English, when no symbol or pictograph exists, according to the second paragraph of section 22.
Charter of Quebec Values (2013)
Beware the Secular Police
Op-Ed National Post September 16, 2013
It was not enough that the Parti Quebecois’ “language police” gave us Pastagate. Now they want to give us Kippagate. Should their Charter of Quebec Values be adopted, it seems sadly certainly that Quebec will once again be in the headlines of all the world’s major newspapers after an orthodox Jewish surgeon is escorted out of a hospital by the new “Secular Police” in the middle of performing surgery. A ridiculous notion, absolutely. But after watching this government for a year, it is hard to put anything past them.
Following their failed attempt to divide Quebecers through language policy, the PQ is now attempting to divide us by stigmatizing religious minorities. The PQ will argue that its proposed Charter treats all religions equally. But it does not. There is no required dress that I am aware of that religious Catholics must wear at all times. This is not true of many minority religions. Practicing Sikh men are supposed to wear turbans, many Muslim women choose to wear a hijab because they believe it is their religious duty, some Jewish men believe they must wear a kippa. The PQ’s proposal would essentially require these individuals to choose between their faith or keeping their jobs in the civil service, education and health care. Beyond being an affront to freedom of religion, this proposal will make our civil service, already dominated by white francophones, even less diverse.
The Parti Quebecois government continues to espouse the view that its narrow minded policies somehow reflect the values and beliefs of all Quebecers, or at least all good Quebecers. It also presumes that the values of the majority should trump the rights of the minority.
As the mayor of a city composed of people of many cultures, languages and religions, I categorically oppose this proposed Charter. It does not reflect my values or the values of most of the people I know. My values are those set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Rights. My values are that the rights of the individual are sacrosanct. Nothing in my values tells me that a civil servant working in my city is somehow harming our society by wearing religious attire.
In Cote Saint-Luc, we have civil servants who wear kippas and turbans and large ornamental crosses. Not one of my residents has ever complained. Just because these civil servants dress in this way does not mean that Cote Saint-Luc is not a secular city. We respect and support all religions and those who have no religion, we do not favour one position over another and an employee who dresses a certain way does not force their religion on others. My residents care about the service our civil servants provide not how they dress. Our goal is to have diversity in our civil service and that will not be achieved by telling various groups they need not apply.
Would the menorah on our lawn be banned, even though the Jewish community has been here since 1760?
Indeed, the issues a municipality would face under this Charter go well beyond the dress of civil servants. Recently Cote Saint-Luc council agreed to erect flags in honour of the 50th anniversary of Saint Richard Church. Would this be permitted under the Charter? At winter holiday time we have a Christmas tree and menorah on our lawn. Would this be permitted? According to the PQ, the Christmas tree is OK as it is part of Quebec’s cultural heritage. Does this mean the menorah would be banned, even though the Jewish community has been here since 1760? I have enough on my plate as mayor without having to worry about violating the law by supporting our local churches and synagogues.
Of course our council would vote for the five-year exemption under the law permitting us to opt out of certain provisions of the Charter. But who knows how the government would then treat those municipalities that applied for exemptions? Moreover, even if I managed to protect my own civil servants by invoking the exemption, is it fair that a civil servant in a neighbouring town is forced to choose between their faith and their job because a majority of their council did not support obtaining an exemption?
A few months ago, I was appalled by Bill 14, which sought to tough Quebec’s language laws. But my faith, if that term is still permitted, was restored by the lack of support the government received once the proposed law was understood. I hope the same is the case for the Charter of Quebec Values.
Anthony Housefather is an attorney and the Mayor of City of Cote Saint-Luc.
Comme un congédiement déguisé
Publié le 25 septembre 2013 La Presse, page A22
L’auteur est avocat en immigration et en droit du travail, et conseiller municipal de la Ville de Côte-Saint-Luc.
La charte des valeurs québécoises proposée est une agression flagrante des droits fondamentaux. Dans une province dotée d’une telle richesse et diversité des communautés ethniques, je ne peux croire qu’un projet de la sorte puisse devenir une loi.
Le gouvernement du Parti québécois envoie un message insidieux que certaines personnes ne sont pas bienvenues au Québec. En tant que Québécois responsables, nous avons le devoir de nous opposer à cette charte et de faire connaître à tous les citoyens les dangers d’une telle proposition.
Des avocats de notre firme ont participé à des missions d’affaires avec le gouvernement du Québec (Équipe Canada et Missions Équipe Québec) et ont constaté que nos gouvernements provinciaux, qu’ils aient été libéral ou péquiste, faisaient la promotion du Québec comme étant une communauté multiculturelle qui accueille les personnes du monde entier, qui leur offre la possibilité de devenir membres à part entière de notre société, tout en conservant leurs croyances religieuses et leur culture.
Le paradoxe est qu’après une telle sollicitation, le gouvernement Marois décide que ces mêmes personnes ne sont pas les bienvenues au Québec.
Plusieurs de nos clients qui ont choisi le Québec comme patrie portent le hijab, le turban, la kippa, des croix ornementales et autres symboles religieux. Ils sont médecins, avocats, enseignants, ingénieurs, gens d’affaires, étudiants. Ils viennent ici avec le plus grand désir de contribuer à la société québécoise. Ils travaillent dans les secteurs privé et public et ont choisi de s’établir à Montréal parce qu’ils pensaient qu’on les accueillerait comme membres à part entière de la société et qu’ils pourraient y exercer leur droit à la liberté religieuse.
Si cette charte entre en vigueur, les personnes qui travaillent dans le secteur public comme enseignants, infirmières ou médecins seront incités à renoncer de porter leur habit religieux ou culturel, ou bien à démissionner. Les Québécois ne devraient pas avoir à choisir entre leurs croyances religieuses et leur bien-être économique. En droit du travail, c’est ce qu’on appelle un congédiement déguisé.
En vertu du droit existant, un congédiement déguisé confère à l’individu les mêmes droits et recours contre ses employeurs qu’un licenciement injustifié, puisque les changements dans les conditions d’emploi, forçant l’individu à démissionner, équivalent à un congédiement.
Cet argument est celui que le gouvernement fédéral devrait utiliser pour illustrer la nature inconstitutionnelle de ce projet de charte des valeurs québécoises. Si ce projet devait être adopté à l’Assemblée nationale, elle va clairement violer les droits religieux de l’individu garantis par la Charte canadienne des droits et des libertés.
En tant que conseiller municipal de la Ville de Côte-Saint-Luc, je suis très fier de faire partie d’un conseil dirigé par le maire Anthony Housefather, à l’intérieur duquel nous défendons ardemment les droits des minorités individuelles.
Article by Anthony Housefather, as it appeared in the Montreal Gazette, December 5, 2012
The amendments proposed by the Parti Québécois government to the Charter of the French Language contain numerous provisions that will have a negative impact on non-francophone communities, if they ever come into force.
The proposed amendment that scares me the most is one which attacks the institutions and municipalities built and developed by the English-speaking communities of this province.
As everyone knows, since the Charter of the French Language was first adopted we no longer have purely anglophone hospitals or municipalities. We have those institutions which were designated as having bilingual status under Section 29.1 of the language charter because in 1977 they had a majority non-francophone population, or user base.
In the late 1980s, the Office québécois de la langue française determined that the town of Rosemere had lost its majority non-francophone population, and tried to strip it of its bilingual status. Following a referendum where a majority of residents of Rosemere voted to retain bilingual status, the Liberal government modified the provisions of the charter to prevent a municipality or hospital from losing its bilingual status unless its own town or city council or board of directors requested it.
This was a reassuring provision that grandfathered bilingual status and lessened the fears of many living in these communities, or working or using these institutions, that a drop in the non-francophone population could mean the government could revoke certain historical rights.
In connection with its forced merger legislation in 2000, the PQ government of the day adopted sister legislation that made it virtually impossible for any new municipality or institution to obtain bilingual status. Instead of the majority of the population needing to be non-francophone, or to speak English at home, the government changed the rules to requiring a majority of residents to have English as their mother tongue.
As such, if Greek, Italian, Yiddish or Polish was your first language, but you had been part of Quebec’s English-speaking community your entire life, you did not count any longer as part of the number needed to qualify for bilingual status.
While this was a change that was not a fair way of counting the English-speaking community, the fact that existing municipalities and institutions were grandfathered made the fear of such a change of less concern.
Of course it should be noted we are the only jurisdiction in the world where municipalities are prevented from being bilingual unless a majority in their population comes from the minority community. By contrast, in Finland, if five per cent of a municipality comes from the Swedish minority, bilingualism is required.
Now things get even worse. With the new Bill 14 introduced Wednesday, the PQ is proposing to amend the language charter to once again allow the government and its French-language agencies to strip a municipality or hospital of its bilingual status. Every 10 years, a review would take place, based on census numbers, and following such a review, a municipality or hospital could lose bilingual status if it is found to have less than 50 per cent English mother-tongue residents, or user base.
This is a shocking proposal that should strike fear in many.
A large number, if not the majority, of municipalities and institutions that have bilingual status today would not qualify under the new rules.
There are a number of cities on Montreal Island and elsewhere today where more than two thirds of residents speak English at home, although less than 50 per cent are of English mother tongue. And I would be very surprised if there is any hospital in this province that would be able to say a majority of its patients have English as their mother tongue.
This proposal by the PQ is a true attack on the English-speaking community as a whole — and I call upon the Quebec Liberal Party and Coalition Avenir Québec to join together to defeat this legislation.
TELL YOUR MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY YOU DON’T SUPPORT BILL 14
Contact D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman (who represents all parts of CSL) – email
Contact the Interim Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party Jean-Marc Fournier – email
Contact the leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec email, Twitter
Brown bin brief presented to the Transport and Environment Commission of the National Assembly of Quebec (Feb. 2008)
Public Works Director David Tordjman, Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Steven Erdelyi and Waste, Environment and Safety Technician Oriana Familiar in front of the Quebec legislature.
Councillors Steven Erdelyi and Mitchell Brownstein presented a brief was on February 6, 2008 at 3:15pm to the Transport and Environment Commission of the National Assembly of Quebec studying ecological waste management issues
The brief provides background information about how the City of Côte Saint-Luc implemented its organic waste collection program, and provide recommendations for the Government of Quebec. We hope that our waste diversion program can become a model for cities throughout Quebec.
Brief on waste management issues presented to the Montreal Transport and Environment Commission (June, 2008)
Councillors Steven Erdelyi and Dida Berku presented a brief on June 9, 2008 to the Transport and Environment Commission of the Agglomeration of Montreal studying ecological waste management issues.
This brief provides some background information about how the City of Côte Saint-Luc implemented its organic waste collection program, and provides recommendations for the urban agglomeration of Montreal.