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  • Kate 10:26 on 2019-01-20 Permalink | Reply  

    The Centre d’histoire piece is a few fragments about the Old Port this weekend.

    The Gazette is doing an intermittent feature called “history through our eyes” and this weekend it’s the discovery of an abandoned baby at the airport in 1968. It’s a lame piece, though, because the main point about doing archival items is to add something, either a comparison or an extension to the story, and there’s nothing here about either finding out whose baby it was, or tracking her down and finding out how she’s doing now. Just an old news bit.

  • Kate 10:01 on 2019-01-20 Permalink | Reply  

    A Twitter feed called YUL Weather Records posted Saturday: “Coldest snowstorm in almost 100 years possible tomorrow. Temperatures are expected to stay below -15°C with up to 25cm of snow. The last time that happened in Montreal was January 16, 1920 when we received 30.2cm of snow with a daytime high of -19.4°C.” More on this from CTV which also has details about power failures.

    The STM tweets that parts of several bus routes have been suspended because they take steep hills.

    A west end astronomy club has faint hope of seeing the lunar eclipse Sunday night into Monday morning.

    The city will start clearing up the snow Monday night. As of 5 pm Sunday there’s more snow in the forecast till late Monday afternoon anyway.

    • Brett 12:56 on 2019-01-20 Permalink

      Do they cancel the whole route or only the part with hills?

    • Brett 13:02 on 2019-01-20 Permalink

      So the bus driver just answered my question. On the 168 right now and getting dropped off at square Victoria because the driver can’t make it up the hill to McGill station

    • Kate 13:04 on 2019-01-20 Permalink

      Thanks, Brett. I updated my post.

    • Raymond Lutz 13:43 on 2019-01-20 Permalink

      And as always, nothing in the article about AGW… Thanks to Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), extreme events like this (and the -25C flash freezes in 24h we had some weeks ago) are more and more frequent. “Once in a century” become “once in a decade”… See Canadian Paul Beckwith (and his cat) videos about climate news:

      “I join-the-dots on extreme events like Australia’s heat waves (50 C), eastern North America and European deep freezes, torrential rains in Europe and California, accelerating ice melt from Greenland and Antarctica releasing methane, and huge insect kills in near-equator rainforests.” link

    • Kate 15:31 on 2019-01-20 Permalink

      To be fair, Raymond Lutz, you can do a piece on local weather conditions without necessarily invoking global warming as a cause. This is about what the city’s undergoing today. It doesn’t mean denial, it’s just a question of focusing on a specific topic.

    • Raymond Lutz 17:49 on 2019-01-20 Permalink

      Kate, you’re right. Mais le point essentiel de ce genre d’article est justement de relever la rareté de l’événement mentionné… or cette rareté est complètement chamboulée par l’AGW… Je peux en conclure que ces articles sont incomplets (et même mensongers?).

      En ce qui nous concerne (ici au Québec) c’est l’affaiblissement du Jet Stream qui crée ces patterns inhabituels de température et cet affaiblissement est directement relié au réchauffement de l’arctique. Please, mtlcitywebloggers, follow P. Beckwith! He’s fun (and his cat too).

  • Kate 23:06 on 2019-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Expecting a blizzard on Sunday, the city has unironically suspended the Fête des neiges at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The deep freeze is also being blamed.

    The city is also asking people to use public transit Sunday.

    Some flights have been cancelled.

  • Kate 13:47 on 2019-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Voix Pop says Magnan’s was the third oldest restaurant in the city, after Schwartz’s and the Montreal Pool Room, although it closed in 2014 and, as shown above, the building, which stood empty for several years, was razed this week (photo taken by me on Friday).

    • Jim Strankinga 14:00 on 2019-01-19 Permalink

      Now what will take it’s place? I am naive to say that it can’t be new condos, as the terrain was zoned commercial?

    • Morgan 15:27 on 2019-01-19 Permalink

      Jim: It appears to be mixed commercial/residential.

    • DeWolf 19:08 on 2019-01-19 Permalink

      More specifically, it’s slated to become an IGA with condos on top.

    • Kate 19:50 on 2019-01-19 Permalink

      DeWolf, that’s rather less classy, if possibly more useful to the neighbourhood, than the image shown at Morgan’s link.

    • Ian 20:21 on 2019-01-19 Permalink

      Kind of weird since there’s an IGA just down the street already… are they tearing the old one by the rail bridge down?

    • DeWolf 11:53 on 2019-01-20 Permalink

      I think it’s the same building as in Morgan’s link. Here’s the floor plan, although maybe things have changed: It looks like a fairly small IGA, maybe an “express” version like the one that just opened in front of St-Laurent metro.

    • Blork 15:00 on 2019-01-20 Permalink

      @DeWolf, maybe not so weird. That IGA on Charlevoix is sort of a shitty old-school IGA that primarily serves that section of the Point. I suspect they don’t get a lot of patronage from the people living along the canal in the new condos. But the IGA in the to-be-constructed building is probably going to be a smaller and shinier “IGA Express” like the one at the foot of that new condo tower that popped up across from the St-Laurent Metro station (seemingly overnight).

      So in fact, IGA is sort of cornering the market. They don’t have to renovate the big IGA, yet they still capture some of the condo crowd by installing a smaller and fancier outlet closer to the canal. There’s no cannibalization methinks.

    • Jim 16:03 on 2019-01-20 Permalink

      Thanks Morgan and DeWolf for sharing. I was curious. Supermarket there is always a plus. Looks like ‘design by commitee’ from the image, not much character, as most of the new buildings in that area. Not that the old building was that special, but I was hoping for something more original.

  • Kate 11:51 on 2019-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal police have a new cold case squad and have strengthened their sex crime investigation unit. CBC says there have been 558 unsolved homicides since 1980.

  • Kate 11:00 on 2019-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    An art piece by an Algonquin sculptor will be installed beside the Bonaventure next fall. Radio‑Canada has a visual preview of a group of figures in black outlines meant to represent the 1701 Great Peace of Montreal.

  • Kate 10:35 on 2019-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Bad enough to live in the 450. Worse to live in the 579. But soon some people will be in the outer darkness, living in the 354, since we need an ever‑growing pool of numbers.

    Wondering about the logic here: we have a constantly growing population, but the surge when people had landlines and mobiles and pagers and fax machines must have subsided by now. Most people I know have just one number. Most offices except for medical ones have phased out the fax. A lot of numbers must have returned to the pool with trends like that, but I guess a family of four will have four separate numbers, now that even little kids have their own phones.

    • Ephraim 12:10 on 2019-01-19 Permalink

      Honestly, the overlays were a stupid idea. They should have expanded the pools by creating 10 area codes per area… 5140 through 5149, but that would have meant updating the whole system at one time, instead of patchwork. Of course they managed to do that when they moved from area codes requiring a 0 or 1 as the second digit.

      But there is a large need for numbers. I have a virtual number for my virtual fax line (I pay $36 a year to have a fax to PDF gateway for my business). I have a virtual number that I can give out publicly, a number that I can cancel and have reissued in 10 minutes). I have a virtual Toronto number for my VOIP while on vacation the company issued me a number, I don’t even know it… but they automatically issued it. And of course gateways into SMS all need numbers. Oh and since Bell uses the DMS system as extensions, so if a business wants 300 phones in an office that’s 300 phone numbers.

      And of course, dead phone numbers…. advertised phone numbers that get too many fake calls for someone to want the number, like 867-5309 or a phone number ending in 1418 which on a DMS system, if someone forgets to dial 9 for an outside line, would ring when someone dialled Quebec city.

  • Kate 10:20 on 2019-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    If the vagaries of city limits mean only TMR can decide to build Royalmount, the city of Montreal, the urban agglomeration and the Quebec government have the power to block the project – and should, according to urban studies expert Raphaël Fischler.

    La Presse says Quebec is worried about the project’s impact on traffic, mostly. François Cardinal points out how such a project, single-handedly planned by TMR, makes a mockery of land use planning on the metropolitan scale. CTV also covers the good arguments against it.

    • Vazken 18:09 on 2019-01-19 Permalink

      This plan is stupid and should have never gotten off the drawing board.
      I hope this gets blocked or delayed for years to come

  • Kate 12:49 on 2019-01-18 Permalink | Reply  

    TVA cites a greedy landlord representative today who says:
    1. Tenants should not get any reductions from the CAQ cut in school taxes
    2. Rents in Quebec should rise 37% – an average of $437 – to equal other Canadian towns
    3. The Régie du logement should be gutted and turned into an instrument of the landlord organization, which will unilaterally dictate increases.

    In fact, the Régie has posted modest increase outlines assuming a sort of universal cost‑of‑living hike of 0.5% plus an average tax bump, the example given being from $800 up to $810. No mention of the decrease in school tax.

    • Bill Binns 13:00 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      I’m sure if we asked FRAPRU what should be done about the housing situation, we would get similarly ridiculous and unworkable suggestions.

      The whole “greedy landlords are raking it in hand over fist” trope is undercut by the fact that, in Montreal, they all seem to be doing everything in their power to get out of that business. You don’t eat a goose that lays golden eggs.

    • Blork 14:29 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      I’m not sure which is worse; this crackpot landlord and his nutty ideas, or TVA deeming it necessary to put him on the news, as if he represents anything other than crackpottery.

    • Blork 14:30 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      @Bill Binns, one could make the argument that landlords are trying to get out of the landlordery business BECAUSE they don’t get the crazy wishes that this greedy guy is asking for.

    • Bill Binns 15:27 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      @Blork – I don’t know anyone in this business here so can’t say for sure. I do know that I am paying almost $700 bucks a month in property taxes for my 1000 sq ft home + school taxes. I am also about to drop 25k+ on a simple porch replacement that I assumed would be around 5k. The thought of problems like foundation repair or a new roof keep me up at night. I really can’t see how anyone can make any sort of regular profit renting apartments for less than $1000 a month and that’s assuming you actually get your $1000 a month.

      Best case scenario, the margins are really tight. Worst case, you end up with a tenant that refuses to pay anything at all and it takes over a year to pry them out. We wouldn’t allow someone to walk out of the IGA once a month with $1000 worth of food because “they need it” but we have chosen landlords to be the one business that is compelled to give their product away for free with no recourse whatsoever. It’s a weird business that appears extremely risky.

    • Blork 16:21 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      Hey, I’m not arguing with you. I get that landlording is tough. A few times in the past I toyed with the idea of doing the classic “buy a triplex, live in one, rent two” thing but I’m glad I didn’t.

      That worked well in the past when there was less at stake (triplexes were cheaper, rent was cheaper, renos were cheaper, etc.) and I know of a number of people who did really well doing that (all people who bought in the 80s). But not now. No way.

    • Blork 16:33 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      …and a few that bought in the 90s.

    • dwgs 16:53 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      We bought a duplex in the late 90’s, rented the upper for one year and had such a nightmare experience that as soon as we could get the tenants out ( who still owe us a large amount of money) we converted it to a uniplex and have never regretted it.

    • Raymond Lutz 17:14 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      @Bill Binns, your “(…) undercut by the fact that, in Montreal, they all seem to (…)” is weak. “fact” et “seem” forment un oxymore.

      Rent control is a litmus test. Are you drinking the Chicago boys Kool Aid or Marx and Ricardo’s ? What about facts? and metrics? A quick search (with the relevant keywords to dig through the Fraser Institute et al. bullshit) gave me those few links.

    • Raymond Lutz 17:21 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      Here’s a snippet (from Peter Dorman’s “The Infamous Example of Rent Control in Introductory Economics”):

      “The most compelling argument for rent control is neighborhood stabilization, the idea that social capital in an urban environment requires stable residence patterns. If prices are volatile, and this leads to a lot of residential turnover, the result can be a less desirable neighborhood for everyone. … not a single textbook treatment of rent control mentions stabilization as an objective, even though this is a standard element in the real-world rhetoric surrounding this issue.”

    • Kevin 19:04 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      @Bill Binns
      I thought you lived in the Village?
      Because that tax rate is insane. It is more than twice what I pay in NDG.

    • JaneyB 11:43 on 2019-01-19 Permalink

      @Bill Binns
      That is indeed a very insane tax rate. A nice two-storey detached house from the 60s or 70s with yard etc has taxes of about 3-4k.

    • Ephraim 12:13 on 2019-01-19 Permalink

      City tax rates are highest in the parts of the city where the land is expensive. So you can have a shanty on a plot of land in the Plateau and still be paying about $4K in taxes per year.

    • dhomas 13:10 on 2019-01-19 Permalink

      It all depends on how you frame it. I own a triplex that I live in. I wanted to live on the island but I couldn’t afford to buy a single dwelling house and condos were not interesting to me at the time. With my triplex, my rents cover a portion of my mortgage/municipal taxes. My out of pocket regular expenses (mortgage and taxes) are less than I would pay in rent for a similarly sized place. Sure, I needed to put down a 10% deposit, but that came from my RRSP as at tax free loan from myself as part of the HBP. The biggest problem was that my first two tenants were problematic (one drug dealer and one delinquent payer), but once I found good tenants I’ve been doing ok. There are occasional repairs, but I’m pretty handy so I take care of those. But the main takeaway is that my mortgage is less than I’d pay in rent and I gain equity as my property increases in value.

  • Kate 07:54 on 2019-01-18 Permalink | Reply  

    The CBC notices the possibly noncoincidental timing of an investigation into the EMSB with the CAQ’s intention to abolish school boards. But it doesn’t go a step further and ask how the CSDM can be moving its 766 employees for 20 years at the cost of $100 million, as announced this week. If it’s time to abolish boards, why allow this plan to proceed?

    If the CAQ were to abruptly end all boards and dismiss all those people, who would administer education here above the individual school level? The government would still need fonctionnaires for at least some part of that work, so the CSDM must feel confident that its functions will still go on under another name – while the English boards may cease to exist.

    • Ephraim 10:11 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      Kate, having seen some of the corruption within the school boards on a first hand basis, I’m still surprised that they exist today. Some of the school boards are well run. Some of the school boards WERE well run. The problem is that the government should have stepped in a LONG time ago. (For example, both the PSBGM and the English Catholic school boards were well run.)

      I don’t want to go into specifics about some of this, but I can tell you that the government has known about the problems at the EMSB and not stepped in for a LONG time. There was the story of the EMSB using school board money for a trip to Italy, just as an example of the abuse. And the fact that they couldn’t close a school because there was no governing board, and yet they weren’t forced to ensure that they had governing boards in each school as require by law that should have been raising a red flag.

      And the fact that the CSDM itself has not been doing proper maintenance of it’s buildings is a signal that it isn’t well run… the questions comes, where did the money it was supposed to spend on maintenance go? And where were the governing boards that were supposed to ask the hard questions?

      What I am hoping for is that they will set up a greater school board that will be above reproach. One large one for the primary and secondary school systems by language in regions (so Eastern Quebec, Western Quebec, Central Quebec, Northern Quebec, and Montreal Metropolitain) and that they will be based on those school boards that are currently in place and well run, rather than those in place and aren’t well run. But in any case, anything that the CSDM does, including signing on a contract can essentially be undone by the government in law.

    • Kevin 11:07 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      My speculation is that all the CAQ is going to do is strip the elected commissioners from the various school boards and replace them with smaller groups of government appointees.

      While doing this they’ll probably reduce the overall number of boards too.

      **I have no special knowledge, I’m just reading the tea leaves.

  • Kate 07:47 on 2019-01-18 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s blue collar union is internally in disarray.

  • Kate 07:39 on 2019-01-18 Permalink | Reply  

    Where not to drive on the weekend.

    Although the city had a twitter feed called MTL Circulation with 44,000 followers, they have discontinued using it because it had “no engagement” – few retweets or replies. Meantime the STM uses Twitter constantly to tell us if a metro line is down and so forth, and it works just fine – I consulted Ligne Bleue yesterday.

    Do we really have to interact enthusiastically with twitter feeds to persuade bureaucrats to keep them running? That’s ridiculous.

    • Joey 09:17 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      This is the dumbest thing I’ve read all week:

      Peu de questions des citoyens, pratiquement pas de partages ou de « J’aime » sur les publications : le « taux d’engagement » de son compte était d’à peine 0,28 %, a constaté la Ville. « On avait plus de 43 000 abonnés, mais zéro engagement. Les gens s’abonnaient au compte, mais ne le consultaient pas », dit Philippe Sabourin, porte-parole de Montréal.

      Why would someone *like* a tweet describing a traffic detour? How do you know that “les gens… ne le consultaient pas”? There were 43K followers!

    • Kevin 11:01 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      Most of what MTL Circulation did was retweet other traffic notices, which is a perfectly valid use of twitter.

      Worrying about an artificial metric like engagement for a public service is lame.

    • Uatu 11:04 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      I guess it’s easier just to use Waze. “Lack of engagement” sounds like an excuse. If they wanted replies, I would’ve given it. Although it would’ve been along the lines of ” you incompetent fukcs! Wtf is this sh_t?!!!”

  • Kate 07:29 on 2019-01-18 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec knows it has to rebuild the Met sometime soon, but plans another elevated highway.

    • Ephraim 10:17 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      Could we even manage to build the section between the two 15s underground? Do we even have the ability to build something so big underground and not have it flood? That section is the only section of the highway that is really a mess. It essentially becomes both the 15 and the 40 at the same time and yet doesn’t expand at all, squeezing the traffic essentially by 50%. Also, why do we have/need service roads? So we can race the highway next to the highway? It definitely needs a lot of rethinking.

    • dwgs 10:51 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      You need service roads so you can safely access and exit the highway. You can’t have cars coming from sidestreets making a full stop, then turning into 70 km/h highway traffic. Also, you can’t safely exit a highway by slowing down enough to turn off directly onto a city street.

    • Faiz Imam 11:06 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      Making sections of the highway underground would be a huge deal. It would be a great way to beautify and and developable land to a central artery of the city.

      Even as an elevated highway, there are ways to greatly improve from the status quo. It means more cost thoigh.

      But we’ve never been shy to spend money on highways, so it might happen.

    • Ephraim 11:51 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      @dwgs – Outside of Quebec, you don’t have service roads. Look at the I-95 in Florida, the 401 in Toronto, the I-5 in Los Angeles.

    • mare 12:24 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      @Epraim Those places have much more room, are less dense and have a more regular grid. Both sides of the 40 have been build up. I’ve never seen service roads in Europe either, there you have exits and (real) entrance ramps but they’re not combined and mostly are 3/4 circles, which has the added benefit to lower the speed. There are also further apart and they’re fed by the normal street grid. If you’d do that here that would make nearby parallel streets like Jarry and Jean-Talon much busier, and to the North there aren’t many roads in the grid because of all the obstacles like the 15, the train tracks, the STM lot, sport fields, etc.

      I’d love to have the Met in a trench or tunnel, and without service roads but that will be extremely expensive and almost impossible to make without massive interruptions. Think Turcot times 10.

      Starting with extending the Decarie to Laval to meet the northern section of the 15 as originally planned would help a lot, but that would mean expropriation of a lot of terrain and buildings. No way politicians would risk reelection by doing that.

      But if they wait 30 years the problem will probably sort itself out when few people can drive anymore because of peak oil and the effects of climate change.

    • Ephraim 13:36 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      @mare – Make some of the service roads into the entrances and exits. Where was the 15 originally supposed to go? The only place I could even see it going now is down Marcel Laurin (Laurentian boulevard) and then over on Henri Bourassa.

      In the world of dreams, might be nice to finish the 640 with a bridge at OKA and connect to the 30 and a second ring road around Montreal to the North, so those trucks on the 40 could skip around Montreal on that side (and then put in a hefty toll into Montreal for trucks that want to use the 40.

    • mare 14:22 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      More or less that yeah, according to Wikipedia

      But [citation needed], although I read about it elsewhere.

    • Kevin 19:17 on 2019-01-18 Permalink

      I’d argue the 401 has service roads. It is 16 lanes across in some parts.

      Fracking and electric cars have killed peak oil.
      Speculators have been talking about $200 a barrel oil for a decade and it’s still nowhere near a reality.
      The idea ofpleak oil done has lead to investments in alternatives.

    • qatzelok 11:18 on 2019-01-20 Permalink

      Good idea to keep it elevated for when all the flooding starts…

  • Kate 20:58 on 2019-01-17 Permalink | Reply  

    TVA has a brief interview with Valérie Plante with responses on several unsettled issues; she continues to apologize for the incident in which she addressed a gathering in English.

  • Kate 20:56 on 2019-01-17 Permalink | Reply  

    An underground explosion in a Hydro-Quebec installation early Thursday afternoon caused a power failure in parts of Rosemont and halted the blue line till after 4.

    Via reddit, video of the explosions on Bélanger.

    Update: A fire in a generator used to heat an old folks’ home hit by the power outage meant evacuation of the residents to a sports arena in the neighbourhood, where they kept warm practising penalty shots. Well, not the last bit, maybe.

    • walkerp 23:05 on 2019-01-17 Permalink

      I felt very sympathetic for those people coming home to no heat. Scary!

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