Updates from October, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:45 on 2017-10-31 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec is passing a new law that would make it easier for promoters to hold large-scale noisy events.

    • david100 00:59 on 2017-11-01 Permalink

      I approve. The province appears to be taking action to overrule the courts in re the Saint Lambert bit. And this: “residents of Saint-Lambert are no strangers to noise pollution.” Like, whatever. Luckily the Quebec government seems to dismiss their concerns.

    • ant6n 01:19 on 2017-11-01 Permalink

      Liberals again trampling on the little guy in order to advance big business.

    • mare 01:38 on 2017-11-01 Permalink

      How many lavish dinners did that cost? Or trips on yachts to tropical islands? Or brown envelopes? evenko is everywhere.

    • Douglas 01:59 on 2017-11-01 Permalink

      Eh St Lambert is being whiny.

      I live next to Place des Arts and can constantly hear concert noise all the way to midnight and beyond all year long.

      But it’s better for the city to have these events than to be like a dead town with nothing going on.

    • ant6n 02:38 on 2017-11-01 Permalink

      Mmmh. Big business organizing loud outdoor festivals isn’t everybody’s idea of ‘something going on’. Many Montrealers seem pretty starved for anything interesting though, and will flock in masses to any inane event.

    • Paul 10:42 on 2017-11-01 Permalink

      I thought ST Lambert was whining as well, but after visiting some friends there this summer I tend to agree with their complaints. Apparently the sound systems are aimed directly at the south shore rather than Montreal, and i felt the walls shake literally until 11 at night. And this happens 10 times+ annually.

      It certainly doesn’t seem appropriate, nor should it be legal to impose that on someone. I guarantee if the speakers were aimed towards old Montreal, it would be a different story.

    • Tim S. 11:57 on 2017-11-01 Permalink

      I really don’t get the animosity towards St Lambert. The city is not for everyone. It is, frankly, very noisy, and some people tolerate that more than others. So some people move to the suburbs for a slightly quieter life, and leave the downtown areas and the Plateau to people who are happier with noisy urban life. To each their own.
      Then Montreal sets up a huge concert venue on their doorstep and pumps pointless loud music into their town all summer long. Of course they’re going to complain, and they have my full sympathy.

      (Full disclosure: I went to high school in St Lambert, and wrote my grade 11 final math exam about 800 meters from a Formula 1 practice session. It was an unpleasant experience)

    • thomas 23:16 on 2017-11-01 Permalink

      @Paul Wouldn’t be sure about your guarantee. Igloofest is held at Jacques-Cartier Quay and both stages have their speakers pointed towards old Montreal. I have never read reports of noise complaints associated with this event (and supposedly neither have you).

  • Kate 11:55 on 2017-10-31 Permalink | Reply  

    Good Halloween cartoon from Garnotte.

  • Kate 11:24 on 2017-10-31 Permalink | Reply  

    One of Denis Coderre’s claims is that he cleaned up city hall, but a joint report by the Gazette and La Presse finds the same people contracting to the city as in the bad old days, just under new business names. What a four-handed byline!

    We ignored the work of journalists like these in 2009 and idiotically re-elected Tremblay. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

    (Interesting that La Presse’s editorial board officially supported Coderre this week, while three of its journalists were working on this story…)

    Update: The same four writers compare Montreal’s transparency to American cities which put a lot more information online about their contracts. A third piece is expected soon.

  • Kate 11:18 on 2017-10-31 Permalink | Reply  

    Brian Myles writes in L’actualité about how the Evenko project on St Helen’s Island pulls the old trick of privatizing profit while making the public purse pay.

  • Kate 11:05 on 2017-10-31 Permalink | Reply  

    Is it a surprise that Old Montreal souvenir shops are selling fake aboriginal tchotchkes? Radio‑Canada’s Corde sensible show did a segment on it.

    (Am I allowed to write “tchotchkes” or is that to appropriate Yiddish culture? Am I allowed to make this joke without sounding like a redneck? Can I even say “redneck” without impugning rural workers? I seem to be painting myself into a corner… or is that too critical of inept renovation guys?…)

    • ant6n 13:36 on 2017-10-31 Permalink

      Lots of hyperventilating on all sides regarding the notion cultural appropriation. A simple guide would be to be mindful of other cultures and their struggles, be respectful, and don’t be a jerk.

  • Kate 10:48 on 2017-10-31 Permalink | Reply  

    Buildings held by the city for decades in Côte-des-Neiges have been allowed to deteriorate over time while tenants’ groups clamour for affordable housing.

    • Ephraim 16:05 on 2017-10-31 Permalink

      Expertise. Such an important word. We aren’t experts in everything. And the city and certainly the school boards have been shown to not be experts at building maintenance. At this point, maybe we should look at those who are and can afford to keep parts and personnel in place to handle such things and just let them do what they are experts for and just pay them. Like in BC, where affordable housing means that the government writes a direct cheque to the landlord and holds them accountable for the housing, instead of running an expensive bureaucracy to do it.

  • Kate 01:34 on 2017-10-31 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s a provincial rather than a municipal matter and it doesn’t affect the operations of this blog at all, but the daycare centre workers’ strike was probably the biggest story of the day in local media.

    Cuts in recent years to daycare operations have resulted in a lot of burnout among workers.

  • Kate 01:30 on 2017-10-31 Permalink | Reply  

    Denis Coderre and Valérie Plante have drawn even in the polls in the last week of the election campaign. Plante admits she’s facing greater scrutiny as her bid for election looks more solid. TVA runs a ten facts about Plante and Denis Coderre attacks her promises, asking where she’ll find the money. TVA links play video.

    • DeWolf 09:12 on 2017-10-31 Permalink

      Coderre seems to have no problem shelling out money for a baseball stadium and other tchotchkes, so his attacks against Plante’s proposed investment in green transport are looking pretty weak. Then again, I’m seeing a lot of online comments along the lines of “Look at all the cranes! So much development! Montreal is doing great for once!” It’s hard to argue with the kind of person who thinks that, as long as the economy is doing well, whoever happens to be in charge deserves to stay in charge.

    • Ephraim 16:06 on 2017-10-31 Permalink

      I’ve received calls from both parties. But I won’t talk with politicians on the telephone after the scandals of fake calls from the past.

  • Kate 00:12 on 2017-10-31 Permalink | Reply  

    Election Montreal says veiled women will be able to vote on Sunday provided they’re willing to quickly lift the veil to one official for purposes of identification.

    • steph 02:23 on 2017-10-31 Permalink

      Was it ever different? A scrutineers job is to identify the voter, no id – no vote. IIRC the justice minister said that on public transport veiled people only need to remove the veil for access and they can re-veil for the rest of the trip.

    • Kate 03:08 on 2017-10-31 Permalink

      There was a time you did not have to present ID to vote. Your word was your bond. I am old enough to remember this, but it’s largely been forgotten that we once didn’t have to present government ID to vote. So I presume that veiled women would not have had to do so either.

    • John B 05:07 on 2017-10-31 Permalink

      I did that in the first Montreal election I voted in, (one of Tremblay’s last). I didn’t read ahead, so I brought my passport, which wasn’t good enough ID at the time, (probably because it doesn’t prove residency). They had me swear I was a Montreal resident, and I had to have a witness sign as well, but that was it. No ID was checked.

  • Kate 11:18 on 2017-10-30 Permalink | Reply  

    A brief CBC piece examines the condo construction boom and its popularity among foreign investors.

    It’s mentioned in passing in a quote from a McGill prof: “Low interest rates, higher disposable income and municipal incentives have made home ownership more affordable and fuelled purchases… However, it has caused an upward pressure on rents.” Can someone explain to me why, if more people are buying these new condos because they can, rental stock gets more expensive? Why wouldn’t the voluntary removal of a class of potential tenants make rents either stabilize or even decline a little? If you’re adding many more living units to the market, converting more prosperous tenants into owners, why would rents go up?

    • Ephraim 11:30 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      Not necessary, people need to cover expenses and add a profit margin to the rent, therefore creating a floor price. For example, if the condo mortgage is $1000 per month and the condo fees are $200 per month and the city tax is another $200 per month, you need to rent for at least $1400 per month, plus profit, heat, etc. That likely puts the rent at $1600 per month.

      The other side is that you have an apartment with a fixed rent, you won’t give it up, because you fear the new prices. And of course, your comparisons are skewed. For example, the $1000 a month apartment doesn’t have the view, the pool, the elevator, etc.

      Take for example the supermarket shelf, you have 3 equivalent products, 2 are brand name and one is generic. You look at the prices $1.00, $1.09 and $0.80. Now the generic’s price relates to the price of the other two, no the cost. But some will buy the $1.09 product thinking that it may be superior, the factory is cleaner, they get a better pick of the product, they use a cleaner healthier system, etc. But some will buy the generic because it’s cheaper. But the generic may actually be able to be sold at $0.40 and still make a profit. But in a world where it competes with $1.00 products… you can get $0.80

    • Montreal-UK 14:38 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      As well as expenses like property tax which are not capped unlike rents by the REGI have shot up. The base price of a property has increased. An apartment costing $200,000 has a mortgage of $800 per month and many Montreal’s believe that it should rent for $700 with heat included, due to historic rent control and low rent reputation.

    • Douglas 16:29 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      1) Condo prices are setting a market value price for the rental amount. So for example a lot of renters are used to seeing higher monthly rents for new construction 3 1/2 apartments, and that translates into landlords of existing 3 1/2′ to budge their prices up.
      2) Strong demand and absorption for rental housing right now. So when a renter buys a new condo, there are many on the market looking to rent that unit.

      Basically, the demand for rental units is still slowly outpacing the supply (new rental units, and existing rental units vacated by the buyers)

    • Douglas 16:38 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      Rental prices won’t go down unless there is some downward pressure on prices. Developers are not overbuilding and flooding the market with lower than market rate rental condos (supply). And the Montreal unemployment rate and economy is doing well right now, so demand is strong (demand).

    • Ephraim 20:39 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      Actually a $200K mortgage assuming you use the “Smart Rate” (which isn’t smart, but it’s one of the lowest rates, if you don’t know how to negotiate) would be about $930 a month. (2.84% is about the lowest I have seen at the moment on a 5 year “smart rate” mortgage.) So that’s $930 a month just for the mortgage, then there are condo fees. I pulled out one place about $200K on the market in Ville Marie and the condo fees are about $120 a month. Property tax would add about $170 a month and we still haven’t included heat and light. So that’s $1220 without profit, without the Bievenue tax, never mind primary insurance (required by the mortgage) and so on and so forth.

      And even if we have rent control, it doesn’t apply to a new apartment. And the calculation tool at https://www.rdl.gouv.qc.ca/fr/calcul-pour-la-fixation-de-loyer/outil-de-calcul will make sure that the landlord isn’t losing money… because otherwise, he can go to the regie for a cost that will cover his costs. Even they realize that a landlord who isn’t covering costs is going to either stop renting or become a slumlord.

  • Kate 11:14 on 2017-10-30 Permalink | Reply  

    A new ranking of transit systems says Montreal’s is fourth best in North America but I haven’t checked out the whole thing – typically, the Gazette names it but does not give a link – and am wondering why the bar graph names people, planet and profit.

    • DeWolf 11:29 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      Looking at the report, it seems the “profit” category is an attempt to measure the economic impact of a city’s transit situation. The better the transit, the more of a positive economic impact it has thanks to increased productivity, TOD opportunities, etc.

      I’m a little vexed to see Vancouver higher on the list than Montreal. Transit there is pretty decent and the cycling infrastructure is arguably better than Montreal (though much less well used), but the city still has lower per capita use of public transit. And whenever I’m there I can’t shake the feeling that it has so much more of a car culture than Montreal. So many people drive around, even if they live in walkable neighbourhoods in the city centre, because there’s parking *everywhere* (often tucked discreetly in underground parking garages, but still). Driving in Montreal is much more of a hassle.

  • Kate 11:06 on 2017-10-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Asked whether Formula E hurt or helped their businesses, 70% of merchants in the Centre-Sud said it hurt, as takings were down.

  • Kate 11:04 on 2017-10-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Denis Coderre has been spending big money on private speechwriters even though the city already has a department that’s meant to do this work. Coderre spends more than either Justin Trudeau or Philippe Couillard on speeches.

    • Ephraim 11:31 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      Are these speechwriters being used for the election or the standard speeches. I would think that ethically, for election purposes, he should be using private speechwriters.

    • Kate 00:09 on 2017-10-31 Permalink

      Radio-Canada specifies that the bill was paid by the taxpayer. I don’t know where the line is drawn between what constitutes a general mayoral speech and a stump speech. Does Coderre have to pay for speeches written for him during the campaign period?

    • Anonymous 12:58 on 2017-10-31 Permalink

      Stump speech…
      Actually, not a good idea to remind us about those useless granite blocks.

  • Kate 18:10 on 2017-10-29 Permalink | Reply  

    I’ve already voted in Sunday’s advance poll. There were lines to vote in the basketball gym in Lucien-Pagé high school, where I’ve voted at every level in every election (and worked in a couple of elections too) since moving to Villeray in 2005.

    Since I am not working as an election official this spin round, I don’t mind saying I voted for Valérie Plante as mayor and Giuliana Fumagalli as borough mayor. Both are from Projet, both are women, plus I’d be pleased to see the back of Coderre and Anie Samson, who rules ViSaMiPex as his loyal sidekick.

    At this point I would not readily give odds on Plante vs. Coderre, but I can hope.

    Please vote if you can. Let’s get the participation up over 43% this year.

    • Ian 19:07 on 2017-10-29 Permalink

      Lines were short in my district, it took me 10 minutes to get in and out. I voted Projet, too, though in my area they are incumbents so it’s not much of a gamble. Even if Plante doesn’t win it would be nice to see Coderre taken down a notch or two with some more Projet ridings.

    • david100 19:07 on 2017-10-29 Permalink

      At this point, I’d bet Plante will win. If she’s even now with Coderre in the polling with 20% undecided, then clearly most people don’t want this eccentric as mayor and are just waiting for Plante to close the deal, which I think she will. Pretty awesome, really, but not so surprising, since Coderre really is a poor mayor. There will be much dancing on his political grave.

      As a slight aside, if it does come to pass that Plante is elected, it’d be worth cash money to see the look on Coderre’s face when he learns the news of the result. Even just seeing the latest poll, he had to have been stricken with dread at the realization that there’s every possibility that he could suffer a terrible humiliation on election day. A very satisfying thought.

    • Tim S. 22:57 on 2017-10-29 Permalink

      Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I don’t especially trust the polls that have been published so far, and I suspect that the people most likely to turn out are Coderre supporters.

    • DavidH 01:17 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      Coderre has a well-oiled machine. Plante has momentum. Really hard to tell.

    • mare 03:54 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      Voted. Croteau, Limoges, Plante. I hope I scored a trifecta.

      No lines, 22 scrutineers, 6 voters in the 10 minutes I was there. Rather inefficient process, it took 3 minutes to find my name and cross it out, and another minute to finish the folding. Can’t they fold these in advance, and sign them before they hand them to the voters?

    • Douglas 07:43 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      Montreal has been great under Coderre. Not sure what all the hate is about. Its been prosperous times the last 4 years. If Plante wins I hope she keeps up the status quo. No need to rock the boat for idealogical purposes.

    • Kate 11:01 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      Douglas, do you even read this blog? Coderre has been mayor during prosperous times but he can’t take credit for that. He has frittered money on frivolous things for an anniversary that meant very little to anyone, chiefly in an attempt to boost his popularity and get re-elected. He suborned the police to help him track and silence journalists. He cut the budget of the committee that looks after green spaces. He has presided over the sacking of St Helen’s Island to the benefit of one private organization which will profit from it. I could go on.

    • Brett 15:41 on 2017-10-30 Permalink

      Please do.

    • Emily Gray 00:39 on 2017-10-31 Permalink

      I voted today in the advance poll. Got there about 10:15. There were only a few people ahead of me, though it did take a while, but not terribly long.

  • Kate 17:19 on 2017-10-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Ahmad Nehme, who killed his wife Catherine de Boucherville in their Lasalle home in 2012, has been declared guilty of murder in the first degree. I don’t tend to blog incremental courtroom reports, but this was clearly a harrowing trial in which it was shown Nehme had bought a hunting knife before killing his wife in the presence of their children; it was his 16-year-old daughter who called 911.

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