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  • Kate 16:58 on 2023-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

    Police have found the body of Feng Tian, the teenage boy missing from NDG since last October.

    Reports say that police have “no reason to suspect foul play” but Feng Tian’s body was found in Contrecœur, a long way from where he was living. The kid was 17, had been here a short time and only spoke Chinese, and there was no indication he had a car. He was last seen on foot in St‑Henri. So how did he end up in Contrecœur?

    • Kevin 17:47 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

      Police said they believe his body had been in the water for some time.

    • Kate 18:01 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

      Jeez. I suppose the assumption is he walked from NDG down through St‑Henri and then into the river?

      That’s a sad story.

  • Kate 13:06 on 2023-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

    We’re under a severe thunderstorm watch on Friday afternoon.

    • Kate 13:01 on 2023-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

      Côte St-Luc has added a sarcastic remark to its municipal phone tree: “…And by the way, you don’t need to show us your Grade 3 report card…”

      La Presse reports on the Montreal’s 311 message plus thoughts from one of their columnists.

      • Shawn Goldwater 14:19 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

        Oh my goodness. The nationalists are gonna flip out on CSL.

      • Blork 15:53 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

        Everything around this issue is just so ridiculous. That said, I have some thoughts on the thoughts from the columnist:

        “Cet enregistrement maladroit de la Ville de Montréal – qui inflige un long message en anglais aux francophones…”

        Well, not really because if you’re Johnny on the spot …er, Jean sur place… then you’ll hit “1” right away and will continue on your way en Français without having to listen to that ridiculous missive.

        “Si on demandait aux francophones représentant 22,8 % de la population canadienne de s’autodécrire comme des « exceptions » lors d’un appel au gouvernement fédéral, plusieurs pousseraient les hauts cris.”

        Oh wow, people are going to have a field day with that one. People who have never actually called the Feds will balk at that, and complain about how they are never able to get served in French when they call the Feds. People will go on and on about how the Eaton’s anglo lady still works in every shop in Ottawa and Toronto even though they’ve never been to Ottawa or Toronto. On and on it goes.

        “Est-ce que les quelque 15 000 Longueuillois qui ont l’anglais comme seule langue maternelle…”

        Wait…what? I thought I was the only one!

      • Kate 16:22 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

        You need to open a café over there, Blork – the Tête Carrée.

    • Kate 09:02 on 2023-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

      Weekend notes from CityCrunch, Metro, CultMTL, Sarah’s Weekend List.

      The Journal has the traffic horrors in store including the annual moan about roads closed for the cycling events.

      • Kate 09:01 on 2023-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

        The city will see 51 major road construction sites this summer. Of these, 21 were ordained by the transport ministry, whose minister said Thursday that it could do a better job coordinating this stuff.

        TVA says that roadwork started in 2021 on Ste‑Catherine East is still not finished and this is annoying people.

        • Shawn Goldwater 09:15 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          Hate to say this but the section of Sainte-Catherine that has been redone downtown is not wearing well.

          Those flagstones that they use are already chipping and broken in places and what I notice is that they show every stain that they have ever had. It’s weird. Every spilled beverage or whatever seems to be absorbed into the whiteish material, permanently. It’s ugly.

        • Kate 09:31 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          We need some balance added to the law that mandates the city always has to take the lowest bid. As individuals we know that in some situations buying cheap is good, but often it leads to getting inferior products that don’t last and soon have to be replaced. It’s common sense, but we’re forced to accept that the city will do it, leading to messed‑up roads and, as Shawn says here, work that doesn’t wear well.

        • Spi 09:35 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          @Shawn that’s a feature of new stone though, they eventually dirty/wear down to an even shade of gray given enough time. I do agree about the durability of the material, especially given how carelessly snow clearing operation are conducted.

        • Meezly 09:38 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          You see media reports about politicians visiting other cities to study their public transport systems, why can’t our transport ministers visit other cities who have similar winters to see if how their pavement and roads handle harsh winters? Are Winnipeg, Inuvik or Yakutsk riddled with potholes with never ending road construction like ours?

        • DeWolf 10:00 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          It’s not harsh winters that damage the pavement and street furniture, it’s snow clearance. Yes, the freeze-thaw cycle is rough on asphalt in particular, which is why roads in other cold cities are horrible (ever driven down a side street in Burlington, VT? RIP your car). But the chipped granite curbs and damaged flagstones are the result of being scraped clear of snow by countless machines.

        • Kate 10:01 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          Meezly, seriously. City needs to get together a posse of engineers and send them to those cities, and to cities in Asia and Europe too, and see what they do. How does Reykjavik manage? Or Harbin?

          It isn’t really the time to inquire into how they do things in Russia, though…

        • jeather 10:06 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          “She promised to improve transparency by offering more comprehensive updates to residents about ongoing work.”
          Well they could hardly offer LESS comprehensive updates.

        • shawn 10:13 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          Spi, that’s interesting. I was wondering about that, if eventually it will just all get stained to a new shade. Be pretty long process. It does seem like regular ciment sidewalks absorb less. These flagstones (if that’s the right word) do seem more porous.

          And yes, re the damage, it’s the scraping. Shawn Micallef of Toronto recently travelled to Brazil and shared all these marvellous photos of cities… and everywhere the sidewalks had these stunning mosaics. It made me sad that we can never have that, ever. Oh well.

        • thomas 10:21 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          Accepting the lowest bid isn’t inherently problematic. However, it necessitates that the city carefully crafts detailed and accurate project specifications for the bidding process. Rigorous, ongoing inspections of the work progress are also essential. Additionally, the financial stability of the bidding company should be confirmed to guarantee its capacity to accommodate potential cost overruns.

        • shawn 10:24 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          BTW I just got this from the borough. Did anyone else know that that little stub of greenspace above Leo Pariseau at the foothills of Mount Royal Park has a name? It’s parc Lucia-Kowaluk and it’s being refurbished, again, and properly this time, I hope. There was work done to it during the Coderre admin. and it always seemed like a missed opportunity. Here’s some info:

        • Joey 10:35 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          Occam’s Razor says that the reason we overpay for poor-quality construction is organized crime and corruption within the municipal government, no? To us lowly citizens, the fact that we never seem to benefit from technological improvements, that the typical construction project is poorly planned, executed and communicated (and doesn’t last its expected lifetime), and that innovative ideas that would reduce long-term maintenance costs (i.e., gravy for the construction sector – think of the decision *not* to do heated sidewalks on Ste-Catherine, leading to relying on the same shitty snow removal that @DeWolf describes) are always abandoned all suggests that the *actual* powers that be have us right where they want us.

          Yes, Mayor Plante can go to Europe to study transit (she could also go to Plattsburgh to look at the roads) and may genuinely want to improve how we do things – but it feels like any well-intentioned politician has the deck stacked against them. Meanwhile, the mob is literally torching cars and shooting up restaurants almost daily. Who exactly is supposed to stand up to OC in Quebec?

        • Shawn Goldwater 10:58 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          Except that our snow removal isn’t shitty. People from other places marvel at how we do it. True, the original plan called for heated sidewalks on Ste-Catherine as I recall, but that was abandoned. Maybe that’s what you are referring to.

        • Joey 11:08 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          @Shawn sorry I didn’t mean that the snow removal was shitty, only that we haven’t figured out a way to do it without removing painted lies, tearing up asphalt, dinging curbs, etc. It sounded for a while like part of the objectives for Ste-Catherine was to test out heated sidewalks/streets to see if (a) the tech would work and (b) whether we could gradually implement the concept at larger scale – maybe only on streets where the externalities of ‘classic’ snow removal are particularly burdensome, either in expense or inconvenience. Perhaps the city engineers decided it couldn’t be done, or at least not at anything close to a reasonable price. Perhaps the OC leadership decided that any potential hint of a threat to those fat snow removal contracts had to be cut off at the pass.

        • Kate 16:23 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          Joey, you seem to believe that city hall is as corrupt now as it was under Tremblay.

        • Blork 19:47 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          I suppose it’s nice that they’re fixing up Parc Lucia-Kowaluk, but you could also see this as a case of poor priority management. As green spaces go it’s grim; surrounded on two sides by wide traffic-filled boulevards, but more cogently it’s at the foot of the very nice Parc Jeanne-Mance and kitty-corner to the city’s flagship park, Mont-Royal. So who the heck is going to bring their kids to fly kites or picnic in that noisy patch of green when two fantastic parks are RIGHT THERE, spitting distance away?

          Perhaps it would be more useful to put that money into a park in some other part of town that doesn’t have immediate access to the cream of the crop, park-wise. It’s a bit like putting a city-subsidized greengrocer across the street from the Jean-Talon Market instead of in some food-desert part of town.

        • CE 19:58 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          I really wish the city had have gone ahead with its original plan to build housing on that plot. It’s near useless as a park (especially considering how much other green space there is around) and would have been a great location for housing with its proximity to green space, transit, services, etc. They also probably could have gotten away with building at least a mid rise building there. Imagine how many public housing units could have been built in just one place!

        • Shawn Goldwater 20:13 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          What I see from the design is that it will be some sort of boundary area mixing greenspace and concrete to create a sort of transition between city and the parks.

          I do think that’s a good idea, especially with Pine being redone.

      • Kate 08:39 on 2023-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

        Shots were fired through the window of a Crescent Street business early Friday morning. Nobody was hurt.

        • Blork 10:15 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

          The CTV piece says it was several businesses that were shot at. If that’s true this is more likely some idiot showing off his off-brand 9 than any kind of targeted shooting.

      • Kate 22:29 on 2023-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

        A new report says the Lakeshore Hospital ER is dangerous and horrible for patients and needs not only physical renovations but a change in attitudes and culture.

        • Kate 22:26 on 2023-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

          Around 19,000 cyclists are expected in Friday night’s Tour la nuit, and 17,000 are signed up for Sunday’s Tour de l’île. I remember when the night ride was the smaller event. Item includes maps of the routes.

          • Meezly 09:44 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

            For the first time in years, the event is happening in the east end at Parc Maisonneuve instead of the Plateau. So we’re not going – we live on the Plateau and don’t have a car – it’s just too far for kids to bike out there and back on top of doing the course.

            It’s great as this allows residents who live further out east a better chance to participate, but I hope that they’ll at least alternate between east and west each year!

          • Blork 10:19 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

            Meezly, to be precise, alternating between the Plateau and Parc Maisonneuve would be alternating between east and center, not east and west. 😉

          • Meezly 10:27 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

            When it was held annually at Parc Jeanne-Mance, it was technically west. But yes, it was more of a central spot to converge.

        • Kate 17:09 on 2023-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

          There are power outages here and there on the island because of the heat and the forest fires north of town.

          • jeather 12:53 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

            My mother is currently in her third outage in three days.

        • Kate 15:11 on 2023-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

          If you call the city’s 311 service from today you will be asked to attest in good faith that you have acquired rights as an English speaker before the phone tree lets you proceed in English.

          Oh, and the city has a new French language commissar.

          Boy, this is going to be fun.

          • dhomas 15:45 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            You can all probably test this for yourselves, but I took a recording of the message, for fun:

          • steph 15:52 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            Does 911 also have the 40-second message asking you to attest in good faith?

            Are these labyrinth laws in the making?

          • Daniel 15:54 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            Oh, it seems to be gone, dhomas.

            At any rate, delightful. And yet I went to the Quebec-dot-ca site, clicked English, and wasn’t interrogated. An oversight, I’m sure.

            I also tried to sign up for more French classes under the new, expanded access. But it wants a piece of paperwork that I, having immigrated 10+ years ago and being now a citizen for several years, never thought I’d need again. I tried!

          • Shawn Goldwater 18:24 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            Oh that’s interesting if they took it down. Even funnier.

          • dhomas 21:20 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            That’s really strange that the file disappeared. I had set it to expire in 4 weeks. I’m any case, here it is again on another filesharing service:

          • CE 21:45 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            Since there is the option to be served in English if you qualify, are government workers who interact with the public required to be bilingual? If not, what happens when someone with acquired rights requests service in English but the person serving them simply doesn’t speak the language?

          • Ephraim 22:09 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            My favourite, calling RQ to discuss GST. Employee refused to speak in English. Call CRA, tell them that contract with Quebec is in violation, won’t give me service in English. Revenu Quebec calls back to apologize and help in English. Anything to do with GST… service in English with a smile, it’s part of the federal contract

          • Margaret 07:38 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

            Daniel, I also went to sign up for the free francization courses offered by the Q govt this morning. The institution I contacted replied that I needed to go on the Francization page. I wrote back (all of this in French, btw) that it was this page that told me to apply with them. They wrote back and said I was right…they weren’t quite up to speed on the program yet. As it happens, I would have to go to St Jean sur Richelieu to sign up for my ONLINE courses. Not close to home at all for someone who wants to do remote learning…And then, if I do end up successful in my francization, do I still qualify as an Anglo for whatever gets tossed our way?

        • Kate 10:19 on 2023-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

          A major fire is burning Thursday morning on Laurier near St‑Urbain.

          • shawn 11:22 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            I think it’s out now, Amazing to see firetrucks still coming from as far as Verdun and this huge encampment of fireguys sprawled out like they are having a day at the beach. And still not too hot or tired to be jerks! Or one anyway, sitting in the shade of the truck at the car wash, who conspicuously eyed the rear end of woman walking by with her male companion and the shared his estimation with a colleague (who to his credit appeared not to care). Send that jerk up the ladder if he still has the energy for that.

            Anyway, the fire got under the roof of the building above carpet store – who must have severe water damage, poor chap. And I saw why it took them so long, in the intense dry heat. They would spray water into the charred top of the structure, wait, and then it would start to smoke again, from under the roof. On and on it went, like that.

          • Spi 13:07 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            La Presse is reporting that the fire originated from the 3rd floor rear balcony, pretty good odds that someone’s bbq or cigarettes started this fire.

          • Shawn Goldwater 13:26 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            Yes that’s exactly what it liked like to me too, standing behind it in the alley.

            It started very early in the morning. Could someone have been out there BBQing at that hour?

            There was also stuff on the balcony. Could the morning sun have ignited something?

            That’s one my fears, that I will do something stupid and cause a fire that impacts everyone.

            I tried calling the fellow who owns the carpet store on the ground floor. He was not answering, not surprisingly. I am worried about them.

          • Kate 13:58 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            Dried moss in plant pots can smoulder for awhile. If someone put their smoke out in a pot before going to bed late, it could’ve done this.

            shawn, you told me about that carpet shop on Mastodon. I was curious because I own one nice rug and it has a hole in it from moths, and I wanted to get it repaired. I was going to bring it there sometime this summer – maybe not, now.

          • Shawn Goldwater 14:16 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            He certainly cleaned rugs great. Don’t know if he repaired them. Boy I hope they are okay.

          • Shawn Goldwater 14:33 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            Oh I see from his website that they do carpet repairs. He’s a third generation carpet guy.

          • Spi 14:35 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            @Shawn, depends what kind of bbq’ing one is doing, if one is doing an American styled slow cook/smoking then they could be starting several hours before they intend to actually be serving food.

            Either case, I hope that person had liability insurance because that’s insurances are going to be after them if they indeed are the source of the fire.

        • Kate 09:34 on 2023-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

          Quebec is cracking down on illegal taxis, although La Presse puts that phrase in scare quotes. Quebec wants to enforce a law that forbids soliciting customers, which has been happening at the airport.

          • Ephraim 10:32 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

            Have the vice department do it. They are supposed to be arresting people for solicitation anyway 😀

        • Kate 09:29 on 2023-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

          There were eight suspicious car fires overnight, in two locations.

          Metro writes a tidy police blotter, listing the fires, an assault, and a discharge of a firearm.

          A man was severely beaten in the Orange Julep parking lot on Wednesday night.

          • Kate 09:16 on 2023-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

            Quebec’s new language law came into effect Thursday – as the CBC says here:

            The provisions require employees of most front-facing government agencies to serve clients in French unless those clients have acquired English-language rights or are new immigrants who arrived to the province within the last six months. The acquired rights include that an English speaker be allowed to be educated in English because of their family’s anglophone history.

            Does anyone know what the mechanism is for demonstrating one’s anglophone family history?

            • Anton 09:25 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              Can u get some sort of badge to wear?

            • Kate 09:37 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              I could dig out my old anarchy badge, that has an A on it.

            • Kevin 10:04 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              There isn’t any mechanism. The CAQ has refused to write anything into law, and multiple ministers (Eric Girard, Legault, and Jean-Francois Roberge ) have said that employees will have to accept declarations from the public on the assumption that we are making that claim in good faith.

            • Joey 10:10 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              That second sentence is, just, yikes. If your rights are based on your ancestry, i.e., the lineage that preceded your birth, how is that ‘acquired,’ which presumably is distinct from ‘inherent’ – I googled ‘acquired rights’ but only found references to construction – “The recognised right to maintain a construction or use in compliance before the coming into force of a new law or regulation” – I suppose you could bend that into a certain shape to be relevant here.

              Anyway, previously CBC reported that provincial agencies were supposed to provide services in English in the following cases:

              The person is eligible to go to an English-language school.
              The person is Indigenous.
              The person has a history of communicating with the institution in question in English prior to May 13, 2021.
              The person receives services outside of Quebec.
              The person is a new immigrant to Canada who arrived in Quebec within the previous six months and is learning French.

            • Ian 11:20 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              Perhaps some kind of “A”, embroidered in a bright colour so as to be easily identified. Maybe in scarlet.

            • Kate 11:34 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              Joey, that’s the thing. Both my parents went to school in English in Montreal and so did I. But I have no documents to prove this and I don’t know whether anyone has kept records from people studying in schools of a defunct school board in the 20th century. Surely someone has them, if you need to present these documents to get your kids into English school now? But I don’t have kids, so I’ve never had to figure that out.

            • dhomas 12:44 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              I had to get a “Déclaration d’admissibilité à l’enseignement en Anglais” for my kids to be allowed to attend English school. In Montreal, the EMSB has inherited the records of the majority of the defunct school boards (at least for the CECM and the PSBGM). Not sure if they would be able to get that information in your name, as the certificates I have are in my children’s names. But if you went to school (in English) after 1977, there is probably an existing certificate in your name kicking around somewhere at the EMSB.

            • Joey 13:06 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              @dhomas it makes a certain amount of sense that you would need ‘proof’ of eligibility for something like enrolling your child in English school. It makes no sense that you would need to carry that proof on you (or have it registered in some provincial IT system) to, say, renew your driver’s license. It’s sweet and all that the minister says not to worry and that all bureaucrats will be deferential and use good judgment – how long until we start hearing stories other kinds of bureaucrats demanding papers from ‘historic’ anglos? Then how much longer until the whole concept is scrapped and the provincial bureaucracy moves to French-only?

            • Kate 13:54 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              I’ve emailed the EMSB to find out how to get documentation. If they still have my old report cards I’d be amazed. I even gave them a few details on my parents’ schools.

            • Orr 15:36 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              The woman in our condo building who tears down any sign or notice containing any trace of English is very happy today, telling anyone and everyone how this is finally going to force the english speakers to leave Quebec, which tbh is something she’s been saying since Legault was first elected. But today she’s positively jubilant.

            • Kate 17:48 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              I wonder what percentage of Quebec residents would like to see that happen.

            • Ephraim 13:43 on 2023-06-02 Permalink

              @Orr – She would have supported the Nuremburg laws too

          • Kate 19:19 on 2023-05-31 Permalink | Reply  

            The Manoir Lafontaine building on Papineau has been sold to a nonprofit which is going to convert it to “affordable housing”. As with the previous owners, the tenants will have to leave while the building is renovated, and I wonder how many will be able to afford to move back in at an “affordable” $1,000 per month.

            • Blork 19:39 on 2023-05-31 Permalink

              Isn’t $1000 a month considered “affordable” these days? Just tossing some numbers around here… when I moved to Montreal minimum wage was about $5/hour and an “affordable” apartment was about $325 a month. Now minimum wage is triple that ($15/hr, I think) and $1000 for rent is about triple the rent from back then. So it’s about the same relatively speaking.

              That’s not to negate the problems of high rent that we’re experiencing now. But those high rents are like $1500 for a shitty 3-1/2 or over $2k for a grim 4-1/2, which are real things I’m seeing out there. By comparison, $1000 seems pretty affordable.

              It would suck if that $1000 was for a 300 square foot studio, but I think the units in that building are mostly 3-1/2s. (Not sure about that; I stand to be corrected.)

            • Spi 20:49 on 2023-05-31 Permalink

              $5.6 million grant from the city and not a single additional unit of affordable housing was created and that’s note even taking into account the renovation costs. I suspect the majority of the tenants, like in all HLM/public housing skew older and will hang on to these appartments until they eventually need to move into a CHSLD. There’s a serious generational inequality problem underlying the housing crisis.

            • Ian 20:52 on 2023-05-31 Permalink

              15.25 an hour is 30, 500 a year, or 2541 before taxes. The gold standard for affordable housing is a quarter of your monthly before-tax earnings, or 635.25.

              I’m not sure if you can even rent a garage inthe Plateau for $635.

              That said, checking on padmapper, a 1 bed anywhere even remotely central runs about 1250-1300 these days on the cheap end.

            • Michael 22:34 on 2023-05-31 Permalink

              Something doesn’t make sense.

              $19M to buy the building + $38M in renovation costs at $400K per unit to repair???

            • Ephraim 22:58 on 2023-05-31 Permalink

              @Spi – I don’t understand taking over older buildings for affordable housing at all. A new build is more energy efficient, can be purpose built, can even be more space efficient. But you can also use geothermal for heating/cooling. Which would lower the total cost to live there, per square foot. Let the rich live in the beautiful energy inefficient buildings and take the money and build more efficient buildings.

            • JaneyB 08:01 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              The most current rental rates (2022) according to CMHC here:

              The data for 17 Canadian cities here, rents, types, vacancy etc:

              Summary: Average for Mtl is about 900$ for 3.5 and 1000$ for 4.5. Downtown and new condos are more expensive. Affordable for most but minimum wage basically needs roommates.

            • Blork 09:25 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              OK, so I’m not far off by the stats that Janey points to. Bear in mind that “affordable rent” doesn’t mean “rock bottom rent for the poorest of people,” it means “affordable rent for average people.”

              Average income for Montreal is difficult to determine because there are so many variables and so many unreliable reports, but a quick scan puts it somewhere between $40K and $50K, in which case a rent of $1000 a month is affordable. If it’s a couple and they’re both earning average incomes then it’s very affordable. Sure, we’d all love to pay only 10% of our income to rent but let’s be reasonable and realistic here.

              The other thing I want to say is that I’m always skeptical about “average rent” values. For one thing, those numbers factor in large swaths of low rents in undesireable locations, plus shitty unlivable buildings, and people who have “grandfathered” low rent because they’ve been in the same apartment for 25 years. Janey cites $900 as average for a 3-1/2, but I suspect any one of us would have a hard time actually finding a decent 3-1/2 available anything near that price. So $1000 for a newly renovated 3-1/2 at a pretty good location on the Plateau right across from Parc Lafontaine? I’d say that’s pretty reasonable and affordable.

              Affordable for the poorest of the poor? No, but that’s not what they’re claiming. And minimum wage workers have pretty much always needed roommates unless they choose to live in very dire or tiny apartments, or in some far-flung neighbourhood.

            • Blork 09:32 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              …and again, the above should not be seen as some kind of denial that there’s a housing crisis or that rents are high. If anything it’s the opposite. The last time I paid rent it was $850 a month for a 4-1/2 (2 bedroom) and that seemed steep. That was 2001. The same place is probably $1800 now, and I cannot imagine paying that.

            • Kate 10:02 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              The other thing I want to say is that I’m always skeptical about “average rent” values. For one thing, those numbers factor in large swaths of low rents in undesireable locations

              Funny, because I always suspect the opposite – that the numbers given are biased by the inclusion of high‑end and brand new buildings with sky‑high rents. It’s seemed clear to me over the last five years or so that it was in the interest of developers and property consortiums to normalize, in the public mind, paying upwards of $1000 for a hole in the wall.

            • Joey 10:19 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              Yeah, average (mean) is really not very helpful here – big-picture policymakers should be concerned about the distribution of rents: are there sufficient apartments at the low-end of the scale to ensure that lower-income individuals can afford to live where they want/need to? This is basically impossible without a lease registry, which the province absolutely could and should implement ASAP – I imagine lease information could be easily collected via income tax filings, just like the CRA recently started collecting information about home sales.

              As far as this building goes, it sounds like the owners (Shiller/Kornbluth) were hoping to sell for lots more, something like $28M, but couldn’t given how dilapidated the building is, and so settled for this sale, which is probably the best case – the city kicks in some money to a long-standing NGO that seems to have a track record in managing ‘affordable’ rental properties rather than let the building fall apart only to be rebuilt as high-end, park-view condos.

            • Kevin 10:23 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              An issue with new builds is that they are designed in such a way that makes it ludicrously expensive to include multi-bedroom units.
              Wide buildings, with units on either side of a long hallway leading to a central elevator, means a multi-bedroom apartment has to be very large because each bedroom needs a window.

              So in that aspect, taking over an older building and updating the insulation/heating/cooling can make more sense on a cost per square metre basis.

            • Blork 11:28 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              Regarding “average” rents, Kate has a point but I suppose it depends on the source of the statistics. Similar to “average salary” the data sources can be very skewed one way or the other, which is why it’s hard to find something that seems reliable. And as I think about it, I used to have the same concern as Kate (that the “average rent” was skewed towards the higher range). I’m not sure when my thinking reversed. But again, it depends on the source. If someone is arguing that rents are not as high as people think then yeah, they will use the numbers skewed towards the lower range.

            • Cadichon 11:53 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              Well everyone’s source for average rent is CMHC’s annual survey. It’s as reliable as can be, with the caveat that it omits buildings with less than 3 rental units (so duplexes and triplexes with owner-occupant are excluded).
              Average rent for the island of Montreal, as of october 2022, stands at 1010 $ for a 2 bedroom. According to CMHC’s data, people who’ve signed a lease last year are paying around 15% above average rent. So, yes, average rent is skewed downward because of long time renters.

            • Blork 13:16 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              Cadichon said “It’s as reliable as can be, with the caveat that it omits buildings with less than 3 rental units (so duplexes and triplexes with owner-occupant are excluded).”

              …that’s a pretty significant portion of Montreal’s rental market that’s being excluded!

            • SMD 14:09 on 2023-06-01 Permalink

              The main problem with the CMHC “average rents” is that they are averages of how much current tenants are paying, not a reflection of actual market prices. Somebody who has had the same lease for over a decade is paying much less than what somebody who is looking at a similar unit next door today would be paying. A more helpful study is the one done by the RCLALQ which scrapes Kijiji ads in different cities to find the true current market prices (and their disparity compared to the CMHC prices). Link to their summary, which also has a PDF of the full report:

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