Updates from July, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:45 on 2019-07-23 Permalink | Reply  

    The new Verdun beach has been closed a third of the time it’s been in existence because of doubts about the water quality.

    • Faiz Imam 19:47 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      Well, that’s what you get when every reaction to this beach opening up is concerns about “Montreal’s water is so bad, I wound never want to swim in that crap!”

      In response, the city has been very sensitive (I wound say overly sensitive) about water quality.

      If anyone angry about these closures was previously concerned about bad water quality… well just be careful what you wish for.

    • ant6n 20:17 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      I passed by there the other day, it was insane full. Just as I got there they stopped allowing ppl in the water because they heard a thunder, oh well.

      My take: this beach is way too small, tiny really, and there’s way too few such beaches in Montreal. How overflowing this place is with people despite barely being more than a kiddie pool shows the pent up demand for being able to go into the water.

      Oh btw, I think the Grand Splash 2019 didn’t happen yet and one can sign up per e-mail: https://montrealbaignade.org/

    • Faiz Imam 22:16 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      Montreal has a lot of trauma from how toxic the water was in decades past. Even if its much better now, that hesitancy persists. And this is a big part of why we have no beaches. If the water is always toxic, why bother?

      It’s going to take a long time to get over that, but activist groups have done a ton of hard work over the past decade to make it happen, and this beach, plus the attempts of a beach on the old port, show its working.

      Are there any other plans of new beaches on the books anywhere? I hope they move ahead, Verdun is hopefully a statement to municipalities that its in huge demand.

    • ant6n 22:37 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      Oh puleaze water used to be toxic in all industrialized countries, and in plenty of places people have cleaned it up and gotten over it. You just need to understand the value of these non-profit generating icky things, and actually invest in it.

    • Faiz Imam 23:08 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      Hey, we’re on the same page here, i’m just describing the fears that a lot of opponents of this have.

      They exist, and there is a lot of them. And they come out of the woodwork every time any sort of water access is suggested.

      They are wrong, but unless we understand how they think, we can’t convert them.

    • John B 23:48 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      If we look at the water quality at Ottawa beaches we see they’ve also been closed quite a bit this season. Not quite as much as Verdun, but still a fair bit.

      Beaches closing sometimes because of water quality is something we’ll have to live with until we can sort out runoff and sewage issues. Hopefully that’ll be soon.

      But every day the beach is open is a swim day that we didn’t have in 2018!

    • ant6n 08:33 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      @Faiz No we’re not. I’m claiming the water quality issue is a red herring, you claim it’s a deep-rooted issue.

    • Michael Black 08:33 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      From previous stories, I thought one issue was too much rain, so the filter system got overflowed, allowing untreated water back into the ecosystem. I don’t know if that applies this summer, but if so, it’s not the beach’s problem, though it affects it.

      I certainly hope I get back to wa!king before the nice weather ends, I suddenly do have a urge to go to the Verdun beach.


    • MarcG 08:47 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      Nothing says “poor planning” quite like a hand-written sign.

    • Faiz Imam 14:42 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      ant6n : We are on the same page. I agree its a red herring, but its a myth that is also deeply rooted.

      Its like removing parking from commercial streets. All the evidence is clear that its the right move, but that means little for the proportion of the population who strongly hold to the idea that the cars are essential to economic survival.

      Just telling them they are wrong, is not effective in changing their minds. The issue here is not ignorance, its an irrational fear of something different than what they are used to.

    • Ant6n 16:40 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      Le sigh…

  • Kate 07:50 on 2019-07-23 Permalink | Reply  

    The pet stores that are challenging part of the city’s animal bylaw have some weak arguments. The lawyer cited suggests it’s better for families to adopt baby animals, and I see no reason that should be true. Puppies in particular need to be trained with consistency, and little kids are not well suited to that task. Both puppies and kittens may be cute as hell, but that’s not an argument: they’re also both fragile and unruly. There are also a lot more adult animals that need homes, but many people – often the most inexperienced pet owners – are fixated on wanting a baby animal only, forgetting that the pet will be tiny and cute for only few months, and then be around for years as a grown animal.

    If anything, the argument that only allowing shelter animals in pet stores excludes baby animals is turned on its head. The SPCA can always adopt out kittens, it’s adult cats that are harder to home. When I was writing for Openfile, I spent an afternoon at the SPCA, and saw a woman and her daughter come in looking for a kitten to adopt. It wasn’t the season and they had very few kittens. The woman was so inexperienced with cats that she was asking the attendant “how big will these kittens get?” and I had to hold myself back from gesturing to the hundreds of cages along the walls, each holding a patient cat, and observing that adult cats are all roughly the same size. There are no domestic feline versions of the Great Dane or Pyrenees.

    Another argument is that by excluding stores from the pet trade, it allows puppy mills to flourish. But no statistics are cited here. The story somewhat falls down in talking to some woman who goes on about getting purebred cats from a shelter. Purebred cats are a red herring. Nobody needs a purebred cat and making them part of the story distracts from the main point. Allowing pet stores to sell supposedly purebred animals again would be bound to encourage sub-show-quality breeding of inbred sad animals, and I’m glad the city ruled that trade out. Now Quebec simply has to investigate puppy mills and find a way to end that trade too.

    • Bill Binns 09:39 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      I have had dogs for most of my adult life but never owned a puppy. Much like human babies, they are wildly overrated. People think it’s going to be all Instagram shots of an adorable puppy frolicking in the grass but there is likely to be a lot more scrubbing diarrhea out of carpet than cute frolicking.

      The one point I would make about these policies is that they assume that shelters are full of adoptable dogs. This is not (usually) the case anymore here in Montreal. I checked the SPCA website before typing this and at the moment there actually is a good variety of dogs up for adoption (maybe because it’s moving season?) but the last time I was looking for a dog there was nothing but Pit Bulls, Pit mixes and the occasional Chihuahua for months at a time. I ended up “adopting” an adult dog from a private shelter for $750 and had to compete with another family to do that.

      As the unwanted dog problem comes closer to being solved, we have to make sure there is some legitimate avenue for people to acquire pets or there is a real danger of the back yard breeder problem blowing up much worse than it is now. The best way to foster empathy for animals is to have children growing up with animals in the house. I wouldn’t want to see big chunks of the population frozen out of pet ownership.

    • Mr.Chinaski 10:43 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      I have to say, if we could only get animals from the SPCA, it would take off responsability to owners who would continue just leaving animals when they move out appartments. But in another way, in the best of worlds, nobody should need to go to the SPCA to buy an animal as nobody would abandon an animal. There is no good way out of this.

    • Ian Rogers 11:24 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      You actually shouldn’t get a kitten unless you already have an adult cat or they will get lonely. All my cats were strays or shelter adoptions, I can’t imagine why anyone would actually buy a cat. I know a few people that did buy cats and inevitably they had the kinds of diseases you associate with cats that are kept in cramped overpopulated cages. I feel bad for the cats I see at pet stores, they are always sleeping because there is nothing else to do, not even enough room to pace.

      One quibble though – “There are no domestic feline versions of the Great Dane or Pyrenees.” Maine Coon. They are HUGE. I have a close friend who has had several over the years and they are definitely the Great Dane of the domestic cat world.

      Also super affectionate and full of character, they are lovely cats.

    • John B 14:45 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      Families may want younger dogs so the kids can experience the whole lifecycle of the pet, from growing up to death. They may also want to handle training themselves – dogs are best trained when the training starts young and is done consistently, and when you get a dog from a shelter you don’t know what happened before you got it, and the dog is usually older than the ideal age to start training.

      I would imagine that someone looking for something specific, (maybe hypo-allergenic dogs & cats), would have a tough time with a shelter.

      That said, if this ban only applies to pet stores, then is there somewhere else in town that someone could go to get specific breeds? If the “I want something specific – and/or to handle the training myself from a young age” market is being served by legitimate breeders somewhere then it makes sense for the pet store purchases to come from shelters. But is there a way for someone without a car to drive to the country to get a specific dog or cat from a legitimate breeder? And how would someone even find a good, ethical, breeder?

    • EmilyG 14:57 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      Although some adult cats grow to a very big size, they aren’t as big as big dogs.
      The cat I have now is enormous, but isn’t as big as even a lot of medium-sized dogs.

    • steph 16:49 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      Why owning pets even necessary?

    • Blork 18:16 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      Who said anything about “necessary?” Eating ice cream isn’t necessary but most people do it. Wearing shoes isn’t necessary but most people do it. Painting your walls isn’t necessary but most people … (continue to infinity)

    • Ian 19:11 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      My neighbours have mice and rats. I don’t. Plus I like cats and there’s lots of strays that need homes.
      Dogs might be a frivolity in town but taking in a cat is a kindness and they do serve the same purpose people always had cats for.

    • ant6n 20:20 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      Well, cats do kill a lot of birds. You know like those wind turbines, except cats are 4 orders of magnitude worse (true story).

    • Kate 21:14 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      ant6n, is that verifiable? My gut feeling is that if birds are in decline it’s because we’re killing off too many bugs with pesticides, and cutting down too much forest. The domestic cat doesn’t make massive inroads like that into bird habitats.

      Ian, likewise. I’ve heard that other people in this building (a double triplex, 1920s vintage) see mice sometimes but I do not because I’ve always had a cat around. Cats don’t need to kill mice to be a deterrent, after all, but I know she could.

    • John B 21:20 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      A 2015 article says cats are the #1 killer of birds in Canada. I believe some places, (maybe New Zealand), have come close to banning cats to protect bird populations.

    • ant6n 21:26 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      I’m not an expert on the matter, so I’m just going by the wikipedia entry.

    • LJ 22:21 on 2019-07-23 Permalink

      Research by scientists studying cat populations have indeed found that they can seriously cut into some bird populations. However, that does not necessarily apply to all situations, and I am not sure if any studies exist showing that to be true for the island of Montreal. In any case, most cat behaviour experts recommend that if your cat goes outside it is safer to walk them on a leash, in which case the birds will also be safe. [And yes I know this has been discussed here before and not all cats take to a leash, but for those who do it is a win/win solution for everyone involved, cat, human and birds…worth trying. Maybe I have just been lucky, but every cat I have tried to walk has easily taken to it.]

    • MarcG 08:35 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      @JohnB My wife and I looked into getting a hypoallergenic cat and found a breeder in Chateauguay online. We visited her home and saw the tiny operation including some very new newborns. My eyes started watering and my wife’s asthma acted up so we left without a new friend. No idea if it was legal.

    • Kate 09:52 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      LJ, I would doubt cats have much effect on Montreal birds. There are a surprising number of bird species visible around the edges of this island and in its bird sanctuaries (see the Flickr group Montreal faune/wildlife, which I started, but hardly add to – there are occasional mammals, reptiles and bugs, but most of the photos are birds), but I don’t think cats are out there chasing the herons, owls, ducks, swallows and others you’ll see there. My old hunting cat Spike used to kill the occasional pigeon, but I don’t think those are considered endangered, and he didn’t kill anything else avian.

    • Blork 10:25 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      I’ve read a number of reliable reports over the years that claim cats kill way more birds than we think. But they’re not killing ducks and herons; they’re mostly killing sparrows, which are numerous and exist primarily as a food source for other creatures (sort of like sardines in the ocean). People will dispute that, and will point to cases of cats killing various finches and other colorful songbirds, etc., but for the most part I’m not 100% convinced it’s a huge problem. (Nor am I 100% convinced it is not a problem.)

      One of my cats was an outdoor cat (daytime only) for more than a decade before he became an indoor cat due to geriatric and other reasons. In that 10-12 years he brought home maybe 10 birds. It’s quite possible he killed hundreds and didn’t bring them home, but I doubt it as he was very much a “bring it home” kind of cat. (One day he brought home a rosary — no kidding.)

    • Kate 10:46 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      That was your only evidence he’d killed a nun, Blork.

    • Blork 10:55 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      Kate, I like to think he just tripped her and ran off with the rosary. 🙂

    • CE 11:03 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      I think the cat killing birds thing is more of a problem in suburban and rural areas where there are more birds and more cats who are allowed to roam. When I was a kid, my yard was always covered in bird feathers from our cat torturing and ripping them to pieces. She used to sit under our neighbours, bird feeder and swat them out of the air.

    • jeather 12:25 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      The vast majority of cats will be somewhere between 10-16 pounds, and most bigger cats are just fatter, not giant like a Maine Coon (which is unlikely, though not impossible, to show up in the shelter — though in any case those are 30ish pounds, not Great Dane sized).

      Lazy cats are generally a deterrent for mice because there’s usually another house right next door without a cat. Well-fed outdoor cats are a scourge on native populations because they have the energy to kill for fun, which they do a lot of.

    • Ian 16:37 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      For the love of Jebus I never said Maine Coons were the size of Great Danes, I was responding to Kate saying there are no unusually oversized breeds of cats.

    • Kate 19:52 on 2019-07-24 Permalink

      I think we can all agree that the domestic cat doesn’t have the extreme range of size that dogs do, so that while a Maine Coon will be a big cat, it won’t be ten or twelve times the size and weight of a regular cat. My only point was that this woman, at the SPCA, this adult woman of apparently normal intelligence, had never noticed that most adult cats are around the same size, give or take. But she and her kid wanted a kitten. The SPCA must be so tired of having people walk through rooms of adult cats waiting in cages, ignoring them and asking where the kittens are.

    • CE 09:12 on 2019-07-25 Permalink

      Some people (most?) absolutely have to have a kitten if they’re getting a cat. My girlfriend’s uncle got a kitten for his kids and I couldn’t believe how young it was. Its eyes must have opened a week before. When that kitten inevitably died, I was at the pet store with them and as they were looking at kittens, they kept refusing them because they were all “too old.” Their second kitten also didn’t last long.

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