Updates from August, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 17:57 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

    The SPVM has a thing called the Urban Brigade which is supposed to tackle homeless people and other street situations. It’s trying to put a new polish on its activities – but, “officers try to make it clear that they aren’t necessarily there to make arrests or give out tickets.” This is a nicely balanced piece, in which the CBC writers also talked to homeless advocates, who reserved comment till evidence is in.

    • dwgs 08:38 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

      Maybe instead of tackling the homeless people they should try a friendly hello, that might work better. 🙂

    • Kate 09:07 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

      I realized later I hadn’t worded that very well, but now it’s too late to change it.

    • Michael Black 09:22 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

      Something seemed missing from the article.

      It talks about how the patrol has been repurposed, but not what it was before repurposed from. I’m not sure you need a special brigade for the homeless if it’s just about giving tickets. It even is given a “nice” name, as if to cover the purpose.

      I also wonder how this fits Cabot Square. The Native Women’s Shelter said they were asked to give some training to some cops, then the police went with other training. A cop who seems a bit more sensitive has patrolled the Square, but was never mentioned as part of this brigade.

      The article also quotes “former acting director of The Open Door” David Chapman, but I hadn’t read that he left the group, and he’s still listed as that at their website. If he’s left, that’s a big change.


  • Kate 17:06 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

    Andy Riga has a fun and excellently illustrated feature about all the cockamamie schemes proposed for Mount Royal over the last century and a half.

    • Kate 13:05 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

      La Presse musters good arguments not to spend $71M of public money on a roof for the Jarry Park tennis stadium.

      • Kate 12:32 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

        Here’s an odd one from the CBC. It’s a 1982 historical archive piece telling about how some Montrealers got a ‘thrill’ from growing their own vegetables. The video and text piece tells how people got a community garden plot and grew some of their own food, and how excited they all were.

        But this isn’t quaint history. It’s still true. Try to get a community garden plot and you’ll be put on a list and may have to wait years, depending where you live: in Villeray there are several gardens at a distance east of here, but for all of Park Ex and my part of Villeray there is a single garden, on the west side of the tracks from Jarry Park. I’d love to have a plot there, but I do have a tiny back yard where I can do some container gardening, so I haven’t applied for one, figuring it’s fairer to leave that garden for Park Ex folks with no outdoor space at all. We really need more community gardens in this part of town, though.

        • Chris 12:37 on 2019-08-03 Permalink

          Looking at the google satellite view of Park Ex, there seem to be a lot of big roofs with nothing on them. I wonder if most of them could support the weight of a rooftop garden?

        • Kate 15:42 on 2019-08-03 Permalink

          If they could it would not be for community gardens.

        • Chris 20:53 on 2019-08-03 Permalink

          True, but could take some pressure off the waiting lists maybe.

        • Kate 22:57 on 2019-08-03 Permalink

          Chris, nobody is going to build a rooftop agricultural garden to give the plots away for free. All the city garden plots are on disused oddments of land, unused portions of parks, that kind of thing.

          …In fact, I was pleased to see that the Mile End community garden where I had a plot more than 15 years ago is still there. I half expected the city would’ve seen potential profit in selling it off by now. But the city doesn’t often repossess community garden areas: in 2015 there was talk about removing the one on St-Antoine near Lucien-l’Allier, but in the latest Google views of the area in 2018 it’s still there.

        • MarcG 07:42 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

          It’s a pretty big deal to put a ton of dirt on a rooftop, you can go visit Santropol Roulant and see for yourself what it took for them to have a garden up there.

        • Michael Black 09:14 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

          I never gave it thought until the ice storm of 1998, but suddenly I saw warnings about clearing roofs of snow, especially if they were flat. And I’ve seen similar warnings since then.

          So yes, a lot of dirt can get heavy.

          I suppose like a lot of things it’s easier and even cheaper to build strong roofs in the first place than reinforce existing ones,. I suspect that means rooftop gardens, other than a few planters, will never be common. Too bad, because people with even small yards often suffer because the yard diesn’t get useful sunlight, whike a roof may see less obstruction.


        • Blork 09:21 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

          It’s not just the weight of the dirt — it’s the weight of the water that falls on it when it rains. Dirt with a root system acts like a sponge and retains water, so rainwater doesn’t just drain off.

          It’s the same with snow on a flat roof; the problem isn’t so much the snow, it’s the snow combined with rain, which is why roof collapses happen more when the temperatures are turbulent and you get a big snowfall followed by rain.

        • Chris 14:30 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

          Kate, who said anything about giving them away for free? If peoples’ own apartments had rooftop gardens, they wouldn’t put themselves on waiting lists with the city (possibly).

          I know it’s a lot of weight, said so in my first comment. I tried to put one on my own roof, but reinforcing everything would have been way too expensive. 🙁

        • Kate 19:42 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

          Chris, the subject was community gardens, and except for maybe a $10 or $15 annual fee, those are free.

      • Kate 12:04 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

        This fall we’ll be seeing more suicide prevention posters on metro platforms.

        • Kate 11:56 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

          The city has sacked two of its employees after a report showed that one of them shared knowledge of a city tender with her partner and got his company the contract. Not only that, the work was delayed and the bills became bigger and bigger.

          (I thought the Lafontaine Park chalet had been renovated and reopened already. I was at an event there last year and it looked nice – I wonder why it was felt more work had to be done.)

          • Kate 11:46 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

            I don’t quite know how it is that Marvin Rotrand, independent councillor, always gets the ear of the media. This weekend the Journal quotes him on the issue of demanding more federal money for public transit and the Gazette quotes Rotrand and another opposition councillor on the topic, even obliging by putting on a scare headline claiming an impending “crunch” for transit funding.

            The Gazette, in passing, several paragraphs down, does admit that city hall already has action planned in this area so in fact it is a non-story. However, more casual readers will come away with the idea that the Plante administration is neglecting the issue. This plays into a tendency I see borne out in angry comments about many issues on Facebook and Twitter, where many people seem dead set against Projet even while not understanding a given issue or what the city administration is already doing about it.

            If I have one piece of advice for Projet it is this: have your elected officials do more to talk up the beneficial changes you’re making and planning. I think often a mildly lefty government can feel its benefits are clear and evident to the populace, while opposition groups orchestrate all the small waves of dislike to create a tsunami against them come election time.

            There’s a certain irony in that there’s any traction in blaming Projet for not doing enough for transit. The same people will flip a switch tomorrow and accuse them of being “anti-car”!

            • Hamza 13:47 on 2019-08-03 Permalink

              i feel it’s almost a strategy of the right to *never* give lefty governments any credit whatsoever. unfortunately this leads to their base nearly always turning their distaste for lefty governments into personal vendettas (see the reams of online hate for Justin Trudeau, Mayor Plante, Manon Massé… or maybe don’t) .

              This intensity increase of the hate from the right seems to skew the media’s view of things until right-wing governments are given much more slack and benefits-of-the-doubts while any old slip-up or misunderstanding is pounced upon and constantly flung back in discussions.

              I still see people and the odd pundit try to make something of Justin’s trip to India God-knows-how-long-ago, not for any political purpose, but just because it *feels* good to them to revel in his supposed ‘mistake’ or whatever.

              The cruelty is the point?

            • Ant6n 23:07 on 2019-08-03 Permalink

              Trudeau is a lefty??

            • Kevin 23:08 on 2019-08-03 Permalink

              Marvin talks to the media.
              Other municipal politicians are very reluctant to do so.

            • Kate 10:21 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

              Ant6n, Trudeau is a lefty if you’re Andrew Scheer or Maxime Bernier.

            • ant6n 11:22 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

              To me that’s moving the Overton window. We don’t have to adopt the skewed perceptions of fringe right wingers.

            • Faiz Imam 12:37 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

              That’s a bit of an exaggeration kate, Trudeau is considered left by way more than a narrow fringe. Just in case you are not aware, the Conservatives are leading in the polls right now, and the specific policies that we here find obvious are far from a consensus.

              Nora Loreto has done a ton of articles and podcasts on why the progressive voice has been so ineffectual at defining any sort of narrative. It seems clear that we are just not very good at it.

              The anti-climate, pro-car, pro-consumerism, anti-government voices are simply doing a better job articulating what is good and what is bad, and the left is relying on evidence and policy to do the work instead of human rhetoric.

              But its not good enough. simple messages of selfishness and hate sell because they tickle the reptile brain. Its why populist candidates tend to do well. Progressive populism is few and far between (Plante and QS are probably our best examples) but we need much more.

            • Marvin Rotrand 13:09 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

              I appreciate diversity of opinion but I am beginning to feel this blog apologizes for the current City administration and consistently tries to put it in the best light.

              When I was at the STM I was nominated to the Canadian Urban Transit Association’s (CUTA) Transit Board Members Committee eventually chairing that national committee. In 2015 we spearheaded a national campaign to convince the federal parties to commit to substantial new transit infrastructure funding, We spoke to municipalities and urged them to adopt motions and we met with representatives of the parties. One member of our committee was Amarjeet Sohi who eventually became Minister of Infrastructure in the Trudeau Government

              As a consequence of our work and that of municipalities the Liberal Party of Canada pledged to reinvest in infrastructure with a large portion aimed at assuring Canadians of a fast, efficient and comfortable sustainable transport future.  However it was not only a Liberal priority: the demand for building new transport infrastructure had resonance with all four major parties, with the Conservatives, NDP and Greens also committing to funding to different degrees. The consensus that Canada needed a modern high capacity public transit network has aided the Government of Canada to live up to the promises made.

              Having said that I have lobbied over the past years – with little support – for additional federal funding targeted to transit operations arguing that the success of the infrastructure program would cause a cash crunch in the budgets of major transit operators.

              I now note that the Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ), CUTA and Trajectoire have recently moved in that direction. The UMQ stated: « L’UMQ rappelle que pour qu’une initiative fédérale en matière de transport collectif comble les besoins des municipalités, elle doit inclure le financement des coûts d’exploitation des sociétés de transport »

              This is welcome news and if there is indeed a municipal effort can have a positive impact on the platforms of the federal parties.

              Incidentally, there has been no similar statement from the administration of the City of Montreal or from any of the Councillors belonging to the majority party at our City Council.

              As Canadians begin to focus on the October 21, 2019 election, I am hopeful that a concerted effort by municipalities will attract the parties’ attention to the fact that successful renewal of transit also needs increased funding for transporters to operate their networks. That’s why I tabled my motion urging the federal political parties to add a promise to their 2019 electoral platforms to provide funding for transit operations and wrote to the Mayors of some 100 communities across the country suggesting that their City Councils adopt similar motions to support such funding.

              Substantial new investment in infrastructure has indeed spurred the construction of new lines and allowed transporters to augment the size of their fleets.However the launch of new lines and the implementing of more frequent service has and is adding to the operational costs of local transporters. 

              In most cases no identifiable source of funding exists to boost the transit offer other than raising transit fares and boosting local taxation. Municipalities and local authorities have limited means to finance the additional services that new lines and new vehicles can offer. Raising fares to allow better service is a losing proposition and hiking municipal taxes to pay for more transit is an equally poor choice. 

              Last week you may have seen the op-ed penned by Marco D’Angelo, President of CUTA pointing out the gains made through the funding poured into infrastructure and warning of the coming cash crunch in transporters’  operational budgets.

              Also, last week the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, noting that the Gas Tax Fund (GTF) for 2019-2020 has been doubled  to a total of $4.4 billion, invited the next Government of Canada to consider making that level of funding in this program permanent.

              The specifics of whether funds from the GTF could be allocated to transit operations or whether that should come from a separate fund are less important than winning all parties’ support for federal money to aid transit operations which is why I believel that a series of municipal motions will have an impact on the 2019 election campaign.

              I don’t intend to respond on regular basis to your blog but claiming this is a non-story detracts from the credibility of your work.

              Best regards,

              Marvin Rotrand

            • Kate 20:05 on 2019-08-04 Permalink

              Thank you, Mr. Rotrand.

              Yes, my sympathies lie with Projet. I don’t think I’ve made a secret of that. When Denis Coderre was running his bread-and-circuses administration it was a no-brainer to choose Projet over his party. Now, I’m inclined to grasp how Valérie Plante wants to run things and cut her slack at times when I can clearly see she has no choice, because the province or the federal government have the upper hand and she only has so much leverage. I won’t join in dogpiling on her when something’s going on that’s actually not within her remit, but a lot of people do.

          • Kate 10:58 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

            There’s not a lot of detail but apparently a car drove into a group of people fighting with each other on Wednesday in Montreal North. Police are investigating even though nobody has made a complaint or turned up with injuries. Metro has phone video.

            • Kate 10:09 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

              The city’s giving over $11.5 million to renovate 48 park chalets all over town.

              • Kate 09:36 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

                A trio of men, who must have lurked somewhere in the metro system after it closed, were caught on camera trying to break into an ATM at Jolicoeur metro at 4:40 a.m. when the station was locked up.

                The men ran, but police captured one of them.

                (Those metro ATMs commit daylight robbery every day, with their charge of $3.50 per withdrawal – but nobody’s clapping the darbies on them.)

                • Ephraim 19:18 on 2019-08-03 Permalink

                  I haven’t used an ATM other than my banks in at least 20 years or so, other than on vacation… I’m still shocked that people can’t plan ahead…. or live without. Even if you take out $100, that’s 3.5% when banks pay just 0.50% in interest annually.

                • mare 19:58 on 2019-08-03 Permalink

                  Those ATMs are not the only robbers. If you withdraw money from every ATM that’s not your bank’s you pay $2 to $3 to that bank, and often another amount from your own bank because you had de gall to use an ATM they didn’t own.

                  When I arrived from the Netherlands I was surprised by the Canadian banking system
                  1) you had to pay for an account (accounts were free in the Netherlands, but no interest on a checking account.)
                  2) using ATMs costs money (an ATM is much cheaper than a bank branch, and if you don’t charge for use by clients of other banks you don’t need as many, and your customers are much happier since they never have to walk more than 200m for an ATM. If banks just charge each other for use, and getting paid by other banks, it equals out and makes customers happy.)
                  3) you can so all your banking at an ATM, like deposit and transfer between accounts. (ATMs in NL only dispense money.)
                  4) banks had so many branches in Canada (There’s hardly any branch left in the Netherlands, everything goes by mail —prepaid envelopes— and now by Internet banking. Banks have mobile banking units visiting retirement homes. People working at banks work mostly in big office towers, situated next to train stations for an easy commute.)
                  5) cheques! (You can very easily transfer money to someone’s account if you have their account number; in shops you pay by debit card or cash. Credit card use is low because it’s expensive for shops, so they often charge you a dollar extra for it.

              • Kate 09:32 on 2019-08-03 Permalink | Reply  

                Nice La Presse piece about a woman from China who’s a heavy equipment operator on the Turcot site.

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