Updates from August, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:38 on 2019-08-08 Permalink | Reply  

    Having watched Paolo Catania stroll away whistling following the stay of nearly a thousand fraud charges, Frank Zampino is also trying again to have his charges of fraud and corruption stayed as well.

    Zampino also tried to make the city pay $1.6 million in legal fees in his cases, but he was turned down like a bedspread.

    • Kate 20:32 on 2019-08-08 Permalink | Reply  

      In a last-ditch attempt to save their homes, tenants of those Hampstead apartment blocks have served Mayor Steinberg with a lawyer’s letter alleging his veto was invalid.

      I’ve seen allegations that a cousin of that mayor’s is one of the condo developers, but nothing to back that up. Even if true, I’m not sure such a conflict of interest carries any legal consequences.

      • Michael Black 20:47 on 2019-08-08 Permalink

        I read somewhere, maybe the Suburban, that the cousin is a fourth cousin, dismissed as “barely a relative”.

        I thiught the cousin had a lesser role, like maybe an architect, but can’t remember. Steinberg did say the firm had done a previous project that worked out well.

        Apparently Hampstead has little space to grow, and thus little chance to raise income, whie they need to do sone upgrade of various municipal projects.

        That in itself doesn’t seem too outrageous, except this project affects the lower income part of their population.


      • Kate 07:20 on 2019-08-09 Permalink

        Michael Black, maybe I’m too much of a practical socialist, but if people in Hampstead want nicer municipal facilities, maybe they should realize they need to bite the bullet and accept higher taxes?

      • dwgs 08:55 on 2019-08-09 Permalink

        Them that’s got shall get, them that’s not shall lose.

      • Blork 10:29 on 2019-08-09 Permalink

        The challenge isn’t based on conflict of interest. The challenge says that the vote to approve the condo project — in which council rejected the motion to approve but the mayor vetoed the rejection — was not valid. This is based on the rule that says a mayor can veto a motion that has been APPROVED (thereby rejecting it) but they cannot veto a motion that has been REJECTED (thereby approving it).

        Yes, there are a lot of double negatives and turnarounds there, but the gist is that the mayor does not have the right to veto a rejection. But that’s what he did in the vote in July. So according to the letter served to the mayor, the condo project has not been legally approved.

      • Ephraim 12:27 on 2019-08-09 Permalink

        Kate – Hampstead has one of the highest tax rates in all of the city. Average property tax is $12K. But the point here is that… we aren’t citizens of Hampstead, we don’t control their zoning, etc. I’ve seen some of the zoning conflicts in Hampstead… a city where people buy small houses on large plots to knock down, even if they are over $1 Million dollars, because there is just no land left in Hampstead.

        Montreal is getting there. The land under our feet is rising in value faster than the buildings. The whole thing about knocking down 12-5s in Rosemount is all about the lack of space and wanting to build more densely.

        And before anyone tries to put words into my mouth… I didn’t say that I agree with EITHER side. I don’t have any point of view in this concern at all. I’m just pointing out the fact that we are going to see more and more of this…. Hampstead has been like this for 20 years. That no one has noticed, is amazing. It’s already here in Cote-St-Luc, Montreal-West, and TMR and you will continue to see more and more of it over time. Meanwhile, people don’t want them to build more suburbs and expand into the greenbelt… where do you think this new housing is going to come from?

      • jeather 12:34 on 2019-08-09 Permalink

        Knocking down a regular sized house to build a giant house is not increasing housing — both will hold one family. Knocking down an apartment building for condos is probably not increasing housing either.

      • Patrick 15:21 on 2019-08-09 Permalink

        @Ephraim, isn’t the immediate issue for Hampstead more about municipal revenue than expanding housing (not that this isn’t a problem in general)? And am I right that Hampstead has no commercial tax base to speak of? Maybe the problem is that you can no longer have an economically self-sufficient bedroom community “free” of stores and other businesses. Hampstead wants to improve facilities for the people it has more than it wants to have new people.

      • Kate 10:24 on 2019-08-10 Permalink

        Hampstead has no commercial tax base – I don’t think there’s so much as a dépanneur within its borders. For services, it relies completely on having Montreal wrapped around 3 sides and Côte St-Luc on the fourth. Whoever founded that town took entirely the wrong lessons from Westmount because, as we see, it has limited its tax take, and is now trying to increase it on the backs of the people who can least cope with it. As dwgs said above (or sang).

        Blork, I know the challenge isn’t based on conflict of interest, sorry if my terse writing seemed to compact the ideas together.

    • Kate 12:49 on 2019-08-08 Permalink | Reply  

      Today Twitter suggested I follow the Montreal Mirror feed (last post June 21, 2012) and the Hour feed (last post May 3, 2012). At least it isn’t suggesting any deceased friends, but their algorithm seems a little out of whack.

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

        Two of the fatalities in the crash on the A-440 were retired police officers from the SPVM.

        • Kate 12:10 on 2019-08-08 Permalink | Reply  

          A man was shot in the wee hours of Thursday in St-Léonard and managed to stagger into a hotel where they called the cops. Items note that the victim is known to police.

          • Kate 12:05 on 2019-08-08 Permalink | Reply  

            I’ve only got a tweet so far about the announcement of consolidation of parklands in the Far West, bringing together Anse-à-l’Orme, Bois-de-L’Île-Bizard, Bois-de-la-Roche, Cap-Saint-Jacques and the Rapides-du-Cheval-Blanc parks, and blocking a proposed development on wetlands in the area.

            OK, here’s the Radio-Canada take, showing a map. Technically I suppose this will be “le plus grand parc urbain du Canada” – eight times the size of Central Park and four times that of Mount Royal park – and I’m glad they’re doing it, but it’s not central enough to the island of Montreal to be a true urban oasis comparable to the two mentioned.

            • Faiz Imam 16:20 on 2019-08-08 Permalink

              Huh. I’m gonna wait till the developers communicate their response before celebrating, but this is huge.

              It may not be a “central” park, but its a park that any Montrealers will be able to get to super easily. Much more so than peripheral parks such as Boucherville or St-hillaire. I’d compare them more to Gatineau park outside Ottawa or the coastal mountains of Vancouver.

              Assuming this is in any way final, i’m very interested to see what infrastructure and park trails, amenities they plan to build there. 99% of residents have no idea of the natural beauty there, There is a huge potential to make it something people can enjoy.

            • Kate 18:09 on 2019-08-08 Permalink

              I’m seeing various Twitter threads about what the announcement means vs. previous plans to turn over a swath of the land for development. Seems to be a good intention, involving the city getting first dibs on the land, but apparently they still have to come up with the dosh.

              a park that any Montrealers will be able to get to super easily

              Faiz Imam, I don’t know where you live, but I live pretty well plumb in the middle of the island of Montreal, and my one excursion to Anse-à-l’Orme park by bus was not what I’d call super easy. Anyone living east of me would be able to get to Îles-de-Boucherville park in a much shorter time when the navettes are running.

              I’m not saying this to complain. It’s great what they’re doing, or aiming to do. I’m just saying that calling it an urban park and putting it on the same conceptual footing as Central Park or Mount Royal is misleading at best. It’s a suburban park verging on rural at the edges – I believe there are still farms operating in some of the space.

            • Spi 18:38 on 2019-08-08 Permalink

              The REM will literally drop you off at the doorstep of this park.

            • Kate 20:27 on 2019-08-08 Permalink

              Well, there goes the neighbourhood ; )

            • Michael Black 20:50 on 2019-08-08 Permalink

              Meanwhile Toronto announced their version of NYC’s HighLine, except using land from Hydro lines rather than elevated former train lines. But I know too little of Toronto to know if it’s more central or not.


            • Max 19:08 on 2019-08-09 Permalink

              The Rad-Can map is rather strange. It shows the park including all the private property on the west side of Ile Bizard, as well as McGill’s entire Macdonald campus. Methinks they’re exaggerating more than a bit.

            • Faiz Imam 19:48 on 2019-08-09 Permalink

              Yeah, this map by Global news seems a lot more accurate: https://shawglobalnews.files.wordpress.com/2019/08/capture-14.jpg.

              It particularly makes a useful distinction between the actual existing parks and the land around them (be it undeveloped scrub, marshes, or the schools.)

              And yeah, I was referring to the new Rail stations under construction. Not only the one in St-Anne, but also the Laval station. They are currently planning on building a new pedestrian walkway to Ile-Bizard, which should make that entire island much more accessible. Currently Ile Bizard is one of the most auto-dependent corners in the entire greater Montreal area.

              Speaking of which, the maps suggest that all future development on the island will be stopped. There wasn’t any major projects there, but there has been incremental development over the years. Putting a stop to that is almost as big a deal as protecting the west island lands.

            • Max 22:14 on 2019-08-09 Permalink

              That map makes a little bit more sense. Thanks, Faiz.

              The REM’s choice for the location of the Sainte-Anne’s station is looking stupider by the minute. Anyone with half a brain would put it somewhere between highways 20 and 40, where there’s room enough for a multi-storey car park to service all the automobile-loving West Islanders plus all those off-island arse-holes coming in from points west like Vaudreuil, Dorion and Ile-Perrot, via connections to both of those highways.

              Somewhere around here would seem to make the most sense to me:


            • Faiz Imam 02:55 on 2019-08-10 Permalink

              ehhh, I can’t say I agree.

              The entire “park and ride” concept is a flawed idea that should not be encouraged. No matter how many spots you make, all you’ll do is encourage demand and cause more auto-dependent behavior, even worse, perhaps cause new low density construction. Also these garages are not free, they cost millions of dollars. That spot on the map you pointed out is one of the few active farmlands left on the island, we kinda want to protect that sort of thing.

              If the Caisse wanted to build some and charge for parking, its not as bad, but recall that we really do not want to encourage more sprawl. The goal is to density and develop the regions we already have. The Buzzword here is “sustainable Development”

              I think the way they did it is ideal. They have a couple hundred spots to assuage the locals, but they are mainly relying on a very large bus terminal to bring people in from all the exurbs. These buses are much more scalable and will promote density and sustainable development in towns like Dorion, St-Lazard, Vaudreuil.

              They’ve done the same at all 4 west island stations. None of them have much parking, all of them have large new bus terminals and large dropoff/taxi zones. The amount of outrage from commuters when this was announced was massive, but they’ve held their ground on not adding any.

              Most importantly, all the surrounding municipalities have master plans in the works that envision replacing existing commercial and industrial zones with new development, and they are all promising to limit new fringe suburban development.

              I’m skeptical that last bit will actual hold, but as long as the new Rail line will not have much parking, but offer excellent performance, it will force users to shift modes or else keep driving downtown.

              We want to get people out of their cars, and more parking is the worst thing we could build right now.

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

            Three years of construction will shortly begin on the Ville-Marie tunnel.

            • Ephraim 13:09 on 2019-08-08 Permalink

              The finished at one point?

            • Kate 18:27 on 2019-08-08 Permalink


          • Kate 07:31 on 2019-08-08 Permalink | Reply  

            Superior Court has upheld the city’s bylaw mandating that pet stores, if they sell animals, must sell rescues from shelters. A coalition of 25 stores had challenged the law.

            I get cat food from a store that hasn’t sold animals since I’ve known of it. They seem to do pretty well out of having helpful staff and a wide selection of pet products. Have any of these other places tried this?

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