Updates from August, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:38 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has plans to build a biowaste plant in the east end, which makes me wonder just how much of our “compost” gets composted and used on growing things. Considering the amount of crappy stuff people put in their recycling, I’m not sure how much I’d trust materials from a big city being used to fertilize fields for agriculture. Using the material for energy, if it can be done cleanly, makes more sense.

    • Max 21:23 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

      Using compost (or any human waste for that matter) for growing food is downright dangerous and should be made explicitly illegal. There’s always going be retards dumping their ashtrays into their compost bins or flushing unused paint down their toilets. Using bio-waste just to fertilize the flower bed outside your metro station seems like a high-risk move to me.

    • Roman 07:53 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

      I didn’t think they were using any of the compostable trash for actual compost. I always assumed it was just incinerated for energy extraction.

      It’d be too dangerous. You never know what’s inside. Maybe someone dumped some poison or dangerous chemicals.

    • Chris 09:13 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

      Max, you’re not wrong, but are you aware of how the agrifood businesses make our food currently? It’s not the pristine old timey farm like on the box.

      I wouldn’t use city compost for food, but it should be fine for sidewalk trees and the like. They already suffer from asphalt leachate, car particulates, etc.

    • Raymond Lutz 10:47 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

      Link fest! Four of them!

      A reader here explained me that natural gas can indeed be called renewable. That’s why they can force LNG pipelines and Large tankers on the Saguenay fjord adoption to the public: it’s green!

      Not so fast! NG is mostly methane (84%). Methane originates from fossil fuel industries as byproduct of extraction and refinement: it isn’t ‘renewable’ energy (like solar or wind).

      Why the green etiquette then? You can, *if you choose to* produce methane (biogas) from organic waste, but only if you force anaerobic digestion (like the one occurring in melting permafrost) over aerobic digestion. Methane is cool in your BBQ but not vented in the atmosphere: it’s a potent GES and more and more studies shows that spurious methane are major contributor to climate emergency. So it’s better to avoid methane production by choosing an aerobic digestion: this is precisely what is called composting.

      From a Government of Western Australia publication: “Composting offers an environmentally superior alternative to using organic material for landfill because composting reduces methane production (a major source of greenhouse gas), and provides a series of economic and environmental co-benefits.”

      biogaz? just say no. LNG from the West? Fuck them.

  • Kate 12:38 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

    Here are your driving constrictions for the weekend. Also in detail from TVA and with several maps from La Presse.

    • Kate 08:02 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

      Six formal complaints have been made against the water taxi that links Pointe-aux-Trembles and the Old Port, because it’s not wheelchair accessible. On this morning’s radio news, it was pointed out in its defense that the boat system is still in an experimental phase, and will be made accessible eventually.

      • qatzelok 08:18 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        And they don’t have a high enough proportion of gay or First Nations drivers.

      • Tim S. 08:28 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        It shouldn’t be wheelchair accessible – how would you evacuate a wheelchair if it starts sinking or has another emergency?

      • jeather 09:45 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        That’s not much of a defense. Why did they not start by making it accessible? It isn’t as if they weren’t in the middle of a huge “let’s try to make the metro system accessible” plan and were going to be surprised by this. Instead of starting by building something accessible, they started by building something inaccessible, and then have to redo/remake/repurchase/rebuild.

        So no need to have accessible buildings either, how do you evacuate a wheelchair if you can’t use the elevator. We’ve solved accessibility by just making everyone stay in their homes.

      • Kate 10:11 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        jeather, I imagine they began this experiment by using existing boats and piers and accesses to the piers, which were not conceived from scratch to be accessible to wheelchair users. The operators want to see how much demand there is, I imagine, once the service is no longer a novelty. If there is ongoing demand then there will be a basis for a public transit budget to upgrade all the elements to make the service more accessible.

        Forgive me if I have my doubts how many wheelchair users will actually use this service even if the money is found for improvements. Six orchestrated complaints? I think this is more in the nature of a statement.

      • Blork 10:10 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        It’s not easy to make small boats wheelchair accessible. Since this project is still experimental, it’s normal that they start with a minimum viable product instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on all those special modifications before they even know if the thing will be successful. That’s how things are developed when you’re starting from scratch on a shoestring budget.

        Bear in mind that to be accessible it means the launch points at both PAT and the Old Port need to be extensively retrofitted (AFAIK the launch point in PAT is pretty crude), plus the boat has to be redesigned and retrofitted, plus there needs to be some kind of bridge built between the dock and the boat that both holds the boat steady and somehow enables the wheelchair to be moved from the dock and then lowered into the boat.

        Not easy. Not cheap. And not worth doing until you know if the whole project is going to be successful or not. That’s just common sense. It might be different if this boat were an essential service, or if there were 30 or 40 wheelchair-bound people in PAT who really want to use the service. But that’s not the case, so let them see if this thing is viable before they start putting more money into it.

      • thomas 10:45 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        Is it just me that thinks the water taxi is a government subsidy for wealthy commuters?

      • Kate 11:33 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        Pointe-aux-Trembles isn’t exactly one of the city’s wealthier enclaves.

      • Blork 11:33 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        Yes, it’s just you.

      • Joey 11:59 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        I imagine the point of these complaints is to ensure that any permanent water taxi plan does not neglect accessibility. Now seems like the appropriate moment to make that point – consider it a reminder to the agency overseeing the project in the long term that wheelchair users should not be ignored. The article quotes the president of the company operating the taxi, who points out that in the meantime they are already making efforts to improve accessibility.

      • thomas 12:18 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        @Kate Someone who isn’t wealthy can afford to spend an extra $140 for their monthly commute?

      • Blork 14:16 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        FFS @thomas. Your $140 assumes these people use the water taxi twice a day, five days a week. I’m willing to bet that many (most?) people only use it occasionally, not every day.

        You also forget about the money that’s saved. Some (many? most?) of the people taking the water taxi use that instead of driving, so when you subtract gas and parking, they’re actually spending LESS on their commute by taking the boat. There might also be people who only use their Opus card for their commute, so they cancel the card for the months that the water taxi is running. (These are people who have a car for local use but use buses for commuting — many people do that.)

        And finally, even if it is $140 on top of all other expenses, that’s hardly an amount that’s only accessible to “the wealthy.”

      • CE 15:50 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        Also, I think you can buy bulk tickets at a lower price.

      • thomas 16:14 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        A $7M subsidy for the hundred or so people who occasionally commute between Pointe-aux-Trembles and their job in Vieux Montreal hardly seems cost effective.

      • DavidH 16:23 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        140$ monthly is cheaper than most places will charge you for indoor parking downtown. People are saving money using it. It’s more expensive than the subway… but the metro is not an especially good option for PAT anyways.

      • Uatu 17:27 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        I’m glad these complaints are being made as accessibility in this province is an afterthought or at the very least a bare minimum. I work in a hospital that’s only 4yrs old and the accessibility is terrible. Stairs everywhere, lousy signage, floor tiles that get slick when wet, barely accessible washrooms for the disabled. it’s as if they forgot a hospital serves people who are sick. And on that note, the more consideration for the disabled the better as this province in the next ten years will be populated by a majority of elderly people with mobility problems. Not just wheel chairs, but canes, walkers, wheeled walkers, crutches etc. So more accessible the better.

      • ant6n 20:43 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        Commuter rail users get like 10x the subsidy that bus+metro users get. I do wonder whether the users of the water taxi only get as much subsidy as commuter rail users, or 10x as much.

      • Faiz Imam 22:21 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        Jarett walker has a very good analysis of ferries and why they work (or don’t) https://humantransit.org/2016/12/ferries-opportunities-and-challenges.html

        On equal footing, boats are dramatically more expensive, slow and inefficient than any form of land travel, so they only really make sense when geography or other factors make land travel particularly indirect.

        The pet ferry goes parallel to flat clear land the whole way, so in theory it should not exist.

        But the transit connections to the east(both the mascouche train and the local buses) are so poor that it’s found a niche.

        It’s a pretty barebones service, with small boats and only a few employees, so I can see it not being massively expensive to operate.

        If they do end up making it permanent, I have to imagine they’ll make it accessible. These sorts of small ferry boats are used in many cities and many of them are totally wheelchair accessible,so it’s not about doing more research or pilot projects. It’s as simple as spending the millions of dollars on new boats. That only makes sense if they have a long term plan.

      • Kate 09:35 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

        Faiz Imam, I always figured this boat would suit 2 groups of people: those who, fortuitously, happened to live somewhere near the riverside in PAT and work somewhere near the Old Port – there must be some people fitting this description, but not a lot – and folks trying out the trip from curiosity. I believe you can bring bicycles aboard, which would extend the area at both ends that would find it worthwhile to get to work by ferry.

        It’s also worth considering the simple pleasure of being out on the river in a boat. Nice, chilling way to get to work, if it fits your personal geography.

        The downside is that it will not be running between October and May.

      • CE 10:14 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

        I took it a couple weeks ago. My girlfriend works about 5 blocks from Quai Jacques-Cartier so we biked over and took it to PAT and biked home. I definitely recommend taking it and if you don’t take a bike, you can get a return ticket. It’s an amazing way to see the city from different angles, especially the port. If I lived within a 20 minute bike ride of the landing in PAT and worked around Old Montreal or downtown, I would definitely commute via this ferry.

      • Blork 11:59 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

        I agree with CE; we live on one of the world’s great rivers, but so many of us never actually get onto the water.

        There’s also a shuttle between the old port and Ile Ste-Helene, which also goes all the way to Longueuil. It’s no good for commuting for various reasons (the schedule, the landing point in Longueuil, etc.) but I always make it a point to ride it a few times every summer. Cost is something like $7.50 between the old port and Longueuil for a ride that takes about 15 minutes. It’s a spectacular way to go home for work on days when I ride my bike to work in the morning and then bike/boat to get home in the evening.

      • CE 12:27 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

        Now that you mention it Blork, I realize that I moved to Montreal in 2006 and the only time I had ever taken a boat on the Saint Lawrence was to take the ferry from Hudson to Oka. It’s crazy how little we get to use our rivers in this city so I’m happy to subsidize these types of ferry services.

      • Blork 14:02 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

        You’re still batting zero on the St. Lawrence, CE. The Hudson-Oka ferry crosses the Ottawa River. 🙂

      • Blork 14:07 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

        …Easy to fix. Here’s the cheapest boat tour in town: take the Metro to Jean-Drapeau. Walk to the shuttle terminal. Take the shuttle back to the old port ($4.25 per person).

        It’s a very quick ride, but the views are excellent.


      • Blork 14:10 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

        …or bike to Ile Ste-Helene and take the shuttle back. The boat can carry at least 50 bikes. (BTW, I recommend taking the shuttle FROM the island instead of TO the island just because it’s more dramatic to approach the old port than to take the boat away from it. The views are the same, but the effect is different.)

    • Kate 07:59 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

      The city has plans to put better lighting in its underpasses.

      • Kate 07:58 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

        A third candidate for the mayoralty of Plateau borough has popped up, surprising me with the knowledge that the Vrai changement party still exists.

        • Kate 07:56 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

          Metro is bravely stating that the farmers’ markets are still doing fine despite the kvetching reported in other media.

          • Kate 07:51 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

            The Archambault sign that lit up the corner of Berri and Ste-Catherine for decades is to be returned to its original spot a year after it was taken down.

            • Bill Binns 13:24 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

              This is great news. The article claims it was a mystery why it was taken down or blames city bylaws but I remember at the time the whole thing was blamed on some start-up that had rented the building and wanted to put up their own sign.

            • Ian 22:04 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

              I remember this, too. Another business acquired advertising rights with its lease and wanted the sign removed.

            • SMD 22:22 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

              Another business did move in (QUB Radio), but it is also owned by Québecor (just like Archambault), who also own the whole building. Ultimately, this seems like internal fighting between corporate departments.

            • Dhomas 04:49 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

              Archambault was sold to Renaud Bray several years ago:

              It no longer belongs to Quebecor.

          • Kate 07:49 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

            The city has bought a building in Park Extension with the ultimate aim of turning it into social housing.

            • Kate 07:47 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

              Anglo media are covering the story of a newly graduated teacher who won’t be able to work in Quebec because of Bill 21 rules, so is leaving for British Columbia. Amrit Kaur wears a turban: here’s a BBC piece on why some Sikh women wear a turban although they have traditionally been worn mostly by men.

              • Chris 10:42 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

                According to the BBC piece, it isn’t a religious requirement, at least not one imposed from on high, but merely self-imposed (which I suppose you could argue is always the case anyway). Basically, they’re wearing the turban because they want to (which is fine of course), not because her group requires it.

              • steph 19:45 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

                Does the law allow wearing a turban for non-religious reasons?

              • Michael Black 20:53 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

                The religious requirement is to not cut their hair. The turban is to keep the hair tidy. Thus the turban is an obligation of the long hair. If they didn’t wrap their hair, others would probably complain that the long hair is a religious symbol, or messy and shoukd be cut.

                The Sikh women who wear turbans aren’t choosing, they are interpreting. Apparently the obligation isn’t specifically for men, but many have interpreted it that way. Now some women are interpreting it to mean every SIkh, and thus don’t cut their hair, and wrap it. It’s all in that BBC article, which was a good adjunct to the news story.


              • Chris 10:04 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

                Michael, how is ‘interpreting’ not a kind of ‘choosing’? (And of course they are interpreting, they have no choice but to, since the gods steadfastly refuse to actually come and tell us what they want.)

                steph, I haven’t read the actual text of Law 21, so I don’t know. The Alberta law exempting Sikh’s from wearing motorcycle helmets specifically refers to “bona fide members of the Sikh religion”[1], presumably to prevent anyone from just wearing a turban to get out of wearing a helmet. A possible loophole to Law 21 would be to say “I’m not Muslim, this isn’t a hijab, it’s just fashionable fabric I like”. Presumably they thought of that and the item is banned regardless of actual religion conviction, the opposite of Alberta, where actual religious conviction is required.

                [1] https://www.alberta.ca/helmet-exemption-sikh.aspx

              • Bill Binns 13:28 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

                The “won’t be able to work” line that is in every article about this subject drives me nuts. She would not be able to have that job if people with brown eyes or people under six feet tall were banned. She can have that job any day she likes by leaving her (completely removable) hat at home.

              • Blork 14:17 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

                @Bill, how would you feel if all of the jobs you were qualified for required you to stand and state a pledge to Jesus and the church at the beginning of every work day? I know you could CHOOSE to suck it up and just do it, but you wouldn’t like it and you would probably feel discriminated against and would be very vocal about the fact that you shouldn’t be forced to abide by a religious formality that you don’t believe in.

                Arguably, people who have religious faith might feel that enforced atheism is no different than enforced religion.

                A truly secular society is one that doesn’t give AF about what you believe, the same way it doesn’t give AF about what color socks you wear or whether you’re right handed or left handed. This so-called secularism of Bill 21 is not that kind of secularism. Instead it’s the cult of atheism, which itself is a kind of “faith.”

                (BTW, I say this as an atheist.)

              • Bill Binns 14:57 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

                @Blork – Nobody is being told to pledge anything to anyone. People are being told what to wear to work. This practice is totally accepted and legal, right up until somebody says that god wants them to dress a certain way. People are being *exempted* from rules the rest of us must follow based on which fairy tales they claim are their favorites.

                I would be on board with this if we all got to enjoy these rights to wear our favorite things to work regardless of what our employers wanted. If Mr Singh gets to wear his turban and Mrs Abboud gets to wear her burka then Mr Binns should be able to wear his big foam cowboy hat.

              • Blork 16:14 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

                @Bill, you’re wrong. They aren’t permitted to wear those hats SPECIFICALLY because they are religious. You can wear a scarf if your head is cold, or if you’ve lost your hair due to chemotherapy, but you can’t wear a scarf to show you are Muslim.

              • Blork 16:20 on 2019-08-16 Permalink

                …and if a teacher wore a big cowboy hat in class, nobody would fire them. Worst case is the principal would tell them they look like an idiot.

            • Kate 07:41 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

              Just for kicks, the Gazette interviews Mathieu Bock-Côté alongside a fairly unflattering photo.

              • Jack 11:05 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

                “his assertion the anglo minority in Quebec “continues to be in a position of power even if it loves to play the victim. … Anglo Quebecers are always trying to claim their privileges as rights.”
                Look I am not a big fan and I am a bloke, but these two assertions usually backed up by an anecdote are how he argues and writes. Which for somebody with a Phd is sad. Even though I’m told that PKP was in the front row at UQAM when he defended his Thesis, that is very convenient, largest institutional donor making sure his buddy gets through. (See Im doing the same thing!)
                Breaking down these two assertions is pretty easy. First victimization in Quebec is the exclusive property of French origin Quebecers, it is seen as necessary for all nationalist discourse pre 1995. Culturally in film, theatre and yes poetry ( Speak White!), this idea was important during the quiet revolution and after.
                This concept was provided its intellectual architecture from the history faculty at U de M, when it created a historiography that posited French Canadian nationalism was weak and pitiful and English Canadian strong and powerful, with only one rectification , independence.
                His second point is not only factually wrong but in real terms shows animus. His claim that anglo’s have privileges not rights, ignores the fact that the BNA granted these rights as part of our constitutional obligations to each other. His desire to change the frame of reference to privilege is supposed to tell English speakers that they are here in Quebec at the behest of the majority he incarnates, and the privileges come from his good will. In other words we are subordinate.
                In general what makes him dangerous is his very fine tightrope he walks for the Grand Replacement tropes that he writes about frequently. That discourse is very dangerous.

            • Kate 07:39 on 2019-08-15 Permalink | Reply  

              In the final season for Old Montreal’s calèches, owner Lucky Luc has been fined for allowing his horses to work in temperatures over 28°.

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