Updates from February, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:04 on 2020-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The developers of the Royalmount project are promising a new and better layout with less commercial space and parking, more residential units and green space. Mayor Plante is still concerned about congestion and lack of public transit, since it’s Montreal that will have to deal with the negative fallout while TMR reaps the benefits. And, in the third strike for this theme today, there’s no social housing.

    My impression is that Carbonleo has tweaked their format because the outlook for retail is not favourable, but they’re trying to spin the new setup as beneficial for the public, whereas it’s really only intended for the bottom line. After all, there seems to be no ceiling to what people will pay for residential condos in this town.

    • Robert H 00:50 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      Carbonleo semble d’imaginer un équivaIent Montrealais de Yorkdale Centre à Toronto avec boutiques et condominiums haut de gamme. C’était comme si on ne savait que Rockland n’est qu’à quelques kilomètres. Il serait mieux de tout annuler. Hélas ça n’arrivera pas. Donc on peut l’appeler cette version Royalmount 2.0 une amélioration avec plus de logements. Mais, je m’étonnerais si ce que se construira ressemble à les dessins dans l’article.

    • Faiz imam 10:48 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      Any improvement is good, but you can tell how much fluff there is here based on how much greenwashing there is here.

      greenroofs, gardens, geothermal, and more. All good, but all easy ways to camouflage the inherent weakness of the project.

      Still, its better than the previous revision, which is loads better than the original vision.

  • Kate 13:34 on 2020-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Interesting piece on how we all subsidize free street parking, a thing many people apparently feel is their right in perpetuity.

    • Ian 19:04 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

      I do wish these lengthy thinkpieces came with references like old-fashioned essays. While I don’t disagree with the premise that the social contract doesn’t always mean supporting things you don’t benefit from directly or that you simply disagree with for political reasons, I do disagree with a lot of the logic around perceived property value vs. sunk costs in infrastructure which the article’s fiscal angle seems to be mostly predicated upon…

      …but since we have all agreed to be “sweet” I promise not to respond any further.

    • Kate 19:07 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

      We have?!

      Ian, if I link to a story it’s only because I think it’s interesting or relevant to other discussions here. My only purpose in my comment a couple of days ago was I found the tone was getting a little snarky among participants. You can tear up the argument in anything I post, as hard as you like.

    • Blork 19:35 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

      OK, I only scanned the article because it comes off as very dense academic wankery, meaning it has some merit based on a lot of diagrams and formulas in books but no actual human being can see how it relates to reality.

      To be precise, the article seems to be arguing that “free” parking defeats the ideas of DENSITY AT ALL COSTS and is therefore bad. But what does that really mean? Unless you either level the entire city and rebuild it as a series of huge soviet style bunkers — or to be less extreme, replace all the parking lanes on city streets with narrow railroad style buildings containing housing units, then the rest of it is just academic hogwash.

      To be clear, that “less extreme” version means every street in the city has two rows of thin buildings put in place between the sidewalk and the driving lanes. So you have your triplex, then a sidewalk, then a narrow house, then the street, then another narrow house, then the sidewalk, then a triplex. FFS! This is not only ridiculous but it would make the city ugly and weird.

      So there might well be arguments against “free” parking, but complaining that the parking lanes are taking up square footage that should be used for housing is just weird and insanely out of touch with reality.

      …or did I misread it?

    • JONATHAN 07:10 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      Anyone interested in reading more about it should read Donald Shoup’s The High Cost of Free Parking. He goes into the calculations but also looks at it in a way that makes sense to the average person. There is also the author of Walkable Cities. I forget his name, but also a very good read. He recently came out with a ‘rulebook’ which very clearly outlines 101 rules to making cities better places.

    • Ian 10:07 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      The problem with these calculations is that they always assume road space is somehow easily converted into buildings, so they run the calculation based off of square footage values of adjacent built properties. When we are talking about street parking, the space used for parking is effectively a sunk cost – you will have to spend money on having this street level space regardless of how you use it – unless you actively extend the building and sidewalks to narrow the streets. Even if you do narrow the streets you still need to leave room for delivery vehicles, ambulances, fire engines, garbage trucks, streetsweepers and hopefully buses or streetcars. This is why most cities build vertically in high value areas. It’s not that a square yard of land is worth a million dollars, it’s that in a neighbourhood where there are 50 story plus skyscrapers you can get a million dollars worth of property built on a yard of real estate. And yet, even with new skyscrapers, they leave in sunk cost sidewalks… part of that is zoning, but part of that zoning is because people still need to get around at street level.

      In any case to recoup those sunk costs of wide streets you are basically looking at redoing all your building stock and infrastructure including of course all the utility infrastructure and sewers. I think just looking at the debacles on Parc, St Larry, St Denis & Ste-Kitty we can see how that would go if we undertook it citywide.

      Slightly tangential but meant to serve as an example, consider this article extolling the value of a holistic approach to data-driven urbanism. With references.

      “Veracity of data relies on many dimensions of concern and context. Veracity is not the same as accuracy.”


    • Chris 13:38 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      Blork, I think you misread it, at least partially.

      JONATHAN, yes, that’s an excellent book. I’ve read it.

      Ian, it’s a very long book, probably too long to read unless you’re very into this topic, but you could get a summary idea searching for “Shoup parking” on youtube, ex: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Akm7ik-H_7U

      >the space used for parking is effectively a sunk cost

      Even if so, it doesn’t have to continue to be. We can and should charge for parking. The point is that land is valuable and should not be given _for free_ (or at a loss) for parking. Especially because of all the negative consequences of automobiles (pollution, collisions, sedentary lifestyles, social isolation, etc.) It’s one thing to subsidize good things, altogether another thing to subsidize bad things.

      >In any case to recoup those sunk costs…

      You can’t recoup sunk costs, that’s the definition of sunk costs .

      >…of wide streets you are basically looking at redoing all your building stock and infrastructure

      No. Sure, putting buildings where on-street parking currently exists is maybe not the best choice in most cases. But as numerous Parking Day events have shown, there are many other choices. Could plant a row of trees and grass, chairs and mini-cafes, bike lanes, wider sidewalks, more car _movement_ lanes, etc., etc. Been to Times Square recently? The possibilities are endless.

      (Putting buildings where _off-street_ parking currently exists is quite easy in fact, and has been happening here and elsewhere.)

    • Douglas 19:58 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      Of course us drivers believe we deserve free parking spots.

      These are our roads we paid for. Roads were built for cars.

    • Kate 09:00 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Douglas, you’re trolling. There was never a social compact to provide drivers with free parking in perpetuity. Drivers simply took it, and it has taken a long time for cities to react to this seizure of the commons, and every time they do – look at recent changes in Outremont – drivers react badly. But it has to be done. Parking space is public property and you need to pay if you want to store your things in a public space.

    • ian 21:23 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      There were roads before cars, that’s a ridiculous assertion. Most of the city grid was well in place long before cars were a concern.

      Which also makes me inclined to say this “stolen space” is just an evolution of the desire paths the city’s #centreville roads evolved from.

    • Ian 15:34 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      Well at least we know where you stand on the issue, haha – I was wondering why this was a Montreal item but there you go. One thing that has crossed my mind is that if your landlord takes away a feature of your rental included or implied in your lease you can sue them for a rent reduction. If you moved to a neighbourhood because it had public gardens for free and the city took those away saying public space necessitates more equitable use of land and not everyone gardens, wouldn’t you be annoyed? That is how people that live in neighbourhoods with free parking feel, I imagine. I have my own backyard garden and [pay for sticker parking, these are all just examples.

      This is the thing about stuff like taxes and the public good, we end up paying for all kinds of things we don’t need personally or even agree with. I don’t agree with having an army. I am not religious so I don’t think religious organizations should be untaxed. That said, I’ve had people tell me they don’t see why they should subsidize me having children by paying school taxes, or having their tax dollars going to subsidize garderie. Catholics get mad about the government paying for hospital abortions. Leftists get mad about corporate tax breaks. That’s society, we compromise and work as a group over time to reshape government as social views change.

      If you don’t like cars or that they get free parking in some neighbourhoods that’s fine, but don’t let it cloud your judgement on what the social compact is. Government by fiat when one interest group gets in doesn’t help. That’s how Drapeau got away with razing poor neighbourhoods, it’s exactly the same logic: we must modernize at all costs, and if you don’t like it, YOU are the problem. PM is also currently acting all stick no carrot, and winning neither hearts nor minds of those who don’t already think they are perfect. They are losing a lot of the political goodwill they simply walked in with by “being on the right side”.

      This, in a nutshell, is Montreal politics.

  • Kate 13:16 on 2020-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    An injunction has been granted against the rail blockade in Kahnawake, although getting the Peacekeepers to enforce it is another matter.

    At the same time, a new rail barricade has gone up east of Montreal, near Sherbrooke.

    • Kate 13:14 on 2020-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

      The city has not yet given out construction permits for the condos planned for the Radio‑Canada site because the developer is dragging its heels on – you guessed it – including social housing in the plans.

      • Kate 13:12 on 2020-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

        Stéfanie Trudeau, Agent 728, has failed in an attempt to have her conviction for committing an assault during an arrest in 2012 overturned.

        • Ian 22:04 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

          It was caught on video, I’m not sure what she’s hoping for… frankly the pepperspraying incident she was involved in that was also caught on video should be tacked on to her charges.

      • Kate 09:04 on 2020-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

        There’s to be a public consultation on a condo project being floated by Peter Sergakis on Ste-Catherine Street, which would involve demolishing two undistinguished small commercial buildings and gutting a handsome graystone house dating from 1870 but which has been inhabited by the Cock and Bull Pub for many years. Sergakis has already counted out some pennies for the city to offset the social housing requirement for the project.

        • Ephraim 09:42 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          I still haven’t figured out… who’s stupid enough to walk into one of his pubs. He’s been caught so many times cheating on pours and subbing bottles. He makes his money off the stupidity of clients…. why would you expect him to care about social housing?

        • Chris 10:15 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          You expect people to know the owners of pubs? I guess you’re being facetious?

        • Kate 10:22 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          Ephraim, I don’t expect any kindness from Sergakis. My only implication was that he seemed so certain of getting his building permit that he already had plans to dismiss the social housing requirement.

          Chris, even non-drinkers tend to be aware of Sergakis’s establishments. He’s notorious.

        • Ephraim 12:01 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          Quite notorious. Sports Station is the largest. Cock & Bull. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/beer-measuring-test-shows-some-bars-served-5-oz-less-than-advertised-1.2668968 Then there is Sky, the location of the old Picaso, so I assume Les Amazones is also his.

          Actually last looking at the menu at Sports Station… it’s like a list of frozen foods. He bought an organic farm… and all I wondered was… where is this food going?

        • Faiz imam 12:02 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          The city has gotten slightly hardline then they were in years past, this is a big opportunity to see if the rhetoric means anything for real

        • CE 12:13 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          I’ve never seen a story about Sergakis that was about him doing anything that benefits anyone or anything other than his pocketbook. His establishments do little to Make Montreal a better place and when he takes over an existing business, his changes are never do anything to improve quality.

          What’s the story with Sky? I’ve heard bad things about it but never any specifics. I haven’t been there in many years. I assume he owns Les Amazones as there was controversy around his skeezy bar in NDG because the bar staff were being trained there.

        • Ephraim 12:23 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          I’ve never been to Sky or Les Amazones, so I can’t tell you. Walked into Sports Station when we were down for a show at the Olympia, we looked at the menu and realized most of it was just frozen restaurant supply… and left. I don’t drink, so I didn’t worry about his under pours. What I can’t understand is the QC alcohol control doesn’t require him to have measured pour glasses… once you are caught, they should be required. You know, glasses with the actual size marked on them and a line to tell you when it’s 600ml.

        • walkerp 14:10 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          Wow, he owns Sports Station? That place sucks so bad they don’t even have any sports satellite feeds. Literally, we had planned to watch some basketball games and all they had were the ones on regular cable and two of them not even in HD. Pathetic. Not surprised he also shorts on the beer.

        • KG 14:27 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          Sergakis-slamming is the most puerile of Montreal activities. The guy has done more to support and rejuvenate the local economy than all his haters combined. He has poured big money into running the former Maz at a loss, saving the one-last working class watering hole from the NDG Soccer Mom Mafia, which has tried unsuccessfully to bully him out with the help of their puppet city councillor. If you don’t like his bars don’t go to them.

        • PO 15:12 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          My own Sergakis story: At the Cock and Bull, a group of 6 friends sit toward the back at a table. It’s a bit busy, but there’s not a line or anything to get in. Everyone buys a beer on the first round. Second time the server comes around, only 3 of us buy a second beer. A few minutes later, some guy comes out and says that the three beerless friends need to buy something or else leave.

          Never again.

        • CE 15:42 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          Here’s what I don’t like about Sergakis’s businesses practices in two Google Streetview photos:

          Half a block of Ste-Catherine west in 2009.
          The same block now.

          If someone could explain how replacing five small, unique businesses with one mega sports bar that has about the same ambiance as a Laval strip mall sports bar is good for the local economy, I’d really appreciate it.

        • SMD 16:56 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          Everything I have heard about Sergakis’ professional and personal life is horrible.

        • Josh 17:19 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          Just popping in to say that while people may be aware of Sergakis in general, they may not know that all of his properties are his properties. So, that could be a factor contributing to his continued success.

        • Ephraim 22:06 on 2020-02-25 Permalink

          KG, if he doesn’t want to be slammed… then don’t do underhanded shit. But I’m more upset with the Regie des alcools, des course et des jeux. There is one basic principle of trust… a 20oz beer is a 20oz beer and when you buy Grey Goose, it needs to be Grey Goose. If you violate the public trust, you should NEVER get a liquor licence. And I mean… ever. But at a minimum, they should have forced him to have marked glasses (like they do in Europe) to ensure that his pours are his pours and more inspections. We have a liquor control board for a reason…. they should ensure the public trust.

        • YUL514 11:37 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

          CE, so you’d rather have boarded up empty old apartment units. Look at the 2nd floor in that 2009 photo.

        • dwgs 13:04 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

          KG, do you work for Sergakis or something? You make it sound like he’s deliberately losing money out of the goodness of his heart. The truth is that either his bars and restos deliberately lose money to offset revenue from his property holdings or he really is clueless as to how to run a hospitality business. Maz had run it’s course years ago and Sergakis didn’t come in to preserve some authentic old tavern, he has tried two different iterations there, both of which have bombed to the point where the only clientele he has are the holdovers from Maz who have nowhere else to go in the neighbourhood besides sipping from king cans in the park in the warmer months.
          The Maz property should have been a gold mine, a big room with a bar licence (not a resto licence) and a terrasse right beside a popular park on a main street in a neighbourhood full of upper middle class folks with plenty of disposable income. Turn that into Else’s west or something similar and you could retire. What does he do? A Hooters / Coyote Ugly knockoff. Who the hell did he thing was going to pack that place given the local demograpics and the current societal norms? It’s true that there was a lot of pearl clutching and McQueen predictably climbed up on his soapbox and filled the air with his sonorous lamentations but all of that would have amounted to a fart in a windstorm if there was actually a market for such a business.

        • KG 13:34 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

          I don’t know Sergakis, much less work for him but I like that you can find his cell phone number on the internet and call him and he’ll pick up and talk to you about anything. I’ve done it a few times. He will listen thoughtfully. He doesn’t know me but he was nonetheless humble enough to ask me for my input on what sort of bar he should be putting there. This guy supported Montreal’s economy in the 90s when everybody else was sitting on the sidelines or musing about moving to Toronto. Good for him that his belief in the city paid off. Other bar owners kicked tires on Maz and realized that there was no way it would ever return on its investment. Sergakis was surely aware of this but put in $300,000 anyway. Now the NDG Soccer Mom Mafia and their puppet councillor are still trying to take away the only working class watering hole west of Atwater and I’m glad that this guy is there holding them off. I’d recommend you go in there and support the cause otherwise this city will be sanitized beyond what it already is.

      • Kate 08:56 on 2020-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

        All media will do a story when there’s a homicide, but La Presse does the followup – in this case, the conviction of Youness Aithaqi in a 2016 shooting in Ahuntsic in broad daylight.

        Look at those two guys. Only crooks would carry bottled water openly on the street.

        • Kate 08:41 on 2020-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

          Workers at Trudeau are worried about the Air China flight from Beijing still landing there five times weekly. Air Canada has cancelled its China flights but the Air China one continues, and while workers have been issued masks and gloves, Health Canada has no intention of ordering the flight shut down.

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