Updates from June, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:37 on 2020-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

    Some people are in the dark after that rainstorm, including more than 30,000 people in Montreal.

    When the rain broke out, my neighbours in the alley, adults and kids, were whooping, running around, getting soaked, laughing. It was amazing, I didn’t realize how much we were all absolutely craving a storm that would break that heat wave.

    Right now it’s 23°C. Ahhhhh.

    • CE 20:59 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

      It feels so nice to finally turn off the AC and open the windows!

    • Ian 21:01 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

      My street is full of kids all day and as the first burst came down it erupted in delighted shrieking all up and down the block. I too am relieved, grilled supper in the rain and feel like something approaching a person that might survive summer for the first time all week haha

    • DeWolf 10:44 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

      It was pretty much a perfect post-heatwave thunderstorm.

    • JaneyB 13:06 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

      As the rain started, I heard different neighbours clapping. What a relief.

  • Kate 19:07 on 2020-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

    I don’t see why it’s a scandal that Westmount wants its outdoor pool to be for residents only. I would have assumed that to be the case anyway.

    • Ian 19:41 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

      It does seem like pretty standard Westmount energy, though I did know it was possible for “outsiders” to use some facilities under certain conditions.

  • Kate 19:04 on 2020-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

    The city is making Camillien-Houde cyclists only on Sunday mornings and is bringing back the barrier that stops motorists from zooming through near the top.

    I think Projet is being unwise here. They need to reopen the road to motor vehicles completely and maybe even consider banning cyclists. Messing around with Camillien-Houde again is only going to give their opponents more populist ammunition.

    • Ian 19:45 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

      Seeing that it feeds into Mont Royal it actually kind of makes sense to me, and I say this as a driver. Taking Cote Ste Catherine is a better choice now for sure as long as you don’t get lost in Outremont construction trying to get back into the Plateau.
      As a pedestrian I hope the cemeteries open soon. I didn’t like walking up the winding path on the east side of the mountain even before covid, it was crowded, poorly shared with cyclists, and inconsistent. I haven’t walked up all summer and I’m missing it.

    • Kate 20:19 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

      I too miss the cemeteries. Missed seeing Mount Royal (cemetery) with all the crabapples in bloom, this year. They’re just great places for a walk.

    • John B 21:00 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

      They shouldn’t be closing it off to cyclists, it’s the only real hill in the city, so many people who cycle for sport use it to practice hill climbs.

      It’s not even that abnormal to shut down areas of roads, even this road, at some point in the weekend. It’s also been done on Monk and on St-Hubert. Ottawa closes large sections of roadway every weekend for cyclists & runners and has since the 70s.

      Having Sunday Mornings be for active people should be a decent compromise that allows the road to stay open to cars most of the time but gives cyclists a time when they know they won’t be killed by a driver pulling an illegal U-turn.

    • Ian 21:02 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

      The catholic cemetery next to it in lilac season is so heart wrenchingly pretty, totally missed it.

    • Dhomas 08:37 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

      I’m pretty sure the cemeteries have been open since Monday. The one close to my house, Le repos Saint-Francois d’Assise, certainly opened then. @Ian, I think you missed the lilacs, though. I have some in my front yard which finished blooming last week. They’re pretty, but it’s the fragrance which greeted me when I returned home that I love most.

    • Bill Binns 08:57 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

      Even I have been taken aback by the furious opposition to closing this road to cars. I try to engage my friends who have lived here all their lives in conversation about municipal politics and usually get nothing but weary apathy. This issue had a whole dinner party of friends pounding their fists on the table in anger last year.

      It’s hilarious that PM is doubling down for another year. They better hope that Spandex goons are reliable voters because old farts that like to walk their dogs on the mountain every morning surely are.

    • Kate 09:21 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

      Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery says this on their website: “The cemetery site is open to persons wishing to pay their respects on the grounds in front of the burial site of a relative or loved one […]. In order to minimize the risks for the families paying their respects or attending a burial and thus preserve our primary mission, no leisure visits will be permitted (walking, running, etc.).”

      Now, how they can tell whether someone is visiting a specific grave vs. taking a stroll I do not know, but that’s the official line. I suspect they may feel that serious visitors will be in a car.

      The supposed link to opening hours on the Mount Royal cemetery site isn’t working, but I pried into the page source and found the PDF file that says “Recreational visits continue to be restricted” – again, whatever that means. If you’re quietly walking through, I don’t know why they would stop you.

    • Kate 12:15 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

      Bill Binns, I’m told on Twitter that “spandex goons” is wrong and offensive.

    • MarcG 12:22 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

      I call them bikeholes

    • Chris 13:31 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

      Twitter thinks everything is offensive. You can also call them MAMILs. 🙂

    • CE 17:24 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

      I think it’s best to try to remember that, despite what many of its users think, Twitter is not real life.

    • Ian 21:56 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

      Nor is anything on the internet, but even Twitter has its uses – I have carefully groomed my twitter to be a news feed for local, tech, and design news. It took about a year to manipulate the algorithm but it’s actually pretty useful to me now on a professional level.

  • Kate 10:30 on 2020-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s state of emergency has been renewed till June 28. It began on March 27.

    • Kate 09:43 on 2020-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

      Tomas Jirousek, the McGill student who forced the university to abandon its longtime “Redmen” team name, is valedictorian of the Faculty of Arts this year.

      • David753 18:00 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        I really do applaud this kid coming in from Canada to show us the wayx and I wonder what part of Canada he’ll move back to now that he’s finished his degree Quebec.

      • David753 18:08 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        And to clarify: I genuinely salute the courage it took to rally a group who 90% agreed with you once your first nations credentials were established, when absolutely everyone knew that it was basically just describing the McGill colors. That level of politics is impressive. Especially considering that the “red man” sobriquet was another of these terms that only had salience in America.

      • David753 18:10 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        One man can make a difference.

      • David753 18:21 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        If he’s cynical enough and the conditions are right.

      • Kate 18:31 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        David, you’re starting to be a pain in the ass.

      • Ian 19:49 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        Using a person’s indigenous roots to dogwhistle otherness is particularly ugly.

      • David753 20:39 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        Not dogwhistling, I’m straight up saying: this guy drafted up this controversy, he made a big play with it in campus politics, he got a lot of press out of it, and he came out the winner. Fair play. Just wondering now that he’s done with his turn in Quebec, what he’ll do when he rolls back to Canada.

      • Kate 20:48 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        David, the fact you’re trolling your tedious fiction that Quebec and Canada are separate places (again) is annoying enough.

      • Ian 20:58 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        The thing is that it’s really common and in fact desirable for people to come from all over the world to contribute to universities, students and faculties alike. This us something they literally celebrate. That some see this as an opportunity to build “de chez nous et entre nous” narratives is telling.

      • dwgs 21:07 on 2020-06-23 Permalink


      • Michael Black 21:35 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        First, he isn’t someone with “cherokee ancestry”, vague and needing to prove that ancestry.

        I think it’s a borderline thing (other team names are way more concrete), but it’s not something cooked up. The names of teams is an ongoing issue. Lots of people have written about the subject, if you go looking. To dismiss it as some third party issue is to dismiss native people as not having any concerns. That’s just a continuation of how they’ve long been treated and perceived.

        The day Tina Fontaine’s body was pulled out of the Red River was the day I saw a full list of Winnipeg streets named after family members. How could she be treated so badly when Red River had been a Metis place? How could she feel so bad when there are streets named after the children of a Syilx woman?

        Do we want hurt and self-loathing or do we want people to stand up to things that bother them?

        The Metis nation was built on resistance, but oddly a family member argued with Louis Riel to include native people in the demands of the provisional government. I’m not sure if it’s garbled, but I can find a quote from Sitting Bull, where he says he knows that family member. And of course the distant cousins are on the Colville reservation in Washington State, which is where Chief Joseph went after his “I will fight no more forever” speech. Three acts of resistance connected to my family.

        The ironic thing is that when people speak, whether they are black or native, they are way more powerful than when Europeans try to speak for them. Don’t confuse the two, and then use it to dismiss what is said.

      • Kevin 21:49 on 2020-06-23 Permalink


        You are 100% wrong.
        Back when Dick Pound was in charge of athletics at McGill, the logo was changed, because the school realized that having a native man wearing a headdress as a logo for sports teams was wrong.


      • david273 22:30 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        So, my comments were meant to be arch. But Kevin, you raise a good point. A misleading one, but one worth raising.

        That article is saying that, yeah, they got goofy with sports team logos back in the day (1980s?), again, certainly based on the US influence. But it’s also fairly clear there that they get the point, and that there wasn’t “evidence which establishes that the Redmen name came from other than the colour of McGill’s uniforms.”

        And I don’t feel super passionately about this whole red man thing, I was never an athlete.

        But I also am a multi-generational McGillian, and when I asked my grandparents and parents about this many years ago, they were amazed that anyone would think that ‘red man’ had anything to do with anything other that the color red. They just never thought about first nations people at all. Like, at all. No battle cries during games, no nothing. That’s its own thing, you might say. But, at any rate, it’s conclusive for me.

        Again – fair play for a Canadian to come into one of the last bits of Anglo Quebec culture, and project whatever they’ve picked up from their struggles and American teevee onto what they find, and then to leverage that into a political career or whatever. Great, I don’t begrudge him that. Culture, especially in Quebec, is a war. And the battlegrounds are shifting all the time. We already know that a sizeable contingent of the Anglophone community considers quebecois to be irremediably racist, full stop.

        But, whatever. I know I’m going to be kicked out of the left and possibly this website as I keep on, but when does this nonsense stop?

      • Kevin 23:26 on 2020-06-23 Permalink


        People may say the name may have originally been picked because of the school colours, but it was definitely subverted by a football coach in the 1940s, even if the last « official » image was only picked in the 80s.

        And you’ve got to recognize that what people say and what they put on paper in official decisions are often not the same. It’s rare that someone tells you to your face that you didn’t get the job or the apartment because of your skin colour.

      • JP 23:42 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        “But I also am a multi-generational McGillian, and when I asked my grandparents and parents about this many years ago, they were amazed that anyone would think that ‘red man’ had anything to do with anything other that the color red. They just never thought about first nations people at all. Like, at all.” 

        And therein lies the issue. “They just never thought about first nations people at all. Like, at all.” While you, your parents and your grandparents were getting degrees at McGill, Indigenous children were being taken away from their parents and thrown into the residential school system (the last of which closed in the1990s). You were studying on land that had been annexed away from the First Nations people. You are living on land that they had been on for millenia until Europeans arrived, but “they just never thought about first nations people at all. Like at all.”

        I can overlook your parents’ and grandparents’ views. I understand it was a different time. I wouldn’t want to be judged by all of my grandparents’ beliefs either. But, part of racism and systemic racism definitely stems from thinking your world and your bubble (e.g., the status quo) is superior, and your thoughts (i.e. they were amazed that anyone would think that ‘red men’ had anything to do with anything other than the color red) are the only ones that matter, and that there is no other perspective that matters. It’s actually a rather egocentric way of living. You and the people you know are not the only ones who exist and matter in society.

        It’s not about individual beliefs either. Yes, your thoughts behind “red man” may be non-racial, but “red man” sounds like a reference to Indigenous people based on slurs and terms that were inappropriately used in the past, and when they are collectively as a group telling you it is offensive, it is offensive. 

        We all have blindspots. But as you expose yourself to other views and educate yourself, you can start to overcome them. I have blindspots too, and as I learn more and become more aware I am, in turn, trying to be a better person, a better citizen, a better friend, etc. What’s important is becoming aware of these blindspots and trying to correct them. Of course, we’ll never be perfect, but I think it’s important to recognize that your life circumstances, experiences and culture, etc. are not shared by everyone. It’s important to recognize that historically there has been much injustice and discrimination directed toward certain groups that continue today. The present is inextricably linked to the past. You can’t just erase it. But acknowledging the injustices and taking appropriate actions are first steps in trying to build and move toward a more equitable and just society for everyone.

      • Dan 08:59 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        David###, bringing up your multi-generational McGillianism has never made you sound more white and fragile. Really not surprising coming from someone who has defended several racist incidents in this city on this blog. I don’t think you’re going to get kicked off, but if you saw yourself out I for one would not complain.

      • qatzelok 09:58 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        I am in favor of eliminating offensive first nation’s team names (Washington’s football team, ex) but I had always thought that “redmen” only referred to the color of the birds on the McGill flag. Interestingly, the flag – from a distance – looks like a “KKK” written in a thick red font.

        Three years, a group of McGill students from Canada wrote a report that concluded that the deMaisonneuve bikelane was dangerous.

        University isn’t the real world, but it gives young people the occasion to practice their roles for the real world they will eventutally live in, so I salute this young student.

      • Kate 11:21 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        Summarizing what I’ve read about this: “Redmen” was initially a nickname from the team colours, but it wasn’t long before various kinds of indigenous associations were attached to it, up to and including referring to the women’s teams as “squaws.” Yes, the more offensive associations have been pruned away in recent years, but clearly the potential for offense remained.

        Guys, what is this “from Canada” bullshit? If you’re living in an alternate reality where Quebec is a different place, go write some science fiction. This blog is about the factual world.

    • Kate 09:28 on 2020-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

      Restaurants are gradually reopening but the Journal found there wasn’t a rush for Monday’s lunchtime. Time Out’s J.P. Karwacki (he seems to be the only writer on the local version of that paper) lists 13 restos which have closed permanently.

      • René 09:49 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        In the east end, it’s anecdotal but i’ve seen more restaurants announcing that they will continue to offer take out/delivery only and not open their dining room.
        It might depend on the size of the restaurant but it doesn’t seem to be worth it…

      • CE 10:04 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        I work with restaurants and most of my clients are on the smaller side. Most of them said it’s not worth opening the dining room if they can only use half their tables. If you have 8, that’s only 4 tables, you can’t keep a waiter paid with that.

      • DeWolf 10:39 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        Yesterday I passed by a number of restaurants that are still doing takeout only, but which have added outdoor tables thanks to the loosened terrasse regulations. I imagine we’ll see more and more of that over the summer.

      • dwgs 11:18 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        I heard a rumour yesterday that the Bar B Barn downtown might live on in a new location where a different restaurant is going out of business.

      • Ian 12:57 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        I wish ill on no-one but I’d be happy to her Bar-B-Barn found new digs.

      • Bill Binns 14:13 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        This is going to be rough. Montreal restaurants tend to be tiny and badly overstuffed with tables. At least some of these places should consider doubling their prices if they halve the seats. Some people can pay and I’m sure there’s pent up demand. You can look at it as helping your favorite places survive without endangering your own health. Could work in the short term until (maybe) we get a handle on this thing.

        I also think some of these places may not be doing all that bad with delivery only. There is a place Ontario called “MacBar and Fromage” that has something like four “restaurants” operating out of the same kitchen.

      • Ephraim 16:20 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        Interestingly enough on the 10th of June, UberEats got out of the ghost kitchen business. Meanwhile there is a new startup called CloudKitchens as well as a few other ghost/cloud kitchens out there, like GhostKitchensCanada. With the delivery business, the front end is a lot less important. but the 30% that UberEats takes off the top is a real business killer.

      • Bill Binns 09:03 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        I will (usually) not order food from a place unless I have eaten inside the restaurant. There was a scandal in France a few years ago about Asian delivery places serving food that had been made in private apartments in disgusting conditions.

      • Maxim Baru 12:31 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        i think the closure of Café Coop Touski is going to have ripple effects throughout the non profit / community group / arts universe in mtl, who used it extensively. people in my circles were sort of surprised it closed without at least another attempt at fundraising like they did for their new building.

      • Kevin 22:14 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        I think Touski will come back in another form when they’re actually allowed to deal with customers.

    • Kate 09:22 on 2020-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

      There may have been no officially recorded Covid deaths Sunday, but a Ste‑Justine epidemiologist says that while a decline in deaths gives reason to hope, we need to take that figure with a grain of salt because weekend numbers are often held till later. Covid numbers are also surging globally as authorities let up on lockdowns.

      One study has shown that acquired immunity doesn’t last long in asymptomatic carriers. This is not great news, as Quebecers are far readier to congregate in groups than other Canadians.

      • Raymond Lutz 13:09 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        Hmm, the CTV title is misleading: IgC levels fell off for some symptomatic patients too. The pertinent figure is 3e: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0965-6/figures/3 . Testing in what they call ‘early convalescent phase’ was done 8 weeks after they were discharged from the hospital. We can see also they didn’t retrace all their patients: 6 individuals (over 37) are missing in each group (asymptomatic and symptomatic) so the stats are not great. But, yeah, time to sew some N95 masks, I won’t be safe for long…

      • qatzelok 18:15 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        My mother smoked through four pregnancies (in the 1960s) because “doctors smoke.” This demonstrates how useless “authority” is in a money-god society like ours. Authorities are the people that corporations hire to lie for them.


      • Ian 19:55 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

        My mother was also pregnant with me in the 60s but didn’t smoke.

        But let’s be honest, nobody smoked because doctors said it was okay, they smoked because they were addicted, and only kept reassuring themselves – even though we all knew it wasn’t good for us – because people like your mother allowed themselves to put more faith in advertising than common sense. Or maybe she was that gullible? Talking to people of my parents’ and grandparents’ generation, nobody thought smoking was “healthy”. It was more socially acceptable, but like drinking while pregnant, people knew it wasn’t a good idea without having to read a scientific journal or for that matter, refer to ads.

        It’s interesting to see that your conspiracy theory tendencies are so Freudian, though – thanks for sharing that!

      • MarcG 09:14 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        Damn, people are really coming out swinging in Covid Month #4, that was hilairious but harsh.

      • Chris 14:14 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        >But let’s be honest, nobody smoked because doctors said it was okay, they smoked because they were addicted

        Those aren’t mutually exclusive. Many did think it was pretty harmless, what with everyone doing it, and yes partly because of some doctors pushing it. An analogy today would be the opioid epidemic, with plenty of unscrupulous doctors pushing pain pills (for kickbacks), leading plenty of patients to think it was safe. But in fact it’s addictive and dangerous.

        >they were addicted, and only kept reassuring themselves – even though we all knew it wasn’t good for us – because people like your mother allowed themselves to put more faith in advertising than common sense. Or maybe she was that gullible?

        Also reminds me of our automobile addiction. We just keep reassuring ourselves it’s ok, everyone drives, yeah, it pollutes, but hey, gotta get around. Those ads show open roads and freedom! I guess motorists are that gullible?

      • Ian 21:58 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        Yes, yes, you hate cars, this was not a conversation about that.

        Congratulations on finding a way turn this conversation back to your bête noir. Are there any childhood traumas we should know about, or are you just the sort of person that is tiresome at parties?

      • Raymond Lutz 06:31 on 2020-06-25 Permalink

        Geez, thanks for staying on topic… I known wandering around is the joy of freewheeling conversations but you’re just bitching each other. Freud? Authority? Advertising? Money-God? Childhood traumas?

        Speaking of smoking (eh, got to play too!) I doubt people thought smoking was bad and no, it wasn’t common sense. Remember, people once used radon toothpaste.

        “nobody thought smoking was healthy” is not the same as “people knew it wasn’t a good idea [was unhealthy]”.

        As always I try to find a source for my affirmation (other than my grandparents), all I found for popular opinion about smoking is from Merchants of doubt: “Nowadays, even a kid could tell you that smoking kills. But this now well-known fact was not such common knowledge in the second half of the twentieth century. It’s shocking now, but plenty of people had no idea about smoking’s adverse health effects.” source.

        It’s like 5G: some decades from now, everyone will KNOW that it caused COVID-19 (and you’ll tell your grandchildren it was common sense but it was so cool to watch streamed 8K on your Retina QLED iPad away from home).

    • Kate 08:52 on 2020-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

      Flood zones around the island are to be mapped with greater precision, although if you have a house now found in the zone, doesn’t this mean you’re less likely to be able to insure or to sell it?

      • Mitchell 07:43 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        Houses in flood zones. I noticed there were some houses for sale at amazing prices. When I looked at the map, they were all in shore neighborhoods. Nice! Then I looked at flood zone maps . . . Yet there was nothing in the listing of any of these properties indicating they were in a flood zone. I suppose it’s not illegal to sell a house no matter where it’s located, but this does seem kind of unethical?

      • Chris 14:15 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

        Caveat emptor.

    • Kate 08:21 on 2020-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

      Work is about to start on various sections of the Met to prop up the structure where needed. There will be detours.

      • Kate 08:08 on 2020-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

        City workers were just about to start digging on part of the Main between Mont‑Royal and St‑Joseph, but an outcry from merchants along that stretch has made the city put the work off till autumn. Roadwork planned along St‑Denis for the Réseau express vélo that would’ve obliterated terrasse space all summer has also been shifted so restaurant owners can have terrasses all summer – on both sides of the street.

        • Ian 08:24 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

          I was wondering about that as I passed yesterday, the whole stretch was down to one lane, which given that Mont-Royal is closed to traffic meant that there was something approximating a perpetual traffic jam even mid-day on weekday.

          I also noticed the work crews took out all the distancing poles the borough had installed in front of businesses where people line up like Rachelle-Berry on Villeneuve, so it’s not like it was just drivers being inconvenienced.

          “These works “escaped” the vigilance of the elected officials of the borough”

          Hahaha oh dear the vigilance of the borough I was calling 311 last year and they literally have no idea when any particular intersection might be blocked as the entire construction site is considered under the control of the contractors, who can block the street at their discretion without warning anyone throughout the entire duration of the construction permit. This is true for the Plateau and Outremont, I don’t know about other boroughs. I can only imagine how maddening it must be for the fire department or ambulances.

        • Ginger Baker 15:37 on 2020-06-23 Permalink



        • Kate 18:33 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

          Ginger Baker, I’ve noticed that and commented on it before. I mean, who do they think the roads are being fixed for? But the media tend to encourage this “oh dear, more orange cones, woe is us” response.

        • Ian 19:56 on 2020-06-23 Permalink

          As in all matters, timing and context is important. Who could possibly know?

          Without consulting the locals or tracking street closures precisely, I mean.

        • walkerp 07:07 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

          I think that dissonance is fully justified. The piece you are skipping out is how long and expensive and repetitive and badly managed the work is done. I mean look at the new sidewalk pedestrian area on Maguire just east of the Main, that work has been going on for years. You walk by there and nobody is working day after day. If they would do the work even semi-efficiently instead of obviously stealing from the public trough, you might get a bit more patience from the citizens.

        • Ephraim 08:04 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

          @walkerp – The British solved that problem by putting down a cost per hour for road closures in their contracts. Cheaper during the night than during the day. All of a sudden construction companies started doing the work really quickly and the repairs even faster, because if the road was closed, they were paying.

        • Alison Cummins 10:29 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

          It’s not just whether the job is done efficiently, to spec and in a timely way. *What is the spec?*

          Yes, water runs down the mountain and washes our roads away. Yes, water infiltration gets us frost heaves in winter. But rather than shrug our shoulders and resign ourselves to roadwork and roads that instantly go bad, is it not possible to build the roads properly in the first place? With deep, well-drained beds? Surfaces that drain? And renewed sewer and utility pipes? And bury everyone’s cable?

          Yes, it’s expensive. So we don’t do the whole city all at once. We pick a spot and do that. Then it’s done and we pick another spot and do that. Over the next forty years – say – we should be able to get all the roadbeds properly done and free up a whole bunch of money for other things than patching potholes.

          If we plan ahead and we know that ten years from now we’ll need to close down, say, Saint-Denis for two years… make a plan. Warn the businesses. Get a committee to participate in planning for mitigation. Start by redoing the back alleys where deliveries are done so that they are attractive to shoppers and the businesses can run out the back for a bit. Run little shuttles to get people to nice spots from the metro. Make sure the shops are accessible by bike. Provide cheap loans so that property owners can use the time to do renovations of their own. Something like that. I’m sure they’d come up with better ideas.

          Then build a trolley line down the middle and make it one-way. Or something. These used to be boulevards that people strolled along. Great for shopping. We really don’t need as many cars in the city as we think, as long as the infrastructure is there.

          +++ +++ +++

          RE doing jobs to spec: I once asked an engineer why Quebec had such a reputation for shoddy work. She replied that standards are the same everywhere: Quebec doesn’t have worse standards. I repeated my question. “Well, there are cultural differences. In other places it’s routine and expected that both the contractor and the client have their own inspectors. Here, we usually expect that the contractor’s inspector is competent and that the client doesn’t need to hire their own inspector. That would be an unnecessary expense.”

          Oh. Well. That’s nice.

        • MarcG 11:48 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

          That sounds like a nice way to describe cronyism – why would you need to inspect the work of a close friend or family member? It would be rude.

        • Ian 22:00 on 2020-06-24 Permalink

          Those brown envelopes aren’t just a convention, there is an implied arrangement involved in which no further scrutiny is expected.

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