Updates from October, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:38 on 2022-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

    The inbound side of the tunnel is going to be closed all weekend.

    • Kate 21:32 on 2022-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

      The metropolitan community is seriously proposing a road tax for motorists, similar to London’s congestion charge, or, as La Presse said, based on practices in Brussels. A study will be made starting next year.

      • Blork 09:48 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

        It makes sense, because the tax should be based on vehicle use, not fuel use (given how quickly electric cars are coming into the system). I just wish I had some faith that it would be implemented in a sensible way. Look at the never ending fiascoes with transit fares. Why would this be any different? (I.e., it needs to be easy to use, easy to understand, and be set up so occasional users are not penalized compared with commuter users, etc.). Good luck with that!

      • Ephraim 09:59 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

        The city could likely make more bang for the buck my charging a toll inbound on all the bridges and tunnels based on congestion… the more congestion, the higher the price. This way you only have to do it inbound.

      • Kate 10:44 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

        Ephraim, the CAQ would never allow off-islanders to be “penalized” in that way!

      • Blork 11:54 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

        The other problem with tolling the bridges is that it’s not specifically tied to congestion zones. If the idea is fewer cars in downtown, Old Port, Plateau (etc.) then the system needs to target those areas, not everyone who comes onto the island (many of those people are going to non-congested areas).

      • Kate 12:20 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

        I may have thrown in a red herring talking about congestion. I don’t think the CMM’s proposal, as described, is specifically about congestion, but rather simply about charging people for using the city streets.

        It’s only that the major city initiative I’ve seen in this sense was London. But the article cites Brussels, and that one is apparently based on how Singapore does things.

      • Blork 14:36 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

        True, but that also shows the problem with bridge tolls. It’s not just about charging off-islanders; the objective is to charge a premium on driving over public transit for ANYONE driving in the city (and to use the proceeds to help fund public transit).

      • Joey 18:56 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

        Presumably there is a not insignificant number of Montreal municipal pols who would be very happy to charge a congestion to non-Montrealers only. You wanna pay property taxes off-Island? Here’s your chance to contribute to the financial well-being of the City you’re visiting. Sure, it’s not fair that south shore residents would have to pay even though their commute is shorter than, say, West Islanders driving to the Centaur. Not really sure that matters in the political calculation here…

      • Kate 11:10 on 2022-10-22 Permalink

        It’s a legitimate issue.

        A parallel problem is people from off island availing themselves of medical care in Montreal, while Quebec marches young GPs out of town to serve in St‑Glinglin. Obviously we shouldn’t deny emergency care to anyone, and I don’t have the numbers to hand, but I gather that a fair number of people seen in non‑emergency medical settings in Montreal are from out of town.

      • Blork 16:43 on 2022-10-22 Permalink

        A reminder that Montreal is a metropolis, and there isn’t a metropolis on Earth that doesn’t serve its wider region when it comes to healthcare and other services.

        Cities attract services, both in quantity and in quality. You can’t blame people for seeking the healthcare they want and need, wherever they can find it. Especially when complications like language get factored in. (I can barely handle finance or medical talk in my native language, and they become impenetrable for me in French.)

        The idea that Montreal – the region’s metropolis – is exclusively for Montrealers is absurd. We all pay for healthcare through various levels of taxes, so if someone has to cross a bridge to get the care they need (or want) then so be it. Judge the government if the system is uneven, not the people seeking treatment.

    • Kate 15:23 on 2022-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

      François Legault introduced his new cabinet Thursday, and it’s a little depressing that the new education minister is Bernard Drainville, who never seemed like the brightest bulb on the string, whether as a PQ minister or otherwise.

      Jean-François Roberge, displaced from education, is now French language minister and minister for laïcité. Super-minister Pierre Fitzgibbon is not only energy and economy minister and regional economic development minister, but has also been named minister of the metropolis.

      The full list is on those various links.

      Update: Mayor Plante is said to be pleased with Fitzgibbon as minister for the metropolis and to have already started talks with him. I never saw anything about her relationship vis‑à‑vis the previous metropolis minister, Chantal Rouleau.

      Speaking of metropolises, Le Devoir looks at how insistent Legault is on elevating Quebec City to be a second metropolis. But this isn’t new. The PQ, when in power, sometimes spoke of making Quebec City fit to be capital of a new sovereign nation. We should be prepared to see Montreal relegated to second position while Quebec City becomes the golden child again.

      • Kate 15:13 on 2022-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

        A Vaudreuil-Dorion story, but worth blogging, I think: a man of 82 has been accused in the violent death of his 90‑year‑old wife in a seniors’ residence.

        • Kate 10:50 on 2022-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

          The headline here, Cols bleus: la statue de Jean Lapierre disparaît, sounded like someone had made off with it, but apparently the blue collar union decided it was time to take it down, although the reasoning seems a little thin – “L’histoire du 301 n’est pas l’histoire d’un seul homme.” La Presse says the union wants to distance itself from his methods.

          You can see the bust here on Streetview – it wasn’t exactly a dominant feature of the landscape. (This is not the politician and political commentator Jean Lapierre, but the organizer who headed the blue collar union from 1985 to 2003. As far as I can make out, this Lapierre is still alive.)

          • denpanosekai 11:56 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

            Yes he’s alive LOL, they interview him in the video.

          • Kate 12:27 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

            I should maybe take the time to watch more of the appended news videos!

        • Kate 08:58 on 2022-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

          Daniel Renaud has an entertaining piece Thursday on the drama of picking a police chief for the SPVM.

          • Kate 08:50 on 2022-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

            The city has made it known that it will be phasing in property value increases over three years, starting with the budget expected at the end of November.

            • Ephraim 09:38 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              At an average of 30%, that’s still 10% per year

            • Meezly 10:05 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Waiting with bated breath until Nov 29.

            • Joey 11:07 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              By the time this is even partially implemented, a good chunk of the property value increased captured by the City for this exercise (in July 2021) will have disappeared… That said, it’s fair to conclude that property taxes have been artificially low the last few years (e.g., the values currently in place were measured in 2018) so some catch-up is warranted, but huge tax increases during a period of major inflation will be a hardship for a lot of people. If your property value increased by 1/3 between 2018 and 2021, odds are you didn’t realize any real cash-flow benefits from that, unless you sold and downsized. Otherwise, if you didn’t sell or sold and bought at about the same price point, you didn’t really have an opportunity to ‘cash in,’ so when the tax bill spikes you’ll have no means to pay other than to reduce spending elsewhere… but spending is up across the board.

            • Tim 12:19 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              @Joey, I would not underestimate the number of home owners who “cashed in” to the rising value of their property (or properties) through HELOCs.

            • Joey 13:41 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Perhaps, though that would have ended as soon as rates started to rise – there is an assumption that property value increases = more cash on hand and I doubt that’s the case across the board. There’s a larger issue of the major lag between property value changes/increases and tax hikes. We are only now *starting* to raise taxes to reflect inflated home values that have come down quite a bit since they were captured. I’m not sure there’s a better way forward, of course…

            • Jonathan 14:57 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              I think we are conflated property values and taxes. The city has been, for maybe over a decade, adjusting the tax rate to keep tax increases at around inflation. This means the tax rate has been declining while housing values have been increases. What is most important for home owners in Montreal now is whether your home has gained value that is higher or lower than the average across the city (since it’s the average upon which the city bases its tax rate).

            • Joey 16:01 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              @Jonathan agreed it’s hard to follow. The messaging from the city seems clear though – the days of the tax rate being reduced to mitigate increases in property values are probably over, actual hikes (avg. of 1/3 over three years) are in the offing, unless I’m mis-reading… Dominique Ollivier has already talked about tax increases around the rate of inflation – so what, 7-8%?

            • Ephraim 04:11 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

              The city tax rate goes up by inflation, but that doesn’t include property values. If the city doesn’t lower the rate, we will start to see people lose their houses, because mortgages, which are generally adjustable rates, have gone up sharply and may go up even more

              And remember that commercial rates are 5X the residential rates. So between their rent, higher taxes. Lower foot traffic. You can see why there are more empty stores

            • Tim 08:05 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

              “If the city doesn’t lower the rate, we will start to see people lose their houses, because mortgages, which are generally adjustable rates, have gone up sharply and may go up even more”

              So if the city lowers the tax rate, more people will stay in their homes? Doubtful, Ephraim.

              If a home owner cannot afford a higher mortgage rate and/or higher property taxes, they can sell. The only people that will “lose” are those that bought recently, have little equity and overpaid or over-extended themselves. The decision to over extend themselves is on them.

            • Ephraim 10:11 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

              Looking at my city taxes for 2013 – House valuation is $632K and the general class 5 rate is $0.7334
              2022 – House valuation is $1050K and the general class 5 rate is… well… $0.6016 on the first $900K and $2.3646 on the amount over $900K. In my case, that gives me an average rate of… $0.8535

              CPI for shelter is 2013 was 125.2 and today it’s 145.6. So that should be an increase of 16.3%. So the tax rate increase is the same as the CPI… but the house value is 66% higher. So while the city is claiming that my taxes have followed inflation… I’m paying 66% more than the CPI for that same period.

              And this new rate of over $900K… that’s going to hit apartment dwellers the most…. and it’s 4X the standard residential rate. Because how many triplexes and more are under $900K in the centre of the city?

            • Ephraim 12:10 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

              BTW… looking only at what’s for sale in “plexes” and only in Ville-Marie and the Plateau, 50 of the 225 are under $900K

              On the FULL island, which includes everything on the Island, 849 of the 1639 are under $900K. But that includes Point-Aux-Tremble, St-Pierre/Lachine, Montreal-Est, Montreal-Nord, Ile Bizard, Mercier, St-Michel, Emard, etc.

              And for FULL island, stand alone homes, there are 1089 under $900K of the 2244 listings in the city. In the plateau that’s 12 of the 83 properties

            • nau 14:12 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

              CPI shelter tracks various things. Property tax is a subcomponent of a subcomponent of CPI shelter, so CPI shelter doesn’t seem like a useful benchmark for comparison. I suspect that when the city says it is increasing the taxes it charges by the amount of inflation, it means by the amount that its costs have increased not CPI. The city’s costs are not going to increase in the same way that consumers’ costs increase for shelter or even more generally. Some increases may be the same, say fuel costs, but for the city, one assumes a significant component of its costs is wage/salary increases that have already been negotiated.

              I also don’t follow the tax rates you provide. In the city’s 2022 tax rates, there are rates for Residential properties and Non-residential properties. The Residential rates look similar to the 0.6016 you mention, and the Non-residential rates are in the 2.X range and are slightly different for properties below or above $900K but why you would be subject to both Residential and Non-residential rates for the same property is unclear. There is no >$900K rate for Residential properties that I can see, including for plexes. If your residence is taxed at 0.6016 on all $1050K of assessment, then given your figures I calculate your tax has increased by about 4% per year from 2013 to 2022. More than CPI but way less than just the value of the property assessment increase.

            • Ephraim 21:23 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

              If we assume the $900K limit does exist for others, then I would be paying $0.6016 on 1050K instead of the 2003 632K @ $0.7334. That’s still an increase of 36.3% when the CPI is up 16.3%. That’s still over TWICE the rate of inflation. And of course, that CPI is affected by the increase in taxes (catch-22)

            • Tim 22:54 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

              So are your numbers right or wrong Ephraim? Now you’re talking about what you would pay in some hypothetical situation? Great, well intentioned post by nau that has called you on your nonsense.

            • Ephraim 05:46 on 2022-10-22 Permalink

              I looked at my actual bill. But if @nau is correct about the $900K thing not being on everyone, I just redid the calculations. So personally, my taxes have gone up by double the rate of “inflation” (using shelter CPI) and not at the rate of inflation, as the city claims.

              But in my personal case, the real increase is actually 66% above the rate of “inflation” because of this over $900K nonsense.

              But I can redo the calculation using almost any address. I just need to make sure that they haven’t done major renovations which would affect the property value. The point is… the city’s claim is definitely a LIE. Property taxes are up more than double the rate of inflation, because property values are up and the corresponding rate has not gone down.

              So, just to show the point, I will use my neighbour’s account… and it’s a plex. $779K in 2003 and 1252K in 2022. Total tax bill in 2013 $7380 and 2022 $9850. The increase is 33.5% and CPI is still 16.3%. Still more than double inflation.

          • Kate 08:43 on 2022-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

            In view of the impending partial closure of the tunnel, La Presse suggests seven alternatives to solo driving, although one of them is the REM, for which an opening date has yet to be announced.

            • Blork 10:27 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Someone in my neighbourhood FB group proposed organizing community car pooling. The comment thread is an indication of how unpractical that can be (at least when nobody is willing to give an inch of inconvenience).

            • DeWolf 10:36 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              The REM does have an opening date – December 1. The CDPQI told Radio-Canada the other day they’re still committed to that date, barring any unforeseen issues with testing in November.

              I’m sceptical, but I guess we’ll see!

            • Thomas 17:51 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              La Presse is now reporting this afternoon that phase one of the REM will be delayed to Spring 2023, sadly

            • carswell 17:58 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Link to the artlicle: https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/grand-montreal/2022-10-20/le-rem-de-la-rive-sud-retarde-au-printemps.php

              So, five or six months after it starts really being needed. Good thing we entrusted the project entirely to the private sector to ensure everything was completed on time and under budget. /s

            • Thomas 18:01 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              I mean, it is private and it isn’t. Given that it is our public pension plan. But the whole idea is certainly a bit convoluted.

              Nonetheless, it still seems to be on track to be built faster than anything else in recent decades.

            • dhomas 18:45 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              The CDPQ is a crown corporation, but it is a for profit enterprise. Sure it manages “our” pension plan(s), but it’s end goal is to make its investments grow. In order for it to turn a profit for our pension plans, it must make money from its CDPQInfra enterprise and the REM. To do so, it will take public funds and put them back into the public pension plan? It has always seemed like a conflict of interest to me. It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.
              The only way I can see this as a net positive for Quebec and our pension plans is if they manage to export the concept of the REM to other provinces/countries.

            • Kate 21:19 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Same REM delay story from Radio-Canada.

            • Ephraim 04:31 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

              dhomas – The CDPQ is making their money not only on the REM line itself, but on the land that they have purchased around the stations to be developed. The CDPQ is also not subject to the “buy Quebec” clause, which increases the costs of building anything… in particular the metro. Which was why the Quebec government had the CDPQ build the REM. Was this a good idea? I doubt it… anytime private enterprise goes into where states should have been, it doesn’t end well for consumers.

              Recently, we were on Southern Railway in the UK. The break up on British Rail has resulted in European train companies now running parts of the UK system and being paid subsidies to do so. Why do I mention Southern Rail? Well, it’s really Govia Thameslink Railway. Which is owned 65% by Go-Ahead Group and 35% by Keolis. Go-Ahead Group is 51% Kinetic Group and 49% Globalvia. And Kinetic is partially owned by OPTrust and the government of Ontario. Keolis is 70% owned by SNCF and 30% owned by… CDPQ. Oh and what else does Keolis run that you may know… Orleans Express buses. So basically 30% of 35% or if you prefer 10.5% of Southern Railway in the UK is indirectly owned and operated by the CDPQ. (GTR was paid 8.9B GBP over 7 years as a subsidy.)

            • Uatu 07:44 on 2022-10-21 Permalink

              I doubt anyone from Boucherville would venture as far as Brossard to get downtown. That’s a second commute in itself and the metro and st. Lambert train is a lot closer

          • Kate 08:12 on 2022-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

            An STM bus crashed into a building on Beaubien at Clark, Thursday morning, apparently to avoid a collision with another vehicle. Nobody was aboard the bus except the driver, who was not seriously injured.

            Update: People tweeted photos of the incident from various angles, including from above.

            • Chris 08:47 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Again a vague identification of the building. Would it kill them to put the address of the building? Imagine decades in the future trying to investigate the past… search terms like addresses won’t be useful.

            • Kate 08:56 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              They don’t and they won’t, Chris. In the case of this one, Streetview shows it’s the building at the southwestern corner of the intersection, but it’s a quirky building and I can’t see an address or even whether the address is on Beaubien or Clark.

              But as you say, future researchers won’t necessarily be able to look it up in the same way.

              I should do a little digging and find out when and where this changed. Doing casual research in the 1930 Gazette online, I found everything reported with street addresses, and individuals involved in incidents and crimes not only named, but their home addresses often given. I have a feeling that at some point, lawyers clamped down on this, but exactly when and why, I don’t know. Or it could have been a general trend that affected print media gradually over time, a policy brought in by cautious media barons.

            • walkerp 09:29 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Damn! That would have been quite something to witness.

            • CE 09:42 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              I saw it on my way to work this morning. It crashed into the back of 6486 Clark which is on the corner of Beaubien so the crash happened on Beaubien. It really took out a big chunk of the building!

            • Meezly 10:36 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              About 5 years ago, I was on a STM bus when it tried to brake on a steep icy hill, slid for quite a while (giving passengers time to brace themselves) and crashed into a street pole. It was pretty exciting. Only bummed that I had to walk the rest of the way to work but I wasn’t too far.

            • Blork 10:39 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Two notes:

              Lucky bus driver. The impact was right at the driver’s seat, so if he’s unhurt then he should get himself a 649 ticket right now!

              I feel bad for whomever lives in the upper floor of the building on the corner of Beaubien and Clark. While their building seems undamaged, it looks like they had a spectacular terrace on the roof of the building that was wrecked. And by the look of it, that building is probably totalled, so down it will come and no more spectacular terrace for the neighbour. https://goo.gl/maps/Mn13LNFz5kmE8EeVA

            • Kate 13:16 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Blork: I see what you mean about the terrace. When I first saw the photo from TVA I thought the bus had crashed into a construction site, but all the bricks and lath are from a standing building that was not a worksite.

              If anyone was home upstairs it must have been a rude awakening. I was once upstairs in a building into which someone crashed a car, can’t imagine the impact of a bus.

            • jeleventybillionandone 18:54 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              What’s kind of ironic is that the building housed or houses some kind of construction or contracting company.

            • Kevin 21:33 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Back in the day every news organization would have multiple people to cover this sort of event, one to do images and another to gather info, if not more.

              With the massive cuts over the past 25 years, organizations consider themselves lucky to send one person to multiple such events per day, with varying degrees of skill and timeliness.

            • CE 22:40 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              @jeleventybillionandone I biked by on my way home from work and noticed some hastily built support structures inside the building as a backhoe removed debris. Having a construction company in the building where there were people with supplies who could build those structures may have kept it from collapsing completely.

          • Kate 08:07 on 2022-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

            A man and woman in their sixties were killed in a house on Île Bizard, where their bodies were found Wednesday night. A 29‑year‑old man has been arrested. TVA is calling it a drame familial. Homicides #30 and #31, according to CBC radio.

            Update: CTV has more details including the identity of the victims and accused, and photos of them.

            Friday, the Journal points out that the son, only suspect in the killings, is yet another disturbed psychiatric patient.

            • Emily 20:15 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              My family used to go to the store in Pointe-Claire Plaza that was owned by one of those killed.
              So sad.

            • Kate 21:43 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

              Yes, I’m seeing tweets about how the man was known for owning a sports collectible store in the West Island.

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