Updates from January, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:15 on 2023-01-31 Permalink | Reply  

    The Van Horne warehouse is going to be transformed: you can vote in a survey about your views till February 12.

    • Ian 09:00 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      Thanks for the link! I was trying to find it but every news story I found didn’t link to the survey.
      While I look forward to a new use for this building I am concerned that turning it into a hotel, offices and business will lead to even more rapid gentrification of the area. Community spaces, working studios, an indoor activity centre … there are SO many better ways this space could be put to use that would help the community, not just the well-to-do elites whose interests PM seems to be representing more and more exclusively …also what’s with the early 00’s Mies van der Rohe “industrial chic” knockoff look on the new bits & the windows?

    • Margaret 09:07 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      I filled in the survey and there is a space to include comments. I too would like to see some lengagement of the local community apart from “buying things” in it. A Maison de la Culture sort of dedicated area.

    • MarcG 09:51 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      Some inspiration: https://www.batiment7.org

    • Ian 11:26 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      Except ideally less exclusive – there are a lot of people in the Point that have complained about feeling excluded – particularly poor people and POC. It is very much the kind of elitist “creative class” Richard Florida – style gentrification that is ruining both the Point and Mile End.

    • DeWolf 12:08 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      I think the city should require the developer to set aside a large portion of the office space for community and cultural organizations, with below-market rents and management by an established non-profit. It doesn’t seem right for there to be no community space in such an exceptional project.

      That said, a lot do the online commentators seem to think the city owns the building and they can just snap their fingers and turn it into social housing or artists studios or something like that, but their power lies in approving or denying the zoning derogation and imposing conditions. They can’t change the vocation of a privately-led project.

      A lot of people hate the idea of it being a hotel but there’s clearly demand for people to stay outside of the downtown area, and suppressing supply will just feed the Airbnb monster.

      As for the architecture… I’m not a fan of the faux-industrial windows. If you’re going to punch new windows into the façade, take a more contemporary approach. Otherwise you risk making the building look some some generic loft project.

      @Ian what does PM have to do with this project, other than having the power to approve or deny it? You make it sound like it’s their idea in the first place.

    • mare 12:23 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      There are a lot of working studios in that area already, and I’m afraid studios in a newly renovated fancy building will be very expensive and only for the happy few.

      I wish the traffic lanes on the Van Horne viaduct were reduced (so drivers don’t treat it like a highway despite the 40 km speed limit) and a bike path and nice footpath was added.

      That way the building will become part of the Mile End.

      Now they recently fixed it up again because it’s falling apart the complete rebuild will be delayed a few years. Would love if they just demolish it and replace it with a long deep tunnel under the tracks and St-Laurent, and with a level crossing at the Clark underpass, another highway that needs to be ‘cityfied’. It’s a complicated mess there, with way too many car-centric concrete structures.

      Burying the train track in a tunnel would be even better. If they had planned it for the long term in the 50s it would have been cheaper than building (and rebuilding) all the under- and overpasses for the streets. (Parc, Clark, St-Laurent, St-Denis, Rosemont). Freight trains don’t need crossings, stations or lights so the tunnel would be very simple. It already has its own corridor, so a cheap dig-and-cover tunnel would suffice without complicated expropriations.
      It will never happen because CN owns that corridor and is king. They were first and everything else needs to adapt for ten trains a day.

      If I were king…

    • CE 12:26 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      A hotel is definitely needed in the neighbourhood. There is so much office space around there and when clients or out-of-town employees come to the city to work at those buildings, they want to stay somewhere nearby. Usually they’re put up in Mile End Air bnbs. It really doesn’t make sense to have them stay in a downtown hotel and get them take an Uber or the 55 there and back every day.

      Personally, I like that style of window. It’s similar to what was used on this building, which I think turned out well.

    • CE 12:29 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      @mare, someone from the city was interviewed about the viaduct on the CBC this morning and she said it’s nearing the end of its life and will need either a major overhaul or will have to be torn down by 2030. Hopefully it’s repurposed in a way that’s better than it is currently.

    • Blork 12:29 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      Hmm. It’s encouraging that the developer has reached out to Heritage Montreal instead of just barging in with their own ideas. My main concern is that they preserve the overall look and scale of the building along with key details like the lettering and the water tank, and the diagrams show they plan to do that.

      I actually like the faux-industrial windows, as they fit in with the scale and historical era of the original building. Even if they’re not the original windows it looks like they COULD have been, so that somewhat preserves the look and feel of the building in its industrial and neighbourhood setting. Given what a well known and loved local landmark it is, it would be a shame to transform it into something unrecognizable or something that moves it out of its historical context.

    • MarcG 12:40 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      @Ian: I’d be interested to hear those voices if you can point me to them.

    • shawn 12:45 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      I do agree that a hotel is needed in Mile End. Especially since the one under construction on Laurier and Esplanade is sitting in limbo.

    • mare 12:51 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      @CE The Van Horne overpass was at its end of life a few years ago, and was going to be torn down. But in the end they spent a few million dollars on patching-up to extend its life a few years. As is common in Montreal.

    • Joey 13:11 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      LOL to the idea that there still remain parts of Mile-End that could be *more* gentrified. Good one!

      Yes, a hotel is needed, but, uh, you don’t have to look far to see what happens to hotel developments in Mile-End. I wonder what the city can do to ensure that this project doesn’t get similarly scrapped partway through.

      Anyway, a hotel-focused development as part of a grand agreement that short-term rentals will be actually forbidden (maybe the borough can work out a pilot project deal whereby they enforce the rules on behalf of Revenu Quebec?) seems like the right move.

    • Blork 13:25 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      @mare, I’m not a civil engineer, but AFAIK you can’t just bury short stretches of train tracks because that would require adding both down and up grades that are too steep for trains. (To go from elevated to buried would be a drop of what, 20 or 30 metres?) They’d have to bury it for a very long stretch to smooth out that drop, like from Frontenac to Rockland probably, and you can imagine how much that would cost. Result: ain’t gonna happen.

    • Joey 15:38 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      File ‘level crossings’ under the ‘careful what you wish for’ category… those frieght trains can be huge and slow… any idea what the average wait time and frequency of delays would be? I got stuck waiting for a freight train in the sud-ouest last year and it felt like a solid 15 minutes before the barriers raised. I wonder if it was actually a lot slower and only felt faster. The status quo (most people can illegally cross the tracks most of the time without danger of injury or mega-fine) might be our best-case scenario…

    • Blork 18:41 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      Of course. Level crossings for a line that cuts right through the middle of the city like that would be a disaster. Mare was talking about burying it underground, but as I pointed out, that would be hugely expensive and disruptive for very little benefit.

    • Joey 20:06 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      I think mare was proposing both a tunnel and a level crossing. A tunnel is a non-starter but I think a lot of us reflexively assume a level crossing in mile end would be an improvement…

  • Kate 15:44 on 2023-01-31 Permalink | Reply  

    Speaking of mobs and restaurants, Alexandre on Peel is facing a thirty‑day shutdown over a list of issues: allowing known mobsters in, staff dealing coke, and breaking Covid rules in 2021. It is not the first time the establishment has found itself in hot water.

    I’ve never worked in the restaurant biz. How does a restaurant maintain controls on banned individuals, given that turnover of staff means servers might not be familiar with specific people?

    • Blork 16:27 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

      Also, how can someone be banned from a restaurant — by the law and not just restaurant policy — simply because they are known to be mobsters? What does that even mean? There are tons of people out there who are known to be involved in organized crime but unless you catch them red-handed doing something you can’t just declare that they can’t go to a restaurant simply because we know they’re in the mob.

      Or am I missing something? Because otherwise that’s right out of a dictatorship or some kind of monarchy where the king is boss of everything. It doesn’t work like that in a democracy. You can’t legally deny people their rights just because you don’t like them or you suspect they do something you don’t like.

    • dwgs 17:31 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

      That place is douchebag central and during Grand Prix time the douchebag quotient rises exponentially. I am pointing and laughing.

    • Ephraim 17:37 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

      I’m surprised just by the fact that the Quebec government is actually doing something… anything. I mean, we all know that a certain bar owner / restauranteur got caught underpouring and yet they got a slap on the wrist, when they should have been ordered to pour into measured glasses forever. But then, maybe all businesses should be required to pour their beer into measured glasses, like they have to do is much of Europe. Their answer was removing the pour amounts from the menu… voila, no more underpouring

    • Kate 18:35 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

      Blork, I don’t know, but it’s clear from the article that the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ) can shut an establishment down for allowing the “présence d’individus liés au crime organisé” as it says. I’ve seen occasional references to this kind of thing in news stories before.

      I don’t know whether “How was I supposed to know?” carries any weight with that Régie, or – as I was asking – “How was the waiter I hired last week supposed to know who that was, and be certain enough, to deny him service?”

    • azrhey 19:02 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

      It’s not just “mob person goes to restaurant for nice romantic evening with gf” but also “mob person almsot had their own table assigned and is known to spend hours there conducting business”

      I know of some restaurants where some people are just nearly always there with a glass of wine or a coffee and a bunch of papers with a merry go round of people walking in and walking out… business is being conducted, sometimes food is had.

    • Blork 19:06 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

      @azrhey, but why is that a legal issue? How can the LAW says they can’t do that? How’s that different from students spending all afternoon in a cafe nursing one latté? (Annoying, yes, but not illegal. And if it’s a problem it should be the cafe or restaurant who bans the person, not the LAW.)

    • Kate 23:30 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

      Blork, I think there’s a distinction here between law, and the rules laid down by the Régie des alcools etc., which governs whether people can have, or can exercise, a liquor license. Having a liquor license is a privilege, not a right.

    • Blork 01:22 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      I know. I just don’t get this bit where you can lose your liquor license because somebody went into your bar. Or put another way, a person can have the power to make a place lose its liquor license just by walking in the door.

      What might be missing from this equation is if the supposed mobsters have actually been convicted of a crime and one of the stipulations of their punishment is that they’re not allowed to go to certain businesses, the way a pedo might be not allowed to go near a school. But all we got from the article is that these people are “known to be mobsters” and I can’t see how that alone can be the basis for any such thing.

    • Tim S. 08:51 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      Blork: restaurant owners have great discretion in how they treat their guests. As Azrehey said, if someone comes in for a normal dinner, and you don’t give them special treatment, I doubt that will cause a problem – after all, lots of establishments have probably hosted dubious characters every now and then and get to stay open. But do you great them with a giant hug, lead them to their permanently reserved table, trade complimentary bottles for massive cash tips?

      That said, hopefully the Regie has a more codified working definition to prevent abuse, but at the moment I don’t think the implementation is as hair-trigger as you fear.

    • Ian 09:08 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      The law is mostly to prevent places from becoming hotbeds of criminal activity. That said yeah Alexandre is pretty douchey. For example, female staff are encouraged to be “friendly” with select patrons. That said, the coke and mob thing is true of pretty much anywhere downtown that isn’t a student dive.

      The place I used to hang out before it got set ablaze had two managers – one who sold the dope, one who sold the coke.

    • Blork 12:16 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      OMG OK this is my last comment on this. Is it ME who is not being clear? How is I can say the same thing over and over and still people don’t understand what I mean?

      Tim S, I have no “fear” of a “hair trigger.” I have no idea where you got that. And I am NOT talking about restaurant policy regarding who is admitted or how to treat people. All I’m trying to understand is how THE LAW can shut down a restaurant because some clients are “known to be mobsters.”

      THAT IS NOT HOW THE LAW WORKS. You have to be TRIED AND CONVICTED of something before the law can prevent you from doing something that other people can do freely. There is no mention in the article of these mobsters being tried and convicted of anything. (Maybe they were, and if so, that’s a flaw in the article, and if it’s true then it resolves everything.) Because otherwise you cannot prevent someone from going to a restaurant just because you KNOW they are mobsters (or any other kind of nefarious person). If there is no trial and no conviction there is NO LEGAL BARRIER.

      Why is that so hard for people to grasp?

    • walkerp 12:38 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      because that’s clearly now how the law is working in this case. I recommend you ask a lawyer or somebody in the legal world to explain to you how this works, instead of arguing about it what is clearly going on.

      My layman’s guess is they have special laws to deal with organized crime and that is what is being applied here.

    • Joey 13:21 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      I would imagine that your typical big city mobster, actively conducting business in a fine local eatery (that surely has no financial connection whatsoever to any criminal enterprise), would more often than not be subject to all kinds of probation/parole-related limits on their behaviour. And even though I don’t KNOW HOW THE LAW WORKS because I’m not a lawyer (is *anyone* here a lawyer?) I would imagine that it’s at least *plausible* that there is some provision somewhere in the civil or criminal code that says that if you run a business and you know that criminals are using the business to do crimes and you are aware of the nature of their crimes and you are a direct or indirect sponsor/beneficiary of these crimes and you are probably also a witness or participant in these crimes, you may not be entitled to a liquor license without restriction – even if you haven’t been tried and convicted of anything. Similarly, if you run a restaurant and leave the chicken out, you’ll be fined even if you don’t, you know, sit through a trial.

    • Kate 15:11 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

      Joey: H. John, who often comments here with legal facts, is a lawyer. If any other regular participant can put “maître” before their name they have not let me know.

  • Kate 15:28 on 2023-01-31 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro considers four dossiers concerning Montreal that will come up in Quebec City now that the National Assembly is in session again.

    • Kate 14:30 on 2023-01-31 Permalink | Reply  

      The STM has relaunched plans to find a contractor to build the southern extension of the SRB Pie‑IX between the Olympic park and Notre‑Dame. Quebec’s in, even though its original plan to pass the REM de l’Est along Notre‑Dame is not happening.

      • Kate 12:16 on 2023-01-31 Permalink | Reply  

        La Presse’s André Dubuc reports that nobody has nibbled on the city’s project to build social housing on the old Blue Bonnets site. Dubuc says developers claim the city is asking too much, but not giving guarantees about a gradual development of the rest of the site, meaning any first project built could stand there in isolation for a long time. A professor also chimes in saying the city’s imposing too many conditions on any project proposed there.

        • jeather 13:00 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          I understand no other development is guaranteed but it is right next to a Walmart and not far from Namur metro, restaurants, actual grocery stores, it’s not exactly horribly isolated.

        • Blork 14:53 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          It’s an odd site, surrounded on two sides by railroad tracks and a third side by light industrial buildings. There’s no through traffic, so it can feel a bit like something bolted on at the edge of the world. From the mid-point it’s still almost a 1km walk to the Namur Metro station.

          I wonder if the concern is that with a lack of mixed use or higher-end residences that it might become some kind of low-rent ghetto like there used to be in the 1960s and 70s with what were then called “housing projects.”

        • jeather 15:47 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          Yeah it is a weird site, and it is a bad distance from a metro — a bit too far for an easy walk, a bit too close for a full bus schedule. This is not going to be a higher-end residence location unless, I guess, something spills over from the Royalmount project.

        • Blork 16:43 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          I think the original vision was probably that developments like we see in The Triangle would spill over into that area. As in, a bunch of different condo buildings of different types, all connected by landscaped green bits and nice footpaths and low-speed roads, with little shops on the ground floors, etc. I’m sure someone envisioned a little urban utopia in there, with the lack of through traffic actually being a plus (i.e., no cars racing through; the only traffic being local).

          That could still happen I think, but it will require a special kind of visionary, and would take involvement from a bunch of different parties (real estate, developers, the city, retailers, etc.) and they would all have to agree on what they’re doing, and they’d have to have the flexibility to be creative. I doubt any of that is going to happen, especially with the competition from The Triangle and Royalmount right there.

        • Kevin 21:04 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          I still think the largest issue will be getting trucks in and out of that area, considering the only access is through two of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country.

        • James 10:58 on 2023-02-01 Permalink

          In 2009 when the city released the report about the cote-des-neiges tramway, the terminus in phase one was at Jean-Talon and Cote-des-neiges. Phase two planned to extend it westwards into the Hippodrome area. Unfortunately, the tramway idea came to nothing. This would have been the primary method to ensure that the area was pedestrian-friendly.

          On re-reading the “Plan de transport 2008” adopted by the Tremblay administration, only 2 1/2 projects didn’t happen:
          Orange line extension to Bois-Franc
          Tramway network
          Pie-IX SRB all the way to downtown (only goes to Pie-IX station)
          The airport to downtown train planned for was replaced by the more ambitious REM project.
          Not too bad…

      • Kate 10:14 on 2023-01-31 Permalink | Reply  

        Gentile Pizzeria in Westmount was hit by gunfire overnight.

        • mare 10:50 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          Interesting, they start combining the “gunshots with no victims’ with arsons.

          You never hear that all those arsons of restaurants and other businesses that happened over the years have ever been solved, and a protection racket rolled up by the police. (Or if they did, they kept it very quiet.)

          Will this one fare better, now it fits in the current ‘narrative of interest’?

        • Chris 11:03 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          What “narrative of interest” are you alluding to?

        • Ephraim 11:20 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          @mare – The Pizza Huts in St-Leonard and Anjou used to have a sign on the door saying that they were corporately owned and had no control over buying.

        • Kate 11:31 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          It’s a long-standing grift in this town: the mob wants to control pizza toppings – the cheese and the pepperoni in particular – and force pizzerias to only buy from them. It sounds like a comic mob movie setup, but it isn’t.

        • Tim S. 11:43 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          I remember awhile ago the RCMP, I think, set up a currency-exchange shop as part of a sting operation to catch money launderers. How hard would it be to set up a pizza place and see who comes asking for protection money?

        • shawn 13:03 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          Yes it’s no joke. I spoke with someone from the Italian community who told me that early on people had no choice but to buy cheese from Saputo. It’s a legit company now but its mafia ties remain a contested topic: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-dairy-mogul-lino-saputo-had-secret-past-dealings-with-u-s-mobster-joe-bonanno-then-lied-about-it-1.5428629

        • Kate 15:34 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          Tim S., now that IS a mob movie setup.

        • dwgs 17:34 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          That currency exchange was on de Maisonneuve at Peel, right across the street from where the money launderers had an office. The office was, perhaps not coincidentally, on the second or third floor of the building where the temporarily shuttered Chez Alexandre is.

        • mare 23:38 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          @Chris The increase of shootings without victims or perpetrators that was the reason to add millions to the police budget.

      • Kate 10:01 on 2023-01-31 Permalink | Reply  

        CBC has a piece on how cuts at the Gazette are bad for English news, and they speak to editors of smaller papers. It’s telling that one of the editors admits her readership is all elderly. It’s also telling that Gazette editor Bert Archer wasn’t talking about the situation.

        • Ephraim 11:27 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          Traditional media is all elderly. A few months ago, Variety printed an article https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/the-cw-age-average-viewer-broadcast-1235342962/ about the average age of viewers for live TV. The CW, which aims at the youngest audience had an average age of viewership of 57.

          Personally, I haven’t bought a paper newspaper in well over a decade, maybe 2 by now. I haven’t bought a magazine is about that long (other than when I bought some for my late mother to read at the hospital and it was hard to even find a store that carried them anymore) and I don’t usually even watch the TV news anymore.

          It’s unfortunately, oddly enough, it isn’t the newspapers which really do the digging anymore. It’s the local TV news and as they cut it corporately and centralize news, we get less and less of the local stuff, which is what made people watch in the first place

        • Blork 11:50 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          It doesn’t help that the web versions of corporate news sites like the Gazette and CTV provide such awful user experiences, as has been noted here several times.

          The amount of advertising is almost unbearable, but what’s worse is the auto-playing video that follows even after you scroll past it, and the text jumping every few seconds as ads refresh and their container sizes change, plus all those shitty clickbait programmatic ads at the bottom, which degrade the site’s brand and seriousness (as far as I’m concerned).

          Also, corporate media sites are usually not very searchable and have terrible archiving. It’s as if they’re still locked into the old newspaper way of thinking that “today’s news is all that matters; leave the archiving up to the librarians!”

          No vision at all, other than “get as many ad impressions as possible!” It feels like they are run entirely by end-of-career general managers who went back to school for a year in 1998 to upgrade their “information superhighway” skills and haven’t looked forward since.

        • Kevin 12:11 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          I enjoyed this Twitter thread although I disagree with part of it: https://twitter.com/richardwarnica/status/1618623883845996546

          One problem is that companies that used to spend money on local advertising now give it all to a couple of massive international behemoths. A second is that there is widespread fraud in digital advertising so that companies never really know where their ads are appearing, or even if they are being seen by actual humans.

        • shawn 14:46 on 2023-01-31 Permalink

          I’ve currently been on hold with Postmedia for an hour trying to update my Gazette payment and account info. Not to cancel-just update. Automated callback not working either. Everything just seems to be hollowed out, there.

      • Kate 09:58 on 2023-01-31 Permalink | Reply  

        A fight broke out Monday evening in Montreal North, leaving one man in critical condition. Police say the fight was over drugs.

        Compose new post
        Next post/Next comment
        Previous post/Previous comment
        Show/Hide comments
        Go to top
        Go to login
        Show/Hide help
        shift + esc