Updates from February, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:24 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    A presser/demo was held Monday to make the point that if Quebec handed over some cash, a lot of existing social housing could be renovated rather than condemned. Social housing units have been falling into disrepair at a terrible clip, meanwhile few new ones are being built.

    • Ephraim 09:20 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      We need a report to tell us WHY they fell into disrepair. Was it because the costs of repair were too high? More repairs were needed because it was built badly? More repairs were needed because of the clientele? Without knowing WHY this is happening, it’s just throwing money at a problem, not fixing it.

    • Cadichon 09:39 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      Historically, Quebec has allocated a fixed amount per unit for the maintenance of every HLM across the province. But a typical HLM in a rural area is a one or two storey wood frame building with senior tenants. In Montreal, you’ll find large HLM building with elevators and more varied tenants, including people with mental health issues. So maintenance costs in Montreal have been higher than the allocated sums for decades.

    • Ephraim 12:01 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      That’s known. But it has to be more complicated than that. A building doesn’t go down to being condemned so quickly. We also know that maintenance is very expensive in Montreal because they are using city workers who are unionized and highly paid. Which is how REITs make their money… having many apartments, they can afford to keep maintenance people on contract and keep maintenance costs down.

      So the end result is that it may be cheaper in the long run to either consider going the way of Habitat for Humanity and building units that have a lease-to-own component so that people are invested in the maintenance of their own unit and the building or having contracts with REITs to do the maintenance or even long term contracts with REITs to actually run the property. Or even have the CDPQ set up a REIT specifically to do that with a fixed profit margin.

      But I think we are better off spending the money to clearly understand the underlying problem that just throwing money at it. To tackle this from a rational standpoint, rather than making assumptions. It’s like the problem with the Commission Scolaire de Montreal and maintenance. They clearly skimped on the budget and essentially planned on waiting until the government had no choice but to rescue them. And they did. When they should have considered taking control or even setting up a minimum percentage of budget spent for maintenance and holding them accountable for not doing maintenance instead they were just handed money. And I’m willing to bet we will see them do exactly the same thing again. Because it’s too easy to RUN to the government, when clearly there is mismanagement happening.

  • Kate 19:54 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Heritage Montreal is concerned about plans for the Van Horne warehouse; I’m seeing on Facebook that there’s to be a meeting March 15 at the Rialto, organized by several Mile End community groups, to discuss the issue.

    • Poutine Pundit 00:41 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      “Ce que l’on craint, c’est que ce projet autorisé par la Ville ne se concrétise pas et qu’il soit abandonné en cours de route, faute de moyens financiers, laissant ensuite le bâtiment à l’état d’épave et que l’on perde pour rien.”

      Isn’t there the same risk of the building decaying beyond repair if nothing is done?

      Is there a way to ensure the developer has enough money to carry his project to fruition?

      It sounds like the only acceptable use for this building according to Heritage Montreal is as a windowless warehouse. Most other uses will require windows to be added. I agree the general shape of the building needs to be preserved, the ghost signs facing Saint-Laurent, as does the water tower. The windowless brick walls? I think there’s room for flexibility on that one…

    • Kate 11:51 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      I think that’s why those groups want to hold a meeting, to find out what people would like to see, rather than simply saying No.

    • DeWolf 12:12 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      The idea that historic buildings need to be preserved in amber is very old fashioned. It’s also a good way to end up with a lot of empty buildings. As Poutine Pundit says, the real heritage value of the warehouse is the water tower and the ghost signs (I would also add its distinctive form). Not the blank walls.

      At this point, the only outcome that would make most people happy is if some well-heeled philanthropist like Phoebe Greenberg swept it with plans to convert the warehouse into some kind of cultural space. Galleries don’t need windows.

      Of course, that would be even more of a gentrifying force than a hotel. Which brings up a problem I have with this whole debate. It’s obvious that you can’t turn the warehouse into social housing, despite the delusions of groups like Mile End Ensemble. It would be so expensive as to be an unconscionable waste of public resources. So the question of what to do with the warehouse becomes, ‘What flavour of gentrification do you want?’ Because gentrification is a massive economic force that transcends this one project. Whether it’s a hotel or some kind of creative community space, it will feed the beast.

    • Blork 12:55 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      One of the things that Heritage Montreal is concerned about (according to the article) is the feasibility of converting the building in terms of the structure’s ability to be easily converted. As in, they worry that an essentially hollow warehouse cannot easily be converted into apartments or similar living spaces due to technical constraints, and that trying to do so might end up causing cost overruns and possibly the abandonment of the project, which would leave the building derelict. (Personally, I find this argument refreshing because it’s entirely a technical issue instead of the usual polarizing social rhetorical ones, but I digress.)

      That angle definitely needs a closer look.

    • Kate 21:48 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      Blork, it’s not an unrealistic worry that a project could get started then fizzle if an investor were to pull out or technical problems make the work more complicated and expensive than expected.

      Nobody wants to suggest tearing it down, but a lot of new housing could be built on that lot, if they did.

    • Joey 10:42 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

      @Kate my understanding is that, after Lac Megantic, new housing could *not* be built on that lot, but I am happy to be corrected. The building is (a) at the extreme end of a residential hood, (b) is a basically unused warehouse and (c) cannot contribute to easing the housing crunch, at least not directly. Odd that it has become a lightning rod for the mile end housing debate, IMO.

    • Kate 11:40 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

      I wonder, Joey, There might be some spaces facing Van Horne that are far enough from the rail line to build on? It’s an odd space though and the shape was clearly intended to interact with the rail line.

    • Joey 13:04 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

      Even if housing were viable, given the nature of the lot and the building it’s hard to imagine a developer being able to build “affordable” units on that spot. Just seems like the wrong focus but ymmv.

  • Kate 17:39 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Jonathan Massari, accused of conspiring to kill several high‑profile mobsters in recent years, has pleaded guilty to the conspiracy. It’s no walk in the park – he’ll probably be sentenced to 25 years.

    • Joey 18:01 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      Yeah, but think of all the drone deliveries!

  • Kate 17:34 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Aaron Derfel has a report Monday on six questionable deaths at the Lakeshore ER and says the staff informed Christian Dubé, who didn’t respond. CBC radio is saying the PLQ is demanding an inquiry.

    • Uatu 01:46 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      Deaths in private nursing homes and ERs under his watch… how is this guy still health minister?

    • Tim S. 10:32 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      An inquiry is surely a good idea, but does the PLQ honestly think we’ve all forgotten that they were in charge only 5 years ago and this is all their fault too?

  • Kate 11:20 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The folks who developed the Transit app have created a new function which will use AI to track buses in real time, allowing users to see immediately whether their bus has been sent on a detour. The functionality will also be added to the STM website.

    (Excellent photo at the top of the story, with a person apparently in despair about the bus. The election poster in the background features Marcel Côté, who ran for mayor in 2013.)

    • carswell 11:24 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      She was probably waiting for the 747 and realizing she wasn’t going to make her flight.

    • Thomas 11:34 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      Oh là là, how fancy. What, an illegibly scrawled message by an STM employee in black marker on a piece of cardboard cut out of an old box and duct taped to the bus stop isn’t good enough anymore??? 😉

      Seriously though, just making the real-time bus tracking functionality from 2018 work reliably would be more helpful to me than this. Also, some way to see in an app when a bus departure has been outright cancelled would be nice. But AI makes for an exciting headline.

    • Spi 11:38 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      Wasn’t the 2018 feature of real-time bus tracking entirely dependent on Transit app users and not actual GPS data from the bus? From my vague recollection a user would need to use the transit app and leave it open during their commute since they would be the one geolocating the bus in real time.

    • Blork 11:43 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      I’m looking forward to the “deep fake” buses, where you think you’re on the 24 heading east on Sherbrooke but in fact you’re in the back of a garbage truck.

    • Thomas 11:53 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      @SPI Both exist. GPS in the buses was rolled out in 2018, that’s how they are able to announce the stops on board. But there is also an independent system run by the Transit app that I believe predates the onboard GPS, whereby users of the app can opt in to sharing their location while on a bus. The two continue to operate independently of each other.

      It’s just that the STM GPS data doesn’t always make it from their API to the various apps that plug into it (including Transit — which is why it’s helpful for Transit to have a backup system)

    • jaddle 15:26 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      They can show cancelled departures – I’ve seen it *once*. (the schedule time has a strikethrough). I agree that this would be extremely useful, as would just consistent gps data. Is the bus cancelled, or is it 10 minutes late? It’d be really good to know. Also, some way to show when the bus will be starting its route – for example, catching the 90 at Alexis Nihon, half the time, the bus finishes an eastbound route and turns around to start the westbound. It’d be great if the app could figure out from the late arrival that the departure will also be late.

  • Kate 11:09 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The chilling effect of the pandemic on commuting to the office is likely to slash the Caisse de dépôt’s expected profits from the REM, according to the experts consulted by the Journal here.

    • Ephraim 12:22 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      The DIRECT profits from the REM itself. What about the indirect profits from the land around their stations, services around the stations and buildings that they own around it?

    • DeWolf 02:09 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

      // «Le REM a été conçu dans une perspective de 2019. Avant même qu’il entre en service, on est déjà en train de se demander s’il n’y a pas trop de transport en commun pour nos besoins», explique M. Meloche. //

      Wow, so the head of the school of urbanism at Montreal’s largest university thinks we have too much public transit. If this is what influential people in the transit space think, no wonder we’re in such a mess. No doubt the likes of M. Meloche wouldn’t be caught dead on the metro or bus (ew, gross).

      Another quote in the story suggests that Meloche believes transit can only succeed if it’s funnelling people to and from downtown. Dinosaurs are still alive…

  • Kate 10:50 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The new landlord of a solid-looking Outremont apartment building is putting tenants through hell. They pay below the current Outremont average rent so too bad, they have to suck it up.

    • DeWolf 13:02 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      Carolyn Iarrera sounds like an awful human being. Not surprising though, second generation rich kids are usually the worst.

      As the lawyer quoted at the end of the article notes, all of this is clearly illegal, but it’s kind of shocking it takes so long to be dealt with. The city and CNESST have already issued stop work orders at various points. Hopefully the TAL will crack the whip.

    • shawn 16:01 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      Landlord obviously has her own side of the story but if someone is seeing white asbestos powder coating their apt… wow.

  • Kate 10:43 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    A skateboarder is in critical condition after a hit‑and‑run Sunday evening in the Village. Police may have found the vehicle involved, but not yet located the driver.

    Update: As noted below by Blork, the young man has died.

    • Blork 13:03 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      CBC has change this to a hit and run fatality.

    • Kate 13:57 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      Yes. Not surprising. I don’t see many skateboarders in wintertime.

      I wonder whether I should put this on the “pedestrians killed” map.

    • jeather 15:10 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      Leaving the car you used for a hit & run seems like the stupidest of both worlds. Going to be a lot harder to find a black SUV than find the owner of a specific abandoned one. What a tragedy.

      Feels more like cyclists killed, if you’re thinking about where to put the update.

    • dwgs 15:36 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      jeather, the car was either stolen or the driver was under the influence but still savvy enough to dump it and get away until they could sober up.

    • Kate 15:52 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      jeather, I think you’re right. Thank you.

  • Kate 10:40 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    St-Hubert airport is to get a new terminal as Porter Airlines promises more domestic flights to be added to the 200 planes leaving the airport daily. Like Dorval, Longueuil will have to cope with more noise, too.

    Radio-Canada covered it a little later, adding a mention of a hotel as well.

    • carswell 11:25 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      More supporters for the TGV and a ban on Montreal-Toronto flights!

    • Blork 11:46 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      But in the meantime it means a lot fewer unwashed south shore suburbanites drunk-driving their murderous SUVs across the Champlain bridge and hit-and-running themselves all the way to Dorval.

    • qatzelok 13:22 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      Like building a new cigarette factory.

  • Kate 10:37 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada followed a kind of specialized boot camp for people aspiring to get hired as police by the SPVM, including a segment where they have to function after being pepper‑sprayed.

    • MarcG 11:06 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

      Nice segue

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