Updates from September, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:02 on 2023-09-03 Permalink | Reply  

    A viral Instagram video showing people holding a rowdy celebration on the front steps of St Joseph’s Oratory is being called fake: a spokesman says there’s no evidence of a fire on the front steps and nobody heard any noises like those in the video.

    • Kate 11:18 on 2023-09-03 Permalink | Reply  

      The Journal looks into the early origins of Cirque du Soleil.

      • Kate 10:54 on 2023-09-03 Permalink | Reply  

        Speaking of things in sidewalks, I have a poser for my readers.

        I live on a typical Villeray side street, with light poles in the sidewalk at reasonable distances apart.

        One of these lights has been out for a long time, creating a pool of darkness on my side. The immediate neighbourhood has a Facebook page, and neighbours have noted that emailing the borough and calling 311 hasn’t worked.

        I also emailed them and got the same mysterious reply (in English!) that others have received in French: “Unfortunately, we cannot follow up on the request for the reason below: This request is under the responsibility of an organization other than the city. For more information, call 311.”

        This light pole is placed in the sidewalk, same as all the others on the block. The pole is the same model as the rest, it isn’t inside the property line and there are no obvious anomalies in the layout there.

        We can’t figure out why one lamp would be under someone else’s responsibility and, if so, who it could be.

        What do we try next?

        • carswell 11:02 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          How frustrating! Did you or any of the other neighbourhood Facebookies actually call 311? Someone at the city must know under whose jurisdiction the streetlight falls. If not, try escalating to the media? A La Presse or mocking JdeM article might prompt action.

        • Nicholas 11:25 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          Some cities own their lights and some cities have lights owned by Hydro. It seems Montreal owns them based on some news articles, but even if this one light is owned by Hydro, Hydro will not take a request to fix it from the public: it has to come from the municipality. carswell makes a good suggestion; emailing your elected officials may also help.

        • Kate 11:27 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          I think the next thing would be to email the councillor. The light pole is not the one closest to my place, so I’ll suggest that to the person who initiated the discussion, whose address is right beside the dead light.

          Thank you both.

        • dhomas 14:13 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          What’s worked for me is opening a request on the Montreal app on my phone. When the request is closed (often without any corrective action), I call 311 and ask for a follow-up. They usually have notes and what happened in the handling of the ticket. They also usually take action this way.

        • Chris 14:59 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          The system is pretty Kafkaesque sometimes.

          Some public garbage bins at a plaza near me are often overflowing, literally full, with trash falling off the top onto the sidewalk. Calling 311 will get them emptied that one time, but it never gets fixed systemically. Yesterday, a city worker was emptying a nearby trashcan, I approached her, thanked her for her work, and told her about the overflowing ones 30 metres away. She said: “and you want me to do someone else’s job?” I was confused. She explained her job is to empty *park* trash cans, not other ones. That’s a different department you see. So despite being 30m away, working for the city, having a truck, gloves, shovel, and garbage bags, she just wasn’t having it. It’s the kind of stuff that makes people hate unions.

        • Ian 15:29 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          Part of that is how this city works. Same reason traffic cops just give tickets, yiu can practically anything else in front of them and they don’t care.
          Other cities have unions too, but you don’t see the same bureaucratic siloing from city workers elsewhere.

        • DisgruntledGoat 15:52 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          Thanks for posting this, I love slice-of-life city content and its inherent absurdity!

        • Kevin 17:23 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          This isn’t just Montreal- I have encountered the same “not my job, and not my job to find out” regarding lamp posts in other cities.

          I concluded the only way to find out who was responsible would be to chop down the post

        • Tim S. 20:21 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          @Chris: I once asked a parking agent driving down my street to ticket a car parked too close to an intersection. She couldn’t: she only ticketed cars blocking street cleaners.

          To be fair, rather than blaming unions I might also ask what constraints the bosses might be putting on the workers: emptying a trash can 30 meters away might take five minutes, which doesn’t seem like much once but repeated a few times might mean they won’t finish their allotted tasks within time. On the other hand, building in a margin of error for little extra tasks can be seen as inefficient when repeated across the entire city workforce. So I dunno.

        • DeWolf 22:54 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          It’s not unions and it’s not Montreal. Part of reporting on civic issues in Hong Kong meant understanding how different government departments could constantly pass the buck.

          Leisure and Cultural Services Department: “Oh that’s not our problem, it’s the Lands Department.”

          Lands Department: “No actually that’s the Marine Department.”

          Marine Department: “We have no record of what you’re talking about. Check with the Home Affairs Bureau.”

        • walkerp 08:28 on 2023-09-04 Permalink

          You can call Hydro-Quebec about the pole.

        • Kate 10:51 on 2023-09-04 Permalink

          DeWolf: I bet it was the same in ancient Rome, if not in Mohenjo-Daro or Cahokia.

          walkerp: I’ve advised the person who initially posted – whose address is beside the dead street light – to try Hydro-Quebec, but keeping in mind Nicholas’s warning that this may involve two bureaucracies…

        • Meezly 12:31 on 2023-09-04 Permalink

          I just reported two long-standing potholes in my area using the city’s online service. It was very simple, but required that I take a photo (fair enough). Will see how it goes!

          Looks like there are a plethora of problems one can report online, ie. cleanliness, broken streetlight, etc. if one doesn’t like using the phone.

        • DeWolf 18:30 on 2023-09-04 Permalink

          I’m a big fan of the Montreal app. It has never failed me. Every time I report a pothole, or a pile of randomly dumped garbage, it gets fixed. Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks for the potholes but they’re always done.

        • Mark Côté 10:04 on 2023-09-05 Permalink

          There’s a tree growing in an alley next door that has branches extending well into my (landlord’s) property. It’s great shade but has a slowly dying branch right above my deck. The landlord told me that the city won’t do anything about it because this alley, which provides access to rear driveways to other houses, isn’t owned by the city but instead some sort of numbered corporation. There shouldn’t have been any trees planted on this alley, but I guess some long-term nearby owner either planted one or let a wild one grow. Apparently finding anyone responsible for dealing with this tree has been very challenging.

      • Kate 10:47 on 2023-09-03 Permalink | Reply  

        La Presse did what the journalist admits was an unscientific survey, using Google Streetview and simply walking around, to take note of how many trees are missing from the holes made for them in sidewalks, and for how long.

        But there are often legitimate reasons why there’s no tree there. Downtown trees are subject to a lot of abuse, from people locking bikes to them, signs hammered into their bark and damage from salt and snow removal, to simple vandalism. The article also reveals a few spots where, despite good intentions, you can’t plant a tree, such as right next to a street light pole or under a hotel awning.

        • Orr 04:54 on 2023-09-06 Permalink

          The famous (to us) tiger pit on Hutchison between Laurier and Fairmount has been a pit in the middle of the sidewalk (right in the middle!) in the 20 years we’ve lived nearby. There’s a pit on both sides of the streets to make sure those tigers get trapped.

      • Kate 10:26 on 2023-09-03 Permalink | Reply  

        A couple is annoying their neighbours by feeding raccoons, skunks and other animals on their property in Rivière-des-Prairies. They’ve been fined and issued mises en demeure but they go on doing it. It’s a bit of a story about how people can flout the law over time, and get away with it.

        • Sprocket 11:26 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          This boggles my mind. Evangelical obligation? WTF?

        • Kate 11:29 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          People sometimes have individual interpretations of religious scriptures…

        • steph 11:42 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          Keep fining them. Every day.

        • Blork 12:31 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          Not directly related but sort of… I was heading down Papineau across from Parc Lafontaine one afternoon a few weeks ago and I saw a couple standing there on the sidewalk. One of them was holding a raccoon in his arms as if it were a child or a puppy. The other had two kitten-sized raccoons clinging to her shoulders. I’m like… oh, so cute, but FFS these are wild animals. Leave them be!

        • Andrew 14:24 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          There was a guy in Westmount who called himself an extreme animal lover, he’d dump bags of peanuts out for the squirrels. It went on for like 10 years with fines, injunctions and Westmount started tailing him with plain clothes security officers. He counter sued and almost made it to the supreme court.

        • Chris 14:48 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          People in my hood are constantly leaving food out for squirrels and birds. I once saw a lady doing it and talked to her, told her it was against bylaws, how it’s ultimately bad for the animals, also feeds rats, etc. etc. but she did not care. It was quite like she was on a religious mission.

        • Uatu 15:10 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          Here’s some fun stuff you can contract while playing with your raccoon friends: Lyme disease, rabies, roundworms from the feces, Giardiasis a microscopic protazoal infection, Leptospira species (a bacterial infection), other bacterial diseases (such as Salmonella or E. Coli), fungus and rare parasites. These irresponsible wild animal lovers are one scratch away from the ER.

        • Tim S. 20:25 on 2023-09-03 Permalink

          Roundworms, eh? Wish me luck as I spend Labour Day cleaning various deposits off my back balcony.

        • Kate 12:07 on 2023-09-04 Permalink

          Is feeding birds in the same nuisance (and bad for the species) category as feeding invasive mammals?

        • EG 14:03 on 2023-09-04 Permalink

          I’d like to feed birds, but it’s hard not to also attract squirrels, which we don’t want because they sometimes nest in our roof.

        • Blork 17:54 on 2023-09-04 Permalink

          Kate, some people are of the opinion that feeding birds is also bad for the species, etc., although I’ve not seen any clear explanation of WHY other than the standard “let nature take care of itself” argument. I confess this has not stopped me from feeding birds in the park in winter. There’s something very special about having chickadees and nuthatches land on your hand and pick out seeds to eat.

        • jeather 10:49 on 2023-09-05 Permalink

          I tried feeding birds until one of the cats brought a dead one (I suspect one that flew into the glass door and stunned itself so it fell onto the balcony) into my bedroom. She really loves feathered toys.

        • dhomas 17:31 on 2023-09-05 Permalink

          Do I need to take down my cardinal feeder? I have a feeder made with a counterweight that only opens for cardinals (this one: https://www.mondou.com/en-CA/unique-cardinal-feeder-1004142.html). I put feed that attracts cardinals which includes safflower, which is supposed to deter squirrels, but they still try to get to it. The only way the squirrels have successfully gotten to the seed is by making the feeder fall off its hook, smashing it (I got a new one). I’m usually of the opinion that we should “let nature take care of itself”, as Blork mentioned, but we’re well beyond that with how we’ve changed the habitiat for countless species. But I’m curious if bird feeders are “against the rules”.

        • carswell 18:03 on 2023-09-05 Permalink

          Not an ornithologist though I do hang with a few serious birders. As I understand it, feeding songbirds isn’t frowned upon by most experts but there are some things to be aware of. Feeders cause birds to congregate, which can make them prone to predation; counter this by providing nearby shelter and belling cats or keeping them away. Since birds defecate indiscriminately, feeders and especially the seeds on the ground under them, can be a vector for disease, so hygiene is important. And, though this is probably less of a concern in the city, where there are lots of other feeders, birds come to rely on feeders for sustenance, so keeping the feeder filled is essential, especially in the winter.

          Nuisance birds — gulls, Canada geese, etc. — shouldn’t be fed.

      • Kate 10:22 on 2023-09-03 Permalink | Reply  

        Shots were fired early Sunday in St‑Henri, cops found a shell casing, but nobody has turned up injured and nobody’s been arrested.

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