Updates from February, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:22 on 2011/02/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Ville-Marie has tabled a facelift plan for the area around the Pepsi Forum east to Concordia. As I’ve said before, I’m convinced that area won’t be solved until the eyesore that is the old Forum is razed and something less ghastly done with that block, but meantime there are other things that can be done. (Although, is it really such a condemnation that a lot of the residents are tenants, not owners?)

    The Mirror notes that the Forum doesn’t do a stellar job of recycling either.

    • Bill Binns 10:35 on 2011/02/11 Permalink

      Whats wrong with the old Forum? Future Shop, a decent bakery / coffee shop that is not Première Moisson, Burgers and Benedicts, Guido and Angelina, a Comedy Club and a Cinema that is not packed with children for every showing. Lots of open, thriving businesses and the jobs they provide.

      You don’t see larger problems on this section of St Catherine? The shuttered art supply store, the nasty old Shell station, the nearly dilapidated building next to the Shell Station. How about the fact that there are 10 noodle shops in a span of three blocks?

    • Kate 18:40 on 2011/02/11 Permalink

      The old Forum is a hideous eyesore from outside. I agree that the cinemas and some of the other businesses inside are of value, but the building itself is a huge unremarkable box covered with a crawling mass of incoherent junk.

    • Ian 13:20 on 2011/02/12 Permalink

      I like noodle shops and children. Beats the hell out of the crack addicts and porn stores that used to be there. That part of the Ste Catherine strip has had problems for a long, long time but the rotting Seville block certainly didn’t help make it not seem like a place mostly good for public substance abuse and casual prostitution. The Forum moving didn’t help the area at all but it’s actually starting to pick up a bit and maybe if the Bronfmans get off their plutocratic asses and do something with the Seville strip other than letting it rot will definitely improve the tone of the neighbourhood. Yes, the old Forum building looks like something more suited to Marché Centrale than downtown but at least it’s not an abandoned, crumbling squat full of fighty bums.

    • Kate 16:36 on 2011/02/12 Permalink

      I agree about the noodle shops – the growth of a second Chinatown west of Concordia is not something that should be stifled. I just find the old Forum so hideous that it radiates its hideousness out for blocks all around: I remember when it was left rotting for a year or two as well, after it was vacated by the Canadiens and before it was rebuilt, then seeing the results and thinking “jfc, they can’t be meaning to leave it looking like that?” but they did.

  • Kate 20:15 on 2011/02/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Students sneaked into Quebecor HQ today and smoke-bombed the building, forcing an evacuation at midday. They’re not happy about Quebecor support for libertarian ideals (a support that stops short of taking big government handouts themselves when convenient). Nobody was arrested.

  • Kate 17:48 on 2011/02/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Joe Fiorito, who left for Toronto some time back, writes a wistful column about Montreal’s approach to snow clearance.

  • Kate 13:15 on 2011/02/10 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has sent its pothole crews out: we’ve been having sudden changes in temperature that tend to cause potholes to form.

    (Is there such a thing as a Montreal winter that doesn’t involve sudden changes in temperature?)

  • Kate 12:55 on 2011/02/10 Permalink | Reply  

    A Brazilian-Montrealer blogs on why the second winter in Montreal is better.

  • Kate 10:31 on 2011/02/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Good piece on the CBC site about using public money for sports stadiums begins with a recap of our Olympic stadium and its eventual eye-watering price tag. It also makes the sly point that if Pierre-Karl Péladeau wants to contribute to a Quebec City stadium it’s largely because it might generate fodder for his fluff-based media empire – but there’s no major tenant for such a stadium and the NHL has not shown itself keen. On the other hand, Péladeau’s in the catbird seat when it comes to manufacturing consent for the investment of public funds in such a plan. Surely people who are driving on crumbling roads over crumbling bridges can think of better ways to spend public money?

    • Noah Sidel 14:56 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      God the spend-on-sports-or-roads/hospitals/etc argument is tired and old. Sports (and stadiums) generate millions and millions of dollars of tax revenues. And the companies that benefit (Quebecor in this case, the NHL team, whatever) generate hundreds of jobs. And those jobs result in tax revenues as well.

      Roads and hospitals don’t MAKE money, they eat it. It’s not one or the other… build a stadium now, reap the tax and cultural benefits later.

      It’s investment 101.

    • Stefan 15:15 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      right, noah: investment to make more money (mostly for already rich individuals) is more important than maintaining a decent living standard. what about the sick if there’s no hospital – let them die? (hint: that could be you).

      first-year level economics may seem exciting in its sand-box simplicity but eventually you’ll get to see the greater picture too.

    • Faiz 15:21 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      Not exactly noah, Analysis of major sporting projects over the past 30 years have shown that public investment in sports does not create any additional revenue, it simply circulates revenue that would otherwise almost certainly be spent locally. The only additional revenue, taxes or otherwise, comes from increased tourism. And if tourism is the goal, then the money is usually better spent on beautification projects, cultural projects, festivals, etc.

      on the topic of roads and hospitals… uhhh good luck getting world class sports in your town with crumbling roads and no public transit.

    • Noah Sidel 15:27 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      That’s a genius and well-thought-out reply, Stefan. I especially think the personal dig validates your opinion.

      Large successful companies – especially homegrown ones – like Quebecor are GOOD for our society… especially union-breaking companies like Quebecor! The more money that company makes, the more it grows, the more it contributes to society in the form of jobs and tax revenues.

      Smart business practices are how to maintain our standard of living. They contribute to the hospitals and schools, roads, etc that we need to maintain that standard.

      Stop looking at it as ”giving money to rich people” and look at it as a long-term infrastructure and investment plan.

    • walkerp 15:29 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      Yeah, tell that to Seattle.

    • qatzelok 16:05 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      I hope Quebec City can find the money they will need to switch from car transit to tramway/bus transit. Otherwise, a lot of very poor people will be walking a long way to watch potato sack races in a world-class stadium.

    • Kate 17:53 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      Noah Sidel: your union-busting approach would reduce Quebecers to the sort of humble, water-drawing and wood-hewing people that we used to be before the Quiet Revolution came along. If the Quebec government has a purpose, even more than protecting the French language it should be protecting its own people from being used as peons. Unfortunately, this is undermined by people like you and PKP, but I foresee a change in zeitgeist that will make your attitude sound as antique as a dial phone.

    • Jack 19:20 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      Peladeau has taken enough from this society.The PQ bought him Videotron with our pension money at a net loss of 1.5 billion to the Caisse Depot. Now he has his hand out again and, you know what, he might get it. The political class are scared to death of him. TVA ,Journal de Montreal-Quebec, LCN and all of Quebecor can take a big piece out of any politician. Check out Amir Khadr and the multi platform attack he’s been sustaining. Peladeau makes Citizen Kane look like a ………..your choice. Noah, back to the Bar exam study.

    • Chris 20:25 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      Noah said “Roads and hospitals don’t MAKE money”. False. So if our roads disappeared tomorrow, our economy would keep on making money? No. And hospitals? If employees are sick/dead, they’re not contributing to the economy either.

    • Ian 09:19 on 2011/02/11 Permalink

      Could this be the same Noah Sidel that works as a marketing manager for the Als? Some sort of professional involvement disclaimer would be in order, I think. FWIW Quebecor aren’t “union-busters”, they’re opportunists that bargain in bad faith; I cite Peladeau’s recent admission that he was planning to lay off all those people that he locked out anyway, my suspicion is that a lockout is easier (read “cheaper”) for Peladeau as he doesn’t have to pay out any severance. But really, arguing that stadiums make money where investing in infrastructure doesn’t? Hello, industry and commerce rely on a functional infrastructure! Stadiums support single-economy worldviews and it’s only Montreal economic diversification that has kept it alive since the big investors picked up and ran in the 70’s. That, dear Noah, is economic history 101.

    • Stefan 10:01 on 2011/02/11 Permalink

      obviously noah has an agenda (or if he’s impersonating that marketing manager, he’s a troll – don’t feed them) – in both cases why give him a tribune

    • Kevin 10:30 on 2011/02/11 Permalink

      PKP himself said in September that building an arena wouldn’t bring in enough money to justify private investment.
      The Ernst & Young proposal is also somewhat ridiculous, saying that if an NHL team moves to the Qc. City arena, the team itself would only generate $600,000 in annual revenues. Yet somehow the arena would earn an additional $7.5 million from other users.

    • Kate 10:39 on 2011/02/11 Permalink

      Stefan: I could simply delete comments I don’t agree with, but unless someone becomes abusive I’d rather see how the debate plays out than do that.

      Kevin: interesting figures. So, a quo bono?

    • Stefan 11:01 on 2011/02/11 Permalink

      kate: the phrase ‘don’t feed the trolls’ is just a reminder (as well to myself) that it is lost energy trying to answer back to persons who are just interested in push their (corporate) spin – aside from that of course there can be interesting debate among the others.

    • Kate 11:03 on 2011/02/11 Permalink

      True enough. But it’s also a little too easy sometimes to dismiss a point of view you don’t like as a troll.

    • Kate 18:41 on 2011/02/11 Permalink

      Ian: good legwork. Thanks!

  • Kate 09:02 on 2011/02/10 Permalink | Reply  

    View Larger Map
    The Plateau told the Fameux resto, at the corner of Saint-Denis and Mont-Royal, that it had to take down the cheerful red and yellow signs it’s had since forever, but then they gave in and recognized them as part of the area’s heritage.

    Another good piece of Plateau news: the borough is obliging the owner of the decrepit building at the corner of Pine and the Main to restore it properly. The originally handsome structure, most recently home to Monsieur Falafel on the ground floor, has verged on becoming a public hazard in recent years but it’s a far better choice to mandate its restoration than its demolition.

    Saint-Laurent and Pine

    • walkerp 10:26 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      At first, I was outraged, but after reading the story, it is nice to see that there was a combination of reasonable laws and reasonable individual to make exceptions when the laws don’t fit the situation. Good work!

    • walkerp 13:30 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      My first comment was towards the first paragraph. This one is in response to the decision to force the owners to renovate. BRAVO! What is so crazy about these building being left to rot is that there is so much potential revenue in them. Imagine turning that building into a chic boutique hotel with a high-end restaurant at the bottom. There is so much money to be made, but the myopic cheapness of Montreal developers and landlords limits us to lifeless glass boxes.

    • Kate 13:32 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      Yes, sorry, I added the second story later, but it seemed to belong in the same entry.

    • kyle 14:55 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      Fameux poutine gratinee is the best poutine in town. Their signs are legendary. I was really excited about Project Montreal when they got elected, but if getting rid of cool stuff like the Fameux’s signage is the type of malarkey they’re into, they can kiss my vote goodbye next time around. Make the city MORE fun, not less fun, Project. Get with it!

    • Kate 15:02 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      kyle, sweetie, the Plateau changed their minds on the signs. Fameux can keep them. It’s all good.

    • Blork 15:15 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      My last meal as a resident of the Plateau was at Fameux. An interesting side note: I recently saw some old photos of that sign and compared with some more recent ones, and it appears the sign has changed a bit in the past 20 years. It’s mostly a matter of moving the panels around. I.e., the panel that used to be on the Mont-Royal side is now on the St-Denis side, etc.

  • Kate 08:59 on 2011/02/10 Permalink | Reply  

    The Côte-des-Neiges apartment building that was declared unfit for human habitation in October, and described in yesterday’s La Presse, is known to the borough: borough mayor Michael Applebaum says the file is working its way through the usual channels. But then he and his kids don’t have to live there.

  • Kate 08:53 on 2011/02/10 Permalink | Reply  

    An engineering report says the Champlain bridge is so worn out that repairs should begin as soon as possible – repairs which would narrow the bridge from six to three lanes and cause untold traffic chaos. A replacement bridge would have to be at least twice as wide.

  • Kate 08:50 on 2011/02/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Richard Bergeron condemns the high salaries and bonuses paid to top city management guys, and especially in the STM, which is always in need of more money. But the practice is defended by the city.

    • Tux 10:39 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      Personally I think we should just randomly select people to fill these administrative positions, in the same way they fill juries, and pay them the same salary as the job they had to leave, plus an increase to make up for the inconvenience. I’m convinced that random people would provide equal or better service to the governed as a lot of the people running this town who were more or less born to it. They’re an elite, and they act like an elite, and they’re paid like an elite, but is their service to us worth what WE pay them? Not in my book. Crumbling infrastructure. Public transit constantly increasing in price with a negligible increase in service… Cops that seem to break the law more than uphold it. Corruption at all levels. A culture of excuse-making and blame-shifting. The shameless extraction of as much money as possible in taxes, fares, fees, and tickets from an already overtaxed populace…

    • Kate 11:25 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      I love that. You get an envelope with the city logo on it, and the letter says “Hi, you’ve got to run the STM for a year. Good luck!”

    • Tux 13:07 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      Some countries enforce military service! Why not enforce participation in governance? Of course there would be training programs, complete data transparency so we could all keep an eye on what’s going on, etc. etc. I mean, if *I* ran the STM the first thing I’d do is make sure nobody working there makes over 100k, they haven’t earned that kind of money by a looooong shot. Maybe if buses stopped completely disappearing. (I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of late buses :)

    • Kate 13:33 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      That would rule. The 55 bus completely vanished the other morning and I had to take a cab. It also tends to become scarce just when you need one, between 5 and 6 p.m. – you don’t expect to wait half an hour for the 55 at rush hour but this has happened to me multiple times since the famous 10-minute rule came into force.

      How about bonuses to drivers who keep to their schedules most accurately? Better than bonusing the bigwigs.

    • Tux 15:55 on 2011/02/10 Permalink

      I like the idea of paying the drivers instead of the bigwigs well! They take all the flack that the guys at the top ought to be dealing with, by rights. I’d also add that the person in the top position ought to be taking the bus to work every day. I doubt buses would disappear so often if Yves Devin was forced to stand on a street corner in -30 on a regular basis.

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