Updates from March, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:48 on 2017/03/10 Permalink | Reply  

    The city paid out $230,000 to create a crazy-sounding ski jump ramp at the Olympic stadium that never got built.

    • j 19:00 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      How is it that a feasibility study for such a thing costs almost a quarter million dollars?

    • ant6n 02:49 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      I’ll do it for three fitty: “don’t do it”

    • MtlWeb39 10:06 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      $12 million in potential economic benefits? 80 000 fans to watch this ‘event’? All parties agreed to go ahead back in 2015?
      Not sure which of the 3 statements irks me more – talk about a lack of vision and rational thought.

  • Kate 16:34 on 2017/03/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Hisham Saadi, only suspect in the bomb threat hoax at Concordia last week, is out on bail with conditions. Part of his deal is he has to stay away from universities: I guess that means his graduate degree is on hold.

    • Blork 20:00 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Has it ever been confirmed that he was a grad student? All the media reports I saw either said that info came from his landlord, or didn’t specify where it came from (which means they were probably just repeating heresay).

    • Kate 20:11 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Radio-Canada’s version of the bail story calls Saadi “étudiant au doctorat” but doesn’t inquire either into how this squares with the judge’s condition that he stay away from universities. He’s not meant to use the internet either except with someone watching him, although I’ve no idea how that can be enforced.

    • Kevin 21:44 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Concordia confirmed he was a grad student.

    • JaneyB 09:59 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      I assume Concordia will put his studies on ice. I think he’s broken a few ‘code of conduct’ rules for students….

  • Kate 16:15 on 2017/03/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Not directly a Montreal story, but I’ve been struck by this CBC exposé on bank workers being flogged on to sell sell sell and having to break the law to make up sales numbers. Canadian banks are among the most profitable things out there. And no wonder.

    • Ephraim 17:58 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      I’ve found that TD Bank and Laurentian Bank’s employees often don’t know the law and their regulations. When I refused to provide a SIN number, a Laurentian employee told me that a CC was a privilege, to which I replied “so is my custom”. About 10 minutes later they received a call and fax from the CBA with a copy of the law that says refusal to provide a SIN cannot be considered against a client. At TD they opened a line of credit without my permission. It was closed within hours. No point arguing with the employee, I called up head office and told them to cancel it, immediately and that it was no longer authorized. Gone. For the most part it’s easier to just not argue and call up head office and have them fix it. The telephone banking people don’t have those pressures to sell.

    • Kate 20:12 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Ephraim, I was certain that a bank was allowed to have your SIN. They’ve always had mine down. How else can the government monitor your money?

    • ant6n 02:52 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      If you get interest, that’s income

    • js 15:06 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      They would need it for an account where they pay you interest, but not for one when it’s you who’s paying them interest.

    • Ephraim 21:48 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      Bank is entitled to your SIN only if they are paying your interest, not charging your interest. It’s one of the reasons that they still offer .25% interest, because at 0% they don’t have a legal right to ask for your SIN. They also don’t have a right to your SIN when you get a loan, a credit card or a mortgage and they know it.

      Employers have a right to your SIN number, because they pay you taxable income, but if you are a contractor, they don’t. And in Quebec there is one company that has a right to your SIN and it is specified in the law… Hydro Quebec. That’s the list.

      How about this one, no one outside of the medical field is entitled to write down your medicare number and no one in Quebec outside the medical field is allowed to even ask to see it. There is a law on driver’s licences as well.

      If I remember it correctly the fine for a company keeping your SIN on file when they aren’t entitled to have it is $75. Now if they could only walk into Equifax and fine them. I’ve had my SIN removed from their files numerous times, but the banks keep on illegally putting it back on the file. Yes, illegally, no one is allowed to transfer your SIN number from one company to another.

  • Kate 16:12 on 2017/03/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Police are investigating two Montreal imams accused of making antisemitic statements in sermons in 2014.

  • Kate 12:35 on 2017/03/10 Permalink | Reply  

    As everyone knows by now, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois will run in the Gouin byelection as well as making a play to become one of Québec solidaire’s two spokespersons. The byelection isn’t on the calendar yet but has to be held before June 19.

    Nadeau-Dubois has, predictably, scandalized the old lions by distancing himself from positions taken by René Lévesque, Bernard Landry, Camille Laurin et al. Big surprise there. He’s 26.

    • Raymond Lutz 17:28 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois a dit vouloir « sortir du pouvoir la classe politique qui nous gouverne depuis 30 ans », et qui « a trahi le Québec ».

      Ah! Ah! … Landry en beurre épais en disant « (…) . Il vient d’insulter grossièrement René Lévesque, Jacques Parizeau, Camille Laurin et autres». Pourtant René Lévesque a démissionné de la politique active en 1985, ça fait 32 ans. Donc la critique de GND ne visait pas René Lévesque (mais les has been qui ont suivi). Pan dans les dents!

  • Kate 11:56 on 2017/03/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Some notes on restaurant inspections and closures over the last year. The city has a new system for checking in more often on businesses known to have chronic problems.

    Sunday, CBC covers the same story.

    • Bill Binns 15:42 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      I nervously read that article through a gap in my fingers. Very relieved I have not been to any of the listed restaurants. It worries me that a restaurant that accrues over 10K in health department fines in a single year is allowed to stay in business. Health inspectors should be empowered to shut a restaurant down on the spot if they don’t like what they see or for repeated violations. I also really, really like the California system where every restaurant has an A, B or C rating that must be posted conspicuously next to the restaurant entrance. I have heard that a “C” grade is a virtual death sentence for a restaurant. I have never seen a C but have turned right around and gone back to my car after seeing a couple of B’s.

    • Ephraim 18:03 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Love the California system. If you get a low mark, you can fix, pay for a reinspection. Gets things fixed really quickly.

    • rue david 18:51 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      it’s los angeles, not statewide. i’m telling you, LA has the gold standard for inspection. that city right now, on every level – economy, food, development, infrastructure, politics – is just firing on all cylinders. fantastic renewal.

    • Kate 23:54 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Bill Binns, the Journal often runs items about unclean restaurants or grocery stores. Here’s one from Friday, with a map.

    • Bill Binns 14:09 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      @rue david – I spend a lot more time in L.A. then I would like to and I seriously can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not. My admiration pretty much ends at the restaurant inspection program and maybe the food options. By this time on Monday, I will be sitting in one of the 405’s 16 lanes travelling towards Bakersfield at the brisk pace of 11 or 12 mph.

    • rue david 16:16 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      not sarcastic at all. they’re massively expanding their transit system, certainly the most ambitious proposal in america. it’s america’s best food city. thousands of units under construction, with tens of thousands in the pipeline, bringing density and walkability up across the city. the traffic is bad, sure, but even that’s set to improve as the benefits of the building and transit improvements come together. then again, i don’t really drive, certainly not during peak hours.

      also, you may or may not know this, but bakersfield is well-known for its basque restaurants. but they’re not basque contemporary, they’re basque american, like how you have red sauce italian. pretty interesting.

    • Bill Binns 20:58 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      @Rue David – Thanks for the tip. It’s weird to think of Bakersfield which is a heavily agricultural, gritty redneck town being a center of Basque cuisine but I believe it. I run into these improbable little communities all over the place.

    • rue david 16:05 on 2017/03/12 Permalink

      the legendary jonathan gold wrote up the basque scene for the smithsonain magazine! http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/indulging-in-american-basque-cuisine-160720458/

  • Kate 11:53 on 2017/03/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Longtime transit users group Transport 2000 thinks the STM ought to have a plan for compensating users for late services specifically so it can’t be hit with class action suits like the one proposed recently. The group points out that the Laval and Toronto transit systems offer compensation for late service. But the STM is not interested.

    • Bill Binns 12:04 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      It has frequently pissed me off that when I get kicked off the Metro half-way to my destination for some unspecified problem that I do not at least get my ticket refunded.

      I’m confident that if there was money on the line for providing good service that many of the STM’s “unavoidable” interruptions would magically be avoided.

    • Kate 16:09 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Bill Binns, in a lifetime of riding that metro I’ve never been kicked off a train. How often does this happen to you?

    • ant6n 16:52 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      It seems Transport 2000 only talks about fares.

    • Bill Binns 16:58 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      @Kate – Seriously? The thing where the train stops at a station and the doors just stay open followed by a garbled announcement in French only, followed by everyone groaning and getting off the train? This has never happened to you? It has happened to me at least a dozen times over the years and I am a very casual metro user. The worst one was when I was at the eastern limit of the Blue line in the middle of nowhere going to the St Michel flea market. The cab ride back to the city cost me $25.00.

      Since we moved, my wife takes the metro to work. She only travels a few stops and has two lines to choose from and hardly a week goes by without one or more lines being down for one reason or another. If you happen to be on the train when a line goes down, you essentially get “kicked off the train”. I guess you could just sit on the train and wait but I take my cues from the people who understood the garbled announcement.

    • Kate 20:03 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Bill Binns, I was caught in that Saturday outage on the orange line mid-January, now that I think of it. But before that, nope.

    • Phil C. 00:43 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      Usually the vast majority of problems are solved faster than getting out and searching for an alternative route.

    • Bill Binns 13:31 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      Well, it’s Saturday morning, my wife left for work and texted me shortly after leaving and said she got on the orange line, it traveled one stop, stopped with the doors open at St Laurent and there was an announcement that the Orange line was down “indefinitely”.

      Kate, you have either been incredibly lucky, or we have been incredibly unlucky regarding Metro outages.

    • CE 20:02 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      It’s happened to me a few times. Anytime I’ve sat and waited (always good to have a book with you), it’s never taken more than 20 minutes to get going again. If I’m near my destination, I usually just leave and walk the rest of the way.

      I now live in a city where I’ve recently discovered that it’s faster to walk than take the bus to my work during rush hour (which lasts for about 8 hours each day). I now see the issues of the STM through that lens. I doubt I’ll ever complain about the STM ever again when I return!

    • Kate 22:01 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      Bill Binns, here’s very brief, uninformative reports from Metro, TVA and La Presse about the 35-minute interruption late Saturday morning on the orange line. Reading between the lines, it was a jumper.

      How did Madame find herself in trouble at St-Laurent when it was the orange line that was down?

  • Kate 11:48 on 2017/03/10 Permalink | Reply  

    A brief look back at the typical gray quarry stone of Montreal and how concrete took over dominance in the last century.

  • Kate 11:30 on 2017/03/10 Permalink | Reply  

    Notes on road closures and difficulties for the weekend.

  • Kate 02:26 on 2017/03/10 Permalink | Reply  

    For the first time, the STM is launching into real estate development with a mixed-use project near Frontenac station.

    • Phil C. 11:19 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      This is a model used by a lot of Japanese railway companies and it’s been super successful for them. Makes tons of money to support new projects. Also, a good way to get people to take public transit is to create something for people to get to in the first place. Hope the stm has more projects like this in mind!

    • ant6n 11:29 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      I want to like this … but projects these days have just been so badly designed. I fear what they will come up with.

    • Kate 13:00 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      I’m concerned that public money will develop this thing, and then private interests will acquire it at a cheap price or otherwise position themselves to profit from it.

    • j 19:03 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Also, HK @PhilC

    • DeWolf 01:38 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      Getting transit operators involved in property development is a good way to prioritize TOD, but you have to be careful that it isn’t seen as a panacea or a quick fix for funding shortfalls. Hong Kong’s MTR is often cited as an example of a highly profitable transit operator thanks to its property arm, but the reality is that the railway services themselves are also profitable – they cover 175% of their costs. That’s because Hong Kong is so dense, transit doesn’t even need to compete with cars – it’s the natural choice. The distance-based fare system also helps. The farther you travel, the more expensive your trip. Taking the MTR a few stations will cost about CAD 0.75, while a 30km trip costs $4.

      But mainly it’s Hong Kong’s density, which means it’s not an easy model for other cities to replicate.

    • ant6n 12:17 on 2017/03/11 Permalink

      I understand the Montreal Metro is profitable as well, without the bus system — although I haven’t found very good numbers to prove this (if anybody does, send them my way :-).

      The MTR in Hong Kong doesn’t really do buses, so they may not need to cross-subsidize their feeders the same way the STM does. So be wary of any privatization scheme for Montreal that would split the rapid transit transit system from the bus system for privatized profit and socialized losses.

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