Updates from May, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:20 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Daily Hive has pictures and video of the flooding reminding us we live on an island downstream from the continent’s major lake system. Floods are the main headline news going into the weekend: more on situations in Île Bizard and Laval, 60 mm of rain expected this weekend; residents on tiny Île Mercier in the Back River may have to leave as the river encroaches.

    Saturday morning: waters continue to rise but the heavy rainfall warning is over. We may see a thunderstorm Saturday afternoon.

    Radio-Canada looks back to the flood of 1886 which inundated the lower parts of town and has some analysis why this flooding is happening now.

    Update: A home for the disabled in Pierrefonds is being evacuated. Andy Riga is tweeting this and other aspects of the flooding in the northwestern corner of the island. He notes that 48 residents of that home are being moved away in STM paratransit buses: although the CBC calls it a rehabilitation centre, Riga notes that some people have lived there for 40 years.

    The army has deployed 400 soldiers to various parts of southwestern Quebec to help the flood effort.

    • Faiz Imam 23:19 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Watching all the coverage in the last few days, I’ve noticed a range in terms of the neighborhoods affected and covered. It got me thinking.

      Just looking at the properties on TV, a lot of the earlier coverage was in rural towns with small poor looking houses, in contrast to today, with flooding in Ile Bizard and other wealthier, at the very least upper middle class areas.

      Obviously geography plays a role, and I expect places in the Montreal area to get more coverage, but i’m just a bit unsettled about the focus on people living in what I would almost characterize as a mansion, if only in the wider context of the range of people and communities affected.

    • raymond lutz 19:30 on 2017/05/06 Permalink

      I’m wondering if those floods (exceptional for their global aspect) are correlated with AGW (anthropogenic global warming)? Has the snow cover disappeared sooner this year? Has March and April precipitations fallen in rain rather than in snow? Has saturated soils then lost their retention capacities for the raining days of May?

      Anyway, hotter oceans -> more water vapor -> more rain

  • Kate 16:35 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Plateau borough is planning to act against too much Airbnb causing noise and disturbance in residential streets.

    • Ephraim 16:46 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      The city and province can end this problem with a very simple change to the law. The fine is $2500/$5000 per day, but catching them is tough. The could change the law slightly and offer a 25% finders fees for anyone who can show an accepted reservation by someone who is unlicensed. All of a sudden, their website becomes a treasure hunt… see if you can get a reservation, so you can get a $525 per day finder’s fee…. want to see how quickly the illegals get either legal or remove themselves from the website?

      The fine is $2500 per day for non-commercial and $5000 per day for commercial. Plus, all the applicable taxes (hotel tax, GST and QST). The city can also go for commercial property tax. Then Revenu Quebec kicks in and checks to see if you declared it on your income taxes.

      Incidentally, the inspection department is moving (or has moved) from the Ministry of Tourism to Revenu Quebec…. they are finally serious about wanting their tax money.

    • Ephraim 16:47 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Whoops, thats $625/$1250 a day for the finder’s fee. An incentive on anyone to go and make a reservation, just for the finder’s fee.

    • ste.ph 17:20 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Why doesn’t the government just go on the website and make reservations? I’m certain they have a database of who has a licensed, and I’m sure it’s easy to find out the address of renters from Airbnb. People violating the law are literally inviting inspectors into their homes.

      I never understood why they didn’t do this with UBER either. Make an account, call an uber, the driver shows up, give him a ticket, repeat.

      The actions of these companies must amount to racketeering. They’re organized themselves to carrying on illegal business activities, avoid declaring income or pay taxes.

    • Chris 19:24 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Thing is the general public *like* these services (uber/airbnb).

      Sure, cabbies don’t like it; sure, hotel industry folks like Ephraim don’t like it; but most everyone else does. I wonder if there is real polling data…

    • ste.ph 19:36 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      I’m generalizing but:
      The general public want to pay pay pennies for services. The general public also want living wages. Pick one.

    • Ephraim 19:54 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      They could, but it’s more involved to create the account, etc. In the case of Uber, look up Greyball… which the DoJ is now looking at prosecuting them for. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/technology/uber-greyball-program-evade-authorities.html Interestingly enough, Uber is in rough shape, the CEO got warned by Apple for violations of ToS, etc.

    • Chris 19:54 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      The general public have been so picking. Most us have been picking Walmart, made in China, eBay, McDonalds, etc. for decades.

    • Ephraim 20:56 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Some of the public does. Others don’t, nor do they like the detrimental side of these businesses. The point is that here it is multiple levels of tax evasion. But worse, in many cities it has lead to the loss of apartments and affordability. You don’t even want to know what a room will cost you in SF at the moment. It’s funny how different a B&B on a street is from an AirBnB. The B&B becomes the “cop” who wants to make sure that the street is quiet, clean, etc. The AirBnB often becomes the absentee landlord, no one around and all the neighbours have to pick up the pieces.

  • Kate 13:11 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    I had to screencap the current weather forecast, which shows nothing but rain for the week to come.

    Update, 16:30: Quebec has asked for military help with the flooding situation and is getting it.

    • Chris 19:59 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      That forcast’s for Montreal, or Vancouver? :)

    • DeWolf 19:18 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      I was in Vancouver this week and it was warm and sunny :)

  • Kate 12:51 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Everett-Green writes about the totem pole at the Museum of Fine Arts. I like the quote from Joe Norton: “Welcome to Mohawk territory and to the great city of Montreal, one of our most prosperous suburbs” but Everett-Green’s deflating explanation that Kahnawake is an “invisible suburb of Montreal, not much talked about in the city” adds a sour note.

    • Michael Black 01:29 on 2017/05/06 Permalink

      When they put up a similarly themed totem pole at UBC a while back, they raised it by hand, apparently still the proper way, and all the crowd joined in. I couldn’t even find a time for the ceremony on Wednesday.

      Totem poles come from living in a place that is temperate, and the fish and plants so plentiful that there’s time to work on art of this level. I guess it’s also something to do on a rainy day.

      They aren’t part of local culture, but this is a gift, a connection to the northwest.

      They aren’t intended to be forever, though I gather the one left over from Expo 67 was refurbished last fall, on Ile St Helen. There’s supposed to be one at the McCord museum, maybe one at Loyola, and one or two others.

      In other native news, the Montreal Pow-Wow is this weekend at the Verdun Auditorium.
      Last weekend Raven Swamp of Kahnawake was crowned Miss Indian World, big event in the right circles. Julie Flett, I wonder if she’s a distant relative, won a BC book prize for the children’s book she illustrated.

      The Okanagan Nation Alliance is having a sockeye fry release on May 17th, the poster says something about “cause to come back”, which might be just about the salmon but might fit some other things, since not everyone came back from the residential schools, and the missing and murdered women never came back either. The salmon always suffered after the dams went up on the Columbia, lots of Rube Goldberg devices for getting them upstream, though the pneumatic tubes are nifty.


    • Zeke 10:16 on 2017/05/06 Permalink


      There are totem poles at the north west corner of Viau and Sherbrooke, in the parking lot of L Villeneuve & Cie at the corner of Bellechasse and Saint Laurent and on Ile Sainte Helene near the old Canadian pavilion (now called La Toundra).

      There might be others that I am not aware of.

      There is one in the McCord Museum, but because of the way it is displayed, it is extremely tough to get a good view of anything other than little bits and pieces.

  • Kate 11:43 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir was founded in 1910 and now the whole paper from its first edition to 2009 has been digitized and can be read on the BAnQ site.

  • Kate 11:18 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal talks to the dépanneur owner who scooped half a million dollars when a winning $55-million ticket was sold in his store. Although lottery winnings aren’t initially taxed, apparently the seller’s percentage is, so he’ll take home only about half the amount anyway, and he intends to go on working.

    • Derek 14:29 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Even if the dep owner walked away with $500K tax-free, I don’t know many people who could retire on that amount alone.

    • jeather 14:42 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      I get it — if you buy a lottery ticket, it’s a windfall; if you sell lottery tickets, like if you are a professional poker player, it’s your job.

    • Bill Binns 22:28 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Now imagine that you actually worked for that money and you had to handover half of it to the government.

    • Kate 22:33 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Bill Binns, that’s how taxes work. What did you think?

    • dhomas 05:43 on 2017/05/06 Permalink

      Now imagine you had to pay out of pocket for the construction of the road you live on? Or the sewer system? Imagine you had to pay an individual to haul off your garbage?
      There are many valid reasons we pay taxes…

    • jeather 10:13 on 2017/05/06 Permalink

      You do know the difference between total tax rate and marginal tax rate, right?

    • Bill Binns 14:09 on 2017/05/06 Permalink

      My problem is more with the 50% than with taxation in general. Even that would be easier to take if we didn’t have to watch our politicians simply rake tax money into huge piles and set it on fire, either through sheer stupidity or by buying votes playing Robin Hood.

  • Kate 10:50 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Trudeau airport has been so busy that ADM is considering building an additional terminal.

    You know it’s going to circle back around to the realization there’s no room on the island for a serious airport, so let’s build one somewhere off the island with room to expand. Maybe next time they’ll include the kind of transit link that would make such an airport viable.

    • Mathieu 17:15 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      I doubt they would need to get out of Dorval during our lifetime. As the airport authority said, they have the same runway capacity as Heathrow in London and all they would require to accomodate as many planes would be to built more/better terminals. They have enough space for that.

    • Faiz Imam 23:28 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      I think the real next step is to start expanding St-Hubert airport. It’s a pretty large airstrip that can take decent sized planes, and it has decent highway connection. Add a bus to the REM terminal plus the existing line to Longueuil metro makes it a pretty reasonable place to land.

      As berths at Trudeau become more expensive, any carrier offering the cheapest flights has incentive to take the initiative on something like that.

    • Faiz Imam 23:43 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Also, there is a stop on the St Hillaire AMT line a 10 mins walk from the existing terminals.

      And fun fact. St hubert Airport is exactly the same duration drive to downtown than Trudeau is. It’s a straight shot down highway 116 across victoria bridge.

      So while Trudeau does have some expansion room, if it ever does hit a limit, I expect overflow flights to change airports rather than for a neo-mirabel project to be brought up again.

    • Kate 12:13 on 2017/05/06 Permalink

      Mathieu: there will be more and more complaints about noise if the airport gets busier.

      Faiz Imam: they’ll have to beef up the schedule on the St-Hilaire line if it’s ever going to be a plausible route to that airport. As it stands, there are no weekend departures, and the rest of the timetable is entirely geared for people working 9 to 5 in the city.

  • Kate 10:30 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has found a buyer for the Snowdon Theatre who has had to promise to tack its façade onto a new building.

  • Kate 10:14 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Andy Riga has a summary of the state of play with the complicated scandal-investigation-leak story involving the police, UPAC, the Quebec Liberal Party, and so on. This is only tangentially a municipal story, but it does have effects on the city so I’m putting it here.

  • Kate 01:19 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Water levels continue to rise in southern Quebec. CBC has an explainer about the situation and what to do if waters menace your domain, the Gazette looks at the water troubles in the West Island and the Journal lists all the spots where flooding is happening. Radio-Canada notes that the MV Veendam, a ship that’s often called here, can’t get upriver to Montreal this spring because the high water means it can’t safely pass under the Jacques-Cartier.

    A National Observer piece looks at the whole water system from the lakes downriver, and the limits of human control over water on this scale. (A bit of U.S. news that’s favourable, for once, is that Congress has maintained funding for preservation of the Great Lakes.)

    • Ephraim 06:44 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Dealing with a roof leak that happened earlier… not fun!

    • Kate 15:48 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      Been out and about Friday afternoon. It’s not raining hard but it’s relentless. Even here in the middle of town there are puddles in unusual places, and anywhere you’d expect a puddle there’s a pond. Trees are looking green, though.

  • Kate 00:35 on 2017/05/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Canadaland has a piece about what it calls McGill’s Andrew Potter meltdown after that unfortunate article in Maclean’s. The writer asserts that Potter “resigned from his post as head of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC)” which CBC has said he technically never did.

    • John B 01:05 on 2017/05/05 Permalink

      I think the CBC’s stretching the “never resigned” a bit. He didn’t resign in his first E-mail, but apparently did later on, after meeting with the principal. Whether he resigned by choice or not is debatable, especially since the CBC hasn’t released the entire “collection of correspondence obtained by CBC” that the article is based on.

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