Updates from May, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 11:05 on 2017/05/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Denis Coderre is considering declaring a state of emergency as flood waters continue to nip at the edges of the island. Ahuntsic-Cartierville is now under threat. Part of Gouin West is closed in Pierrefonds because the road is under water. La Presse has an en direct section following the floods.

    • Max 21:16 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      Coderre pulled the trigger and 1200 troops are on the way. CBC story. Nice to know the clowns and firefighters will be gouging us for overtime pay less than maximally.

    • Chris 23:24 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      I guess Montrealers will now have to stop with the jokes about Toronto calling in the army because of a little snow. :)

    • Max 23:57 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      Galipeault Bridge now closed. Guess I won’t be visiting Smoked Meat Pete anytime soon.

    • Kate 00:36 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      Chris, have a look at the photo with the La Presse piece linked in the next post. That’s a more serious environmental condition than a bit of snow over Toronto.

    • JaneyB 08:49 on 2017/05/09 Permalink

      I hate to be the one to defend Toronto but take that La Presse picture…and change the water to snow… that was what the infamous blizzard was like. I had to fly into TO that week and wow, what an impossible situation. Seriously, close to 3 ft of snow fell in a 24 hour period. Only plows could pass the roads so women in labour were carried to the hospital in the plow-shovels. Worse, a thaw was forecast for the following couple of days which was likely to overwhelm the sewage system hence the army. Nature: I prefer it as happy meadows.

  • Kate 10:48 on 2017/05/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Vice writer Justine de l’Église went to talk to two people fighting gentrification in Hochelaga.

    Update: A conference on gentrification was held in Hochelaga on Sunday in which an INRS study on the phenomenon was presented. An accompanying demonstration became heated and there were two arrests.

    • Ephraim 13:47 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      When it comes to progress, you have to take the good with the bad. I don’t suppose these people are washing their laundry on rocks or washboards, right?

    • Bill Binns 15:17 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      “New people who are different from us are moving into our neighborhood and changing it in ways we don’t like!”

      “Whoa, whoa whoa. You can’t complain about that, it’s racist and/or classist and/or xenophobic. All change is good! Every neighborhood has to have every kind of people in exactly the correct proportions! Have you tried welcoming your new neighbors and seeing things from their side?”

      “No, it’s ok. We are complaining about people with jobs who don’t like crime. They keep calling the cops on our hookers and drug dealers”

      “My apologies, carry on. Have you tried smashing shop windows and spraying graffiti on anything that doesn’t move?”

    • Douglas 21:08 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      What is wrong with Yuppies?

      Do they have some sort of contagious disease that they spread.

    • Kate 00:49 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      Douglas: yes, it’s called gentrification. Look it up.

    • Ian 07:32 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      That’s very nice, Bill. The end game is Mile-End, where sushi shops outnumber deps 10 to 1, rents are triple what hey were fewer than ten years ago, and every time a new place opens up it’s a chain store. We just got a Lululemon this weekend. Oh joy.

      10 years ago this was a cool neighbourhood full of artists and funky little shops and family businesses. Needless to say the poors can’t afford to live here anymore, including the artists, who all moved up to Parc Ex as far as I can tell. The music scene is all but disappeared as the new folk filed noise complaints against the venues. With the rising rents, I can count the remaining art spaces on one hand. We have one bookstore left, but there are 3 dozen different places for the people with jobs to buy their precious trendy lunches.

      Of course, this is the nature of gentrification and is not unusual, but to dismiss the issue as “people with jobs who don’t like crime” is arrogant and uninformed.

    • Bill Binns 10:26 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      @Ian – From the article (translation by Google):

      “If you put condos in a most criminalized, poor neighborhood, if you put 200 yuppies out there, what’s going to happen?” Everyone is going to start crying, calling all the time the cops, the sex workers and the drug users, the people who live in the neighborhood and who do their stuff, they’re just going to get squeezed, like everywhere. Their goal is to smooth the neighborhood, “says Samuel.”

      See anything about artists or sushi shops in there?

      Do you have a source for your “rents have tripled” comment? I don’t think the rents have tripled in 10 years anywhere in the city. Not residential rents at least. Bookstores in your neighborhood have closed? Welcome to 2017. Bookstores are folding everywhere. The one around the corner from my house at St Hubert and Maisoneuve just closed last month. You can hardly blame that on the terrible Yuppies.

      So called “gentrification” is just one small part of a well known cycle that occurs in urban areas the world over. Artists are willing to live in shitty, dangerous neighborhoods for the cheap rents and square footage. They make a formerly terrible neighborhood “cool”. Middle class people who want to be cool but are not move in, renovate homes, displace the artists and make the neighborhood uncool. Rich people move in to the now uncool but quiet and safe neighborhood but eventually move on. At some point, the neighborhood goes to shit again and the cycle repeats.

      Moreover, what identifiable group other than poor crime enthusiasts gets to lock it’s neighborhood down permanently for their type of folks? Try to imagine a group of Westmount “activists” publicly strategizing how to keep Haitians or Francophones or immigrants out of the city and occasionally resorting to violence and intimidation tactics to do so. It would be national news and those so called “activists” would be hunted mercilessly but it’s always open season on the hated “yuppie” and their pleasant cafes and bakeries that push away all the wonderful street crime.

    • Ian 12:47 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      Well, 10 years ago I lived in a 3 bedroom 6 1/2 apartment that was $850, a bit on the high side at that time – I just saw a 4 1/2 advertised on a flyer at my local dep for 1,700. Property values are up of course, but with all the “people with jobs that don’t like crime” particularly and influx of people from SF and Paris courtesy of Ubisoft properties regularly go for double their valuation and are AirBnBs half the year, which increases rents. Ephraim talks bout the AirBnB effect regularly, you may have read a thing or two on that.

      Take into account that Mile-End is now in the gentrification end game, HoMa is just starting. I don’t think any of my claims are unreasonable. I don’t think there will be a LuluLemon opening in HoMa next weekend. But hey, really, “Artists are willing to live in shitty, dangerous neighborhoods for the cheap rents and square footage” – Mile-End was not a dangerous, shitty neighbourhood 20 years ago, let alone 10. Either way, we are way ahead of the curve on the trajectory that’s just starting in HoMa.

      As far as pleasant bakeries and cafés go, My favourite bakery (Boulangerie Clark) is now a sushi restaurant catering to the Ubisoft lunch crowd, the turnover for cafés and restaurants of the non-lunch-crowd variety is quite high as landlords are cancelling leases to jack the rents – Hotel Herman and Chez Boris come to mind as very recent examples.

      To be fair, I misrepresented the bookstore scene – there are 2 in my area, down from 4 bookstores 2 years ago – not counting the Renaud-Bray on Parc as that’s a chain store. Sure, bookstores around the world are closing down, but does that mean we should replace all vacant retail with sushi joints and accept that a quarter of the residential properties will be AirBnBs? I don’t think smashing windows is the solution, but then again neither is doing absolutely nothing, shrugging your shoulders, and making up lame apologetics for some variation on the “economic progress in any form is inevitably good and anyone who opposes it is inevitably bad” theme.

      In any case, I agree that this is a “normal” cycle but it’s still unpleasant for many regular decent rent-paying locals – like I said, “this is the nature of gentrification and is not unusual, but to dismiss the issue as “people with jobs who don’t like crime” is arrogant and uninformed.” Even for those of us lucky enough not to be poor, it’s sad to see the local character of your neighbourhood slowly stripped away until there’s nothing left but chainstores and lunch eateries whose patrons are yuppie DINKs that plan to move to the suburbs as soon as they have a kid.

    • Tim 12:50 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      I wonder where the pro-density crowd sits on this? Yuppies have been vilified for suburban living in single family homes for decades. Now yuppies and their families have decided to forego space for better work/life balance. Given that they are probably not affluent enough to afford Westmount/Outremont living, they end up moving into neighbourhoods which they can afford.

      And what is a yuppie these days anyway? I live on the edge of mile end and the people I see in parks and elsewhere are couples (probably dual-income) with kids. Are they yuppies because they have jobs that put them over the average income?

    • Ephraim 15:08 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      The thing about density is that it brings services, especially in a city where store costs are high. It’s hard to sustain a supermarket in a high rent area because the markups are low. But add in enough density and the turnover makes up for it.

      Every neighbourhood changes over time. To dismiss that fact is to dismiss reality. Remember, that at one time, Chinatown was a Jewish neighbourhood. http://spacing.ca/montreal/2008/01/28/when-chinatown-was-a-jewish-neighbourhood/

      What about Verdun, Lasalle and even the village, they have all undergone changes. The village, before it’s last wave of gentrification had houses selling for under $100K. The cheapest single family house (not condo) in the village is over $600K now. And you likely can’t find a 2 bedroom for under $200K.

      Now, personally, I hate when people move in and complain about noise. That noise is grandfathered in. You didn’t like the noise, then you shouldn’t have moved in. But the fact that businesses change only happens because people are going to those businesses…. because a business doesn’t survive without customers.

      That being said, I lament the loss of Hotel Hermann, which to me was one of the greatest restaurants in this city. But the fact that Rachel Poultry is gone is nothing I will cry over. And I still haven’t figured out what the big whoop is about Kem Coba. But some industries are just gone. Music is more of a service today than a product that is sold… Google Play is $10 a month. And Best Buy is dealing with the reality that we really don’t shop the same way for electronics.

      The AirBnB thing is awful. It’s ruining neighbourhoods and rentals all over North America. And as I said, it’s absentee landlords. A B&B under Quebec law is residential, someone is actually required to live on premises. In fact the inspectors check for it. With AirBnB, someone takes what was a nice rental apartment off the market. In SF a 45 sq metre apartment is now about $3K (that’s 450 sq ft), if you can find it. Some people rent rooms with a “hot bed”. That’s $550 a month to share a room with 5 other people. Anyone who really cares about tenancy should be fighting AirBnB, it’s turning residential neighbourhoods into transient neighbourhoods.

    • rue david 16:00 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      airbnb is indeed at the root of this problem. montreal is building a lot of new housing, but it’s not up to demand because so many people are removing homes from the central neighborhoods for short term rentals. if those were put back on the market, rents in these sought after hoods would drop, people would move to those hoods instead of gentrifying hochelaga-maisonneuve and the problem would sort of take care of itself.

    • Ephraim 16:56 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      Thing about AirBnB is there are SO many ways to fix the problem. The first of which is simply require AirBnB to issue T4A/Releve 1 to any non-corporate entities for individual rentals under 30 days. Since RQ is about to become the relevant inspection agency for illegal rentals, once a year they will get a list of all the properties that rented illegally and they can just send them the $2500 a day fines and make sure that they have declared the income on their tax forms. Frankly, AirBnB should be collecting and paying GST/QST and Hotel tax… Expedia does it, Booking.com does it, there should be no exception for AirBnB. We would need an extra law in place allowing RQ to release the addresses to the city so that these people get charged commercial property tax.

      I’ve outlined another set of ways that this could be done, including RQ using shills to make reservations (thanks for the 10 day reservation, here’s your $25,000 fine.) Or offering a percentage bounty for people showing them illegal reservations. All of which would quickly mean that people would stop… because they can’t get away with it.

    • Blork 20:37 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      It’s a bit off-topic, but AirBnB is a great example of a good idea being ruined by people going too far with it. An AirBnB rental should be an alternative to a B&B or inn, not a full-scale short-term rental operation.

      This saddens me, because I’ve used AirBnB a number of times and have always had a great experience. I don’t see how any of the places I’ve stayed have any negative impact on their neighbourhoods, but I don’t doubt that some do. I try to live by principle, but the reality is that when I travel I’d much rather stay in a small apartment than a hotel or inn (and comparable suites in hotels and inns are just way too expensive). So what am I to do?

    • Bill Binns 11:42 on 2017/05/09 Permalink

      @Ephraim – There are many crimes the city or police could eliminate overnight but choose not to for some reason. I’m guessing that all those landlords that have found a way to double or triple their income from rental properties while at the same time getting free of the regie have been wisely spreading some of their profits around town.

    • Ephraim 14:12 on 2017/05/09 Permalink

      @Bill Binns – It’s a matter of changing laws and putting inspectors on the ground. It’s entirely new. At the start it didn’t seem like such a problem… but now it’s a massive problem. And Canadian law hasn’t caught up to the taxation issues.

      There are a number of ways that our tax system needs to be overhauled, many of them benefitting those on the lower rungs. The city for example could simply tax by the square footage rather than sending in inspectors who are biased (and can be bought) and are easily challenged. But in the US and Europe, any income must be reported and AirBnB has to issue tax papers. The same should be true here, but we rely on voluntary reporting… which doesn’t work. When the first comments about AirBnB and it’s effects on Montreal were coming in, all the AirBnB people were talking about how great, how it helped them. Then they were asked if they declared the income and were doing it legally and they started to hem and haw. Then some of them ended up in front of the regie and got caught illegally subletting. Some people, when moving, would keep their old apartments and rent them out… keeping all the income tax free. And the number of apartments dwindled.

      And the next wave is coming… in some cities in the US this has swung so far that there are now apartments that sit empty and they can’t rent them… New Orleans just experienced a high occupancy weekend where most of the AirBnBs were empty because of the new system. And the burn out rate is exceedingly high, most people who get into this business don’t last a year. And the fault for all of this lies at the steps of AirBnB…. they should have never allowed people to list more than one place… so they created a system of ghost hotels, with tax avoidance.

      All this in the name of helping the middle class… and instead have made the middle class poorer. The same is true of Uber. Talk to the drivers in the US, they make less and less money each year with poorer and poorer conditions. Most don’t even make the legal minimum wage without working the hours of “surge” which cuts into their family life.

      The intent was good, the execution was good, the unintended consequences are ruining cities and lives. The sooner we realize it and do something about it, the better off we will be. Teo is the right shake-up for the taxi industry in Montreal… Uber isn’t… it’s piecework, low pay, low coverage and the worst hours.

  • Kate 10:20 on 2017/05/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Robert Fulford reviews the Chagall show at the Museum of Fine Arts. I’d almost forgotten it was on (till June 11).

    • Patrick 17:35 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      Very much worth seeing, especially if you like dance costumes, but not on weekends because of the crowds! I was there a week ago Saturday and felt hemmed in. Also, the dim light in some of the rooms makes it hard to read the captions. But one thing that doesn’t come across in reproductions and that made even familiar paintings come alive was the roughness of some of the surfaces (burlap, coarse brown paper) Chagall used in his early Russian work. Must have been hard to handle. Seen close up, the images look quite different than the postcard or art book versions.

  • Kate 10:05 on 2017/05/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Blake Gopnik writes in the New York Times about the pleasure of growing up in a Habitat apartment, in a piece that segues into the resurgence of general admiration for brutalist concrete architecture.

    • Uatu 22:45 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      Habitat seems like a cool place to live, but it’s in the middle of nowhere with no street life or access to groceries etc. which is a deal breaker for some.

      I hope the new fascination with Brutalism doesn’t mean crumbling concrete facades and cornices etc. 20 yrs. later like all the crumbling stuff that was built in the 70s that are getting patched up now (place Bonaventure)

    • Kate 00:32 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      Uatu, I wondered about that, and whether Blake Gopnik isn’t gilding things in his memory. Habitat itself is nifty but, as you say, it’s basically in the middle of nowhere with no back yards or parks for kids to play in. You’ve got a great view of the city, but you’re at arm’s length from it.

      On the other hand, that family turned out three noted writers, so they must have been doing something right.

    • Mathieu 11:09 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      There are a lot of greenspace around the complex and every appartment has a big patio. It’s not that different than growing in a suburb when you think of it. You just have to get your parents to drive you everywhere (or maybe the mysterious shuttle we see downtown is sufficient). I would assume there aren’t many kids there however…

  • Kate 09:54 on 2017/05/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Michael Giroux, the convicted rapist who took an apartment near McGill but has been hounded out of it, has moved but not given a new address as he’s legally bound to do. Daniel Renaud makes the same error here that the Journal did: the building shown is not a student residence – how could a man in his 50s who isn’t a student get a place in a student residence? – but merely an apartment building near the university. Legally Giroux had every right to be there. Renaud explains the conditions Giroux has to meet, but not the consequences for him if he doesn’t.

    • Bill Binns 12:05 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      He should give Hochelaga a try. The Vice article above tells about some people trying to preserve the area as a paradise for criminals. I’m sure a convicted rapist will be welcomed as a necessary piece of the vibrant local scene.

    • Kate 12:42 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      Bill Binns, you’re trolling. You’re better than that.

    • Ephraim 13:49 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      The point of prison is to give people a chance at rehabilitation. This is NOT giving him a chance to move forward…. and that itself leads to recidivism.

    • Bill Binns 13:54 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      @Kate – Meh – I was good and pissed off after reading the Vice article. Something that tends to happen whenever I read a Vice article about anything. Need to stop reading Vice.

      No sympathy for Mr Rapist Guy though. Is there no Canadian equivalent to the US Sex Offender registry? I don’t think this guy would be able to setup housekeeping in the middle of a student neighborhood in the US, whether he had served his time or not.

    • Blork 14:45 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      An important factor in this story is that this Giroux guy isn’t just some random rapist who has served his time and is trying to move on. This is a serial rapist who has never expressed any remorse. That’s a whole other thing.

    • Ephraim 15:16 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      Part of the compact of our society is that when you have served your time, you have the chance at rehabilitation, like it or not.

      And to make this clear, because some people can’t seem to see the difference between stating fact and opinion… I’m not saying that I agree OR disagree… all I am saying is that once you serve your full sentence, you are supposed to get a chance at a normal life and that making that difficult actually leads people to reoffend. I’m not going to voice any opinion on if he is or isn’t rehabilitated or the chances, because I just don’t know, nor do I have enough facts to really have an opinion on the matter at all. But, if we don’t give him a chance to have a new life, one thing is certain… he will reoffend just to get back to prison and that will ruin someone’s life.

    • Bill Binns 15:23 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      Ephraim – He wasn’t thrown out of his apartment by the cops. As Kate said, he had every right to live where he was living. He scurried away like a cockroach when it became known who he was and where he was living. He is running from his own earned reputation. He wants to live where nobody knows who he really is. As far as I know (fingers crossed) there is no “right” to such a thing, even in Canada.

    • rue david 15:53 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      ephraim – the thing with a serial rapist though is that he’s ipso facto a violent sociopath and a pervert. he’s also still physically able to stalk and rape yet more women. so, people are correctly wary of welcoming him into their neighborhoods.

    • Ephraim 19:30 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      rue david – Here’s the part of jail and rehabilitation… I understand it fully. But the thing about having gone to jail and done his time, as hard as it is for us to accept it, that once you are done, you’ve paid the due. Now you are supposed to get a chance at a normal life. And the downside is, if he doesn’t get his chance at a normal life, you can’t guarantee he will reoffend, just so that we put him back in jail and pay $114K a year to keep him there and ruin someone’s life.

      Bill Binns – I’m willing to bet that he his moving on isn’t entirely innocent… I’m willing to bet that he was likely threatened and hounded as well, which is also illegal. The point is, what do you want the man to do? He’s out of jail, he needs to get a job, earn a living, live somewhere, etc. What’s your solution? He does have a right to a life after prison.

    • Ephraim 20:43 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      Sorry, to correct what I said… if he doesn’t get a chance, you can guarantee he WILL reoffend, if just to get himself back in jail and we have to pay $114K a year to keep him there. And in order to do it, he WILL ruin someone’s life. The lesser of two evils is (unfortunately) to give him a chance to prove he is rehabilitated. And it’s awful, because it also means that he’s given a chance to do this awful thing to someone. Catch 22 at it’s worst.

    • John B 23:41 on 2017/05/07 Permalink

      This guy took a plea bargain to avoid getting classified as a dangerous offender. It’s a bit Karla Homolka-ish. The parole board was saying last year they were pretty sure he is a danger to society and will re-offend. Maybe he’ll manage to not re-offend, but from the stories I read it doesn’t sound hopeful.

      If he’d been made to go to trial and found guilty, he would be in forever. That’s why people are so upset.

    • Ephraim 06:53 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      Okay, let me ask this another way. Being that the man has served his time, he can no longer be locked up. He needs to live somewhere. He needs to earn a living. How is he supposed to do this? How is he supposed to move on, given the chance (even if it is slim) that he may not reoffend?

      I’m not saying that we don’t need safeguards. I’m just saying that we can’t put this man in prison anymore because he has served his time. What do you want to do, considering that he has rights? And considering that the only way to try to keep him from reoffending is to allow him to try to get a “normal” life, AKA a home, work, and friends. Without those, the chances that he will reoffend are 100% (and in doing so, will ruin someone’s life and worse, if not caught immediately, will ruin more than one life). With those, the chances to reoffend are high, but lower than 100%.

    • JaneyB 09:17 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      If he’s served his time but the professionals in the system think it is likely he will go out and wreck another woman’s life, he hasn’t served enough time, clearly. Prison’s not supposed to be a formality; it’s a way of containing people too anti-social to mix freely in society. Some people can’t be allowed out. They can’t have their full rights because they can’t behave normally. If 114k/year is too much to spend on such folks, then maybe a lodge with electronic cuffs up on a northern island will do it for less. The inadequacies of the penal system don’t just happen; people design and enact them. That can be changed.

    • Ephraim 09:33 on 2017/05/08 Permalink

      That’s a completely different discussion. The point is, he’s served his time. We don’t yet have thought crime… and would you want it? Scary enough next door.

  • Kate 00:56 on 2017/05/07 Permalink | Reply  

    The Centre d’histoire piece this weekend looks at the corner of Sherbrooke and the Main where there’s been a gas station for a very long time.

    Gilles Proulx is not satisfied with the rehabilitation of Marie-Angélique, the slave blamed for the 1734 fire that destroyed dozens of buildings when the city was still so small. He thinks the torture and execution of Angélique has become an excuse for blaming the city’s French regime for its brutality.

    Radio-Canada has a text-and-audio piece on the life and achievements of Jeanne Mance.

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