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  • Kate 22:03 on 2017/10/03 Permalink | Reply  

    Some of the notorious granite stumps on Mount Royal have been fenced off and CBC finds out why.

  • Kate 07:46 on 2017/10/03 Permalink | Reply  

    Five Bishop Street businesses have been stood up in court over financial relief to offset the effects the STM excavation is having on them; owners say they will continue the struggle.

  • Kate 07:43 on 2017/10/03 Permalink | Reply  

    Can Coderre be feeling a little cold breeze? He’s now promising to reduce the city’s welcome tax — a plan Valérie Plante announced first.

    • Ephraim 11:48 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      On the list of logical things to do…. allow the division of houses, because the current laws preventing it are just actually costing people money, not stopping it. Undivided co-property means that you pay more for a mortgage and have none of the condo law protections. And the tax of 10% to divide a home is just as stupid as the welcome tax. Make buying a home more affordable by allowing people to buy their apartment, rather than deal with weird co-property laws.

    • Douglas 16:01 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Undivided co ownership laws were put in place so people couldn’t just convert buildings to divided condos and kick tenants via moving in at the end of the lease term.

      That law won’t change.

    • rue david 16:43 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      the current structure of tenancy in common certainly keeps the cost of housing down.

    • Ephraim 17:08 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Douglas, it doesn’t work. The number of houses moving into undivided co-property keeps on increasing. Putting ear plugs in and singing la-la-la-la isn’t doing a single thing about it. So they divide and sell and then a year later in December put in the paperwork to take over. It’s a band-aid that doesn’t work. And it doesn’t stop kicking tenants out. Not to mention the 10% tax on dividing property, to pay for a park that already exists.

    • Chris 19:00 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Ephraim : just because the number of houses moving into undivided co-property keeps on increasing doesn’t mean the law is not helping at all. It could be at least slowing conversions.

    • Tim 21:52 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Kate, you can be pretty picky on semantics, so I’m surprised that you have referenced the Bienvenue tax (from Jean Bienvenue of course) as the welcome tax. Or are you deliberately playing off the ironic double entendre? :)

    • Ephraim 21:59 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Chris, shouldn’t we be protecting people, rather than making them do it underground? At what time do we allow reality to put it’s head up, instead of playing this game of hiding our heads like ostriches?

    • Kate 22:53 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Tim, I’d swear that news story changed tack after I first linked to it.

    • Ian 08:53 on 2017/10/04 Permalink

      I’ve seen a lot of the news outlets doing this lately – I commented extensively on a CBC article and they changed the headline, content, and direction of the story as the day passed making me look like a raving lunatic. Good thing Twitter doesn’t allow revisions so I could screengrab the original headline & lede at least.

      Back in the old chat forum days we called that a ninja edit – revise your original post so whoever you’re arguing with looks like they’re being irrelevant at best or making this up at worst. I understand why a news outlet would want to revise content as new information/ corrections/ etc. come up but some kind of “this story has been revised to reflect…” statement would be more responsible, especially if they allow comments – and in effect need them to drive engagement.

      Back on point though, I’m with Douglas – the condo conversion boom in the Plateau of the mid 90s has slowed down significantly. For a couple of years there it looked like every decent place was going to get converted. Certainly in Mile End I’d say we lost about 10% of rental stock over the space of less than a decade at a rough estimate. That’s not to say it no longer happens, but not nearly to the extent that it used to when it was seen as an easy way to make money hand over fist.

    • John B 11:14 on 2017/10/04 Permalink

      “Coderre promet de limiter les hausses de taxes à l’inflation”

      So will the tax rate remain stable, or will it increase at the rate of inflation, thus increasing taxes by inflation * inflation, since the underlying value of the property that’s being taxed is also increasing by a number very close to inflation?

    • Ephraim 12:19 on 2017/10/04 Permalink

      John, that’s an easy promise to make, because it’s easy to overcome and it’s essentially a LIE. They limit the mill rate to inflation, but change the value of the property, which leads to much higher rates. In 2017, the rates by borough went up from 1.0% in Ile Bizard to 2.6% in Rosemont (where their mayor is the highest paid, other than Coderre). But property assessment went up an average of 5.9%…

      Let’s say that property tax on $100K is $850 a year. If inflation is 1%, you should see an increase of $8.50, but if they increase your assessment by 5.9% (your house and your land are now worth more), you pay on $105.9K, so actually they bill $59.15 more. The rate didn’t increase over inflation, but yet it’s costing you just under 7% more.

      What we need is a promise that the total tax revenues (and expenditures) will not rise beyond inflation. And I’m willing to make bets that the property assessments will go up the most in the Plateau and Rosemont, because of the votes…

    • John B 12:21 on 2017/10/04 Permalink

      Exactly. This whole “we won’t change the rate beyond inflation” is a false promise, since inflation is built-in, (and the city controls the underlying “value” as well).

    • Ephraim 12:24 on 2017/10/04 Permalink

      Sorry, we need real expenditures to actually come down, because the interest rates the city pays on it’s debits are likely 2x to 3x the actual rate of inflation and therefore we won’t be able to keep up with debt. And as we know, interest rates in Canada are moving upward, which means more interest to pay.

  • Kate 01:45 on 2017/10/03 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s something shifty going on in this story about flu vaccine: Gaétan Barrette made it illegal for doctors to charge for many things as recently as January this year, but now he’s quoted as saying “public opinion has shifted on making payments at the doctor’s office”! What the hell? Why should we pay for flu vaccine anywhere, given that other provinces make it free, and if you go to the CLSC they don’t charge you? What’s Barrette trying to sneak up on us?

    • Roman 07:59 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Who cares flu vaccines are ineffective anyways. There’s zero science that proves they work.

    • Tim S. 08:05 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Roman, I care because this incompetent meglomaniac buffoon is also in charge of things that do work.

    • 08:12 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      “public opinion has shifted on making payments at the doctor’s office”. Where’s his research on that? NO ONE wants to pay an extra dime for medical services.

    • ant6n 11:42 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Neoliberalism – starve public services so much that people start believing the public is incompetent and privatisation is the only option

    • Brett 13:53 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Your comment doesn’t make sense in this context. Quebec doctor’s offices are already private entities which bill the Government for their services instead of the patient directly.

    • Kevin 15:43 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Your statement is false.

      The vaccines offered annually are not as effective as anyone would like because there are more than 100 different strains of influenza A alone, and it A mutates constantly. Type B mutates less often.

      We talk about flu as if it’s one disease, but it’s really dozens of constantly changing variations.

      Then again, many people confuse influenza, stomach flu, and the common cold.

    • ant6n 00:23 on 2017/10/04 Permalink

      The health insurance, which pays for care, is currently public. The (neo)Liberals are working on a step by step process to eventually privatize it.

    • Ian 08:56 on 2017/10/04 Permalink

      @Brett, yes, but within the context of the public health system. Ant6n’s statement is still true regardless of billing structure at the employee level. By way of comparison, snow removal is done by private contractors hired by the city, but it’s still a public service.

      Ant6n’s statment “Neoliberalism – starve public services so much that people start believing the public is incompetent and privatisation is the only option” pretty much sums it up. Creating a crisis is one of the oldest neoliberal tactics on the book.

      “If it ain’t broke, break it”

      Mike “the Axe” Harris, Premier of Ontario 1995-2002

  • Kate 01:42 on 2017/10/03 Permalink | Reply  

    This figure, what is it doing? I described it this evening as a Buddha-like figure, but a friend asked what was going on with the second head. I didn’t have an answer. Theories?

    • Dhomas 02:53 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      From what I could tell from the artist Jaume Plensa’s prior works, it looks like a man or woman sitting down holding his/her knees. See here for an example:

    • Kate 08:32 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Dhomas, your other example does look like knees, but the one we have here doesn’t so much. A sitting figure holding something head-shaped in its lap. But what?

    • Blork 09:25 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      Looks to me like he’s bowling.

    • Janet 10:50 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      @Blork haha
      @ Dhomas I agree. Montreal’s figure looks like a more abstract version of the guy clasping his knees.

    • Kevin 15:28 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      The artist said it’s a crouching person reminiscent of a fetus.
      The sculpture is called Source. It’s composed of letters. It gazes toward the mountain.

    • Kate 22:45 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      There are other artworks around town made of letters. I wonder why this is a thing.

    • Ian 08:58 on 2017/10/04 Permalink

      Considering how much our culture as Montréalais(es) is defined by language, it makes sense to me.

  • Kate 21:25 on 2017/10/02 Permalink | Reply  

    CBC reports on Denis Coderre’s launch of his election platform and examines Valérie Plante’s effort to seize his job.

  • Kate 21:00 on 2017/10/02 Permalink | Reply  

    The coroner’s report on the death of Christiane Vadnais from a dog attack says there should be a centralized registry for dog bites and that the breed-specific law misses the point because it was the poor socialization of the dog in the Vadnais case, not its breed, which caused it to become aggressive. Other recommendations include mandatory sterilization and PR campaigns about dog behaviour.

  • Kate 20:51 on 2017/10/02 Permalink | Reply  

    The city of Montreal has a budget of more than $5 billion. Where does it all go?

    • Raymond Lutz 09:26 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      concernant la page de Radio-can:

      A- OK, j’ai compris: la couleur jaune c’est la couleur du loonie… mais encore, a pie chart without colours! Calling Edward Tufte!

      B- J’aurais aimé que “Sécurité Publique” soit séparée en “Police” et “Pompiers”…

      C- Le remboursement de la dette est le poste le plus coûteux! Alors que les services publics pourraient être financés par la banque centrale.

      D- 0.8 G$ de “Frais pour gérer la Ville” sur un budget de 5 G$, c’est un peu gros (1/6 d’overhead).

  • Kate 07:15 on 2017/10/02 Permalink | Reply  

    Commenters may notice a delay these days between hitting “post” and the acceptance of their comment. The site’s under barrage at the moment so the server’s constantly busy sorting and chucking those spams. Thanks for your patience.

  • Kate 06:56 on 2017/10/02 Permalink | Reply  

    Valérie Plante is promising better traffic lights for cyclists and pedestrians as the second week of the mayoral campaign proceeds. Cycling groups have been asking for more attention to be paid to their safety on the road.

    • Blork 09:37 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      I’m all for more attention to safety for pedestrians and cyclists, but I’m not sure what they’re getting at here. In my experience there are few things on Earth that are as readily ignored as traffic lights for pedestrians and cyclists. Perhaps what they mean is better traffic lights for cars; as in, traffic lights that better account for the presence of cyclists and pedestrians.

      Side note (cycling related), I want to put in a plug for the newly improved bicycle path that runs along the river from Longueuil to Boucherville. That route has always had one big flaw; when you arrived at the Lafontaine Tunnel you had to take a big diversion around the cloverleaf where the 20 meets the 132. It involved a passerelle, some not-well-indicated directions, a few places where there was only a line of paint separating you from the traffic on Marie-Victorin, and the last stretch into Boucherville barely qualified as a dedicated bike lane (only some floppy poles separating you from traffic).

      All summer long they’ve been building a new dedicated path that bypasses all that. It goes under the 20 and hugs the shoreline all the way into Boucherville, trimming 1 km off the route. Much of it is on an elevated platform (there was not enough shoreline between the 132 and the river to make a path, so they built a platform), and the entire way is separated from car traffic. It must have been very expensive, but it is spectacular. It opened a week or two ago and I rode it yesterday. Four metres wide, railings on either side, beautiful views of the shoreline the whole way, including views I had never seen before. The only problem (inescapable) is the constant roar of motor traffic.

      I bring this up because (a) wow, and (b) it’s nice to see things actually happening with regard to improving bicycle use. Oddly, there seems to be no big announcements about this, and no signs talking about how much it cost and what governments were responsible for it.

    • Daniel 09:46 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      Thanks for that review Blork, I am keen to go give it a try!

    • mare 14:33 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      @blork It is probably part of the Trame Verte et Bleue project:

      Advertised as a Montreal 375 project, but probably made with some Canada 150 and other money as well, since it’s a project started in 2010:

    • Ian 14:36 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      I have a friend who’s been biking to work from Lasalle to downtown through the summer as it’s actually faster than driving what with the Festival of Construction. She has been complaining about the bike path diversions on her route – hopefully this kind of work will take place there, too.

    • TC 14:57 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      What about bus lanes? And giving buses priority at traffic lights? Is it the city, STM or some combination of the two that establish them? So many cities are focused on bike lanes, which serve relatively few people, compared to bus lanes, which serve many.

    • Alex 15:21 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      @Blork I think one example might be the recent change at the intersection of du Fort and Maisonneuve. Before (and really, all along Maisonneuve…) drivers would try to turn their heads almost 180 degrees to check for cyclists before turning left onto du Fort, but now they added a red arrow (green bicycle light) / green arrow (red bicycle light) cycle. It’s really helpful for both drivers and cyclists.

    • Blork 16:13 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      @Alex, I hadn’t noticed that change. I can see how it would be useful in an ideal world. It remains to be seen how it works in the real world (hazards = cyclists ignoring red bicycle light; motorists trusting the light instead of actually looking for hazards, etc.).

    • Kevin 17:14 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      CDN-NDG has been steadily adding advance lights for buses in the past 18 months. Although not everyone realizes that a white vertical line means only buses can proceed.

    • 17:53 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      @Blork, do you know if they have any plans to continue the bike path from Longueuil to Sainte-Catherine (which is currently awkward bits and pieces).

    • Mathieu 09:23 on 2017/10/03 Permalink, La Prairie and Brossard announced a few weeks ago that they’ll build a new link next to the river from Matte to La Prairie’s water treatment plant. This would make it pretty direct to Ste-Catherine.

    • Blork 09:45 on 2017/10/03 Permalink, I have no idea if there’s work planned for that area. I suspect not, as there are currently two options; the awkward bit that more or less follows the 132 and the long stretch along that spit of land that forms the riverside edge of the seaway channel (I always forget what that’s called).

      The only other ongoing project I know of is the rebuilding of the passerelle over the 132 at rue de Normandie; that’s the one that got knocked down by a snow truck a couple of years ago. The re-build is almost finished (but the work is going slowly). It too will be pretty spectacular. It’s huge! You could drive a tank across it. The landscape and ramp reconfigurations on either side of the 132 are impressive too. And it’s going to have an observation tower on the river side that AFAIK will be higher than the trees.

    • jaddle 13:34 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      The Fort/Maisonneuve lights are a welcome change at a busy intersection. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well it seems to work – almost nobody goes through when they aren’t supposed to. St-Urbain and Pins has a similar arrangement.

    • Blork 14:06 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      @jaddle, I have a different experience. I just spent about 15 minutes there, observing. At least 10 cyclists went through the red cycling light, including one who went around people who were stopped so he could go through it. About a third of those went through the red when the motor traffic had a green light for a left turn. One almost caused an accident, and the cyclist yelled at the motorist, which implies she did not even see that she had a red light.

      That said, most people DID stop at the red.

      If it were up to me, I’d paint an image of a traffic light (with bicycles for the red, yellow, and green) right on the bike path as it approaches the intersection, to remind cyclists that they have cycle-lane traffic lights up ahead.

    • ant6n 14:48 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      I think we could tone down the trope that no single cyclists ever obeys any street signs.

    • Blork 15:21 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      What are you talking about? There’s no trope here, and nobody said anything about “no single cyclist.” I’m just relaying what I saw, and what I see almost every day, which is that a lot of cyclists disobey street signs. This is indisputable to anyone who has ever observed the bicycle paths (or ridden on them).

      That doesn’t mean they all do, or even that most do. But I saw cyclists blowing that red light at about a rate of about one every two minutes. That’s 30 an hour. Several hundred a day.

      If you base your signage and your behaviour on the idea that nobody disobeys the rules, yet we see it happen several hundred times a day at just this one intersection, then you’re asking for trouble. All I’m saying is we need to consider how people actually behave, not how we want them to behave in some utopia.

      In this particular case, my worry is that the green turning light for motorists will embolden more motorists to turn WITHOUT LOOKING. In my observation today I can say with assurance that quite a few did exactly that; they turned based only on their right of way according to the green light, without looking to see if a cyclist was coming along who was ignoring their red light. I saw one near miss in just the few minutes I was there, and that woman didn’t even know there was a red light for the bicycle lane. (Some intersections have them; most don’t. So most cyclists aren’t accustomed to watching for them.)

    • ant6n 15:30 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      “In my experience there are few things on Earth that are as readily ignored as traffic lights for pedestrians and cyclists.”

      That’s the trope. And it’s not true. Most cyclists obey traffic signs most of the time.

      The rate of following rules is probably lower than for drivers, but cycling is still less common, cyclists pose much less of a threat to others compared to drivers, and the street is often designed against cyclists.

    • Blork 15:47 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      I’m not worried about the threat *by* cyclists and pedestrians, I’m worried about the threat *to* cyclists and pedestrians. I am not convinced that the new lights at Fort/de Maisonneuve make cyclists safer, because it is possible it makes drivers less vigilant. And when you combine less vigilant drivers with hundreds of cyclists a day ignoring the light, it’s a recipe for disaster. How many times do I need to say that?

    • ant6n 15:54 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      You can see that as often as you want.

      I just don’t see why it’s necessary to drag out the trope of the eternally lawless cyclist.

    • mare 17:36 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      I proposed this ‘green cycle for cars on Maisonneuve’ here many times and I’m glad it has finally been implemente. It’s an obvious design, and it should be on all intersections with Southbound traffic on that stretch (it might, I’m unable to cycle at the moment so haven’t seen it firsthand).
      What I don’t get is the blinking arrow for cars. Many other intersections in town have pedestrian lights that turn red earlier than the main ‘big’ traffic light, so cars have some time to turn even with lots of pedestrians. I wish they had kept the normal green light, without blinking or an arrow, it would force drivers to still be vigilant. It would also have been cheaper.

      I learned (in Europe) that as a driver and as a cyclist having a green light doesn’t automatically mean you can just cross an intersection without looking; there might be an ambulance/police/fire truck approaching, or someone that accidentally or intentionally goes through the red light. Just because you have the right of way doesn’t mean you don’t have to try to avoid a collision.

    • Blork 21:06 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      “Just because you have the right of way doesn’t mean you don’t have to try to avoid a collision.” Sadly, that is not a universally held concept. I see many drivers who seem utterly oblivious to that idea (mostly, but not exclusively, young men it seems).

  • Kate 06:52 on 2017/10/02 Permalink | Reply  

    CBC reports on a new green street in the Plateau, although Poitevin Street isn’t exactly well known, being a semi-alleyway.

    • Ian 14:38 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      There’s a lot funny little streets like this in that area, nice reworking of the space!

  • Kate 21:32 on 2017/10/01 Permalink | Reply  

    Valerie Plante is daring Denis Coderre to engage in more debates.

    • Douglas 12:38 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      Coderre is ahead of the polls and most people don’t know how Valerie Plant is. He wants to keep it that way.

    • Ian 13:50 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      Exactly, he knows he has name recognition in the bag, why would he give free publicity to an opponent? It’s cynical and underhanded but unsurprising.

  • Kate 17:19 on 2017/10/01 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse likes the Dictionnaire historique du Plateau Mont-Royal.

    • CharlesMtl 19:02 on 2017/10/01 Permalink

      Kate, do you have it? if so, is it interesting enough?

    • Kate 21:43 on 2017/10/01 Permalink

      I do have a copy, because I participated in it, having written one of the entries. I think it’s a splendid production, and not only because I had a small part in it. Lots of good pictures, lots of well researched and interesting information. Well designed, and I say that as someone who’s done book design (not this one).

    • Patrick 12:41 on 2017/10/02 Permalink

      The La Presse story mentions Mavis Gallant, which surprised me. Is the Plateau for the setting of one of her stories?

    • Kate 02:33 on 2017/10/03 Permalink

      According to her entry in the book, Gallant spent time at the St-Louis-de-Gonzague boarding school when she was a small kid. This school was at the corner of Sherbrooke and St-Denis and she hated it so much she rejoiced when she heard it had burned down in 1968.

  • Kate 17:11 on 2017/10/01 Permalink | Reply  

    Landlords have been getting Régie rulings against tenants doing short-term sublets on Airbnb.

    • Ephraim 20:47 on 2017/10/01 Permalink

      The regie has already ruled that they violate 3 different rules. You need to let the landlord know and have them approve 14 days in advance with all the information including name, address,etc. You are legally bound to charge no more than your rent, divided daily. You can’t even recoup the AirBnB fees. So if your rent is 600 for 30 days, you can charge $20. And you inviolate the lease by renting above that rate, making it commercial instead of residential.

      This has been known for at least 2 years already. Also, if the city declares the space as commercial, you are likely liable for the increase in property tax (by 5 fold.)

  • Kate 12:46 on 2017/10/01 Permalink | Reply  

    A suspicious fire destroyed a building in Côte-des-Neiges overnight, putting 14 people into the street, mostly UdeM students. CTV’s Kelly Grieg has some photos on her twitter feed.

    Update: Eater Montreal tells about the lost pizzeria and Chinese resto.

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