Press releases

 

Youth take leadership in Israel's Independence Day Celebration

Montreal - Montreal's Jewish community will be celebrating 58 years of Israel's Independence on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Park in Côte Saint-Luc. Employing a "for the children by the children" attitude, this year's Yom Ha'atzmaut Celebration is being lead by an enthusiastic group of Jewish day school students working in close collaboration with their schools and with FEDERATION CJA.

"I am so happy to have the opportunity to help organize this special event in our community. We are all excited to plan for it in our schools in preparation for Yom Ha'atzmaut," said one student committee member. The 2006 Israel's Independence Day Celebration marks a fresh rethink of the annual event to maximize the involvement of youth. While past observances traditionally took the form of a downtown rally, this year, event Co-Chairs Brenda Gewurz and Gary Lackstein have listened to the needs of the Jewish day schools. In addition to changing the event location to the more accessible Côte Saint-Luc area, the celebration will also have an earlier start, in order to allow schools to continue their Yom Ha'atzmaut celebrations in the classroom. The schools and students have been actively involved with all aspects of the event, including the day's programming.

Although the spirit of the event is largely directed towards its young participants, everyone is encouraged to come out and celebrate Jewish identity and education, pride for the state of Israel and community involvement. The event will start at Cavendish Mall (at the back of the parking lot on Kildare Road) at 9:45 a.m. Participants will then march together to Trudeau Park to officially kick off festivities at 10:30 a.m., with popular Jewish spiritual singers, Stotland Yard, leading the way with high-spirited singing and dancing.

The committee would like to thank the newly reconstituted Côte Saint-Luc city council for its cooperation.
 

-30-

Cote Saint-Luc appeals agglomeration council budget

COTE SAINT-LUC APPEALS AGGLOMERATION COUNCIL BUDGET; AT LEAST $105 MILLION UNJUSTLY ATTRIBUTED TO AGGLO BUDGET

COTE SAINT-LUC, FEBRUARY 20, 2006
- As is its right under Article 115 of Bill 75, Côte Saint-Luc City Council will be adopting resolutions tonight (8 p.m) at 5801 Cavendish Boulevard to oppose two by-laws related to the recent budget imposed on the Agglomeration Council by the City of Montreal. One of these by-laws, the Règlement sur le partage des dépenses mixtes, contravenes article 69 of Québec's Bill 75, while the other, the Règlement sur les taxes, is imprecise and grants an inordinate discretion to the Montreal administration.

Earlier today detailed studies were released which demonstrated that Agglomeration taxes are at least $105 million above what they should have been. This has led to a tax increase of an average of 14 percent in Cote Saint-Luc's residential sector.

"Our local budget was a responsible one," states Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather. "The vast majority of the unreasonably high residential tax increases experienced by Côte Saint-Luc and most other demerging municipalities were caused by a residential rate charged by the agglomeration which was far too high.

The City of Montreal is trying to charge the agglomeration for many items, which should be in Montreal's local budget. It is also imposing cost sharing formulas, which make us pay far too high a share of agglomeration expenses and arbitrarily assigning unjust tax rates. The Government of Quebec provided us the right to appeal certain matters to the Minister all 15 demerged municipalities are doing exactly that."

Mayor Housefather notes that the municipaliti are asking the Government of Quebec for structural changes to how the agglomeration works. "While Montreal acted unfairly in the preparation and imposition of the agglomeration budget, the Government of Quebec gave them the tools to do so through the laws and decrees they adopted related to the agglomeration," he said. "Now that the Minister can see how Montreal abused the powers which she gave them she needs to act. We need structural change so that we as taxpayers can not be taken advantage of by being made to pay too much for regional services."
 
Mayor Housefather called on concerned citizens to follow the lead of individuals such as Cote Saint-Luc resident Michael Lifshitz and let their voices be heard.
 
Mr. Lifshitz launched an online petition last week which has become a rally cry for all of the demerged municipalities. In seven days, more than 2,000 people have signed on. Paper copies, in French and English, are also available for people to sign at the respective city and town halls. "I would like to personally thank and congratulate Michael Lifshitz for his efforts and encourage all other residents of the 15 municipalities to contact the Premier, Minister of Municipal Affairs and their own MNA," said the mayor.
 
"As a result of the new Montreal budget, Mayor Gérald Tremblay has managed to keep his promise not to increase taxes by shifting that tax burden on to the residents of the demerging municipalities," says Mr. Lifshitz. " Obviously, this is not fair. When the Agglomeration Council was established, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Nathalie Normandeau, promised the demerging Municipalities that if they felt they were not being treated fairly, they could oppose what was adopted by the agglomeration and she would make a fair decision on the issue. It is time to hold her to that promise. It is important that our elected representatives know that this situation is unacceptable and we expect them to fix it. The online petition can be accessed at
http://www.petitiononline.com/ImpotTax/petition.html . This is an updated bilingual version of the original petition which can still be  accessed at http://www.petitiononline.com/DemAgglo/petition.html which has already recorded 2,280 signatures. Mr. Lifshitz reports that the petition has already made its way to Snowbirds in Florida. Those who sign on are being urged to pass it on to as many people living in these municipalities as possible. "As signatures accumulate, I will be writing to all MNAs representing residents in these municipalities, as well as Premier Jean Charest and the Minister of Municipal Affairs to show them the results of the petition," he says. " For those of you who believe there is no point on signing the petition as nothing will change, let me ask you this - what will change if you do nothing?"

-30-

2006 Budget Adoption

COTE SAINT-LUC, DECEMBER 19, 2005-In the six weeks since being sworn into office, members of the reconstituted city council of Côte Saint-Luc have worked overtime to prepare a budget which will allow core services to be returned to pre-merger levels.
 
On December 19, the council adopted a balanced budget of 29,975,594 million for 2006. There were numerous variables in the construction of Cote Saint-Luc's first city budget in five years. Important information was missing which needed to be reconstructed or negotiated with the Quebec government, the Transition Committee and the City of Montreal. The constantly changing information led to marathon council meetings which sought to put monies into local services, but to limit the tax impact on residents. As a result of the substantial increase in labour costs since the mergers, the increase in the cost of water, the 9.1 percent increase in Cote Saint-Luc's evaluations and the one time transition costs, a tax increase was inevitable in 2006. However council's goal was to keep it manageable while taking steps to limit the need for major increases in coming years. Finally, with great effort the budget projects a tax increase of approximately 9.46 percent based on an assumed agglomeration rate of 73 cents for residential. This is substantially less than what is anticipated in most other reconstituting communities. Mayor Anthony Housefather lauded the efforts of his eight city councilors, notably Dida Berku who assumes responsibility for the finance portfolio. "Dida has put in an enormous amount of hours working with Council and our new finance department staff these past few weeks and all of the taxpayers of Côte Saint-Luc owe her much gratitude," he remarked. "This is Cote Saint-Luc's first true budget since the one adopted in December 2000 and everything had to be put together from almost scratch. For the first time since the mergers I now actually feel that I have a handle on our finances and we have now regained control of the process which allows our city to be fiscally responsible. In fact, monies spent in CSL this year will go up by $1,664,669 million from 2005 to ensure services return to 2001 levels. Council took into consideration that we wanted to cut spending wherever possible, but we wanted to pump new funds into services to allow them to be first rate and better than we have known during the merger period."
 
A total $11,816,444 will go toward paying the salaries and benefits for Côte Saint-Luc's municipal employees. The second-largest expenditure, $5,080,000 million, will be put towards Côte Saint-Luc's debt, which includes more than $29,040,616 million going to Montreal and demerger costs, $792,559 million to the debt balance still owing from 2001.In reviewing the budget numbers prepared by civil servants during these past six weeks, council was able to make more than $2 million in cuts. However, every effort was made to allocate monies to have enhanced services. "We have made efforts to be creative through intermuncipal agreements with Hampstead dealing with the library, dispatch services and use of the snow dump," said Councillor Berku. "This will generate new revenues. We have maintained our state of the art library with the largest per capita expenditure on the island, increased our book buying budget $ 100,000 as compared to last year and eliminated the annual $5 membership fee for existing Côte Saint-Luc members.
 
"First class service is now being expanded to include water maintenance. For the first time we will have a contract to maintain and keep our water infrastructure in top condition. Furthermore over the next two years we will have completed diagnostics for long term investment. "If we want to move ahead and expand recycling we will have to be innovative in the field of service delivery. Now that we have solved the issue of public private partnership for the water system, we may look to creative ways to increase service in garbage and recycling. That will be next year's budget challenge. In the meantime we will start a pilot project for recycling in condos."
 
As predicted, notes Councillor Berku, the costs of running the city have increased substantially due to increased labour costs as a result of the merger of Côte Saint-Luc with Montreal and the turnover of personnel due to the breakup of the three cities. "The cost of transition will be paid over the next few years and the increased costs for water maintenance are going to bring positive tangible results for the residents," she said.

Mayor Housefather said he now anxiously awaits the Agglomeration Council's budget. "While we have a seat at this table, the City of Montreal controls 87 percent of the votes," he said. "We hope they will act responsibly andwork in cooperation with the reconstituting communities to prepare the budget. The agglomeration decree means that the residential rate which was set out in the original agglomeration budget of 78 cents should be at least five cents less."
 
Mayor Housefather stated that preparing the budget in such a short period was a major challenge. Côte Saint-Luc, in fact, had a more difficult challenge than any other demerged suburb. Not only is it demerging from Montreal, but it is also separating from a borough which included the reconstituted towns of Hampstead and Montreal West. "Virtually all of the municipalities had no turnover in staff," said Mayor Housefather. "They simply change the nameplate in front of their building from borough to city or town and their staff component remains in place. Our staff are still managing borough affairs. And we have incurred a severe staff turnover. Our new director of finance has only been in place for two weeks and several other key posts have yet to be filled."
 
Mayor Housefather said he looks forward to having a full 12 months in office to get Côte Saint-Luc in order. "In the brief period since being sworn in we have tried to be creative," he said. "We've entered into some revenue generating agreements with Hampstead, we have introduced a Privilege Card to allow use of our recreational facilities for CSL residents free of charge, we have drastically increased the book buying budget for the library, we have succeeded in getting a three year reprieve for EMS and we have used the budget exercise to introduce other new services such as a pilot recycling program for condos. In addition, there are many interesting projects on the table for 2006 and beyond."
 
City Council will formally adopt the tax rates at the next public meeting on Monday, January, 16, 2006 at 8 p.m.

 

-30-

Côte Saint-Luc launches month-long school-zone safety blitz

CÔTE SAINT-LUC, NOVEMBER 20, 2006 – The City of Côte Saint-Luc and the Montreal Police Department will launch a month-long school zone safety blitz on Wednesday, November 22.

Constables from Côte Saint-Luc Public Security together with officers from Neighbourhood Police Station 9 will patrol the school zones at every school in Côte Saint-Luc during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. It will last until the week of December 25.

Public Security and police officers will enforce by-laws related to school zone and road safety, such as prohibitions against stopping or parking one's car in a crosswalk, double-parking, driving faster than 30 km/h and U-turns. In addition, motorists will be reminded they are obliged to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.

"The goal of this month-long blitz is to make drivers and parents more aware of the school zone by-laws, which exist to protect our children," said Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, who is responsible for public safety. "There will be zero-tolerance for any violations to these safety rules. School zone safety is a year-round concern."

-30-

For more information, contact: Darryl Levine, 514-485-8905,
dlevine@cote-saint-luc.qc.ca

Little Corner Café offers fresh foods and a choice to the Bernard Lang Civic Centre

CÔTE SAINT-LUC, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 – The Little Corner Café was launched last month at the Bernard Lang Civic Centre (5851 Cavendish Blvd.) in Côte Saint-Luc.

The Little Corner Café is a privately-owned business. It sells coffees, lattés, espresso, teas, muffins, cookies and a large selection of kosher products. It also offers daily breakfast and lunch specials.

"We think the café fulfills a need for residents who visit the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library and City Hall," Mayor Anthony Housefather said. "We wish it great success."

Jean-Marc Rubio, the owner of the Little Corner Café, is encouraged by the response from residents.

"People tell us every day that they are excited to have a place to have breakfast or lunch so close to the library," Rubio said. "Our coffee is fantastic and all our food is made fresh every day."

The Little Corner Café offers seniors and students a 10 percent discount on breakfast and lunch combos. It is open weekdays from 8am to 10pm and weekends from 10am to 8pm. Call 514-488-6247 for details.

-30-

For more information, contact: Darryl Levine, 514-485-8905,
dlevine@cote-saint-luc.qc.ca

New art exhibits at the public library in Côte Saint-Luc

CÔTE SAINT-LUC, NOVEMBER 15, 2006 – The City of Côte Saint-Luc presents "Ombres et lumière de l'Inde", photographs by Daniel Gauvin,
from November 9, 2006 to January 3, 2007 at the Eleanor London Côte
Saint-Luc Public Library (5851   Cavendish Blvd.).

Also, to be seen at the same time in the Main Gallery is "Schweitzer
in Seriation: 1991-2005", collages by John Schweitzer. This exhibition
runs from November 9 to December 10, 2006.

Eight series are featured in this fourteen-year survey of collages by
Montreal-based John A Schweitzer RCA, tracing his œuvre from the 1991
series, Sunt Lacrimæ Rerum, to the most recent Benjamin's Alphabet
(2005).

The exhibitions are on view daily between 10am and 10pm. Call
514-485-6900 for details.

"These exhibits enhance the reputation Côte Saint-Luc has earned as a
supporter of the arts," Mayor Anthony Housefather said. "We are
thrilled to have artists of the caliber of John Schweitzer and Daniel
Gauvin on display."

-30-

For more information, contact: Mona Turner, 514-485-6926,
mturner@cote-saint-luc.qc.ca