Platform and Accomplishments
It continues to be a privilege to serve as your councillor for CSL District 4. In meeting with you, I have heard your concerns. Thank you for your continued support and the confidence you have shown in me. My goal has been to continue to make improvements both in District 4 and the City of Cote Saint-Luc as a whole.
The last year and half has been unprecedented on so many levels. Our goal throughout the pandemic has been to ensure Cote Saint-Lucers were safe. Cote Saint-Luc was the first city in the Province of Quebec to declare a state of emergency. We did this at the time in March of 2020 without a single reported case, but were able to see the pandemic coming and the effect it would have on Cote Saint-Luc. We were also the first city in Canada to make masks mandatory in public spaces. This was done weeks before Montreal or Quebec took similar actions.
We lobbied the Quebec Government to expand the pilot vaccination project for parents of students, we initiated our get vaccinated campaign, and COVID-safe programming such as outdoor concerts or online activities. Recently we held sessions for seniors to download their QR codes for the vaccine passport. We continue to be leaders on building a safe community for all and will take every necessary step to keep our residents safe and secure.
Parks and Infrastructure Initiatives
In District 4, since elected, I have worked to initiate major renovations to Schwartz and Fletcher Parks, the creation of the Joe Raie Nature Path / Dog Run, and minor renovations to Earle Park to ensure our children have safe and dynamic places to play. This included adding new play structures, new splash pad equipment, a skate spot and a community garden in District 4. In the last two years, a new walking path with 23 trees and 7 benches was installed at Prud’homme Park. Additional upgrades were done at Schwartz Park to replace the roof of the chalet.
Over the next few months, a new climbing wall and shade structure will be installed at Fletcher Park to give children and families another place to play and relax on hot days. I thank the residents that gave their feedback for these projects at district meetings or placemaking sessions.
I am continuing to focus on improvements to the city’s infrastructure. Over the last few years we saw major renovations to the Westminster Underpass including the replacement and extension of the railing and repairs to the retaining wall. This ensures safe passage for the pedestrians and hundreds of children that walk along the underpass each day. We have installed new pumps at all 3 underpasses in CSL to secure safe passage even during the worst of thunderstorms.
We have sleeved about 24% of the water pipes in Cote Saint-Luc and over 30% of the pipes in District 4 have either been sleeved or undergone cathodic protection. This adds up to 50 years to the life of a pipe. I also pushed for pressure-regulating chambers to insulate CSL pipes from irregular fluctuations in Montreal’s water pressure. In the last few years we have reduced the average number of watermain breaks by 61%, reducing the number of homes damaged by water.
In District 4, Cote Saint-Luc repaved the following streets: Kingsley, Cranbrooke, Magnolia, Luck and sections of Westluke, Sunnybrooke and Wolseley. Over the last few years, 8260m of sidewalks were replaced in CSL, with much of this being in District 4. We did a complete renovation of the traffic lights at Cote Saint-Luc Rd. & Westminster including adding sonar devices for those that are visually impaired. This was a first in Cote Saint-Luc and one of the first in the Province of Quebec. We added a crossing guard at CSL Rd & Westminster during key hours to help seniors cross safely.
This summer and next, we will be testing the water in 3000 homes. If you may have lead, we urge you to use a get your water tested and purchase a filter and apply for one of the grants available from the city.
Over the next four years, my goals include to repave more roads and reline or protect more pipes in the district and in all of Cote Saint-Luc. We will also be implementing a full plan to deal with dealing with the lead service lines once the testing is done and we get a sense of the exact number of pipes that need to be replaced. You will see more extensive work on Côte Saint-Luc’s system of water and sewer pipes in the next year.
On the environmental front, we continue to produce large annual increases in waste that is diverted from landfill through the brown and blue bin programs, household hazardous and bulky waste. From 2007 to 2020, the amount of garbage going to landfill from Côte Saint-Luc has decreased by 44 percent while the amount of waste diverted has nearly tripled.
In 2007, the organic waste pilot project that I planned and initiated began in Cote Saint-Luc. A year later, Cote Saint-Luc was the first city on the Island and one of the first in the province to adopt a Brown Bin Organic Waste Collection for all single-family homes and duplexes. We presented the program at the National Assembly and have assisted many other cities to use our program as a turnkey model. Since first elected, I pressed to expand recycling to all apartment buildings, offer bulky waste collection, more household hazardous and e-waste drop-off opportunities, and have held zero-waste events.
This August, all homeowners received their new black bins, which will allow Côte Saint-Luc to collect waste more efficiently. We will also be revisiting taking waste collection back in-house to address some of the issues we have had with collection occurring late or homes being missed. Over the last few years, waste collection has been done by a contractor.
Cote Saint-Luc has installed Geothermal heating for the ACC, replaced the bunker oil boiler for the outdoor pool with a cheaper, more environmentally friendly natural gas heating system. I have organized meetings with Hydro-Quebec to save money for Cote Saint-Luc on our energy costs and I’m continuing to work on energy and cost-saving measures, such as switching more lights to LEDs. So far, we have switched over 526 street lights to LEDs with the rest to be replaced over the next few years.
I lobbied successfully for the purchase of electric vehicles and installation of charging stations. I also worked to set up a grant for homeowners who install a home electric charger. I initiated legislation that was successfully adopted for new multi-family apartment buildings to have a triple chute system for garbage, recycling and organic waste. This was another first on the Island of Montreal.
Côte Saint-Luc has been forced to cut down more than 2,000 diseased trees over the last 10 years, mostly due to the Emerald Ash Borer. We are trying to replace the trees as quickly as possible and I’m happy to share that over the next three years, we have doubled the budget for tree planting to catch up. As part of the Tree for my Neighbourhood program, we are inviting residents to purchase a tree to plant on your property.
Moving forward, I will continue to work hard for Cote Saint-Luc to be a leader in environmental initiatives. Some of the ideas I will push for include: banning wood-burning fireplaces for new homes and requiring all new large developments to have grey water recycling for water runoff.
I am very happy to continue fighting to preserve Meadowbrook as a green space and appreciate the award the City just received for this endeavour and for trying to preserve the Little St. Pierre River.
Local District Initiatives
In the district, I have also focused on adding new stop signs and traffic calming measures and several new beautification measures such as removing graffiti, new benches, picnic tables, public recycling bins and the clean-up of vacant lots. I also lobbied for Bell to enhance many of their utility boxes in CSL to camouflage them with the environment and prevent graffiti.
I have been working in conjunction with CSL’s Public Security and Urban Planning as well as Montreal’s Police and Fire Departments to address health and safety issues in some of the apartment buildings in the district. I will continue to be persistent to make sure improvements are put in place or push for continuous fines until the building are repaired or issues addressed.
I thank those of you that have given me your feedback. In the next four years, residents will see more traffic calming measures, trees, and benches in the district. I continue to regularly patrol the district and try to pro-actively alert the various city departments to issues before residents have to bring them up.
As a parent, I was extremely bothered by adults smoking in parks and playground areas and presented legislation to ban smoking in playgrounds, sports fields and at the outdoor pool. Cote Saint-Luc was one of the first cities in Canada to adopt this legislation in 2012. Finally 4 years later, the provincial government adopted similar legislation.
I want to continue to ensure that Cote Saint-Luc is providing activities for children of all ages. I’m happy that we were able to have the park monitor return at Fletcher Park. The free program for children 5 to 12 years old, ran Monday to Friday, from 3 pm to 7 pm over an 8 week period during the summer.
I was able to successful get the return of the skating rink at Schwartz Park and pushed for additional skating spots this past winter, including at Fletcher Park
Some of the initiatives I will continue to work on include more funding for smaller community parks. The priority will be more water installations and shade structures to make the parks more enjoyable given the effect of climate change. We will be upgrading most playgrounds over the upcoming years from sand to wood chips or rubberized surfaces, though we will be looking at keeping small sand areas such as what was done at Schwartz Park. We will also be expanding the variety of activities offered by the city such as more after-school programs for children.
On the financial side, my focus has been on improving services while keeping tax increases at a minimum. As the chair of the CSL Audit Committee, my goal has been to ensure spending is kept in check and along with other members of the committee, review all city expenses.
Early in the pandemic, we could not predict how the City would be affected financially. As the Councillor responsible for the finance portfolio, my priority was to ensure ongoing budget monitoring. Despite the challenges, Côte Saint-Luc finished 2020 with a surplus. Thanks in part to a grant from Quebec to offset costs related to the pandemic, we were able to offer no tax increase for the average residential home. Thank you to those who attended our recent pre-budget consultation.
Over the last 5 years we have kept the tax increase below the rate of inflation. Over the last 10 years, the average tax increase has been 1.6% compared to inflation at 2.1%.
I have worked tirelessly to meet your needs. On November 7th, I ask for your support to help me continue to serve the residents of District 4.