Have Your Say
March 4, 2019
Submit an opinion on any topic that you feel may be of concern or interest to the community
Introducing Have Your Say, a new feature of WestmountMag.ca that allows you, the reader, to submit an opinion on local news and events or any topic that you feel may be of concern or interest to the community.
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names and city of residence must appear with each submission – pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting an opinion, you accept that WestmountMag.ca has the right to edit and publish that opinion in whole or in part.
An opinion may be submitted in either official language at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that WestmountMag.ca does not endorse the opinions expressed in Have Your Say.
In response to Re: CSL council passes tough anti Vélo-Québec resolution
Ms Dumais mentioned cycling for nine years “in the MS Bike Tour, one of the many charity cycling tours expertly organized by… Vélo Québec. If people want to do some fundraising while cycling, there are many opportunities out there.”
Velo Quebec charges charities for staging the event(s). The most successful cycling event in Quebec has been raising millions of dollars per year for years and 40% of what is raised goes to expenses.
The NYC Marathon has been using my concept for seven years. They raised $US 27 million in the first year that they employed it. In the USA and Canada the cost to use my concept is only 4%. I am a volunteer fundraising consultant and charity activist.
Ms Dumais continued: “The Suburban article even reports that Vélo Québec’s position as told to Gazette in a 2015 interview, is that “the Tour has its own mission, which is to promote free and safe cycling. Individuals are free to get sponsors and money for a charity of their choice. We do offer preferential rates for organizations who want to sign up a group to raise money for a cause.Our cause is cycling.”
I just received an email from the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. They are one of the charities mentioned upon the Velo Quebec site https://velo.qc.ca/en/govelo/Participate-as-a-group
Estelle Bruno of the Foundation replied: “Okay, my colleague told me that we only raised about $30.”
Sorry but Velo Quebec is all show and no substance. They simply reflect the fact that Quebec is the worst place for charitable giving in all of Canada and the USA.
As far as the mission of Velo Quebec is concerned, in no way do they promote safety in any tangible manner. It is NOT mandatory to wear a helmet in any of their events. They gave cycling safety lessons to 600 kids last year and that was paid for by the taxpayers.
At the same time, the participants of NYC’s equivalent cycling event raised $1 million for charities, taught cycling safety to 27,000 cyclists at the expense of Bike NY and in their events, cycling helmets are mandatory.
I Expect More From Westmount City Council
I don’t ask much of Westmount City Council, only that they follow the law, comply with proper procedure, and occasionally respect citizens.
I attended the February 4, 2019 Westmount council meeting. At the first question period, regarding the publishing in newspapers of City Council’s notice related to increased remuneration, I stated, “A public notice published is mandatory.”
Having been duly rebuffed, I then asked how many people see the public notices on the City’s website. There is no record of my question in the official minutes. However, in the audio recording I confirm the following dialogue between myself and Mayor Smith:
Starting at 58:20 [ https://westmount.org/en/meetings/regular-council-sitting-held-on-monday-february-4-2019/ ]
J. Locke: Does the city have any statistics as to how many people look at the website?
Locke: And what is the answer?
Mayor: I can get you the answer, but he can tell you tomorrow morning exactly what the traffic is. It is monitored and it is increasing all the time.
Locke: Thank you.
To date, I have received no answer from the city.
That was on February 4th and none of the above was recorded in the official minutes.
Whereas, as late as 2017, the names of questioners and the questions posed during question period were recorded in the minutes.
The Province of Quebec’s Cities and Towns Act, s. 90, mandates the following:
“The clerk shall attend at all sittings of the council, and draw up minutes of all the acts and proceedings thereof.”
Yet, for reasons unknown, the City of Westmount has seemingly stopped recording the questions posed by citizens in its minutes. Why?
As recording secretary for the Westmount Poets Group (I joke not), I strongly believe that accurate minutes are important.
Once again, in my personal opinion, it seems that Westmount is not complying with provincial law. Why?
Jack Locke is coordinator of the Frank Scott Poetry Day, August 1.
Tupper/Atwater death prompts action from Montreal mayor
On February 18, according to La Presse, Montreal mayor Valerie Plante announced measures to make the Tupper/Atwater intersection safer for pedestrians following the death of a woman last December 12. This is great news for the many Westmounters, including myself, who frequently walk through that dangerous intersection.
A pedestrian light phase of 18 seconds has now been implemented, replacing the previous 9 second phase. As well, thermoplastic road markings will be fused onto the pavement in 2019, making the pedestrian crossing more obvious to motorists, part of Montreal’s overall effort to make its intersections safer for pedestrians.
I would like to see similar efforts in Westmount. Most of our intersections lack proper markings to delineate pedestrian crossing areas. There were some in the past but these have faded away. As a consequence, cars often stop on the crossing areas, forcing pedestrians to walk onto the traffic lanes. Thermoplastic road markings last much longer than conventional paints, are available in many bright colours, and would be an ideal solution.
What happened to Westmount’s excellent snow clearing?
I have always prided myself in living in a city that offers excellent snow removal. That is until recently.
Last Sunday, January 20, Westmount experienced a major snowstorm. Meteorologists warned that the storm would likely be followed by rain and then another cold spell by Thursday, January 24. I had expected that the city would to do its best to clear the streets to avoid the subsequent build-up of ice and its consequences.
On Wednesday, January 23, there were still large snow banks on Greene Avenue and surrounding streets including Dorchester. That day, an email from the city announced that, “Westmount’s snow loading operations have slowed today, Wednesday, due to congested routes for the snow trucks and also due to weather conditions.” I thought to myself, this is unacceptable – the city has to do better than this with what’s coming.
Stepping outside my home on Greene around noon on January 23, I was amazed at the sight of a tractor busy removing snow from the Staynor Street ice rink, with a snow dump truck on stand-by. Why is the city putting ice rinks before streets when it comes to snow removal, at a time like this?
On January 24, the City web site reported, “Unusual weather conditions have resulted in an extraordinary accumulation of water and ice in Westmount’s streets this morning. Our Public Works teams are working tirelessly to unblock the catch basins and sewers to improve the situation as quickly as possible. Efforts are focused on areas at risk of flooding.”
Of course all this could have been avoided had the city done a proper cleanup earlier in the week.
Here we are, Friday, January 25, five days later and on Greene the snow banks are still there, now covered in ice, making it difficult to park.
But the ice rink in Staynor Park is open.
Re: CSL council passes tough anti Vélo-Québec resolution
I am writing to comment on an article that appeared in the January 9 edition of The Suburban entitled CSL council passes tough anti Vélo-Québec resolution.
The article reports that, “Côte St. Luc council passed a tough resolution, calling on the island-wide agglomeration ‘not to support Vélo Québec with funding and free in-kind support, until… all event participants on the island of Montreal are invited to raise funds for charities via their participation in the events.’ ”
It goes on to report that, “The resolution was proposed by Councillor Mike Cohen, and inspired by charity activist Murray Levine’s long-time advocacy for the Annual Tour de l’Île cycling event to also be a charity event.”
I recall Mr Levine showing up at a number of Westmount council meetings over the years, trying to convince the mayor and council to ban the popular one-day annual cycling event in Westmount with, as of yet, no success.
For nine years I participated in the MS Bike Tour, one of the many charity cycling tours expertly organized by… Vélo Québec. If people want to do some fundraising while cycling, there are many opportunities out there.
The Suburban article even reports that Vélo Québec’s position as told to Gazette in a 2015 interview, is that “the Tour has its own mission, which is to promote free and safe cycling. Individuals are free to get sponsors and money for a charity of their choice. We do offer preferential rates for organizations who want to sign up a group to raise money for a cause. Our cause is cycling.”
Kudos to the one councillor, Dida Berku, who voted against the resolution. As she states in the article, “The event causes a little inconvenience, but many people enjoy it.”
Abuse of Privilege in Westmount
Does the Mayor of Westmount deserve a 54.8% increase in pay?
This is what Westmount City council is proposing. They want to raise the pay of the Mayor from $43,934 to $68,000. This is a whopping big increase, if you ask me.
Although the Mayor may deserve fair remuneration, one must ask why there have not been adequate increases in the past? Did no one on council ever consider the subject? Were they previously sleeping, or merely frugal?
This is why I humbly believe that a 54.8% increase in one broad stroke is NOT indicated. If the matter had not been considered by previous councils, in these times of tight budget allocations should this council unleash such a massive remuneration increase?
Largess and abuse of privilege have no place in local governance.
Signage finally moved – Thank you!
Just a note to thank the Ministère du Transport du Québec (MTQ) for finally moving the “Closed Road” signage that had been placed on the west sidewalk of Greene Avenue just below Dorchester. I had made the request at the last Comité Bon Voisinage Meeting on December 12 and this week I noticed that the signage had finally been moved.
Many pedestrians where inconvenienced by the signage which blocked the sidewalk for months, forcing them to either walk on the slippery grass of the office building or onto Greene Avenue in the way of traffic. It is my hope that from now on the MTQ will make pedestrian safety a priority.
Feature image: Pixabay