Tag Archives: Westmount

Few campaigns in on-island suburbs (UPDATED)

Note: This post has been updated with full (preliminary) council numbers.

When they voted to break up One Island, One City, 15 municipalities on the island of Montreal, mostly in the West Island, argued that local democracy was one of the big reasons why. Their voices would get overruled in the larger city of Montreal.

Now, of course, these reconstituted municipalities have virtually no say in so-called “agglomeration” matters like public transit. Instead, the city of Montreal calls all the shots.

And as nominations closed Friday for mayor and city council positions, it seems healthy local democracy isn’t on the agenda either. Of the 15, six won’t have a vote for mayor on Nov. 1 because only one person (the incumbent, except in Westmount where it’s a friendly transition to a former mayor) applied for the job. In only one city (Beaconsfield) are there more than two candidates for mayor. And in only three (Beaconsfield, Montréal-Est and Mount Royal) are all council seats contested.

In Baie d’Urfé, they won’t even hold an election because not one position has more than one candidate.

Here are the preliminary numbers from the government:

  • Baie d’Urfé: Mayor Maria Tutino re-elected by acclamation. 0/6 districts contested
  • Beaconsfield: Three candidates for mayor: incumbent Bob Benedetti, Hela Labene, David Pollock. 6/6 districts contested (each by at least three candidates).
  • Côte St. Luc: Mayor Anthony Housefather re-elected by acclamation. 3/8 districts contested.
  • Dollard des Ormeaux: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent Ed Janiszewski, Shameen Siddiqui. 6/8 districts contested.
  • Dorval: Mayor Edgar Rouleau re-elected by acclamation. 3/6 districts contested.
  • Ile Dorval: N/A
  • Hampstead: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent William Steinberg, David Sternthal. 4/6 districts contested.
  • Kirkland: Mayor John Meaney re-elected by acclamation. 3/8 districts contested.
  • Montréal Est: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent Robert Coutu, Yvon Labrosse. 6/6 districts contested.
  • Montreal West: Two candidates for mayor: Beny Masella, Emile Subirana. 2/4 districts contested.
  • Mount Royal: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent Vera Danyluk, Andre Krepec. 6/6 districts contested.
  • Pointe-Claire: Mayor Bill McMurchie re-elected by acclamation. 1/8 districts contested.
  • Sainte Anne de Bellevue: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent Bill Tierney, Francis Deroo. 5/6 districts contested.
  • Senneville: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent George McLeish, Christopher Jackson. 5/6 districts contested.
  • Westmount: Peter Trent elected mayor by acclamation. 6/8 districts contested.

Meanwhile, in Montreal, six candidates for mayor and every single district has at least three candidates (one from each of the major parties). A total of 400 people are running for 103 positions.

It’s possible that people in these suburbs are just really happy with their current government. In the few places with opposition, like Beaconsfield and Hampstead, there are actual races. But a lack of even token opposition leads to politicians getting lazy, and that inevitably leads to corruption.

So tell me, who’s more democratic again?

No bikes on Summit Circle … path

No cycling on Summit Circle?

No cycling on Summit Circle?

A little over a month ago, I noticed a post at Berri-UQAM.ca with the title “pas de bicyclette à Westmount?” – two pictures without commentary suggesting that bicycles had been completely banned from the city.

I decided to take a look for myself. The pictures looked like they might have been taken near Summit Park, so I headed up there with my camera (“up” being the operative word, it’s quite a hike from the bus stop on Côte des Neiges). Sure enough, at the corner of Summit Circle and Oakland Avenue, a small “no bicycles” sign.

The same no bicycles sign from the other side

The same no bicycles sign from the other side

I couldn’t quite make out its intent. Is cycling banned on Summit Circle? If so, why? And why aren’t there other signs saying that? Was it put up in error?

A bit down the street, I spotted another, similar sign:

No cycling, but where?

No parking, no cycling?

Being one of those curious journalist-y types, I emailed the city of Westmount asking what this was all about. After a few days, and with a standard template for answering citizens’ questions, this email reached my inbox:

In reference to your question, the “no bicycle” sign is not meant for Summit Circle but only for the Jogging path along Summit Circle. The Jogging Path begins at the corner of Oakland and Summit Circle.

I hope that this information is helpful.


The jogging path is that dirt path you see in the second and third photos. It runs along Summit Circle on the north side of the park.

Though it makes sense to ban bikes from this narrow pedestrian path, the signage isn’t at all clear. No words, not even an arrow pointing to the path to give some indication where exactly the bicycles are forbidden. A cyclist passing by there would only look on in confusion, and perhaps go away with the impression that the summit neighbourhood of Westmount is filled with rich, bicycle-hating luxury SUV drivers who want to exclude those who don’t fit on their better-than-thou pedestal.

Because that impression would be false, right?

Westmount doesn’t want trains on its train tracks

Apparently, the city council in Westmount isn’t keen on the idea of a high-speed rail link between downtown and the airport going through their little town on the lines currently used by the AMT commuter trains going to Windsor Station. Instead, they’d prefer if the route used tracks further south in St. Henri.

The reasoning is somewhat complicated, and has to do with some very technical aspects of the two tracks. In order to better explain it, I’ve created a diagram of the situation below:

As you can see, it’s better for everyone involved if the train uses the lower tracks.

(I realize this is classic NIMBYism and not specific to Westmount, but you’d think it would occur to them that such a suggestion without any reasons behind it would lead to this kind of impression.)

UPDATE: Aww Pat, I’m touched (again). Your kickback will be in the mail shortly. Pour vos lecteurs, vous pouvez lire mes billets sur les médias, Montréal et, surtout, sur Patrick Lagacé.

Wanna buy Mitch Melnick’s house?

Mitch Melnick, of the Team 990 fame (and his blog), is apparently in trouble with the city of Westmount (via Media in Montreal). Last month, the city ordered his home on Hallowell Street to be sold at auction (PDF) in January for non-payment of taxes.

Unless Melnick pays his back taxes by then (and really, these kinds of things are more threats than anything else), his home and others on the list will be up to the highest bidder on Jan. 30. You’ll have to pay a hefty price though, the city has it pegged at $579,600.

Westmount still hates us commoners

Apparently the City of Westmount has a policy against public transit bringing people to its lookout.

The Westmount Lookout, at the Westmount peak of Mount Royal, offers spectacular views of the southeast, and is a popular tourist destination.

Unfortunately, because it’s such prestigious real estate, insanely rich people live there and they don’t want no stinking commoner buses roaring up their streets.

This means that the only way to get there is to walk up from a few blocks away, along streets whose sidewalks should be broken up into stairs.

Westmount Lookout public transit

In this image, the yellow area is the higher part of the mountain’s peak, and crossing into it is painful on the feet.

Instead of having actual bus service to this lookout, Westmount is proposing building a pedestrian walkway connecting the top of Ridgewood to a neighbouring street. From there people could walk across the park and to the lookout.

Why wasn’t this done already? Politics. Ridgewood is in Côte-des-Neiges, where the peasants live. Connecting it with a neighbouring street in Westmount would bring violence, drug use, prostitution, theft, sodomy, corporate embezzlement, profanity and bad manners into their uber-rich-and-therefore-problem-free community. So instead, people who want to walk between adjacent streets must climb down a hill, walk along Côte-des-Neiges and then climb another hill.

The pedestrian path is way overdue, and the access is an acceptable compromise (especially since the 11 bus also connects to the other two lookouts). But it’s still making it awkward to get to a public place that we should be encouraging everyone to visit.