- Municipal Council
Here is Mayor Peter J. Malouf's opening comments at the February 21, 2023, regular meeting of the Town Council. It has been adapted for the Web. Note: The full recording of the meeting is available on the Town' s Youtube channel.
"Good evening to all, thank you for joining us tonight, be it in person or virtually.
I will start this up-date with the news that we have received confirmation from the Office québécois de la langue française that following the adoption of last month Council’s resolution concerning the Town’s bilingual status, our status as a bilingual municipality has been approved. A copy of the official letter (in French) can be found on our web site.
QUARTIER SPORTIF ET COMMUNAUTAIRE
The presentation evenings were well attended. We had approximately 150 people present live and 160 online on February 1, plus 22 live and 60 online on February 2. Several questions on cost, program offerings, future phases were asked and answered including phase 1 which is the construction of a new sports and community recreation center with an indoor pool. We remind you that in parallel we are still moving forward with our joint project with the SIM (Montreal Fire Department) for a new fire station and municipal services building (Public Security, Engineering, Urbanism), to replace the current obsolete 10/20 Roosevelt building. We feel the presentations were well received and the support is positive and encouraging.
Basis of the presentation and decision making was based on 6 principles:
1. No interruption of any services to residents
2. Better conservation of green space in Danyluk Park
3. No displacement of personnel who service our community, namely: Sports and recreation, Urban Planning and Public Security…
4. Build next to the indoor parking.
5. Provide a long-term plan that will add additional services to residents for decades to come.
6. Maintain the installation volumes that were planned for in V1, while reducing costs of construction (design build) and costs of operations (much smaller footprint, roughly 30,000 sq. ft less than V1.)
We succeeded on all counts.
I will now provide some facts, that will respond to queries and provide clarification to residents:
- At this point our discussions with the government lead us to believe that there is no loss of the current $3M grant from the provincial government. Our Town manager has had exchanges with the government and there is no change in the status of the grant, in addition we are hopeful that with the new vision we will be able to apply and obtain bigger grants.
- Previous Architectural fees all-inclusive of PFT plans and specs TOTALLED $3.1M.
- It was suggested by the previous architects Poirier-Fontaine to reduce costs: Eliminate green roof, do project in phases, eliminate & revaluation of some services & facilities, amongst other things….
- The current visions costs of plans will be significantly reduced as we already have the measured dimensions & specs, needs list, volumes etc.…
- It will be much easier for an architect team to modify the “bungalow into a cottage”.
- We will benefit from space savings, reduction of corridors and walls and lighting, with a building lending itself to more natural lighting, as the spans will not be so long.
- We will also save on the costs of temporary facilities by not having to displace the staff for a period of 2 years. This results in savings of approximately: Sports and recreation est. cost $700K / Caserne est. cost $2.3M / Public Security est. cost $1.5 M. Total saving of $4.5 M without interruption of services while providing a better work environment for staff over 2 years.
- The conservation of additional green space of some 30,000 sq. ft.
- New footprint estimated at 45,000 sq. ft. versus in version 1 the footprint was 74,800 sq.ft.
We are ready to move forward with majority approval of council to go to tender for the next phases required to move the project forward.
The deadline for our survey/comments will be extended to March 3, and I invite you all to participate. Please send us your comments via our dedicated web page to the Quartier sportif & communautaire. We want to hear from you.
As you are all experiencing, we are having a difficult winter as far we are talking about snow. Snow fall accumulation has been amazing this year with very little time between snow falls and large quantities at a time. Rest assured that our teams are working hard to ensure quality service. I wish to remind residents to advise their private snow contractors to not push the snow into the street and particularly not block the sidewalks with the snow cleared from private property. This practice is not allowed, fines will and have been given. But most importantly it impedes the work of our employees and affects service to all residents.
ST. PETER’S CHURCH
Considering that the question has been asked several times, I would like to inform you that we have received confirmation that the sale of St. Peter's Church between the Diocese and the Sajo Company has been finalized in late 2022.
I wish to be clear that this in no way means that a demolition or re-development is imminent; I only want to mention the status of the property as it has been an often-asked question.
As far as property taxes are concerned, the tax bills were mailed out in late January with the first installment due this week. I realize that some residents received increases greater than the 6.92% tax increase announced. This increase is for an average home. If your property increased in value by more than the average 37% your tax increase will also be greater than the average increase. The reverse obviously also holds true.
As for apartment buildings, the increase in their property values has been greater than the average, and we have adopted a taxation model whereby their tax rate is not the same as that of residential 6 units or less.
This taxation model is well within the law and is used by many other municipalities. By changing our taxation model in 2023, we felt we were able to adopt a more balanced budget and continue to offer quality services to residents.
For buildings with 6 units or more, I am aware that many tenants are concerned about their rent increase. I remind you, this is not a surtax, but a new taxation model applied. The decision was taken with the whole community in mind. It is to be noted, that owning a revenue bearing property is a business and it is the property owners’ choice as to how much increase they choose to pass onto his tenants.
It is with great sadness that I am inform you of the sudden passing of our friend and colleague Mr. Gordon Black. Gordon was our Human Resources Director and had been associated with the Town and serving our community for 18 years. Gordon was a wonderful person, generous, affable and endowed with an extraordinary sense of humor. We have lost a colleague, a friend, a person who only saw the good in others and always tried to help. It is heartbreaking, our sincere condolences go out to Gordon’s family.
I wish you a good evening, and for many of you a good week of school break with your family. Thank you for joining us.”