Floods join stories about Crawford Bridge School, construction etc.

Floods are on everyone’s mind right now. My heart goes out to people in Rigaud, Ile Mercier and Ile Bizard,who were ordered to evacuate. Also, there are many homes in Ste. Anne’s, Pierrefonds,  Laval and Dorval whose homes are flooded.

Mayor Denis Coderre just called a state of emergency in Montreal after three dikes collapsed in the Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough near Rivieres des Prairies. There have been 221 homes evacuated so far.

There are 400 soldiers on duty in Quebec now to help fill sandbags. Another 800 are on their way.

Laval police are also helping to handle the emergency situation as I outlined in my story the Suburban.

In last week’s Suburban, I also wrote about the Crawford Park School consultation, bridge frustrations and an entrepreneur event and several other police operations in Laval.

Here are all the stories:

Crawford Park School consultation underway again (C, May 3, pA9)

Lachine, LaSalle, Mercier Bridge Construction (C, May3, pA19)

Laval Joins Relay for Life June 10 (L, May 3, pA1)

Public Senior Residences Hold Bazaars Next Weekend (L, May 3, pA13)

Four Police Services Cooperate in Synergie Operation (L, May 3, pA13)

Police spokespeople attend training last week (L, May 3, pA14)

Juliette Brun headlines Second Annual Entrepreneur Celebration (L, May 3, pA15)

 

In the April 26 issue of the Suburban

I have more stories than usual in last week’s Suburban. Most of my stories are in the West Island and Laval issues. I’m particularly impressed with the first one about the event Wednesday night.

Inspirational women raise money for women shelter  (WI,Apr26,pA6)

Lachine transfers human resources to Mtl (WI,Apr26,pA9)

On Rock faces incredible use surge (WI,Apr26,pA14)

Jean-Pierre Menard to speak to CSSS Laval (L,Apr26,pA3)

Demers to pitch Laval (L,Apr27,pA3)

Police donate $46,000 to trauma victims

Last week’s April 19 Edition:

Emergency crews on standby for flood (Laval, April 19, A1),

Children in Pierrefonds celebrate Montreal (WI, April 19, A6)

UPS to expand Lachine plant (WI, April 19, A11)

Backyard shed thieves caught red handed (Laval, April 19, A1)

Laval to benefit from Plattsburgh Montreal (Laval, April 19, A3)

 

Did you know Library and Archives Canada has a podcast?

The latest Library and Archives Canada podcast just came out April 7. It features the rise of the British Flying Service and how that new technology affected the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

In the early days of flight, you had to expect to crash,” says Bill Rawling, historian and author of the book Surviving Trench Warfare and one of the experts interviewed in the podcast. “And the idea was to see how far, how high you could go before the aircraft would fall out of the sky and they’d have to drag you out of the wreckage. Now, you’re talking about something that when it crashes, you’re going 30 kilometres an hour and you’ve come down from 30 feet and it’s all wood and canvas and it just falls apart around you. And in fact, it’s like a big crunch zone in a car. So, but yeah. You have to expect—Billy Bishop, you know, probably Canada’s most famous pilot ever, when they adopt new aircraft—the Nieuport 17—there were hard landings, as they were called, as he’s learning how to operate this aircraft. And a hard landing may well mean damage. So how many of these hard landings were actually crashes?”

If you have an ancestor who served in the British or Canadian military, this episode will give you lots of ideas of their roles during the war. It also features descriptions of some of the other experts who participated in this, the world’s first industrial war.

This is the first of two podcasts featuring Vimy. The Episode is called Beyond Vimy: The Rise of Air Power, Part 1.

Library and Archives Canada Podcasts Appealing to Genealogists

The Library and Archives Canada  has been podcasting since 2012. Other episodes that might appeal to genealogists include:

 Sifting through LAC’s Cookbook Collection

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Métis Nation

And perhaps the most useful one for any genealogist,

Digging Into the Past: Family History in Canada

To see the entire collection, refer to the main podcast page.

Want better education? Attend Verdun summit tomorrow

Is education important? If so, how can teachers, parents, school board officials, government leaders and community groups work together to help students succeed?

That’s what provincial and local leaders will discuss during a full day education summit taking place in Verdun tomorrow. While most of the day is geared to serving education insiders, they’re welcoming members of the public to join their ranks from 5 until 7 p.m. Parents and others interested in education can visit 25 different kiosks to speak with representatives from local schools and daycares, the health bureaucracy, city and boroughs, and community groups.

School success is a big issue in Verdun, where drop-out rates are extremely high. One of every two boys who register in local high schools doesn’t get a diploma. Drop-out rates for girls are slightly lower, but they still surpass 30%. Someone has to make schools more relevant for students, and that’s what all the education partners will discuss throughout the summit.

Verdun Mayor Jean-François Parenteau will speak just after 5 p.m., just prior to dance performances by students from Beurling Academy and École secondaire Monseigneur-Richard.

Workshops

At 5:30, participants will be able to select one of three workshops on offer. The English sessions feature language development by the CIUSSS of Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, performance anxiety among adolescents by Dr Côté-Lecaldare from the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and going back to school by the Literacy Foundation.Parents of teens (room 106)

A Circus performance by l’École de cirque de Verdun takes place at 6 p.m.

After that, there are two more workshops. The CIUSSS of Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal will talk about how parents of teens can make family life work better. The Charles-Étienne Lavoie group will present a session about managing stress to thrive.

Daycare

Many activities have been set up to enable parents to bring them along. A daycare is offered for parents with young children. Older children will appreciate learning about cartooning with Jacques Goldstyn or perhaps coding with a group of computer experts.

If you go

If you want to discuss the future of education, join the summit from 5 until 7 p.m. at the Champlain Adult Education Center, 1201 Argyle Street.

March 14 Register for Referendum about Metro Bellemare

On March 14, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., 249 citizens living close to the  Bellemare grocery store development in Verdun asked for a referendum about the project. Now the borough has to hold a referendum that they are likely to lose or the developer has to pull the project and perhaps submit a revised version for consideration again.

The process wasn’t easy and if Quebec Bill 122 goes through, this will be among the last times it happens.

This was a great example in which local government officials set up a city development project that went beyond what local citizens can stand. Locals are always concerned that a project fits in with its neighbours. They care that unit costs within a development aren’t too high, that parking remains available, and that traffic isn’t worsened. Developers and city officials are concerned with increasing the density in a region, building higher-priced units that generate more tax dollars and “beautifying” neighbourhoods, which almost always means gentrification.

With this project, the borough of Verdun was very happy with the project they negotiated, which expands a beloved grocery story and creates rental units rather than condos. Several proposed units are large enough to accommodate families, a big need in Verdun. The developer has also offered to contribute $150,000 to build social housing.

Neighbours were not happy at all. The worried about the potential traffic and parking headaches that the four-storey 67-unit mixed use building will generate. They know that the grocery store parking lot will be frequently used, but the major street next to it is one-way, so anyone who visits the store will have to leave by the smaller residential streets. There’s also a school right across the street from Metro Bellemare, so it will be children negotiating passage through the traffic. Parking is already difficult.

To try to lessen the project’s impact, residents living on  Claude, de l’Eglise, Evelyn, Galt, Gertrude, Gordon, Hickson, Joseph and Verdun had to negotiate a byzantine process that included verifying via a formal legal notice whether they had the right to participate. If they did, they went to Verdun borough hall, 4555, rue de Verdun, Salle du conseil, local 205, to sign a register for a referendum about the project. If they didn’t, they’re still annoyed.

Developer Robert Bellemare had things even tougher. He faced criticism, graffitti and hate while trying to present the positive sides of his project. He’s already spent a year negotiating with the borough’s local development committee. Then he spent several months trying to win over critics. His latest attempt occurred the morning of the register according to Radio Canada. That move was to create a citizen consultation committee to ensure his grocery store expansion is done in such a way that they will approve. There were other changes too, but according to my colleague’s story, they weren’t sufficient to keep residents from signing the register.

The borough also faced lots of criticism during the project, especially after the Mayor told the developer which zones they opened, allowing him to open additional spots and raise the number of residents who had to sign the register. (See this story in the Metro and this one on Radio-Canada).

In the end, 249 people of the 2,294 who live near the project signed the register. This was just a few more than the 243 people that were required . The borough can now hold a referendum about the project or the developer can pull the project, make the changes citizens demand and resubmit the project to the city again.

As tough as the process is for everyone involved, its advantage is that it keeps neighbourhood development in the hands of the citizens who live there. Everyone would prefer something easier. On the ground, citizens say they should be involved earlier in the process, when a project developer is beginning to present his project to the borough.

Quebec’s provincial government has a different idea. They prefer to remove all citizen clout entirely with Bill 122. If it goes through, citizens will have no say over what happens in their neighbourhoods.

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