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Borough council meeting, February 3
Bergeron, special guest at council meeting
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 18 février 2010
Photo Émilie Russo
Richard Bergeron, here with Carole Dupuis, came to support Peter McQueen.

A regular borough council meeting was held on Feb. 3 and included Richard Bergeron, leader of Project Montreal, as a special guest as well as several other members of the team. Bergeron sat inconspicuously amongst the citizens and stated that he came to support Peter McQueen, the sole Project Montreal councillor in CDN-NDG.

“Peter is alone here. They don’t always make life easy for him. Marvin [Rotrand] was relaxed tonight but usually he is more confrontational. For me it’s important to be there,” he said. “Every chance I can, I try to visit my elected councillors. It allows me to get to know my colleagues better and to see what it’s like in each borough. It’s important to develop this knowledge of Montreal.”

Bergeron got a chance to see what citizens of the CDN-NDG borough were concerned with at this meeting. Grace Moore, a resident, asked Mayor Applebaum for clarifications about the 40-day strike that the blue-collar workers of the city of Montreal are currently holding.

“I was reading the Suburban about this strike and Mr. Applebaum, you were quoted as saying that the administration has decided to not sit down with the workers as long as there are these strikes” she said. “I was just wondering, does that mean you would sit down with them if they weren’t on strike? And is that the way it usually works?”

Applebaum explained that two thirds of the city workers were not on strike, that the police and fire departments were currently in mediation over their contracts and that it was the blue-collar workers who refused mediation with the city.

“We are asking the blue-collar workers to accept the same agreement that we have with the other unions but they are reluctant to sign. The additional cost that it would bring to the city of Montreal, if we were to give in to their demands, would be an extra $35 million,” he said. “In order to respect all of the other unions, we will not give them more wages than what was accepted by the other unions and no, we are not sitting down with them at the present moment. If they would like to mediation, we are more than willing to do so.”

When asked about the strike, Bergeron agreed with Applebaum.

“Only the blue-collars are left who are around 7,000 of around 30,000 city employees,” he said. “It’s evident that it needs to be worked out It takes a long time to regulate but once it’s signed, it’s completed.”

Keeton Clarke, who was the Darlington candidate for Vision Montreal, had concerns over the ongoing problem of housing in the borough. He asked about the progress of helping the residents of 4837 and 4055 Vezina St. who had been living under unsanitary conditions due to the landlord’s neglect of the properties.

“What are the overall changes or regulations that you intend to implement in order to protect the citizens in order for them to pursue a quality of life in a less-infested habitat and a well-maintained living environment?” he said. “This will enable the families to reduce their surmountable stress and affect the children’s education and the overall family’s health. ”

Answering specifically about the properties on Vezina St., Applebaum stated that “on Jan. 15, the properties on Vezina were sold to a non-profit organization called Hapopex and in the month of April, people will be moving out, relocating to another building and the buildings will be completed renovated and they will be able to move back in. ”

Concerning the monitoring and maintenance of houses and landlord neglect in the borough, Applebaum said the Tremblay’s team had a plan.

“Since 2008, the city of Montreal put in place a special committee of super inspectors that help the boroughs in order to attack problem buildings and landlords who are delinquent in keeping the standards up in their properties,” he said.

The next council meeting will be held on March 1.

[Sarah Leavitt]

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