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Borough council meeting, March 1st
Housing issues plague council
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 4 mars 2010
Photo Émilie Russo
« Do you see us as being responsible for the situation of the rain water falling from the sky and not being able to find its way properly into the city drains? », said Elizabeth Shapiro.

The borough councillors held a council meeting on March 1 that was chock-full of complaints from citizens over housing conditions, an ongoing problem in the borough. From deteriorating basements due to flooding to delinquent landlords, the subject dominated the night.

A group of individuals were present who own homes between Décarie Blvd and Grey Ave. below Sherbrooke St. West. They were concerned with the long-time problem of water drainage from their homes. On a particularly rainy day, water cannot be drained to the reservoir and backs up into the basements of their homes causing extensive damage. After addressing the council in August of 2009, the group of residents returned complaining of no progress on the issue. The work is connected with the construction of the MUHC superhospital and delays there have suspended any efforts related to the reservoir.

“Do you think that this problem of inadequate draining and the constant flooding in our neighbourhood has a negative impact on the value of the homes?” demanded Johanne Wemmers, a resident of the area.

Mayor Michael Applebaum, who has a background in real estate and is the city executive committee member responsible for housing, said he could not answer the question but stated that the flooding was not a city problem or responsibility.

“Information that we are getting from the city services is that the water coming from your personal home which is landing on your property is not able to access the piping system on your residential street,” Applebaum said. “You are having water backup. That water is not from the sewage of the city of Montreal but it is the water from your personal home that cannot access the pipe. It is not a city responsibility.”

The group of residents were shocked to hear that Applebaum was withdrawing responsibility.

“There are only three or four blocks that are affected, we are very highly taxed and we are also very inconvenienced every time there’s a heavy rain fall,” Elizabeth Shapiro, another resident of the area, told Les Actualités. “The city has to take responsibility…the mayor is denying this and throwing it into our faces that somehow it’s our problem.”

Discussions about delinquent landlords were also addressed.

“I heard that you were going to put pressure on the provincial government to change the laws so that infractions to the housing code will be attached to the buildings instead of to the landlords,” said Gill Landon, addressing Applebaum. “Can you tell us what progress you’ve made on this?”

“We still have delinquent landlords that continue to use the law not to have to repair their buildings,” said Applebaum in response. “But it is the landlord that is personally responsible when we take him to court. What we are going to do now is shorten the time of delay to take them to court. We are going to give them heavier infractions and we’re going to go quicker with the infractions so that they cannot delay the process over several months or years.”

In response to several concerns over traffic issues in the borough, the council announced it would be coming out with an action plan to reduce traffic and that money was put aside to deal with this issue. The borough hopes to make these plans clear by the end of March.

The next borough council meeting will be held at the Manoir NDG (5319 NDG Ave.) on April 12.

[Sarah Leavitt]

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