Michael Applebaum is the talk of the town
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 20 janvier 2011
The NDG Sports Centre was on everyone’s mind at the first Côte-des-Neiges-NDG council meeting of the year on Jan. 17. Local MNAs, Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay, council members, borough staff and local residents have all praised Michael Applebaum for his managerial skills.
About 1500 people visited the open house last weekend, according to Loyola Councillor Susan Clarke. “Over the years we have waited a long time to have this sports centre in our area. There was a lot of very vocal opposition, some of it not very polite. Michael Applebaum unfairly took a lot of heat about where the centre should be located. This weekend was Michael’s vindication for having stood up for this wonderful centre. The building has LEED Gold Plus certification. It received very positive comments from visitors and is a boon for the community,” Clarke said.
Councillor Marvin Rotrand felt “very proprietary” about Michael Applebaum. “I knew that one day he might be joining us at City Hall. He was the leading element on our new sports centre in NDG. Anytime you have a $15 million state-of-the art facility and 50 % of it is paid for by somebody else, that’s pretty good ,” said the Snowdon councillor.
Most of the members echoed his approval. Councillor Lionel Perez had other business on his mind, like sharing the news of his recent nomination as vice-chair of the new contract review commission. He promised to take this responsibility very seriously by ensuring that contracts will respect invitations to tender, with transparency in the process as well. He also emphasized the borough’s switch to green paperless borough councils.
“I can find a reason why Marvin hasn’t decided to jump on the bandwagon and start with a laptop. But I find it interesting, ironic, how our Projet Montreal colleague Peter McQueen has yet to jump on that bandwagon. I can think of saving 10-12,000 sheets of paper, of sustainable development, and of all the other reasons, and it would be nice to have someone from Projet Montreal do so as well,” he said.
Rita Del Grande, a regular visitor to council meetings, was first up at the mike at the citizens’ question period, and was obviously one of the biggest fans of the mayor and of the “wonderful atmosphere” at the new sports centre.
She asked Marvin Rotrand, vice-president of the Société de transport de Montréal, whether there is something he could do this winter about posting schedules and maps at all bus stops on Monkland, Marcil, Benny, and Côte St. Luc/Cavendish.
The STM is moving away from paper towards providing real-time information, even though it won’t work for everybody. In a couple of years, riders will have the ability to know exactly where their bus is by consulting their cell phone or iPad, and busses will have panels giving information similar to what is now available in metro stations. In the near future improvements will ensure that people who have reduced vision or are blind can see or hear the upcoming bus stops, like the pilot project on the 467 bus in Saint-Michel.
Patrick Barnard, a Westmount resident, came on behalf of the Westmount Walking and Cycling Association to ask whether the borough supports the idea of a bike path behind the Vendôme metro station, with a bridge over Décarie Blvd.
Mayor Michael Applebaum maintained his usual line of thought about finding the best way possible to ensure the safety of the cyclists by “leaving it to the experts.” But he noted that making the bridge wider means a greater dip is needed in order to get trucks and vehicles under the pathway, and that causes a problem. While his long answer brought applause, Councillor Peter McQueen had technical reasons of his own for widening the bridge. “If you look at every single bicycle bridge over the Lachine Canal, it’s an arch that gives extra space for trucks, so I don’t think that’s a good technical reason for not building the path,” he said.