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West Island Blog Food Drive: What can I donate?


West Islanders are coming together once again to lend a hand to the most vulnerable members of the community. Join the West Island Blog at Provigo Le Marché Kirkland for the annual Neighbours for Neighbours Food Drive on Saturday, November 7, 2020 from 9am to 4pm! All COVID-19 guidelines will be adhered to as safety is the number one priority.

Donating will be easier than ever – just place your bag of non-perishable items in the carts set up outside Provigo and volunteers will take it from there! There will also be containers for much-needed monetary donations where you can contribute by simply dropping in some spare change or bills. Financial donations allow food banks the flexibility of buying fresh perishables for their hampers or loading up on items they’re not getting enough of.

Unsure of what to bring to a food drive? Typically, items stored in your pantry that don’t require refrigeration, like dry and canned foods, are safe to donate as long as they have not reached their “sell by” date. Check out the list below for some ideas of what non-perishable items can be donated.

Most needed food and household items

Pasta (canned or dry) and pasta sauces
Canned and frozen meats and fish
Canned meats and fish
Meat alternatives
Meat alternatives (peanut butter, soy, assorted nuts)
Canned goods
Canned goods (beans, soups, and stews)
Dairy (shelf-stable, canned, and powdered milk)
Canned vegetables and fruit
Canned vegetables and fruit
Whole grain cereals
Whole grain cereals
Infant foods
Infant foods and baby formula
Bathroom tissue
Bathroom tissue and diapers
Personal hygiene products
Personal hygiene products
These are the food and household items most urgently needed by food banks per Food Banks Canada.

Whole grain foods like oatmeal, barley, high-fibre cereals or whole-grain pasta contain plenty of fibre and are an excellent source of minerals like magnesium and iron. Food banks with meal programs will use them in their kitchens to create fresh meals for their clients.

Baby cereals and jarred baby foods make good donations since roughly one third of Canadian food bank recipients are children.

Lean proteins from foods like canned tuna and chicken; plant proteins like peanut butter, beans, and lentils; or more complete proteins contained in other canned meats help in the maintenance of body tissue and contribute to a feeling of satiety. Nut butters are a favourite because they’re a versatile ingredient in snacks and meals.

Canned fruit is high in vitamin C and dietary fibre. Likewise, if they’re free of added salt and sugars, studies suggest that frozen and canned vegetables are often as good as fresh produce.

Milk alternatives like shelf-stable milk, powdered milk, almond milk, and rice milk from the grocery store shelf contain vitamin D, vitamin A, and, most importantly, calcium.

Rice particularly brown rice is preferred by many.

Money is by far the best donation you can make to your local food bank as it allows them the freedom to stock low inventory and high-demand items.

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What: West Island Blog’s Annual Neighbours for Neighbours Food Drive

Where: Provigo Le Marché Kirkland

16900, aut. Transcanada Kirkland, QC, Canada H9H 4M7

When: Saturday, November 7, 2020 from 9am to 4pm

Don’t forget to read 5 Easy Ways to Reduce your Daily Waste before your next grocery trip.

Treeazin pesticide applications for prolonged lengths of time – is this the answer?

Tree Azin Beaconsfield EAB Emerald Ash Borer
Despite warnings by Health Canada not to leave TreeAzin applicator injectors unattended, some were detected in Beaconsfield in July.
By Rhonda Massad

In the early 1900’s there was the chestnut blight, an exotic pathogen that altered the hardwood forest forever. A few decades later Dutch elm disease, an exotic pathogen carried by the exotic bark beetle, terrorized majestic elms all across North America.

The emerald ash borer is making history as it wreaks havoc on ash trees across the country. Laval has 5000 public ash trees and claims the same amount in the private sector. It has already killed millions of ash trees in Ontario, Quebec and the United States, and poses a major economic and environmental threat to urban and forested areas of North America.

The period for action against the insidious insect is between October and April, when the insect is dormant. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) suggests moving the trees to an authorized disposal site during this period.

Some typical signs that an ash tree is infected with EAB is an increase in woodpecker activity, the tree canopy begins to die back in the upper third portion of the canopy and bark splitting.

To cut down a tree in most cities, a permit is required. The wood collection service is offered free by the City of Laval if the ash is contaminated, the whole must be accompanied by a proof provided by a contractor.

TreeAzin, a Class 4 pesticide determined by the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency, is the most widely used product available in Canada, it is produced by the BioForest company from the extract of neem seeds a product of the neem tree.

TreeAzin is effective against a variety of insects that consume tree tissues, not only will EAB larvae be affected, other insects feeding on the treated tree.

“In my opinion the residue left behind from the injection of several hundred thousand trees in the Montreal region would not be significant to harm a human,” John Gasparetto, Business Development and Technical Specialist at Bio Forest explained, “testing has shown that to harm a human it would take up to two litres to cause any damage.”

According to Health Canada the toxicology database for NeemAzal Technical, the active ingredient in TreeAzin, did not undergo the usual amount of studies required for pesticide registration.

In the available studies it was determined that the health effects in animals given repeated oral doses of NeenAzal included effects on the blood, liver, thyroid and kidney. When given to pregnant animals there were irregular bone ossification as well as heart abnormalities. Effects were present in both mother and fetus.

Health Canada also states on it’s website that although the toxicology database was not complete before product registration, toxicology studies that were complete rendered the pesticide acceptable.

Felling a substantial portion of mature trees dramatically alters the appearance of neighborhoods and diminishes property values. Stormwater run-off increases. Shade decreases and air conditioners run longer.

In 2013, a study done for the U.S. government and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine established a correlation between the presence of the emerald ash borer and an increase in deaths attributable to cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. On average, the researchers witnessed 23.5 more deaths per 100,000 residents after the borer passed through a given area.



Tower of London remembers with more than 800,000 handcrafted poppies. Lest we forget.

West Island News, West island Blog ,Rhonda Massad

By Simon Kent

 LONDON – One Canadian soldier. One poem. One sea of poppies lives on.

In May 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres, Major John McCrae witnessed a friend fall in battle.

The Canadian military doctor and artillery commander was asked to conduct the funeral service. It is believed that after the burial, McCrae began writing his famous poem “In Flanders Fields.”

The piece lived on long after this son of Guelph, Ont. laid down his own life in combat less than three years later. It has been quoted, admired, reprinted, translated and parsed ever since.

Today, the sentiment of loss recalled by the humble poppy flower — and McCrae’s poem — is made real by a spectacular installation surrounding the historic Tower of London.

Come Tuesday — Nov. 11, Armistice Day — there will be 888,246 handmade, blood red ceramic poppies displayed. That’s one for every British and colonial soldier, sailor and airman who perished between July 28, 1914 and Nov. 11, 1918.

The interest has been nothing short of stunning.Poppies, West Island news, West Island, Rhonda Massad, West Island Blog

Upwards of four million people have already journeyed to the display. It carries the simple title: “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.”

Last week, the Metropolitan Police asked that visitors postpone their trips because of the daily crush, but in a splendid display of British cussedness, people came anyway.

As they always would. To stand and stare in complete silence.

Each one keen to make this pilgrimage to what is, by any measure, an incredible public mixture of art and reverence for the departed.

The Tower of London poppy field is the result of an idea by British ceramic artist Paul Cummins, who has had a team working on the project since January.

Initially, it was thought that the display would be transient. After Nov. 11, it is scheduled to be broken down.

There is now a call for it to be permanent with a petition launched to that effect due to be presented to the House of Commons when 100,000 signatures are gathered.

London Mayor Boris Johnson is keen to keep the display.

“The poppy field at the Tower is a unique and poignant focus of remembrance in this centenary year,” Johnson told the Evening Standard.

“It has grown rapidly in popularity, to such an extent that it is now a global visitor attraction,” he added.

“I’m keen to explore whether we can keep the exhibition open for longer, to give as many people as possible the chance to see something so incredible, while easing the pressure on numbers.”

Of course, it’s not as if Canada has ever forgotten either the huge sacrifice this country made during the First World War or the contribution to the collective memory made by John McCrae’s simple words.

Institutions bearing his name include John McCrae Public School (in Guelph), the John McCrae Public School (part of the York Region District School Board in Markham) ,John McCrae Public School (in Scarborough) and the John McCrae Secondary School (part of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board in Barrhaven).

So much has been said, seen and written about “the war to end all wars,” it’s hard to fathom just why this simple public display above all else has sparked such veneration.

Perhaps, the field of poppies at the Tower of London taps the sense of loss represented by those who fell — not just in the First World War, but all who have made the supreme sacrifice since.





Beaconsfield Councillor not convinced on the long term impact of Tree Azin on the environment


by Rhonda Massad

In their February, public council meeting the city of Beaconsfield voted to puchase more than $400,000 worth of Tree Azin, a class four bio-pesticide, to ward off the emerald ash borer (EAB) attack on ash trees. More than $220,000 of this expense will be applied to public ash trees while the remainder will be allocated to residents who wish to use the city to broker their deal for the pesticide application to their personal ash inventory.

“TreeAzin is effective against a variety of insects that consume tree tissues. In other words, not only will EAB larvae be affected, but probably all other insects feeding on the treated tree will also be affected,” Beaconsfield resident Fred J. Ablenas, PhD, Chemist and Biochemist explained in an earlier exhange, “the use of Treeazin could severely harm our songbirds, while the ash trees are going to die anyway.”

Beaconsfield Councillor Pierre Demers, the only nay vote on the council panel, was not comfortable with the scale of the pesticide application.

“I believe that our plan should be a combination of protecting and replenishing our canopy,” Demers told The Suburban in an interview. “The current plan is singularly focused on the chemical treatment of ash trees on a large scale with a heavy focus on convincing residents that treatment is the way to go.”

“I’m not yet convinced that there will not be any long term consequences to our environment with the use of a the Tree Azin bio-pesticide on the scale that is being proposed.”

According to Demers he does not think residents are fully aware that should they choose to treat their trees they will need to continue with the application of Tree Azin every two years for the life of their trees. That 5% of the EAB larvae will survive this treatment indicating that for the bio-pesticide to have any real benefit it would need to be applied to every single ash tree in Eastern Canada for a sufficiently long period of time (years) in order to interrupt the insect’s life cycle completely in our region.

“In other words everyone would need to get on board, both public & private, not only in Beaconsfield but in our neighboring cities and beyond,” he said.

A bylaw was put in place last October to force landowners of the 180 hectare Angell Woods (AW), recently designated for conservation as a nature park by the city of Montreal, to prepare a silviculture management plan for the estimated 20,000 ash trees that currently stand in the woods. The plan would include strategies for the treatment or felling of ash trees and for replacing them, due for submission to the city this spring. Failure to submit a plan would expose the landowners to a minimum fine of $750 plus expense. For a repeat offence, the fine is doubled and applied daily after that.

“Beaconsfield’s punitive ash tree bylaw has singled out the owners of private forests for special consideration of the law. We can only conclude that it is part of their ongoing effort to get the land for pennies on the dollar, “ land owner Diana Shamoon concluded in an email exchange, “Nevertheless, failure to abide by the treatment and felling laws will result in fines, not just to the AW landowners but to all Beaconsfield residents.”

According to Demers, based of the rate of infestation witnessed so far, it would be safe to say that the EAB will be found in Beaconsfield, including Angell Woods, within the next five years or sooner.

“Allowing the option to introduce thousands of liters of a bio-pesticide into what is continuously being referred to as a fragile and dying ecosystem is illogical to me,” Demers explained, “I think when it comes to the EAB and AW, we should let nature take its course. Over time, the ash trees will fall and will be replaced naturally by other species of trees, as seen historically with other species of trees like Dutch Elm.”

8925 individuals of the Southern West Island’s population live under the poverty line, TQSOI report shows


“The Portrait is the first step to moving the community to a better place” Holmes states.

by Rhonda Massad

The Table de Quartier Sud de l’Ouest de l’île (TQSOI)  launched the long awaited Portrait of the Population of the Southern West Island report dispelling myths about wealth on the West Island.

“This is an exciting tool that has been an idea for years, and has been finally realized with this groups of volunteers via the TQSOI,” president of TQSOI, Healther Holmes told The Suburban, “with the hired coordinator through funds we were able to secure from Centraide, DSP and MESS ville de Montreal.”

Table de Quartier Sud de l’Ouest de lîle (TQSOI) is a non-profit organization uniting citizens and stakeholders from the community, including institutions, private sector, and politicians in an effort to increase the quality of life on the territory of the Southern West Island which includes seven municipalities: Senneville, Sante-Anne-de Bellevue, Baie d’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Kirkland, Pointe-Claire and Dorval.

According to the report written by Alena Ziuleva of TQSOI,  the West Island is one of the richest areas in the province the social development needs have not been properly recognized.  The data presented shows poverty is hidden all over the territory.  More than 8900 individuals live under the poverty line. More than 6200 residents live in the most severe social deprivation conditions. In Pointe-Claire, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and Dorval one out of three seniors live alone.

The portrait expresses concern for those who live in poverty and suffer from social exclusion indicating that limited public transit in such a vast territory causes a serious barrier to access food resources, services and programs especially for youth, seniors and others who rely on public transit.  More than 90% of the low-income population and almost 85% of the residents have little to no access to fresh fruits and vegetables, within 500 meters of their homes.

The report suggests an increase in social and affordable housing and accommodations for those with special needs to significantly improve the quality of life of the homeless or those at risk of being homeless.  High costs of housing rental deters youth from staying in the community resulting in local commerces having a difficult time attracting employees as the youth move on.

Another major concern outlined is citizens access to health care and social services.  According to the report this territory is characterized by one of the lowest umber of physicians in the Montreal region. More than 45% of West Islanders say they do not always seek help at their usual source of care for urgent problems.

“Simply put this portrait is the first step in moving our community into a better place,” Holmes explained, “we share this information, gather a common vision, create an action plan on how to improve, then move into implementation.”

More information and an e-copy of  the Portrait  can be found at .



As luck would have it the Emerald Ash Borer will be munching on other trees not just Ash trees

Emerald Ash Borer takes our Ash Trees

By Rhonda Massad

Repeated application of pesticides over 15 to 20 years can’t be good for the environment.

As cities across the West Island and pretty much everywhere prepared their 2015 budgets many have included an extra amount to be allocated to applying Tree Azin to protect trees against the Emerald Ash Borer that was believed to attack only Ash trees.  If that wasn’t a tragedy in itself, as it turns out the EAB is just as happy to munch on other trees as well.

It has been discovered that the EAB is not limited to feeding only on ash trees. The EAB has now adapted an appetite for whitefringe trees, and other close relatives to this species such as forsythia, privet and lilacs could be affected as well. The EAB does not affect species such as maples and hickory that are not related or similar to the ash – yet.

TreeAzin, a Class 4 pesticide determined by the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency, is the most widely used product available in Canada, it is produced by the BioForest company from the extract of neem seeds a product of the neem tree. It works on the insect’s hormonal system, not on the digestive or nervous system and does not lead to development of resistance in future generations. TreeAzin is a systemic insecticide, therefore is not sprayed like some insecticides but injected directly into the sapwood.

The TreeAzin label quotes that it is toxic to aquatic organisms. It is also toxic to bee brood. The product is systemic and is transported upwards through the tree. Bees may be exposed to residues in floral pollen or nectar resulting from tree injections. Applications to hardwood trees must be made post bloom.

TreeAzin is effective against a variety of insects that consume tree tissues, not only will EAB larvae be affected, other insects feeding on the treated tree will be as well. Which means the trees that are treated with this pesticide will have no insects left for the birds to eat.  Our song birds will be forced to move on and it is damaging to bees.

According to Health Canada studies determined that the health effects in animals given repeated oral doses of NeenAzal included effects on the blood, liver, thyroid and kidney. When given to pregnant animals there were irregular bone ossification as well as heart abnormalities. Effects were present in both mother and fetus.

There are no long term studies on the impact of this relatively new pesticide and the residue left in the water supply, which is claimed to be minimal after one application.  My deepest concern is that after applying this insecticide to our a huge number of trees over the span of 15 to 20 year will have a devastating impact on our health in the future.  We do not have the answer but  repeated applications of pesticides can’t be good.  Government needs to take a different approach and cut their losses and replace the canopy instead of trying to save what is destined for extinction.

WIPCR’s Teresa Dellar found a void, filled it

Ian Bos, Teresa Dellar, West Island Palliative Care Residence., Kirkland Teresa Dellar, TC Dellar, Brigitte GArceau
Teresa Dellar founder of West Island Palliative Care Residence throws a great Pyjama party

By Rhonda Massad

Dollard resident Teresa Dellar is the executive director and co-founder of the West Island Palliative Care Residence (WIPCR). She is grateful to have had her family’s support since 1998 when she started out on her journey to give dying patients a place to go in their final days on the West Island.

In 1998, Teresa was the oncology social worker at the Lakeshore General Hospital where she found that in the most important time of the patients life they could no longer be cared for at the hospital and the only palliative care available was down town Montreal away from loved ones and the community in which they had lived their lives.

“In order to take on something of this magnitude, the people that surround you need to believe in you, I needed the support of my family first and foremost,” Dellar told The Suburban in an interview. “I could not have done it without my husband Gavin Fernandes and my sons, who were young at the time. My parents were instrumental in assisting me with their care. Today my sons both work at the residence part-time.”

In an impromptu conversation with the residence’s honorary co-founder, then MNA for Neligan, Russell Williams, she told him of her idea to open a hospice for people who were dying. According to Teresa, Russell was instrumental in making things happen. He knew how to work effectively with the government, knew the language.

“By 1999 we were incorporated,” she said, “the community jumped on board right away. NOVA, the CLSC and the hospital became involved and the fundraising started almost immediately. This was truly a community effort.”

Teresa hopes to provide care to as many patients as possible in the future. The average cost for a palliative care bed is $165,000. The provincial government grants a subsidy of $68,000 per bed.

“I had to give up parts of my life to do this but I believe we have been put here to do something good,” she pondered, “I recently read somewhere that we should stop looking for a miracle for ourselves and look to make a miracle for others. There are so many people behind the residence, together we make miracles for those who need us.”

“Today we see patients coming in who are much sicker than they used to be, baby boomers are trying more treatments and studies that are available,” she explained, “Palliative care is not just about cancer it includes all life-limiting diseases like ALS and renal disease. Only 16-30 per cent of Canadians have access to palliative care. NOVA and CLSCs do their best with home care but the budgets keep getting slashed.”

“We have to do something about the provincial debt but health care is taking a big hit — this is not the direction we should be going with an aging population. Our needs are growing every single day.”

The West Island Palliative Care Residence is a non-profit institution, accredited by the Quebec government to provide palliative care health services. Opened in 2002 with nine beds, a 2012 expansion increased its capacity to 23 beds, making it the largest freestanding palliative care residence in Canada.

Beaconsfield council votes itself 39% salary hike

Beaconsfield tax take goes up

by Rhonda Massad

At Beaconsfield’s regular public meeting on December 16, mayor and council notified taxpayers that they intend to increase their own salaries, early in the New Year. Pending a unanimous vote to approve the hike, the mayor’s salary will increase by 25%, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015, and councilors will receive a 39% increase.

They announced the increase to mixed reviews from residents who attended the December budget meeting. As reported last week in The Suburban, Beaconsfield’s portion of the city’s 2015 budget is projected to rise 4.73%.

The city has held the average Beaconsfield residential property tax bill rise to 1.25% next year, by dipping into its surplus from previous years.

According to Councilor Pierre Demers, much more is demanded from elected officials than a decade ago. Though Beaconsfield council has voted itself small increases in pay over the past several years, it’s last a substantial adjustment was in 2007.

“There is never a good time to ask for an increase,” Demers acknowledged during the council meeting. “The optics will never be good. This increase will bring us to the middle of the pack of cities with comparable populations.

Demers suggested that it would be sensible in future to adopt automatic increases based a formula on which would take into consideration factors such as inflation. That would spare councilors from recurring remuneration debates.

Mayor Georges Bourelle told residents that the council proposed the increase almost immediately after the election but wanted to give residents a chance to see what the new team could do, prior to voting itself a pay increase.

Resident Cynthia Aboud was unsure about the increase when she arrived at the meeting but after the presentation was comfortable with the increase.

“I think that council presented a well thought-out argument for the increase in remuneration. While the timing may not be optimal, as a Beaconsfield resident, I have no problem with the proposed increase” Aboud told The Suburban after the meeting.

While most residents who spoke during the budget meeting did not take issue with council’s need to increase its monthly allotment, most objected to the amount of the hike.

“Who gets a 39% increase in their paycheque? Certainly not me,” resident Nikki Hainault told the panel. “We have had a bad year and we are looking to another hard one coming up. This raise is out of proportion to what is realistic.”

Resident Ron Belair also termed the raise excessive.

“What have they really done to deserve this increase?” he asked. “Where were all these raise ideas when these candidates were running, 12 months ago? They knew the salary when they signed up. There was no mention of this increase in their campaign flyers. In fact, they all promised to keep taxes steady.”

“The raise is too much in a time of austerity, when everyone is trying to cut back,” Belair concluded.

Owners highlight holes in Angell Woods plan “Zero development deprives seniors, poor of housing”


By Robert Frank

Suburbanites’ battle to save trees in their back yards ran square against demand for sustainable development during the past week, in urban planning hearings at Montreal city hall.

The two main owners of development land in Beaconsfield, Diana Shahmoon and Menashi Mashaal, expressed concern that the Montreal agglomeration council is engaging in greenfiscation: enacting environmental zoning regulations that would permit the city to expropriate their land without having to pay them what it is really worth.

Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourrelle fuelled their concerns by suggesting to both Shahmoon and Mashall that their land is only worth $1.

The owners reminded Bourelle that the municipal evaluation had been imposed retroactively by judges Robert P. Lanctôt and Denis Bisson. The court concluded in their 2012 ruling that the city “can’t have it’s cake and eat it”, judging that it wasn’t fair to tax their property as development land, since the city had, for years, blocked them from improving it.

Deux poids, deux mesures

In contrast, as The Suburban reported last week, the agglomeration voted two weeks ago to spend $4.2 million to acquire land one per cent the size of Angell Woods for green space adjacent to Montreal city hall. That price was four times its municipal assessment.

Shahmoon suggested that Beaconsfield has not been forthcoming with studies that it claims support its conclusion that the land there is “old-growth forest”.

“Three taxpayer-funded scenarios, each of which called for a mix of conservation and development, were suppressed by the city and never publicly circulated,” she said.

The Suburban visited Angell Woods last week, where most trees appeared to be fast-growing species of limited age. The observations supported claims that the green space is instead former farmland that had been left fallow.

A handful of older trees were vastly outnumbered by abandoned bags of excrement that had been left littering the woods by irresponsible dog owners.

Shahmoon asserted that the Association for the Protection of Angell Woods (APAW) is responsible for the desecration of the land.

“APAW, with Beaconsfield’s support, has for decades permitted and even encouraged hordes of trespassers and their dogs,” she complained. “Over the years, it has served to massively defile and degrade the woods.”

In his presentation, Mashaal reminded the city that its sustainable development plan calls for transit-oriented development within one kilometer of public transit hubs like the Beaurepaire commuter train stations. The agglomeration’s own map shows that zone comprises most of Angell Woods, if it adheres to its own rules.

He added that sustainable development is needed to offset Beaconsfield’s lack of lodging suited to seniors and the city’s social homogeneity.

“More diverse types and priced housing will respond to the needs of citizens from differing types of households, at different stages of life and having greater or lesser incomes,” Mashaal said.

Mashaal recalled that his Jewish grandfather came to Canada to make a new life, after Iraqi authorities stripped him of his property there.

“You can’t expect to place a public park on private land,” he told The Suburban.



Bob Benedetti remembers

Former Beaconsfield Mayor Bob Benedetti

by Rhonda Massad

Flying officer Bob Benedetti signed up to the Canadian Air Force in 1956 at 19 years.  He was a licensed  pilote and wanted to fly more so it seemed like a perfect plan. What followed was two years of intense training starting out with a group of 260 potential Air Force Pilotes with a final 30 that made it the whole way through training.

In 1958, based in Marville, France, his squadron, trained to fly CF-100 all weather fighter jets, was one of the first to be deployed to Europe during the cold war.  The CF-100, designed to fight particularly at night, carried 58 rockets on board and eight 50 caliber machine guns. According to Benedetti, it was a big plane that was worth a cool $1.5 million in the late 1950s. The squadron’s was the largest peacetime show of force ever deployed with 300 planes and more than 10,000 airmen deployed over four bases west of the Iron Curtain.

“We would be nose to nose with the Russian bombers that would fly right up to the border,” Benedetti explained in an interview with The Suburban, “we would go up and stare back in a game of chicken. They would have crossed had we not been there. Our job was to keep them away from crossing into free democracy.”

“I was young and indestructible, we all were. I was happy to serve. I feel it made me a better Canadian,” he remembered,” before i was deployed, I would hear the national anthem sung at school and at the hockey games. After serving it meant so much more to me.  I became more patriotic. Service is good for young people.”

Today, former Beaconsfield Mayor is actively involved in the community. He is a member of the Train de l’ouest committee, a board member at West Island community resources centre and a member of the steering committee for the Concertation West Island.



Beaconsfield studies it’s waste management

Beaconsfield studies waste management

by Rhonda Massad

As Montreal landfills reach capacity and the provincial government applies pressure, municipalities are being forced to address organic matter that will no longer be accepted in landfills. Strategies vary from city to city but all with the common theme of diverting organic materials to composting sites.

Beaconsfield has opened up discussions with residents in three open town hall style meetings this past month to offer suggestions and hear what people had to say.

According to Beaconsfield city councilor Roger Moss, municipalities across Quebec are obliged to present a waste reduction policy to the Provincial government by 2016.

Beaconsfield’s pilot project which will study residents’ waste management habits will cost $228,000, half of which comes from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The goal is to form strategies to reduce the 370 kilograms of waste per person per year compared to Kirkland’s 265 kilos.

“We are in the study stage at this point,“ Moss told The Suburban in an interview, “but by 2016 municipalities are being obliged by the provincial government  to have their plans for waste reduction in place.”

“The pressure will be coming down from Quebec to all municipalities to reduce the garbage,” Moss explained, “there will be disincentives from the government as well, to encourage waste reduction.”

Dollard des Ormeaux and Kirkland have instituted a organic waste pick up as part of their efforts to reduce waste through their brown bin collection which takes care of waste that cannot be composted such as cooked table scraps. Pointe Claire instituted a green waste collection which represents a large portion of waste.

According to Beaconsfield’s director of public works Andrew Duffield all comments that have been received in the town hall meetings will be compiled and taken into consideration.

Under the pay as you throw pilot project citizens were encouraged to compost and were given targeted information to support them with their waste management.  The information from the pilot project was very encouraging to Duffield as residents managed to put out 33% less garbage based on weight. This means there was less organic waste in the garbage.

As far as Beaconsfield resident Linda Frate is concerned even though people will have good intentions not everyone will compost properly and the city runs the risk of rodent infestation.

“I am concerned as I am already seeing people throwing garbage in parks, this behavior will increase,” Frate worried, “ and even though we will have a separate bin for garbage, recycling and other waste, when i put my dogs poop in the garbage I won’t have a choice to take it out every week because it will smell. So I will pay more because I am a pet owner.”

“What happens to people on limited means who don’t necessarily compost well or a senior who does not want to go outside in January to compost, they will also have to pay more. I feel we are getting asked to do more and pay more. I feel hopeless,” Frate explained.




Beaconsfield EAB bylaw allows inspectors on private property

EAB Tree Azin Injections in Ash Tree
Injection of Tree Azin in an ash tree

‘We don’t abuse the privilege,’

Director general Patrice Boileau

By Kevin Woodhouse

In order for the city of Beaconsfield to correctly assess the number of ash trees within its territory, the city’s new emerald ash borer (EAB) bylaw allows for inspectors to go onto homeowners’ property.

According to director general Patrice Boileau, “we have a responsibility to take the inventory of all ash trees and their dimensions. For the small minority of people who got back to us not wanting to go on their property, we would try to estimate the trees from the street.”

Resident Dennis Partington was one such citizen not interested in having inspectors in his yard. He wrote to Boileau expressing his concern and was informed that while “the idea of the program is to have everyone working in the same direction”, the director general noted that”if a resident is not interested in having the city to access their property, we will gracefully respect that. Our inspectors did receive the directive not to access a private property if that was the wish of the resident.”

“It is in the best interest for all if we are able to know how many ash trees we have within city limits,” Boileau told The Suburban.

Next up for the municipality will be to complete an inventory of all ash trees found within Angell Woods with the final numbers to come soon. At the beginning of September, Diana Shahmoon of Seda Holdings, one of the major property owners of Angell Woods, indicated via electronic-mail to Boileau that she “absolutely does not give Beaconsfield permission to enter my private property in Angell Woods.”

Boileau informed Shahmoon that, due to the provincial law, city inspectors have the right to count ash trees on her property and that failing to allow this procedure as “the owner is under the obligation to let him access his property, failing which a court order can by sought for by the town to force the access.”

In lieu of that, Boileau urged Shahmoon to allow the inspection.

Shahmoon told The Suburban via e-mail that “punitive nature of the bylaw is not appropriate and that the city combines that “with the coercive lengths of a court order to which the city apparently is prepared to go to private properties so they can compile their ash tree inventory. The combination seems to me to be such a severe over reach of municipal power that should scare to death every property owner in Beaconsfield.”

Meanwhile in Pointe Claire, the city announced through a press release, the only way the city communicates these days in lieu of interviews or press events, that they too are being proactive in combating EAB, noting that 500 trees on public land had been treated with TreeAzin.


West Island Blog community news



To treat or not to treat…the ash trees – The question facing every municipality


By Rhonda Massad

The relentless emerald ash borer (EAB) insect has been found in several West Island communities. The struggle for every city and borough has been to develop a strategy to limit the devastating impact of the EAB that could wipe out all ash trees over the next ten years.


The strategies taken on by many cities include an inventory of public and private ash trees, which trees to cut down and which to treat with the pesticide TreeAzin which is not a cure but a preventative treatment that needs to be reapplied indefinitely.

TreeAzin is the most widely used product available in Canada, it is produced by the BioForest company from the extract of neem seeds. The neem tree, found in tropical and semi-tropical regions, produces a fruit and seeds that are the source of neem oil which can be found in many household products such as soaps and cosmetics.

According to the National Research Council of Canada, BioForest was launched by a small band of government forestry scientists after leaving their jobs with the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) in the mid-1990s, among them was Joe Meating, now president of BioForest.

Meating worked with a CFS research scientist who had been developing the promising new organic pesticide. BioForest ultimately signed a license agreement with Natural Resources Canada and CFS to register, market and sell the new pesticide, TreeAzin, along with its unique micro-injection method for applying the pesticide, the Ecojet System.

According Jason Gasparetto, technical specialist at BioForest, unlike chemical insecticides, it works on the insect’s hormonal system, not on the digestive or nervous system and does not lead to development of resistance in future generations. TreeAzin is a systemic insecticide, therefore is not sprayed like some insecticides but injected directly into the sapwood.

“In my opinion the residue left behind from the injection of several hundred thousand trees on the island of Montreal would not be significant to harm a human,” Gasparetto explained in an interview with The Suburban, “testing has shown that to harm a human it would take up to two liters to cause any damage.”

The TreeAzin label quotes that it is toxic to aquatic organisms. Toxic to bee brood. The product is systemic and is transported upwards through the tree. Bees may be exposed to residues in floral pollen and/or nectar resulting from tree injections. Applications to hardwood trees must be made post bloom.

According to Gasparetto this pesticide is deemed a class four or least harmful by the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), responsible for pesticide regulation in Canada.

“The product was put through the ringer before being graded a class four which is the least harmful of the pesticides,” he continued,” but that is like saying you as a human are least harmful because you have never been charged with a crime, they are all horrible and this is the least horrible.”

To accentuate the difficult position municipalities are facing across the country, Serge Lussier, associate-director and academic adviser of the Farm Management and Technology Program at Macdonald Campus of McGill University weighed in during an email exchange with The Suburban.

“No solution is without risk or potential adverse effects but TreeAzin has been deemed by the PMRA to be a low risk pesticide when applied according to the label,” Lussier explained, “moreover, the only other solution currently available seems to be the widespread removal of the trees and their eventual replacement with other species, an unacceptable alternative as far as I am concerned.”

In 2013, a study done for the U.S. government and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine established a correlation between the presence of the EAB and an increase in deaths attributable to cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. On average, the researchers witnessed 23.5 more deaths per 100,000 residents after the borer passed through a given area.



Here is a link to The Health Canada website where the product is described as not having undergone the usual testing for pesticides and it’s impact on animal fetus



West Island Blog community news

Emerald Ash Borer brings Beaconsfield residents out to city hall

Emerald Ash Borer takes our Ash Trees

by Rhonda Massad

I attended the Emerald Ash Tree town hall meeting in Beaconsfield last night.  There was a short presentation about the deadly emerald ash borer that will wreak havoc on tree canopies across the country over the next few years.  It has already claimed millions of trees and dollars throughout North America.  It is a sad situation no matter how you look at it.

What is available to buy us some time is a class 4 pesticide called TreeAzin, not a cure and needs to be applied professionally over 14 to 20 years at $200.00  an application per tree every two years.

Pesticides in Canada are run through rigorous guidelines by the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency, PMRA.  A class 4 pesticide is not as harmful as others but as stated by Mr. Meating, president of BioForest producer of TreeAzin, but still a pesticide.  Like myself and many other people Mr. Meating prefers to apply as little pesticide to his own land as possible.

“My grass and trees look awful,” he told me last night after the meeting,”I began my career testing pesticides because I wanted to make sure they were as harmless as possible. But all pesticides have a risk factor.”

My own personal preoccupation on this issue is there are no long-term studies on the impact of applying this pesticide repeatedly over the next 14 to 20 years or more to our ecosystem.  It has been determined that there is very little residue of this pesticide left in the leaves when they fall, but there is some –  which Mr. Meating agreed to when my question to council got redirected to him.

I wanted to hear from my city council, not really the man selling the pesticide, that they would apply the necessary pressure to higher levels of government to do an independent study and make sure this island wide pesticide application was not going to be something we were sorry about in 10 to 20 years.  My question was never answered by council.

That being said, I recognize municipalities have to do give residents a structure of guildlines to work with. Letting the ash trees die without action causes another issue.  Many health issues, such as respiratory illness and heat islands will result if all the trees go at once. That is not good news either.

I liked the suggestion of Mr. Meating who was chatting with a couple with more than 30 trees on their property.  He advised them to choose their best trees, treat those and over time replace the others with other tree species.  Seemed very reasonable to me – limit the amount of pesticide application, limit the amount of trees lost, maintain as much canopy as possible.  Not a bad suggestion for a really bad situation.

There is a bylaw in Beaconsfield being adopted next Monday, that will not allow us to cut down ash trees unless they are sick and issues a fine of $750.00 to the owner of any unreported sick trees.  This is too severe in my opnion.

I would ask council to reconsider allowing the people of this city to manage their own properties.  We are all upset about the loss of even one tree in this city.  Tree’s is one of the big reasons people choose to live in Beaconsfield.

I understand the city does not want people cutting trees willy nilly. That would not work either.  But maybe a compromise – allow those that have more than 5 trees to thin their stock and gradually replace what they have with something they can manage, when they can manage it. All within regulations outlined by the city.



West Island Blog community news

Rhonda’s West Island round-up




By Rhonda Massad


The Slightly Incredible fundraiser


Pointe Claire resident Mike Vallée’s Slightly Incredible fundraiser went out in style! This was the fifth and final edition of the event, which raised $10,600 for West Island Community Shares and WIAIH.Slightly Incredible was first held in 2010 when Mike ran 10 kilometres, then played one hole of golf at 18 different courses to raise funds and awareness for West Island Community Shares.


In its final year, the format changed to a golf tournament at Beaconsfield Golf Club featuring a Whacky Putting Contest. In its five years of existence, Slightly Incredible raised close to $90,000 for West Island Community Shares.


Kirkland Family Day


Initial scheduled in June by cancelled due to inclement weather, the annual Kirkland Day bash was renamed Family Day and held on Sept. 5, at des Bénévoles Park.The festivities began at 3:30 p.m. and wound up with a fireworks display at 9 p.m.True to Kirkland’s ability to entertain in style the event was free of charge for inflatable slides and bouncers, corn roast, face painting, music and entertainment.


There was a fee for the BBQ and, of course the Beer tent.The weather gave everyone a bit of a scare when a storm ran through mid way through the festivities, but the weather gods were kind when all was clear for the end of day fireworks.


Sainte Anne de Bellevue Garlic Festival


The eighth annual Garlic Festival was a great success. This year it was bigger than ever.The annual garlic dessert competition proved to be tastier with this year’s champion Kate McGregor.


The winning dessert was in fact a garlic sundae, garlic ice cream with caramel sea salt topping and garlic sprinkles. Baie d’Urfé Mayor Maria Tutino was on hand to announce the contest winner.Mini seminars on how to grow great garlic at home, garlic in the kitchen cooking demos and tastings were among some of the spot lights of the festival. There was also a garlic braiding demonstration. To wind things up Lise Anne Briand was crowned the new Garlic Queen.


West Island Blog community news

First BRCA support group to open in Montreal


by Rhonda Massad

The first Montreal based BRCA support group has opened will open it’s doors and will meet once a month on Tuesdays, starting October 14, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the YM-YWHA on Westbury Ave in Montreal.  The group will  provide women who are at risk for hereditary breast or ovarian cancer or have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation an informal arena where they can exchange experiences and give peer support to one another.

Karen Malkin-Lazarovitz and Rachel Silva-Smith joined forces along with support from Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support, a national, not-for-profit organization, when they realized they could offer a much needed service to women exploring genetic testing, worried about a lump, waiting for test results or coming to terms with a diagnosis.

Malkin also has a parent with a gene mutation and tested positive in 2009 to carrying the mutated gene. Malkin, within a few months of diagnosis, had a double mastectomy and a full preventative hysterectomy to dramatically reduce her chance of getting cancer by almost 40%.

Having started a support Facebook page when diagnosed in 2005 with over 3,500 followers, Malkin is fully aware of the need for support during this often overwhelming experience.

“There is much to be said for the internet and the support group that has developed over the years,” Malkin explained to the Suburban in an interview,” but there is an aspect of “show and tell”  and just a simple need to speak to someone, that cannot be achieved online. One of the first things I did when I was diagnosed was seek out someone who had had the surgeries I was up for to see what it would look like.”

“This is not a decision to have a boob job. This is a decision to have an amputation and a decision you make while you are healthy,” she explained,”not everyone goes the route that I went. Some people choose to monitor more carefully through with increased screening or drug therapies such as tamoxifen.”

The support group will provide that provides free support, insight and information to anyone, including those at high risk and those affected by breast and hereditary cancer.  Additional information can be had by contacting the group at .


West Island Blog community news

Quebec rejects Beaconsfield’s Angell Woods resolution


By Robert Frank

The Suburban has learned that the province turned down Beaconsfield’s request to protect private land in Angell Woods from development under Quebec’s Sustainable Forest Development Act (SFDA), soon after the city sent it’s request to Quebec City.

“On April 28, Beaconsfield requested, via Resolution 2014-04-699, that the Quebec Natural Resources Ministry recognize a portion of Angell Woods as an exceptional forest ecosystem (EFE),” said assistant deputy minister Léopold Gaudreau in a July 18 letter to Diana Shahmoon, president of Seda Holdings—one of two firms that own most of the private land in Angell Woods.

“However, under SFDA, EFEs are only recognized if they are located on lands in the domain of the State, in other words, on public lands,” Gaudreau continued. “The legal provisions do not apply to private lands.”

According to Mayor Georges Bourelle, the city knew SFDA was limited to public land when it passed its resolution.

“We recognized that it had never before been authorized on private land but we tried it anyway,” he told The Suburban.

“We had hoped that maybe the [provincial] government would consider it, even though it was on private land,” he said in an interview, “but we were aware when we made the request that it had never been done on private land before, so it is not surprising that [the Quebec government] said what it said.”

“Basically we will see, now that the [Montreal agglomeration’s new] urban plan is being put together, what the next step will be,” Mayor Bourelle added. “We will wait for that.”

“I don’t know what provisions of the urban plan would affect Angell Woods,” he concluded. “We do know that it was identified as a forest of metropolitan interest within the Montreal metropolitan council for a long time. It goes way back.”

“The city’s behavior is incoherent,” Shahmoon said in an interview. “It makes a big deal about passing resolutions that it knows will not go anywhere. Then, when they go nowhere, it doesn’t inform the public. At the same time, they keep telling us that they want to negotiate with us [to purchase the land]—but no one has contacted us.”

SFDA, which came into force April 1, 2013, was Quebec’s effort to promote sustainable development by the province’s massive forestry industry, which has long harvested timber to turn into lumber for construction and pulp for Quebec’s paper industry.

Before last year’s municipal election, the previous city council proposed a plan that would have preserved at least 80 per cent of Angell Woods in perpetuity, while permitting a small-footprint, transit-oriented residential development beside the Woodland commuter train station.

The Montreal agglomeration supports transit-oriented development as an environment-friendly form of urban planning.

During the election campaign, Mayor Bourelle endorsed his predecessor’s plan.

“I would favor a partial maximum two-storey residential development of Angell Woods at the south end with proper by-law controls and negotiations with the private landowners that will ensure that 80 per cent of the Woods is kept as a preserve, as long as a traffic solution for Elm and Woodland crossing is conceived and/or negotiated and implemented by council before any development takes place,” Mayor Bourelle wrote in a pre-election online comment, Sept. 11, 2013.



West Island Blog community news


Baie d’Urfé resident wants report on styrene plant safety

By Rhonda Massad


Jean-Pierre Themens has asked the Baie d’Urfé to disclose the results of its independent engineering assessment of the StyroChem plant in the town’s industrial park, about 200 metres from his home.StyroChem has been making expandable polystyrene (EPS) for food service, packaging, construction, casting and specialty applications in Baie d’Urfé since 1984. It has also operated in Fort Worth, Texas, for the past 38 years.Themens began to pose questions after several residents on his street, including his wife, were diagnosed with cancer.


“What are the results of the chemical analysis done on the samples taken from the chimney of the StyroChem factory?” Themens asked Mayor Maria Tutino during the Baie d’Urfé’s July 8 town council meeting.“Since scientists have proven that styrene is very carcinogenic to lab animals,” he observed.


According to Mayor Tutino, as soon as the results of the studies are in, they will be shared with the public.

“We take your comments very, very seriously,” she explained, “and we have acted on it. We will share the results with you very soon.”

Themens also expressed concern about a StyroChem request to double its styrene storage capacity. The town approved the request in principle, July 15, 2013, but left it until after last November’s municipal election for the next council to decide. The request is also subject to Canadian Pacific Railways and provincial government approval.

“We have not received a request for increased storage under this mandate,” Mayor Tutino explained. “We are still considering whether it poses a risk to our citizens. If it does we will consider other actions.”

StyroChem president Glenn Wredenhagen told The Suburban in an interview that the company adheres to very strict guidelines outlined by all levels of government and takes a serious interest in safety.Wredenhagen confirmed that the StyroChem plant has the capacity to house 96,000 gallons of styrene (in water-gallon equivalent) and up to eight railway tank cars on its Baie d’Urfé premises.

“Federal, provincial and local governments regulate anything that goes into the air, ground and water,” he explained, “we [also] have to adhere to the stringent regulations of our insurance company, which requires us to continuously upgrade to best practices.”

Wredenhagen went on to say that the fire department is very attentive to community safety and that StyroChem meets with firefighters whenever they want.

“At the request of Baie d’Urfé, we allowed a third-party engineering firm in to evaluate the plant and we got excellent reviews on that,” he said. “We welcomed the city council to come for a visit, several have, and we are open to solving all issues.”
















This is a tree frog.

Merger disillusion reshaping Montreal politics

By Rhonda Massad

Ten years ago, 19 former Montreal suburbs bought into the bigger is better vision. Today, those same boroughs see smaller as better and are rushing toward the exit. In contrast, the 15 demerged municipalities have learned to work together in unison and gradually their voice is growing stronger.

After they left the mother ship and went back to acting on their own, they regained control of the basic services that are most important to residents such as snow-clearing, garbage collection, recycling, recreation programs, libraries and public security.

Meantime, some of the 19 merged municipalities are spinning away from Montreal in disappointment. The current proposal to change the proportion of funds that are allocated to the boroughs grates on some, because they see it as reneging on the promise that they would retain local autonomy.

Today, the association of suburban municipalities march firmly with Westmount Mayor Peter Trent acting as president and Baie d’Urfé mayor Maria Tutino acting as Vice President. The agglomeration council monthly meetings remain frustrating to the 15 demerged cities, since they pay a hefty bill and get little in return. With other cities threatening to demerge, however, their clout is rapidly increasing. They had to work hard to prove themselves to their constituents.

For example, earlier this year they proved their ability to opt out of Montreal’s proposal to handle the fight against the emerald ash borer centrally from downtown. The grass really is greener on the other side.

Forcing Montreal at long last to grapple with its systemic problems will ultimately benefit every resident of the island, demerged or not.

Angell Woods’ landowners speak out


It is always important to hear both sides of the coin – Here is their letter to Your Local Journal newspaper:

We recognize that there are many differing perspectives on what has happened, and what still needs to happen, with Angell Woods. We would like to share some information that might help clarify our position.
The City of Beaconsfield maintains that they have been attempting to resolve this situation with us for years. This is only true if you believe that we should give up our rights to the land that we have paid taxes on as developable property for 60 years. 
In 2009, then Mayor Bob Benedetti offered to “buy” the land; however, he was offering no money, only tax credits. This was not a hard offer to decline.
During Mayor Pollack’s administration, the City relied on Montreal to step in to save all of the woods. Montreal did make offers to a number of owners, but only for pennies on the dollar. 
We have been told repeatedly by Mayor Georges Bourelle that Réal Menard, the individual responsible for preservation on the agglomeration executive council, will negotiate with us. However, as of this writing, we have never received any communication from Mr. Menard himself.
Before all of that, in 2011, some landowners visited officials in Montreal about finding a resolution in Angell Woods, and were told outright that those officials considered the devaluation of our property — the result of a Beaconsfield bylaw freezing all development on it – to be the legitimate value that they intended to use in order to acquire it for preservation. This is exactly what we are seeing today.
The City of Beaconsfield has claimed that it has been protecting our rights as landowners, and has tried to blame the public use of our land on APAW, the Association for the Protection Angell Woods. APAW could not do what it does without a compliant administration that willingly works hand in glove with them.
APAW has been deeply involved in the mayoral elections and holds special status in the City. The City has shared information and studies it has commissioned with APAW about our land that it refuses to share with the landowners. The City has also relied on APAW’s documents and studies, without offering us the opportunity to supply our own information. 
In permitting APAW to publish public trails in Angell Woods, and to sponsor events like the Angell Woods Appreciation Day, they promote public pressure for saving all of the woods, a clearly articulated APAW objective.
We recognize that the Mayor and his councillors are in a difficult bind: there is public pressure on them to preserve all of the woods, but they claim that there is simply not enough money to buy them. Consequently, some of the landowners believe that the only fair resolution in Angell Woods is one that allows for a mix of preservation and some tasteful and ecologically sensitive development. Such a resolution would recognize landowners’ rights to develop, satisfy the City’s desire to preserve ecologically valuable land, while easing the tax burden for residents, something that makes that very preservation possible. 
Our rights as landowners in Beaconsfield have been taken away for too long, but we are still willing to work with the City to find a resolution. We believe transparency is the best way to end this stalemate.


Diana Shahmoon, Seda Holdings
New York
Menashi Mashall, Yale Properties
Montreal See More

Bourelle outlines spending on Angell Woods


Perron: Cost could top $1.5 million


By Robert Frank


Mayor Georges Bourelle provided a breakdown of how much Beaconsfield has thus far spent it its bid to buy up land in Angell Woods, during the June 16 council meeting.


He read part of an itemized breakdown in reply to Beaconsfield resident Gilles Perron during question period.


“In 2007, we acquired a portion of land for $148,700,” responded Mayor Bourelle. “Later in 2007, we made another purchase worth about $200,000 and in 2008 we spent another $200,000 on an acquisition.”


“This year, we have made a series of smaller acquisitions, worth about $43,000, $18,000, $6,000, $5,000 and so forth,” he added.


Perron expressed concern that “to purchase about 25 per cent of Angell Woods the city has spent $750,000 and will possibly spend another $800,000.”


Wants other West Islanders to kick in money


He asked Bourelle to pass a resolution to ask neighbouring cities like Pointe Claire, Kirkland and Baie d’Urfe to contribute to the purchase the green space, which would be turned into a regional park.


“I will certainly ask and see what their reaction is,” promised Mayor Bourelle, “particularly to take the necessary initiative at [an upcoming] agglomeration council meeting.”


Last month, The Suburban reported that Beaconsfield had voted to add another $250,000 to its war chest to buy Angell Woods land from its current owners.


In addition to the earmarks for eventual property purchases, the city has forgone considerable tax revenue since it passed an interim bylaw that prevents owners from building on the land, which is zoned for development similar to the city’s leafy Beacon Hill district.


Beaconsfield has also had to pay for legal fees to defend its stance in court, which would bring the total cost to the city so far over $1 million, not counting the hundreds of thousands of dollars that it has already allocated to discretionary Angell Woods war chest for future acquisitions.


Councilor Pierre Demers, who voted against last month’s quarter-million dollar earmark, said that while campaigning door-to-door during last year’s municipal election campaign, the overwhelming majority citizens whom he met favoured preserving Angell Woods as green space but were unwilling to shoulder the eyewatering cost of buying the development land from its longtime owners.


The previous, Pollack city administration had favoured a compromise that would have saved at least 80 per cent of Angell Woods, with eco-friendly transit-oriented development limited to a small footprint surrounding the Woodland commuter station—a proposal that Mayor Bourelle endorsed during the election campaign.

Pointe Claire’s Lumen plans move to Laval


By Rhonda Massad


Quebec’s largest distributor in electrical material is moving their head office and distribution centre to Laval with an investment of $100 million.


Currently located in Pointe Claire, Quebec, Lumen plans to build its new distribution centre on close to one million square feet of land. The structure will house an administration center of 80,000 sq. ft. and a warehouse of 305,000 sq. ft. The site also allows for possible expansion of 140,000 sq. ft.


Martin Fournier Lumen’s project manager explained in an interview with The Suburban that the main reason for moving out of Pointe Claire is a lack of space.


“We moved from St. Eustache to Pointe Claire in 2004, now we are moving to Laval simply because we could not find adequate space in Pointe Claire,” he explained, “we expect most of our 260 employees to remain with us through the move.”


Two parcels of land in Laval were merged together thanks to an association between developers and Loracon Cosoltec, at the junction of highways 13 and the 440. The construction is scheduled to begin immediately. Expected completion is April 2015.


According to Fournier operations will move at the end of summer 2015.


Lumen, a member of the Sonepar Group, the world’s largest privately-held electrical distributor, was established in 1962. It was acquired by Sonepar in 1984.


Today, Lumen has over 575 employees across Quebec, including a team of representatives and consultants specialized in a large range of fields, including automation, industrial wiring, lighting, tooling, occupational health and safety, e-commerce, communication networks, process control, and engine controls.


In Canada, Sonepar has over 1,800 employees.


Beaconsfield wants to protect Angell Woods


One of the land owners says Bourelle “switched positions” on development



By Kevin Woodhouse

The city of Beaconsfield passed a resolution at its April council meeting seeking for two portions of land on Angell Woods to be protected by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment Ministry. 

Mayor Georges Bourelle told The Suburban that while the two areas the city are seeking protection are not grand in size, they are important ecosystems that include sugar maple groves, bitter nut hickory and red ash trees.

If the land is designated for safekeeping, the two portions of land “would be kept by the ministry of Resources so there would be no cost for taxpayers,” Bourelle said. 

The mayor sees the two parcels of land designated for protection the same concept “as heritage homes are protected for the community” from undue changes or renovations that must be approved first. 

Ultimately, the city would like “to protect all of the woods and the best option will be to come to an agreement with the owners and then acquire the land through the city of Montreal’s agglomeration council that sets aside a fund for acquiring green spaces throughout the island,” said Bourelle. 

In terms of development in Angell Woods, Bourelle said that “development is off the table and out of the discussion.” 

For Sarah Blustain and her mother Diana Shahmoon of Seda Holdings, a company that is one of the two main owners of the land, the latest move by the city to name the two portions of land to be protected, “we didn’t even know the action was going to be taken,” said Blustain. “We want to negotiate in a transparent way but we have to be able to get market value for the land.” 

The mayor’s decision to take development off of the table came as a surprise to Blustain who said she “knows that there is a popular will to preserve the land but the city cannot afford to due to financial constraints. Originally, the city was going to allow for some development in the southern part of the land, allowing the northern part to be preserved, but Bourelle switched his position on this.”

During the last municipal election campaign, Bourelle posted a response on social media to an article in another West Island publication about Angell Woods. In September 2013, Bourelle wrote publicly that “I would favour a partial maximum two-storey residential development of Angell Woods at the south end with proper by-law controls and negotiations with the private landowners that will ensure 80% of the Woods is kept as a preserve, as long as a traffic solution for Elm and Woodland crossing is conceived and/or negotiated and implemented by council before any development takes place. It is totally unrealistic and a cop out to expect the landowners and developers to come up with an acceptable alternative at the cost for the Woodland intersection. Instead we will end up with more lawsuits, legal costs and loss of potential revenue for the city.”

Bourelle also told The Suburban in the September 11th, 2013 edition, that “as far as I am concerned, a two-storey residential condo development such as has been proposed (the 80/20 split) , falls within my vision of acceptable densification in Beaconsfield.”

Menashi Mashaal of Yale Properties, the other main landowner, feels that throughout the last few years, “we have been left in the dark” as there have been no formal negotiations between the city and the company that owns roughly half of the 100-odd hectares in Angell Woods.

Because of the current interim bylaw imposed by the city a few years ago, the owners cannot develop the land nor can the city collect tax revenue from the landowners, Mashaal said that “because of the current case pending” he could not comment on what Yale Properties will do next.

Blustain believes that the city should develop some of Angell Woods as a “way for the city to afford the land. Is the city really trying to buy it?”

“Hopefully the city and the owners can come to an agreement,” said Bourelle. “But I’m not sure if they are willing sellers.”



SPCA West Division unofficially opened in Vaudreuil


1514598_507022162741187_547502632_n.jpg The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) quietly opened the doors of its West Division unofficially last month. The SPCA new branch will offer much relief to its overburdened Montreal and Valleyfield divisions. According to chairman Pierre Bourbonnais, SPCA West will take animals that their owners surrender from anywhere they originate. “Unlike traditional shelters, we do not euthanize. We are a no-kill shelter,” he explained. “We are completely on our own,” he added. “Contrary to what most people think, we do not receive any government funding or help from other SPCA divisions,” Bourbonnais said. Once complete, the shelter will be able to house 125 cats and 25 dogs. “We moved more than 30 dogs this month and only received 33,” he said.


SPCA West is currently negotiating municipal animal control contracts with West Island and off-island cities from Dorval to Hudson. All those municipalities currently have arrangements with private firms to handle strays or lost animals according to Bourbonnais. SPCA West has proposal a much more far-ranging service to those municipalities. Its goal is to bid on as many contracts as possible, as the SPCA will shelter the animal for an agreed-upon days, after which time the animals become property of the SPCA and never euthanized. Though the doors are not officially open due to the fact that the building wasn’t quite ready, SPCA West is accepting furry friends for adoption. So far, demand has outstripped supply. Bourbonnais reported that, to date, more animals have gone out than have come in.


Under a new program in partnership with Safari pet stores, the SPCA provides cats to Safari stores for retail sale. The partnership policy permits people to return the pets if things don’t work out. Bourbonnais suggested that this process will decrease demand for kitty mills. He hoped that a future agreement will extend this arrangement to dogs as well. “This initiative is among the first of it’s kind,” he said. “It is like having shelters within the stores,” said Bourbonnais. He added that the official opening is slated for Spring 2014, after the winter thaw, as the celebration will take place outdoors in a nearby park. As with all SPCA shelters, all incoming dogs and cats are checked by a veterinarian, dewormed and spayed or neutered. More information is available on the SPCA West web site at or by visiting their new digs at 3658 Cité des Jeunes, Vaudreuil-Dorion [514] 566-5678.

A Filipino Community Flourishing in Lac La Biche in Alberta Barely on its Strong Heritage


Salazar emigrated from the Philippines to Calgary in 2001, and in 2019, he moved north to Lac La Biche, Alberta. Salazar now feels at home in Lac La Biche’s flourishing Filipino community, where he can share a sense of connection.

Lac La Biche is a small Filipino town of about 2, 300 people. The town is surrounded by panoramic lake views and stretches of farmland. Lac La Biche is halfway between Edmonton and Fort McMurray.

When he first came, Salazar knew that the small town would win him. Today he lives in Lac La Biche with the Filipino community that has helped him remind him of his past back in Manila.

“Growing up in my childhood, I remember going to a friend’s house every day, or having a street party, or having a big group of neighbors just hang out, eat, and sing karaoke. I never really saw that in Calgary.”

But in Lac La Biche, every night, people go out together and sing karaoke. Salazar says that it is literary a Filipino heritage deep in the depths of Alberta rural. How that tightly-knit came to be, is a long story.

The first Filipino arrived in Lac La Biche in 1965. The Lac La Biche article published in 1967 indicate that the first Philippines came to Canada as assistant nurses at St. Catherine’s Hospital. However, it took many decades for the Lac La Biche Filipino community to grow.

The 2006 Canadian census data indicate that 15 Filipinos were living in the country. That number increased to 50 in 2011 and over 155 in the recent census data. The community grows and blossom as families reunite and people reconnect to things they love.

Jocelyn Magbitang recalls when she arrived in the small town back in 2009. She was surprised by the warm welcome from Filipinos as well as Canadians. Magbitang says that the community has welcomed other Filipinos into their unique food and culture in over a decade.

“The Filipinos parties are not just for everyone. You can just show up there, and you are going to have fun and get full with all the meals.”

Magbitang added that the mayor has attended a few of the Filipino Christmas parties and recognized the community. Many Filipinos initially worked as nannies, caregivers, construction workers, but have now advanced to other professions.

Quebec Government doesn’t have to Freeze the English Students CEGEP


Quebec’s government has introduced the language reform bill that has many requirements among them requiring the passing of the French language before receiving a college diploma. For Camille Levesque, choosing the CEGEPS is not for the government to decide.
Levesque spent her early years in Toronto where her father works and attended French elementary school. The family returned to Quebec in 2007, and Levesque had no option but to attend French high school.

Lévesque attended Dawson College from 2012 to 2014, studying health sciences. According to Levesque, the science world is overwhelmingly Anglophone, and that made her think about transitioning by starting with an English CEGEP before going to university.

“In science, there is a lot of terminologies that are very different in English and French.”

Similarly, Juliette Tremblay was a francophone unilingual until he chose to attend English CEGEP for she aspires to have a career without limitations.

“It’s not a disadvantage to speak English and French. It’s good for Quebec, that’s good for promoting Quebec around the world if almost everybody speaks both languages.”

However, the Quebec government doesn’t see it that way, Simon Jolin-Barrette, the minister responsible for the French language, announced on Thursday that the proposed bill will be freezing the English CEGEPs students due to the decline of French.

On the Island of Montreal, between 2019 and 2020-almost half of the students in the pre-university program studied the English language network. English CEGEPs in the future will only be allowed to admit a lower or equal percentage of students.

Levesque says the government will stop her from choosing CEGEP of her choice because of her mother tongue.

“When you’re at that point of entering CEGEP, you’re almost an adult. You’re making decisions about your career, your future. It’s not up to the government to tell you, no, you happen to speak French, so you can’t go there.”

Levesque understands why the government wants to preserve the French language but believes that there are better ways to do so. She gave an example of making francophone more attractive to people.

Tremblay also believes that pushing the English CEGEPs down doesn’t make sense.

“If you want to learn English and it’d a good opportunity for you, why do we have to be limited? Eventually, it’s going to impact our work opportunities.”

Haines Junction Achieves 81% Vaccination Rate, Highest In Yukon


Haines Junction, Yukon, takes pride in some of the most beautiful scenery in the area and now it also boasts of a high COVID-19 vaccination rate.

From May 1, 88 percent of eligible people in the region had gotten at least a dose of the Moderna vaccine, while 81 percent had gotten both doses.

According to numbers released Wednesday by the territorial administration, that’s the highest rate of vaccination among all Yukon communities. The communities of Mayo, Keno, and Stewart Crossing have the next-highest rate of vaccination, which collectively estimated at 71 percent of the eligible residents being fully vaccinated as of May 1.

Meanwhile, Ross River featured the lowest rate, estimated at 28 percent.

The chief of the Champagne, Steve Smith, and Aishihik First Nation stated the vaccination rate for his community is “heartening to see.” The First Nations’ traditional region is located in the Haines Junction area, and locals are counted there.

Smith claimed the First Nation, together with the Village of Haines Junction, worked hard to motivate people to get immunized, and to assist in making it possible for them.

He said,

“That meant if they needed a ride if they needed support getting to the clinic, we made sure that we did that. And we got the message out early and frequently.”

Smith detailed the First Nation’s efforts “almost like an election campaign.”

He stated that it entailed ensuring that people had the means to good information about the vaccine, to avoid any misinformation.

He also noted it was vital to lead by example, therefore, the First Nation would share videos and photos on social media of councilors getting vaccinated.

Smith said,

“Our council is complete, 100 percent vaccinated themselves.”

“It was important for our people to see that council was behind this, and we ourselves were getting vaccinated.”

He is particularly proud of the vaccination rate of the younger people in Haines Junction, which is also estimated to be the highest in the territory from May 1.

Seventy-three percent of locals in that region aged 18 to 29 had gotten at least a dose by May 1, in contrast to 62 percent of that age group in Whitehorse, and 18 percent in Ross River. In total, Yukoners aged 18 to 29, had a vaccination rate of 60 percent.

Smith noted,

“Our young people really … stepped up.”

The highest immunization rate, which is high enough to be puzzling — for any age group in any community is for individuals in Old Crow aged 70 and up. According to the administration’s numbers, 110 percent had gotten their first dose and 105 percent were fully immunized by May 1.

A health department representative stated the data is based on the last population survey, and from the census, more people have entered their 70s.

‘Pitting one community against another’

The agreement to release community vaccination numbers comes only a few months after the premier disregarded the idea as possibly divisive.

Premier Sandy Silver declared at a March 3 news conference that,

“I don’t think pitting one community against another community, as to one got 60 percent and the other got 55, and then having everybody speculating or pointing fingers — I don’t think that’s necessarily going to help the safety of Yukoners.”

He stated at the time that health officials would give information to municipal or First Nation leaders concerning their regional vaccination rates, and let them choose what to do with that data.

However, speaking on Wednesday, Tracy-Anne McPhee, the Health Minister proposed it was just a matter of collecting accurate data before releasing any information.

Haines Junction together with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations gave a news release touting their vaccination rates earlier this week before the administration released all community data.

Summerside Mayor States City Not Willing To See Any Erosion of Surgical Services


The mayor of Summerside is bent on ensuring that emergency surgical services continue at the Prince County Hospital.

Presently, there is a shortage of surgeons and it caused a temporary four-day diversion of all major trauma cases to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.

Additionally, one of three general surgeons at the PCH is resigning in June, while another surgeon on a short-term locum contract will also depart the same month.

Mayor Basil Stewart stated he is worried, and trying to get information and meet with both the province and Health PEI about the situation.

He said,

“We all know the health situation is a provincial government responsibility, but having said that the hospital is in Summerside.”

“With our population from Crapaud west in the vicinity of 50,000, there’s just no way in a million years that we are going to settle for our surgery department to be moved away from Summerside.”

‘Difficult time for the hospital’

Stewart claimed he’s arranging meetings with Ernie Hudson, the Minister of Health, Dr. Michael Gardam Health PEI acting CEO, and the CEO of the Prince County Hospital.

He is hopeful they can agree on a solution.

He stated,

“Things can be worked out with some meetings and discussions.”

“It’s a difficult time for the hospital, we got great staff there and apparently some wrinkles got to get ironed out.”

N.L. Folk Festival Forges On With Scaled Down Performances and Fall Digital Series


The Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival will present a different look again this summer, with scaled-down live performances in and around St. John’s, and a digital series in the fall due to the ongoing pandemic.

On Wednesday, Erin Whitney, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society told CBC News,

“We’re obviously not back to normal yet, so we won’t have 4,000 people here in the park this year.”

“But we did want to find a way to bring some level of live performances out into the public — indoor and outdoor spaces.”

This annual festival starts on the weekend of July 9, with a chain of concerts at the First Light Centre for Performance and Creativity on Cochrane Street during that weekend. Through the rest of July, performers will show up at several locations all over the city to bring the festival feeling to small gatherings safely. 

Whitney said the information on the featured performers is yet to be released, but an announcement will be made within the next couple of weeks. 

Whitney claimed the official declaration on Tuesday was because of a surge of questions rolling in concerning whether or not the event would take place this year. This summer will mark the 45th annual running of the festival.

Whitney said,

“So, we still have a few details to nail down before we fully reveal all of our plans, but we did want to let everybody know that yes we are planning some live music for the city this summer.”

“Of course, these are all going to be very small shows, very small scale performances and audiences.”

It was due to the reduced capacity that forced organizers to think outside the box. Whitney stated the digital series in the fall was a step to bring the festival to more spectators, as observed last summer when organizers took things online. 

She said,

“So we have lots of time to record all of our material. Also, we’re encouraging people to get outside in the summer, so maybe in the fall they’ll maybe be more likely to want to sit on the couch and have a cup of tea and watch the folk festival.”

This year’s festival is being managed in collaboration with DanceNL, Equinor Canada, Le Réseau Culturel Francophone du Terre-Neuve et Labrador, St. John’s African Roots Festival, and First Light Friendship Centre. Whitney stated she hopes the 2022 festival would be held in person. 

Additional announcements will be issued on the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society’s website. The organization said all events are contingent on public health restrictions on the date of the performance.

Archive Projects In Yukon, N.W.T., and Nunavut Receive $185K In Federal Funding


Four northern heritage projects have been chosen to receive a boost of funding. These heritage projects will receive a boost of funding from a $1.5 million fund created by Library and Archives Canada.

Archive projects in Inuvik, N.W.T., and Cambridge Bay, Nunavut will receive the funding. One of the projects that will receive a boost of funding is spearheaded by the Council of Yukon First Nations. The Inuvialuit Game Council received just over $35,000 for a “traditional knowledge repository.”

Nunavut’s Kitikmeot Heritage Society received just over $100,000 for two projects related to digitization. Darren Keith, a Senior Researcher with the Kitikmeot Heritage Society, stated:

“The DHCP’s funding has made a real difference in [our] capacity to record video interviews, and edit and translate them for export to our YouTube channel. Having local Inuinnait staff that have the capacity to do this work on a daily basis will help immensely in our efforts to preserve Inuinnait traditional knowledge.”

Created in 2015, Library and Archives Canada are now funding 41 projects across the country aimed at preserving Canada’s “continuing memory” and spreading the knowledge about it. During its history, the fund has allocated $10.5 million across the country.

The Spring Has Arrived In The North Of Canada


It’s not easy recognizing the spring in the northern part of Canada since there are no flowers or green trees to announce it, but still, to those living there, the signs of a new season coming are pretty clear. The Canadian Arctic experiences spring somewhat differently than the south, but those living in communities such as Arviat, Nunavut, know when the new season arrives.

Arviat Community member Ruth Kaviok knows that the spring has come:

“The land around us is still full of ice and snow. But it feels like spring here because the geese have started to come back, the snow is melting in town, and the sun is out more.”

Kaviok is an amateur botanist, which is a rare occupation in the North. The flowers in the north won’t be blooming for a few more months, but when they do, over 800 species of vascular plants will sprout.

Kaviok added:

“My favourite flower is bog rosemary, a little pink flower that grows in clusters near the ground. The flowers up here are used for cultural purposes. We use them for medicine, for food. Anything we can use to maintain our traditional way of life — whereas a lot of flowers in the south are planted and are often there to be pretty.”

Besides flowers, animals are the heralds of spring too, as they are coming to the region with warmer temperatures.

Kaviok concluded:

“It’s our favourite time of the year because it starts to warm up and we can be outdoors and it’s our chance to go hunting and to go fishing. Hunting is really a perfect time for all of us during the spring. The warmer days bring migration routes that come here like the caribou herds. And people share their catches within the community which makes it such a wonderful time of the year.”

The Co-op Refinery Complex In Regina Is Dealing With COVID-19 Outbreak


A COVID-19 outbreak has struck the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) in Regina. In the last few days, multiple COVID-19 cases have been reported. The company hasn’t yet confirmed the exact number of the cases and the company spokesperson wrote the following statement:

“We are working with the contractors to reinforce that COVID-19 protocols must not only be followed onsite but offsite as well. The health and safety of everyone on site is our top priority and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

So far, all we know is that there have been a total of 20 cases since March 29 and according to the company’s spokesperson, they’ve had

“no impact on operations.”

Health Minister Paul Merriman said that the Saskatchewan Health Authority is trying to help the refinery.

He added:

“As with any outbreak, we always have boots on the ground to make sure that everyone’s adhering to the public health guidelines [and] they’ve got their [personal protective equipment. The SHA is always there to make sure that we can help out if needed.”

The refinery’s spokesperson said that workers’ numbers will probably start to dwindle until operations wrap at the end of the month.

Quebec Government Table Language Reform Bill Meant to Strengthen the Use of French in the Province


Quebec’s government tabled a major language reform bill on Thursday that aim to strengthen the use of French in the province. The changes aim to affect language uses by businesses, GEGEP students, newcomers, and others.

Simon Jolin-Barrette, the minister responsible for languages, tabled the Bill in the National Assembly at 10 a.m. Jolin-Barrette affirmed that French is the only official language in Quebec.

Jolin-Barrette further called the Bill, ‘the long-awaited and necessary bill’ in all spheres of society. He further affirmed that the French language is the soul of the nation, and it advances Quebec to become stronger.

The 100 bill document requires among other things that a ministry of the French language be established. A French Language Commissioner is also to be appointed by the National Assembly.

The French language also will become enshrined in the constitution as the official and common language of Quebec. Businesses with 25 to 49 employees will be required to adjust to the French period within three years.

Customers are to be served in French, business publications including invoices will also be in French. All signage and trademarks will also be required to be in French.

Premier Francois Legault joined the language minister during the tabling of the Bill. Legault insisted that it had nothing to do with English Quebecers their rights.

Towns which has bilingual states will also retain that status if they adopt a resolution to that effect. Beny Masella, the mayor of Montreal West also noted that a balance must be maintained when strengthening the French language.

In post-secondary education, the Quebec government plan to free a proportion of students in the English language college system. The government says that the number of French CEGEPS has declined sharply while English CEGEPS has increased steadily.

Receiving a college diploma will require students to pass the French language. The proposal states that mastery of French is a primary skill needed in Quebec society.

A single standard test will be administered to all students regardless of their linguistic identity at the end of the studies exempt those attending elementary and secondary school in English.

The reforms aim to ensure that all people living in Quebec learn French. Quebec government plan to use all mean to promote French as a common language. That includes monitoring the learning of the French language by immigrants.

Nova Scotia Registers 110 New Infections One Shuts Down A Halifax Shipyard


A shipyard in Irving, Halifax, has been closed after it registered a COVID-19 case involving an individual serving under its Arctic offshore patrol unit.

The Irving shipyard noted that production activities at the yard will be terminated until Monday’s work shift. The firm noted it would communicate more on the matter on Thursday.

The company was building 6 Arctic offshore patrol units for the Canadian Navy. They have delivered one unit, while another, the HMCS Margaret Brooke, is in its final stages.

The firm is in the process of launching the third unit, in 2022, while plans for the 4th are underway.

N.S registered 110 infections on Thursday, while 155 persons have recovered so far. The central zone has registered 83 infections, the eastern zone 12, western zone 9 while the northern zone has 6.

Health officials in the province said that 8 persons currently at Halifax’s infirmary who had not moved to the COVID isolation unit tested positive for the virus. They have been moved to the isolation unit. All people who had contact with them have recorded a negative result.

Public health officials said that there’s still community transmission in the central health zone. They are monitoring other areas closely.

Presently, N.S has over 1572 active infections based on Thursday’s briefing. Of these, 85 are receiving hospital care, while 15 are under intensive care unit.