Evening Walk to “The Island”
One last chance to enjoy the autumn leaves and the fresh air before colder temperatures arrive. The beautiful trees and bright sunny skies are what make this place so beautiful.
One last chance to enjoy the autumn leaves and the fresh air before colder temperatures arrive. The beautiful trees and bright sunny skies are what make this place so beautiful.
One thing that happens around this time of year is that the days get shorter and nights get longer, but the weather is still comfortable to enjoy an evening walk around our town. Here are a few captures around the river just after sunset and a full moon rising in the sky.
The project that began in early spring has almost come to a close, with the paving wrapped up for this year, and the new light poles added this past week. Trees have been planted and lines have been painted. The final paving will be complete after the thaw next spring, but for now the project appears to be almost complete.
The days are getting shorter, and the temperatures have been getting cooler. The squirrels are scurrying around trying to collect as many nuts and acorns as they can to store up for the cold winter months. One thing I always try to do each year is plan at least one day where I can take in all the fall colours and enjoy the fresh air. This year we were very fortunate to have several very nice and warm days and the trees have not disappointed. Here’s a photo compilation during one of my walks through our town.
Pour changer de rythme, la séance du conseil de ce mois-ci s’est tenue au Manoir d’Youville situé sur l’île St Bernard à Châteauguay. Une belle île remplie d’animaux et d’activités pour toute la famille, toute l’année. La ville a acheté cette partie de l’île, qui appartenait autrefois aux religieuses, pour un couvent et une maison de soins hospitaliers, mais a maintenant pris le rôle d’un hôtel style de villégiature dans un cadre magnifique. (English Version available here).
On m’a donné l’occasion de visiter l’hôtel avant le début de la réunion et j’ai pu prendre quelques photos. Ce qui suit sont mes opinions honnêtes, et je n’ai pas été rémunéré pour promouvoir cet endroit, mais seulement encouragé à partager mes expériences et à mentionner tout ce qu’il a à offrir.
Mes premières impressions sur ce lieu sont celles d’une institution historique, avec quelques équipements modernes. L’ensemble du bâtiment était impeccablement propre et bien entretenu. Les couloirs étaient bien éclairés, les œuvres d’art ornaient les murs, et même des petites attentions telles que des tables d’appoint avec des vraies plantes, des lampes, du matériel de lecture et même des infuseurs d’huiles essentielles emplissaient l’air d’odeurs fraîches.
De l’extérieur, je suis entré dans une salle clair et propre avec un grand sapin de Noël décoré. J’ai été accueillie par l’hôtesse très polie à la réception et le directeur de l’hôtel récemment nommé avec un comportement très positif et énergique. Il avait hâte de montrer tout le travail accompli en si peu de temps.
Une chose que je ne savais pas à propos du Manoir, c’est qu’il y a trois salles de bal pouvant être louées pour divers événements, tels que des anniversaires, des fêtes et des mariages. Capable d’accueillir des groupes de 60 à 150 invités, avec service de bar et buffet disponible. Les résidents bénéficient d’un rabais pour organiser des événements ici. Outre les salles de bal, plusieurs salles de conférence peuvent être réservées dans tout le bâtiment.
Au rez-de-chaussée, il y a une salle de pause-café avec une machine à café en k-tasse (des tasses et des dosettes sont disponibles à la réception pour 1,50$). Les chambres ne disposent pas d’une horloge ni de télévision, mais il y a une salle de télé disponible, et les horloges sont situées dans les couloirs partout dans le bâtiment. Une grande cafétéria offre des repas style buffet pour tous les clients de l’hôtel et les visiteurs de l’île.
Les chambres sont compactes, mais semblent confortables. Une suite de deux pièces telle que celle présentée coûte environ 100$ par nuit (plus un rabais de 10% pour les résidents) et comprend le petit-déjeuner. Un lit double dans une chambre et un lit-sofa dans l’autre chambre a coté. Deux tables, un espace de rangement et une salle de bain complète avec baignoire et douche. Cependant, toutes les chambres ne possèdent pas ces caractéristiques. Puisqu’il s’agissait d’un monastère, la plupart des plus de 200 chambres n’offrent que des équipements de base, avec un lit simple, un bureau et une chaise, ainsi que des toilettes et une douche communes dans le couloir. La chambre d’hôtel peut sembler petite, mais les invités ont également accès à des salles de lecture, offrant une variété de livres et de chaises confortables, ainsi que des salles communes joliment décorées et de style d’époque.
Les autres commodités offertes aux invités incluent le wifi gratuit, une piscine exterieure et une salle de massage. Et accès gratuit à la réserve faunique de cette île. Bien que le petit-déjeuner soit compris dans le séjour, diner et souper est disponibles avec des frais supplémentaires.
Le service à la clientèle est généralement ce qui fait ou défait une entreprise, et je dois dire que le personnel que j’ai rencontré était le plus sympathique et accommodant que j’ai trouvé dans n’importe quel séjour à l’hôtel. Très désireux de répondre à toutes les questions que j’ai posées, ils étaient fiers de leur travail et du bâtiment où ils se trouvaient.
J’ai deja mentionné que cet endroit était propre de façon irréprochable, mais je dois dire à nouveau à quel point j’étais impressionné par le fait qu’un bâtiment aussi vaste puisse être si bien entretenu. Et il faisait très froid la nuit à l’extérieur, mais il faisait très chaud et accueillant dans toutes les pièces que j’ai visitées, y compris les installations sanitaires, où se trouvaient des éviers immaculés et des toilettes avec un poush-poush ça sent bon et des savons parfumés. Même le carreaux dans les cabines de douche a été nettoyé dans un facon, ce que la plupart des grands hôtels renommés ne peuvent même pas obtenir.
La réunion du conseil est sur le point de commencer et la dernière pièce que j’ai visitée était la grande chapelle de deux étages pouvant accueillir des centaines d’invités. Les services religieux ne sont plus offerts ici, mais la sensation de paix et de sérénité coule toujours de cette pièce, jusqu’au grand orgue de l’église et à l’art en verre peint aux fenêtres.
Je vais vous laisser maintenant car j’apprécie certaines de ces délicieuses gateries préparées ici à l’hôtel.
Merci d’avoir pris à lire cette mini critique, et j’espère que vous décidez de visiter cet endroit. Comme le maire et tout le personnel l’ont dit, c’est notre hôtel et nous devons faire connaître ce trésor caché.
Je travaille également sur la récapitulation de la réunion du conseil de lundi, elle devrait être en ligne sous peu. Une fois de plus, beaucoup de sujets intéressants ont été abordés et des discussions animées, presque toujours présentes.
The holidays are upon us, and the council will be wrapping up until the new year, but not before introducing a few new policies, passing the annual city budget and authorizing new public work projects in the new year. For a change of pace, this month’s meeting was held at the Manoir Youville on Ile-Ste-Bernard in Chateauguay. Feel free to check out my photo tour, in the previous post, of this beautiful building.
The most discussed topic in recent months, next to the pot policies, was the housing development project planned for the Lang Farm property between Lang and St-Francis streets (Zones: H-627 and H-606). Residents in the area have been very vocal about their disapproval with the zoning change request from construction promoter RMR Leblanc. Currently construction is permitted for 12 two story single family homes. The request was made to allow for 24 single story multi-family row houses.
A registry was held and residents in the area were asked to vote at City Hall if they disapproved with the zoning change. A local resident started a Facebook campaign to get the word out to vote down this change. However good intentions were meant, it lead to quite a bit of misunderstanding. Several residents who went to vote initially thought they were voting down the entire project, and to protect this piece of land from any development, when in fact the vote was to deny the zoning change from 12 to 24 housing units. Councillor Mike Gendron clarified this and reminded everyone that the project may still go through, but under the original conditions with current zoning in place. When the vote was tallied, 172 residents came out and signed the registry, more than what was needed to request a referendum, and each resident was told that this was not a vote to cancel the project entirely.
When we contacted a few residents who live in the area, they were a little disappointed that the land could still be developed on, but were relieved that there could only be 12 houses now, rather than the planned 24. Concerns involved, traffic, noise, parking spaces and public safety, having so many people situated on the limited size plot of land.
The city had the option to move to the next step and and call for a referendum, but decided to withdraw the zoning change instead. Right now the project is on hold, we’ll learn more at a future time if the developer decides to proceed with his original plans, or leave the land vacant.
Parking has always been an issue in our town, especially during the winter months, when overnight street parking is not permitted. Not only does parking on the street cause delays to snow removal operations, but piles of snow on the street leftover where the truck had to go around. A few new parking policies and rules are expected in the new year. Currently, if a snow removal vehicle meets a parked car on the street, they need to call it in, where a supervisor will contact the police, who will then go over and ticket the offending vehicle. Plans are in the works to allow certain city employees to issue tickets, which will allow police to focus on public safety and patrolling, instead of being overnight ticket agents.
Also on the topic of parking. Many residents in Chateauguay own or work for a company that requires the use of a commercial vehicle. Officially it’s not permitted to park commercial vehicles on private property, however this will change in the new year. The mayor explained that we don’t live in Westmount, and we don’t need to have such strict private residence parking rules. The new rule would also allow for recreational vehicles to be parked in private driveways. While the books on parking are open, a new rule which would limit the amount of vehicles parked on a single family, private driveway to 5 vehicles per household. The mayor explained that it won’t effect most people, but he has seen some households with over 15 cars in the yard, and the new law will be there for these extreme cases. There is no word on when exactly this will be implemented, or if any tickets will be issued for those who don’t comply.
Ticketing will be more streamlined and efficient in the near future. The city is expected to acquire a new intelligent electronic ticketing system. The $200,000 system will allow police officers to scan driver’s licenses and tickets will be issued faster, and payment can be made sooner at the courthouse.
Cars and streets are a big part of our town, and the condition of some street still leaves a lot to be desired, where potholes outnumber solid pavement. The current budget for road maintenance, and paving projects was $1.1 million in 2018. In 2019, the budget will be increased to $3.5 million. A few major road projects in the works will include the paving of Craik street from Dunver to Parc Bonneau. Before this work begins an environmental study must be made, to make sure there will be no ill effects to the wetlands nearby. A similar study is underway on Industrial near St-Jean-Baptiste, where the width of that road is expected to double to two lanes and bike paths will be added.
Housing projects or land modifications have been a really big part of Chateauguay over the last few years, and several are currently underway, or awaiting zoning changes. Here’s a list of some upcoming projects, and potential zoning changes that the citizens can voice their concerns on:
Construction & Permits:
Two city contributions of approximately $12,000 each for park and recreation space on Haute-Riviere and Pascal.
The city has sold a portion of its property held on Principale street for the total of $130,661 to the OMH organization (L’Office municipal d’habitation de Châteauguay). A non-profit organization with the goal to help those less fortunate find affordable housing. A representative of the group made a request during question period that the new OMH building should be tax exempt for at least the next 5 years. The mayor asked why, and she explained that the group’s finances are very fragile, and paying taxes to the city was not in their foreseeable budget. The mayor then explained that if the finances of this group were so fragile, maybe it wasn’t a good idea after all to sell this property to them. We will follow up on this discussion during the next meeting.
The city will be offering tax credits to homeowners who wish to perform renovations to their homes built prior to 1985. The credit will be equivalent to the increase in taxes due to the new higher value of their home.
Tax credits and rebates will also be offered to new industries who set up in the industrial park, and meet certain criteria, during their first 5 years of operations.
City taxes for all homeowners is going up in 2019. Councillor Marcel Deschamps voted down the 3.6% average increase. To help residents cope with the increase, the city is allowing for 4 payments to be made throughout the year instead of the usual 3 payments. I suppose we should all be thankful that we don’t live in Beauharnois; with the proposed 25% tax increase. Chateauguay still is one of the highest taxed cities in Quebec, based on revenue and property values. Hopefully we will see a dramatic increase in services and road repairs in the new year.
Finances & Contracts
Water Supply and Treatment:
City Contracts / Expenses / Agreements:
Health and Safety:
Administration and Human Resources:
The nomination for Me. Nancy Poirier to become the new city director general. She had temporarily filled the position since the summer after the previous director vacated the post. The city searched for a new director, and finally realized that the best candidate was the person who was already sitting in the chair. The mayor, as well as the council said how satisfied they were with her performance, and that she was a great leader with vision and would be a great asset to the town.
In my personal life, I met Me. Poirier when I was running as a candidate in the last municipal elections. She took the time to sit down with me and explain step by step everything I needed to know, so that I would be prepared for all the tasks required of a candidate. She organized all of the paperwork so that everything was easy for me to read, and on election day, she came to visit me at the polling station to make sure everything was alright, and if I had any questions or concerns that she was there for me. I feel it’s a great choice for the city.
New / Existing City Projects:
The city of Chateauguay would like to install 4 new boating docks along the Chateauguay River in various locations along the river, such as Parc Laberge, Parc Marcel Sears, Parc de la Commune and Parc Lachapelle. This would allow private boaters to tie up their boats and enjoy a day on the water. Wifi services will also be made available at Parc Laberge, as well as a common sitting area at the end of the dock for everyone to enjoy. There are no longer any plans for boat or kayak rentals however, which were included in plans from the previous administration.
The Sports / Soccer plex debate is still going on. The new multi-sports building is now open, now the decision is what to name it. When you go out and ask people, they’ll either call it the Soccerplex, since that was the original vocation of this building, but it has since evolved into a place where multiple sports can be played, and talks are underway with a Volleyball organization, so the decision was to name it a “Sportsplex” instead. This did not go over well with councillor Marcel Deschamps, who requested a vote on the matter, and that the city should force the Beau-Chateau committee to officially name it the “Soccerplex”. After several minutes of discussion, the vote was 3 for and 5 against naming the building the “Soccerplex”. During the question period, several citizens brought up their concerns about the actual purpose of this building and the ballooning costs to maintain it, without generating any revenue. The mayor called the previous mayoress an “amateur” and it was her fault for the poor planning and why each citizen is being forced to pay $33 extra this year and $75 the following years.
This month’s meeting was held at the Manoir Youville. I posted a photographic tour of this place in an earlier post. It’s a very beautiful and historic place to be calm and to relax, however it’s huge, and discussions are underway as to what can be done with the building now that the city owns it. Presently the city is operating a retreat hotel here. The scenery is beautiful, wildlife is breathtaking and the historic building is clean and very functional. With over 200 guest rooms, a full sized cafeteria, 3 ballrooms and a perfect location, this place has it all going for it, except word of mouth. Most people don’t know this place exists. On one hand that keeps the place peaceful and calm, on the other hand, a business can’t operate if nobody knows it’s there. The city is looking for your opinions on what you would want see done here in the future.
A suggestion was made this month regarding our public library. Right now it’s simply called the “Chateauguay Municipal Library”, but a naming contest was held and the majority of the votes were to rename the library “The Raymond-Laberge Library”. He was a very passionate man, who was a well respected teacher and wrote the book on Chateauguay. 82.9% of the online vote agreed that the library should be named after him. The other most popular suggestion for a new name was “Bob Marley Municipal Library”.
For a change of pace, the council meeting this month was held at the “Manoir d’Youville” located on Ile St Bernard in Chateauguay. A beautiful island filled with wildlife and activities for the entire family, all year round. The city purchased this portion of the island, which was once owned by the nuns, for a convent and hospital care home, but now has taken on the role of a retreat hotel in beautiful surroundings. (Version francaise disponible ici).
I was given the opportunity to tour the hotel prior to the start of the meeting, and was able to snap a few photos along the way to share. The following are my honest opinions, and I was not compensated to promote this place at all, only encouraged to share my experiences, and mention all that it has to offer.
My first impressions of this place are of a historic institution, dotted with signs of modern amenities. The entire building was immaculately clean and well maintained. Hallways were well lit, artwork adorned the walls, and even the little touches such as side tables with potted plants, lamps, reading material and even essential oil infusers filled the air with fresh scents.
From the outside, I walked into a bright and clean lobby with a large decorated Christmas tree. I was greeted by the very polite hostess at the front desk, and the newly appointed hotel manager with a very positive and energetic demeanor. He was eager to show off all the work that had been accomplished in such a short time.
One thing that I never knew about the Manoir was that there are 3 ballrooms available for anyone to rent out for various events, such as birthdays, parties and weddings. Capable of hosting groups from 60 to 150 guests, including bar and buffet service available. Residents are offered a discount to host events here. Along with the ballrooms, there are several conference rooms throughout the building that can be reserved for any business event.
On the ground floor there is a coffee break room with a k-cup coffee machine, (cups and coffee pods can be obtained at the front desk for a modest $1.50) Guest rooms don’t have clocks or televisions, however there is a TV room available, and clocks are located in the hallways throughout the building. A large cafeteria offers buffet style dining for all guests of the hotel and visitors to the island.
Rooms are compact, but appear comfortable. A two room suite such as this one displayed goes for approximately $100 per night (plus a 10% rebate for residents), and includes breakfast. A double bed in one room, with a pull out sofa bed in the next. Two desks, closet space and a full washroom with bath and shower. Not every room has these features though. Since this was a monastery, most of the over 200 rooms offer only basic features, with a simple bed, desk and chair, and a communal washroom and shower down the hall. The actual hotel room may seem small, however guests also have access to reading rooms, with a variety of books and comfortable chairs to sit in, and beautifully decorated, period style communal rooms for guests to entertain in.
Other amenities offered to guests include free wifi, swimming pool, and massage room. And free access to the wildlife preserve on this island. While breakfast is included with the nightly stay, lunch an supper are available at an additional cost.
Customer service is usually what makes or breaks a business, and I must say that the staff that I met were the most friendly and accommodating that I’ve found in any hotel stay. Very eager to answer any questions I asked, and they had a sense of pride for their work and the building they were in.
I mentioned how clean this place was before, but I must say again how impressed I was that such a large building can be so well maintained. And it was a very cold night outside but it was so warm and welcoming in every room I visited, including the washroom facilities, that offered the little things such as immaculate sinks and toilets with a smell-good dispenser, and scented soaps. Even the grout in the shower stalls was scrubbed down and clean, something that most big name hotel resorts can’t even get right.
The council meeting is about to begin, so the last room I visited was the large two story chapel, with room for hundreds of guests. Religious services are no longer offered here, but the feel of peace and serenity still flow from this room, down to the large church organ and painted glass art on the windows.
I will leave you now as I enjoy some of these delicious treats prepared here at the hotel.
Thank you for taking to read this mini review, and I hope you decide to check this place out. As the mayor and all the staff said, this is our hotel, and we need to get the word out about this hidden treasure.
I am also working on the recap from Monday’s council meeting, it should be online shortly. There were a lot of interesting topics brought up, once again, and some heated discussions, which are almost always present.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! The Chateauguay annual Christmas parade along with Fireworks and other various activities kicked off the holiday season. The weather was not so frightful as expected, and we got to see a beautiful snow shower that lasted throughout the parade. Plus we got to enjoy free marshmallows and hot chocolate, plus live entertainment througout the event. The evening capped off with a beautiful fireworks display. Hope you enjoy the photo collection taken of this event.
Joyeux Noël et Joyeuses Fêtes! Le défilé annuel de Noël à Châteauguay, ainsi que des feux d’artifice et d’autres activités ont marqué le début des Fêtes.
Here is the fireworks event that followed just after the parade.
Voici l’événement de feux d’artifice qui a suivi juste après le défilé.
These past few weeks have been very hectic and busy. So on my first day off from work, I decided to take a quiet afternoon walk around our neighbourhood to unwind. The leaves are so colourful this time of year, and I rarely took the time to observe and enjoy nature’s beauty. Here’s a collection of photos from my afternoon. I hope you enjoy them.
Ces dernières semaines ont été très occupées pour moi. Pour mon premier jour de congé, j’ai décidé de faire une promenade dans dans notre quartier pour se détendre. Les feuilles sont si colorées en cette période de l’année j’ai rarement pris le temps d’observer et de profiter de la beauté de la nature. Voici une collection de photos de mon après-midi. J’espère que vous les aimez.
Who needs the summer warmth, when you can sit in on some heated discussions at the local council meeting in Chateauguay. The main topic that is on everybody’s mind right now is the upcoming legalization of marijuana in Canada. The prime minister is leaving the details up to each province to decide how to proceed. Quebec is taking a firm stance and holding in the reigns, while the city of Montreal has decided to take a more liberal approach, whilst respecting the Quebec rules. The city of Chateauguay has proposed it’s own set of rules with a bylaw that would restrict where pot could be smoked. The proposed bylaw would have come into effect on the day of legalization, and included allowing the consummation of pot along the lengths of St-Jean-Baptiste and Boul. d’Anjou. However, a vote was called to remove St-Jean Baptiste and Boul. d’Anjou from the list of permissible locations. Doing so, along with Quebec’s own strict laws would mean that pot usage would be restricted to one’s own private residence. This doesn’t mean that smoking pot in Chateauguay will be illegal, it just means that it will go against the city bylaw, and therefore be susceptible to a ticket from police. (Much the same as drinking alcohol in public would be).
The council voted 7 in favour of striking those two permissible areas from the bylaw, and 1, plus the mayor, against removing those two streets from the allowable locations to smoke pot. Each Councillor was given a few minutes to give their opinion regarding this bylaw, and explain the reasoning behind their decision. District #1, Barry Doyle felt that if alcohol is not allowed to be consumed in public, then neither should pot. District #2, Michel Enault explained his concern for local businesses that would have to deal with the pot smoke lingering in the area. District 3 & 4 would like more information on what the impact would be if it were allowed. Marcel Deschamps in District #5 agreed to remove those two streets as well, without further comment. #6 Mike Gendron would like to wait a year to see what the impact is elsewhere. #7 agreed. District #8 François Le Borgne gave several examples of why we should have these two streets accessible to those who smoke pot. For safety reasons, it would be along regular police patrols, who can be there for assistance, if needed. These streets are well lit, not directly in front of businesses, or large amounts of people, and regular bus service is available on these two streets, since driving while high is never a good idea. The mayor agreed with this sentiment, and added that it would be good for the restaurants and bars to offer a place to smoke pot nearby. He also explained that this is no way like alcohol, you are not holding a bottle.
So it appears that as of Wednesday, October 17th, the new bylaw will go into effect, which will allow for smoking pot on your own property. It will not be permitted anywhere else, including parks, sporting events, pools, playgrounds, bus stops, cycle paths, commercial buildings, health institutions, schools, tents and other locations, according to the Quebec law that also goes into effect on the same day.
In other news, the city is looking to simplify the rules for those wishing to remove trees on their properties. The city plans on offering free permits, and giving the person 1 year to plant another tree, or face possible fines.
The “Welcome Tax” is going up for those who purchase a house valued at more than $500,000, which will now have to pay 3% of the value.
The city is requesting a loan of $1.3 million to replace the aging radio system used by the Chateauguay Police department. Currently they operate with an P16 radio system. The new radios will use a P25 ACPO system.
A zoning adjustment was requested for Zone (I-301) which is located on Industrial near Albert-Einstein. This will allow for businesses that deal with machine parts, paint, electronics and house building materials. A special meeting will be held on October 25th.
A zoning change on Haute-Riviere next to the Caisse Desjardins which will allow for a depanneur and gas station in Zone (C-732) to be built. Modifications to the street, adding an intersection on Rene-Levesque and preparing the surrounding land is also planned.
The Lang farm property, located behind the houses on St-Francis and Lang streets was initially approved for single family dwellings. The developer has requested a change of zoning to allow for multi-family attached houses. A meeting was held last week. We’ll learn more about what the next step is at the following council meeting.
Finances & Contracts:
Administration and Human Resources:
Construction & Permits:
The city has acquired a warehouse space in the industrial park, at the cost of approximately $17,000 per year for the next two years, to house the donated goods for the local Food Bank and the Rencontre Chateaugoise.
The Chateauguay Skating Club will receive a total of $1563.86 due to a clerical error and/or miscommunication. The city forgot to mention the 4% billing fees to this organization, so the city will cover those costs this year.
The RTM (exo) will be studying uses for the land adjacent to the public transportation parking lot. Plans will include a customer service centre, offices, and 11 bus bays. The city is giving exo 1 year to complete this study.
The two first dog parks (Oliver Park and Alfred Dorais) will open officially to the public on October 27th, 2018. This coincides with the new city bylaw which allows dogs, that are on a leash, access to public parks in Chateauguay. (G-027-18).
Citizens had their chance to voice their concerns in regards to issues they’re experiencing in our city. One citizen requested that the city ban all outdoor fireplaces in the summer due to the smoke becoming a nuisance. The mayor said he would look into holding a meeting next spring to address these concerns. Another citizen reported that our city does not offer enough cultural events. This citizen also noted that our local monthly guide is lacking the proper information needed to contact her councillors.
That’s about it for the mayor topics discussed at this month’s town council meeting. I will continue to add more details and other topics discussed as more information becomes available. Thank you for visiting and I hope you found this information useful and informative.
Until next time!