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West End's Ste. Catherine de Sienne school to be ready for fall term

During last week’s information session, CSDM (Commission Scolaire de Montréal) executives told scores of concerned west-end parents that the borough’s new Ste. Catherine de Sienne primary school will, in fact, be ready for their children in time for next September’s new school year.

“It was a big project, and we had a couple of big problems,” said CSDM engineer Catherine Peyronnard. “But we’ve already made up for a lot of lost time, and unless we have some really bad luck, the school will be ready in time for next September.”

During her address, the audience listened carefully as Peyronnard described her initial ‘problem’ as a million-dollar mistake when a surveyor’s significant error cost the entire project over two weeks to repair, cut, and adapt previous foundation work to the project’s new and revised specifications.

“That’s why we build schools,” said Peyronnard with a tight smile. “We’re supposed to teach children how to properly do their math, and not to make mistakes.”

Further trouble occurred when a worker repeatedly pierced and destroyed a sealed roofing membrane over the school’s new gymnasium. Within days, water was pouring through the roof. Critical timelines were once again put on hold while crews were forced to put up with further delays in order to repair the damage and replace what was supposed to be the school’s new roof. While CSDM officials regret the concern caused by the delays, they’re also proud of what was done to finish the new $23 million dollar project “...on time and on budget.” Aside from all the overtime that was paid out, Peyronnard told The Suburban that there were times when over 150 workers put in the time to meet their objectives. While she’s already signed off on several significant (plumbing, electricity) parts of the project, the devil’s in the details such as hardware installation (door hinges, panels, and lighting fixtures) after which drywall installation, paint, and yard work will take up most of the summer.

While CSDM School Commissioner Marie-Jose Mastromonaco admits that the CSDM has a suitable contingency plan in case the school isn’t ready, both she and Peyronnard said that “...we’re confident the school will be ready in time for next September.”

“There’s a lot of work to do, and we’re doing it,” she said. “I’m confident the school will be ready for next September.”

By P.A. Sevigny The Suburban 

Canadian folk star Ashley MacIsaac expected to draw multiple thousands of people down to the canal for Montreal’s big Saturday night folk-festival party

Toronto cop weighs in on "armed police for hire" debate

Toronto police sergeant Lawrence Sager weighed in regarding a Suburban report that Hampstead is pressing for local Montreal Torah Centre congregants to be able to hire armed off-duty SPVM police officers to provide security.

“Police Paid Duties have always been an extremely effective way to provide security to an event,” Sgt. Sager wrote on Facebook this past weekend. “Few would try and cause trouble with highly visible uniformed police officers present. The only pitfall is the cost.”

As we reported, Hampstead councillor Harvey Shaffer was told by the SPVM that the MTC congregants would not be allowed to hire officers. The SPVM declined to comment to The Suburban, when asked the reason for the refusal. Mayor William Steinberg is working on the matter as well, in light of recent shootings in synagogues in the U.S. and religious institutions around the world.

Sgt. Sager posted as part of a Facebook discussion on our article initiated by former Côte St. Luc councillor Glenn Nashen.

“Toronto Police have done paid duties at synagogues for many decades, as well as funerals and many other large private events,” the sergeant, who attended Wagar High School in Côte St. Luc, explained. “The paid duty office determines the number of officers required, depending on the venue and can also provide cruisers for funeral escorts.

“The drawback is that paid duty officers are quite expensive,” he added. “You get what you pay for. A police officer is armed, well trained, has other use of force options and is equipped with a police radio, in touch with the police dispatcher, capable of calling for immediate police backup without delay. We actually have difficulty filling all the paid duty requests due to manpower shortages.”

Nashen responded to Sager by saying that paid armed off-duty officers “would be a viable option in Montreal for those that can afford it. Unfortunately, the cost couldn’t be sustained by community organizations already struggling.”

Sgt. Sager further wrote that he does not know why Montreal police have not provided the service, “but I suspect it has to do with the Quebec Police Act.

“In Ontario, it’s called the Ontario Police Service Act and every province has its own laws governing what their police can do,” he wrote. “Toronto Police do paid duties in order to bolster our numbers rather than using on-duty officers and it’s allowed in Ontario.

Sgt. Sager also pointed out that the Toronto police’s 32 Division “has the largest Jewish community in Toronto with many synagogues.

“During the High Holidays, there were so many paid duties that they filled its own binder. Once no more could be given out because we ran out of officers to do them, they were offered to the rest of the service outside our division. .... Despite the high cost, there’s no shortage of requests and in many cases insurance companies require that paid duty officers be hired.

Photo: Melanie Reffes / The Suburban 

Left: The #NextStopGrenada campaign is chockablock with summer discounts for hotels, tours, restaurants and spas. Centre: “Montrealers love St. Maarten for our sunny skies, great beaches and friendly islanders,” said Vergilio Hernandez, sales rep at the Sunwing desk in the lobby of the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort in St. Maarten. Right: The family-friendly Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and the adjacent adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point are the closest resorts to the Princess Juliana International Airport.

Photo: Michael Boriero / The Suburban 

Esports Central, which opened its doors at the end of May, boasts 94 top of the line PCs, 25 consoles, six D-Box racing simulators and an Omni VR section.

Rob Taussig The Suburban 

The Cote St. Luc Athletics advanced to the finals with a win over Dollard and are facing the Hampstead Hawks in the best of three final.