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Laval to benefit from Plattsburgh Montreal Cooperation?

Moulage Howmet Laval stands to be one of the big beneficiaries of a cooperation agreement between Montreal and Plattsburgh signed earlier this month.

The agreement puts Plattsburgh and Montreal together as one aerospace sector on the international market. It also encourages trade and information sharing across the border.

“Building our relationship with our Canadian neighbours is critical to growing our local economy and I applaud the North Country Chamber of Commerce and Aero Montreal on this significant agreement,” said New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. “This agreement will help bring expanded commerce with our Canadian neighbours to our region and will help businesses explore growing possibilities among members of both sides.”

Making the agreement happen has been years in the making by Montreal International and the North Country Chamber of Commerce. Both organizations have long been encouraging the aerospace sector in their respective regions to somehow work together. In Canada, an organization called AERO Montreal began in 2006. In the U.S., a similar consortium exists called the North American Centre of Excellence for Transportation Equipment.

Those two organizations signed the cooperation agreement April 4.

The agreement signing was among the highlights of the Global Supply Summit at the Congrés de Montreal. Another key highlight was the presentation by a Plattsburgh-based start-up called Norsk Titanium, which has patented a process to use 3-D printers to produce titanium parts for aircraft. It has just delivered its first FAA-approved parts to Boeing.

During the conference, Norsk Titanium praised Moulage Howmet Laval as one of two Montreal-based key suppliers.

Moulage Howmet, which makes titanium and engineered parts, epitomizes cross-border and international cooperation. The company employs 285 people at its location at 4001 Autoroute des Laurentides and used to be called Howmet Laval Casting. Quebec’s company register shows it as a fully-owned subsidiary of the Halifax-based Howmet Canada, but majority owned by Reynolds Metals in Luxembourg. Its website shows it as a fully-owned division of the New York-based Arconic with its key contact, John Pellegrino, having a corporate Arconic email address though he’s based in Laval. Other directors include president Dirk Bauer and secretary Scott Seewalk, who both live in New York. A fourth director, Pedro Rosas, lives in Laval.

Moulage Howmet supplies parts for Norsk’s modified 3-D printers, which they call “Rapid Plasma Deposition machines.” One of these printers will be demonstrated as part of a visitor centre due to open at the company facilities in Plattsburgh’s Air Industrial Park, where the military base used to be. Two new machines are due to arrive at the facility later this month and another 17 will be ordered over the course of the next year.

Backyard shed thieves caught red-handed

Two men caught stealing goods from backyard sheds appeared at the Laval Courthouse last Thursday.

“Following all the complaints we had, we made an analysis and we had an idea who might be responsible and how he worked,” said Constable Evelyne Boudreau “Our team saw him walking out of a street with many goods in his hands. He was piling things up in the dark and so we knew that he would meet someone with a vehicle to pick them up.”

The police followed the man as he robbed two additional backyard sheds. When his partner pulled up to collect the material at 3:10 in the morning on Tuesday, April 11, police arrested both of them.

Police detained Jean-François DeSerre, 45, who was the robber, and Jean-Guy Degarie, 35, who drove the vehicle. The two were in possession of lawn mowers, bikes, power tools, and sports equipment stolen from three sheds in the St. Rose neighbourhood.

Police suspect the pair also robbed several previous locations.

After their court appearances last week, DeSerre remains in jail. Degery was released, but he has to follow several conditions to avoid being arrested and jailed. Both men are charged with three shed robberies.

Anyone who has information about these men and their potential activities can call the Laval Police at (450) 662-INFO (4636). Please site file LVL-170403-010.

Emergency crews on stand-by for possible flood

Two different teams are keeping a close watch over the high water levels in the Mille Iles and des Prairie rivers at this time of year.

“We can predict the levels of water two or three days ahead of time,” says Sophie Latreille, a water level forecaster from Hydro Météo. “Right now, the level of water is very high everywhere and the snow is melting. With the rain too, some sectors could suffer minor flooding.”

The City of Laval pays Lateille’s team to monitor measuring stations across the city to help them predict flooding. They know that even minor flooding is likely to touch St. Dorothy. The sector next to the Arthur Sauvé Bridge is also at risk.

“I am a specialist in how the river bed will be affected, but I can’t tell you which streets will flood or what needs to be done to inform the public,” said Latreille. “We send out bulletins about what’s happening to all our clients, including the City of Laval. They decide what to do from then.”

Last Sunday, Hydro Météo sent the city a bulletin informing them of water levels at six o’clock in the morning. A second went out later that day. Laval’s emergency response team goes on high alert when necessary. Their concern begins the moment rain falls, and then increases for two or three days as water levels reach their peak.

This season is tough on everyone, but Latreille says there is one consolation that isn’t always true.

“At least all the ice has melted already.”

Laval buses first in Canada to take credit card payments

Starting Friday, Laval commuters will be able pay their fare simply by brandishing their credit card on six selected bus routes.

“No more fumbling for exact change to pay the $3.25 fare,” Société de transport de Laval (STL) chairman Deputy Mayor David De Cotis told The Suburban. “We’re the first transit authority in Canada to let passengers use their Visa or MasterCard when they board the bus.”

Right now, about one in ten Laval passengers pays cash, slowing down service, he said in an interview. Besides saving precious time at rush hour, making bus service here more efficient, the touch memory technology will encourage more people to take the bus whenever it suits them.

“If you’re out doing errands on foot and get caught in the rain, it will be easy to hop on a bus to get home,” De Cotis explained. “Likewise for visitors to Laval. They won’t need to buy a book of tickets or have precisely the right amount of cash on them.”

Buses on routes 20, 39, 48, 60, 63 and 73 will start accepting the credit card touch payments, April 21. They will continue to do so until the pilot project wraps up at a yet-to-be-specified date this fall.

STL has partnered with Desjardins to install the on-board touch payment terminals, similar to the popular PayPass and PayWave terminals widely used by merchants. Only Visa and MasterCard credit cards will be accepted, but De Cotis said that STL will consider permitting debit card and prepaid credit card payments at some point in the future. Smartphone payments might work during the initial phase this summer, but STL doesn’t recommend doing so, since Desjardins’ tech boffins haven’t yet worked out all the details needed to ensure that the smartphones will always work properly with the new terminals.

“If the pilot project proves successful—and we’re confident that it will—we will consider rolling it out to the rest of the STL network,” he said.

Although Montreal and Longueuil transit authorities aren’t participating in the pilot project, STL plans to share its findings with them and other regional transit authorities.

Similar systems are already in service in Chicago, London, Moscow and Madrid, and Paris, New York and Toronto transit authorities are already following Laval’s lead.