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Namur-Hippodrome area consults begin tonight

A series of meetings on the future of the Namur Metro-Hippodrome area in Côte des Neiges, some public and some by invitation, begins tonight, 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Ruby Foo’s Hotel, 7655 Decarie Blvd, with an information session, the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OPCM) announced.

Côte St. Luc councillor Dida Berku strongly promoted, during this month’s CSL council meeting, the series of meetings and consults. Concerns have been expressed about potential much increased vehicle traffic from this and several other area projects, including the Westbury now under construction, the planned Royalmount megacentre and a potential Decarie Square redevelopment.

“Transportation and mobility in Côte St. Luc is always a concern for our residents, and I’m hoping we’ll soon be able to announce our own vision and transportation plan,” Berku said, adding that the OPCM consults are taking place in the meantime. “We definitely have a stake in how that whole area is developed, and how the transport and mobility of our residents are improved.”

The OPCM document points out that the City of Montreal “wants to redevelop the site of the old Hippodrome and the area surrounding the Namur Métro station.

The city “plans to transform them into a full, inclusive and carbon-neutral living environment, relying on active and public transportation,” the document says. “The area could include as many as 6,000 housing units. The consultation will make it possible to better understand the expectations and needs of citizens and local players to develop a common vision for the future neighbourhood.

“The results of the consultation will be used by the City of Montreal to prepare an overall plan for redeveloping the area.”

Opinions will be solicited on: “green innovations to be implemented, the creation of a new living environment, travel by active and public transportation, green and public spaces, the identity of the future neighbourhood,” and other topics.

The consultation schedule is:

• Tonight, 7 p.m. Nov. 20, open to everyone: Information session at Ruby Foo’s, 7655 Décarie.

• During December, by invitation only: Thematic discussion workshops on mobility/connectivity and economic development.

• Jan. 23, 2020: A citizen’s forum, also at Ruby Foo’s. More scheduling and online pre-registration details will be announced.

• Jan. 19-Feb. 19, 2020: An opportunity to express an opinion online, at opcm.qc.ca/hippodrome/opinions.

• Feb. 13, 2020 at 7 p.m: The first “hearing of opinions” session. Participants are asked to register for this meeting before Feb. 6 at 4 p.m., or call 514-872-8510 “to present an oral opinion and/or submit a written opinion.” Location information will be announced, and more sessions could be announced.

Rotrand motion calling for halt to unfounded police checks passes at council

Montreal council unanimously passed a motion put forward by Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand calling on the Montreal police to halt routine random police checks and on the Quebec government to pass a law prohibiting such checks.

The motion’s co-presenter was Councillor Giuliana Fumagalli.

According to media reports, the wording of the original motion was changed by council members, including the word “moratorium” being taken out, as was a reference to street checks being “routine.”

“The text isn’t exactly what the groups want, but it represents a big step forward,” the councillor said.

Before Monday night’s meeting, Rotrand was joined at a press conference that afternoon at Montreal city hall by a coalition of some 20 groups reiterating their demand. They included the Black Coalition of Quebec, the National Council of Muslims, CRARR, the Jamaica Association of Montreal, Montreal En Action, the Association des juristes progressistes, the Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, the Coloured Women’s Club, and many others.

The motion and recent demands were sparked by a recent report identifying systemic discrimination by Montreal police, and which said visible minorities, such as young Arabs, members of the black community and indigenous women, are much more likely to be stopped by police than whites. The SPVM is expected to respond to the report in March, with new measures.

Rotrand has cited laws passed by Ontario and Nova Scotia, and on Monday, he cited former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s apology for that city’s “stop and frisk” policy.

Human rights lawyer, and former federal Justice Minister and Attorney General Irwin Cotler lent his support to the motion Monday.

“The report [on the SPVM] demonstrated that police checks are arbitrary, selective and discriminatory,” Cotler, chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, told the CBC. “It undermines confidence in the administration of justice, it increases alienation between visible minorities and the police and it tends to result in criminalization of these vulnerable groups.”

Cotler also called on Montreal City Council to “provide the political leadership to assure all Montrealers regardless of origin that racial and ethnic minorities will not be targeted.”

Rotrand’s motion also:

• Asks that council “demands that the SPVM provide a written response to the report on random street checks and that it describes the solutions that will be implemented to address the problems of racial profiling.

• Asks that council “mandate the executive committee to provide a written response describing the measures the municipality will take to address racial profiling issues within its police department.”

The touring cast includes James Earl Jones II (centre), whose famous and much older namesake is a third cousin.

The Alouettes made huge improvements in the 2019 campaign and according to interim head coach Khari Jones, “wait and see, wait and see, I’m excited,” he said. “Once everything gets in place, if all goes to plan the plan is to hit the ground running. Get a training camp under our belts with the nucleus of players; it’s going to be an exciting team.”