JeremySearle_FLYER_DEC142           JeremySearle_FLYER_DEC14

1) Mr. Searle:

Most items listed do not concern me, however, there is definitely a need for dog runs and substantially larger than the one on Somerled and Patricia.  That’s hardly a ‘run’.  Also, most of the dogs hate the pebbles.  Just put in grass and let it turn to weeds like everywhere else.

I had tried to reach you in the spring to no avail.

Westmore between Terrebonne and Somerled is one of the very few blocks in NDG that does not have some sort of speed deterrent on it.  I believe when the City was installing all those speed “poles”, that block in Westmore was being paved and so was forgotten about.

Also, the school on Terrebonne, between West Broadway and Westmore – I have no problem with the school or the kids, but the mess around the outside of the fence (which I believe is City property) is disgusting.  Everyone uses the area as a garbage pail and it get mowed and cleaned up maybe twice a summer.  In the winter it looks like a pig sty.  Also, there is a dumpster on Westmore which is suppose to be for school use.  It is often overflowing with garbage and I know for a fact that some of the residents are using it as their own personal garbage pail.  I have lived here for 37 years and this is my first year seeing a rat.

Thank you for your attention to these matters.

2) Hello Mr. Searle-
I spoke to you last week at the William Bowie park with my kids, Tom and Clara. It was good to meet you!

I wanted to follow up with some  information on the “natural playground” movement in schools and parks around the country (and indeed the world). Researchers seem to be recognizing the value of children’s imaginative play and the important role that natural and less structured elements can play.

This is a 15 minute video from the UK that shows how some simple transformations to school playgrounds seemed to very much improve the quality of play and the education kids were getting while playing:

I know when I grew up, there were valleys and woods to play in, even in our suburb in Ottawa. These days, kids just don’t have easy access to those kinds of wild spaces, so the idea seems to be to try and bring these kinds of places – and the kinds of imaginative play that they can encourage – into traditional playgrounds and school play grounds, which are often centered around structures that are totally “safe” and prescriptive (e.g. a swing is for swinging, all steps on the stairs are equally spaced and level).

Here is an article from the Globe and Mail, as well, on this:

And one from the Gazette, more recently:

I’m would love to see even some simple things tried at our local parks, like boulders scattered around for climbing, or sawed off logs placed around the grass, as a trial to see how kids play with these sorts of elements. One of my daughter’s favourite places to play in Loyola park in the spring is the little pond that forms near the baseball diamond – in summer it dries up and there are is a diversity of tall native plants and shrubs in there and places to hide, which she also loves. And at my son’s school, one of the most favourite play areas is on the front grounds in a huge cedar bush where kids can hide and climb the branches – the kindergarten kids gravitate to this bush every year when they start school, and older kids love it too.

Anyway, just a few thoughts on the matter in case anyone is looking at trying something different in one of the neighbourhood parks. I still think that compared to many parks out there, especially suburban ones, ours are fantastic for the variety of different landscapes and the lovely large trees – I guess I’d just looking to build onto that natural component a little more.

3) Hi there Jeremy,

I’m an NDG resident and received your ‘flyer’ about NDG sports/recreation a few weeks ago, but only now am finding time to write to you about it!
Thanks for reaching out to residents for our thoughts. I do have some comments, from my perspective as a mother of 2 small kids, particular as one of them is handicapped (I have a 2-year-old daughter and an almost-5-year-old son with Cerebral Palsy).

So in no particular order, some of my concerns include:

-libraries: I’m hoping that the new library on Monkland will be fully wheelchair accessible, and will also have earlier opening hours than the current Benny one (which often doesn’t open til 10am or some days 12pm!)

-swimming pools: while I love that the new NDG sports centre includes the pool(s) and that we don’t have to pay an admission fee, there are some serious problems with the change rooms; they are tiny, over-crowded, badly laid out, do not have enough change tables or showers, and very narrow to get around. There is no wheelchair-accessible changeroom, and strollers are not permitted in the change room, which means that we have to carry our son in/out and use the baby change table, which will be more and more challenging as he gets bigger.

-playgrounds: there is virtually no playground area that is ‘accessible’ in this neighbourhood; the only exception is one large yellow swing in the Benny park playground, but there are never any straps with it, so it’s not actually useable by anyone with special needs. This is a big gap.

-community gardens: it would be great to have more of those!

Thanks for your interest in residents’ opinions, and let me know if you’d like more detail from me!

4) Hello Jeremy,

Yes I think you should take up some Park space to make more community gardens.

I think Loyola park would be very good park for a community garden.

5) Bonjour M. Searle,

J’aimerais profiter de l’occasion qui nous est donnée pour exprimer mon opinion sur les différents aspects soumis dans le flyer dernièrement distribué:
Pour commencer , je nous trouve très chanceux d’avoir à proximité un beau centre sportif avec une piscine facilement accessible, une patinoire extérieure en hiver, des terrains de tennis très bien entretenus, etc.

Je ne saurais qu’encourager les efforts pour multiplier l’accès aux installations sportives et culturelles:
– Playground extérieurs pour le basket: quasi inexistants, et des terrains intérieurs accessibles en hiver pour les jeunes.

– terrains de soccer: on en trouve assez, mais peut être que certain pourrais être plus entretenus?

– pistes cyclables: sécuriser la piste cyclable sur terrebone et fielding, svp! Et surtout les entretenir pour enlever les nids de poule qui obligent à faire des écarts dangereux. Aussi, clarifier la loi sur l’usage des couloirs de bus/ taxi pour que les vélos puissent y circuler.

– Parcs pour planche à roulette, si la demande est la, il faut la suivre.

– bibliothèque : l’offre va s’agrandir avec l’ouverture du prochain centre culturel Benny, je m’en réjouit . J’espère toutefois que cela n’entraînera pas la fermeture des bibliothèques qui sont plus éloignées ( je pense  notamment à celle située sur Decarie)

– théâtre et cinéma: ça manque dans le quartier…il faudrait avoir une programmation bilingue pour satisfaire la population ( ou des films sous titrés?)

– musique: peu de communication à ce sujet…se passe t il quelque chose à NDG?

– jardins communautaires: oui, oui, oui!!! Il en faut plus. Ainsi que des marchés de producteurs locaux

En vous souhaitant une bonne journée,

6) Bonjour M. Searle,
je tenais à vous donner mon avis sur différents points que vous soumettez, avis que je partage avec plusieurs amis du quartier :
1) Oui pour plus ou de meilleures installations pour nos jeunes pour la planche à roulettes. Il me semble urgent de donner des espaces de rencontres saines pour nos jeunes, et favoriser ainsi un meilleur tissu social. Avant d’en faire d’autres, peut-être serait-il judicieux de discuter avec les partenaires qui ont des espaces de ce type et qui oeuvre avec les jeunes (je sais qu’il y a un espace intérieur sur la rue Maisonneuve, le YMCA) et se fier à leur avis puisqu’ils sont très directement concernés.

2) Oui pour plus de pistes cyclables mais avant tout, améliorer celles qui sont déjà présentes. La encore, se fier aux organismes spécialisés dans le vélo, il y en a dans NDG. Moi-même, avec 3 enfants, ai décidé de laisser ma voiture il y a 10 ans et d’utiliser les transports en commun, taxi, vélo, à pied. Nous allons souvent en vélo l’été, partout sur Montréal, et il est inconcevable pour moi que la voiture prime sur le vélo. Il faut une meilleur complicité auto-vélo et développer ce moyen de transport. Nous avons tout à gagner : meilleure santé, conscience écologique, conscience social et local, etc.

3) oui pour plus de jardions communautaires, des cours la dessus, des jardins privés dans nos cours et en avant de nos résidence.

4) plus de vie culturelle à NDG!!! je fais partie de la Fondation Musique de l’école St Luc et nous avons depuis peu un auditorium que les meilleurs orchestres nous envient. Il se loue et nous pourrions y développer des soirées culturelles, musicale mais aussi cinéma, conférences, documentaires, etc… et ainsi développer positivement un coin de quartier parfois en proie à la pauvreté, la violence et la drogue. Il y a aussi le projet du cinéma sur Sherbrooke. Ou en sont les avancées? nous ne sommes pas assez tenus au courant des projets et ce que vous faites pour votre quartier!!! Et puis vous êtes chaleureusement invités à notre revue musicale des 15-16-17 avril prochain, 19h30, et venir voir le talent artistique et musicale de cette école PUBLIQUE. Il nous fera plaisir de vous accueillir. Vous devriez recevoir une invitation prochainement. Nous attendons de vous votre soutien et vos encouragements, merci.

5) oui pour plus d’activités intérieures organisées . Il y a le nouveau centre de loisirs et sportifs Benny. BRAVO!!! il était temps! ceci dit, il y a encore à développer dans le domaine des arts et des sports en soutenant les cours qui se donnent déjà : souvent, les lieux sont glauques, sales, c’est inadmissible! Qu’en pensez-vous?

Merci de nous tenir au courant, merci pour votre implication et le développement d’un esprit et une ambiance de quartier exemplaire. Il y a tant à faire pour que chacun se sente heureux d’appartenir à NDG. J’espère que ce quartier sera encore plus vivant et plus sécuritaire.

) I live in NDG and see myself, that sport and recreation facilities are good and well developed enough to completely satisfy needs of those, who like to go to sport and enjoy recreation.

But you know better than me, that budget of every district needs and will always need more funds in case of emergency situations due to unpredictable weather changes, infrastructure damages, repair works and etc.

I have nothing against dogs, but very often they live their stuff on side walks, stadiums, soccer fields, green lawns and owners do not remove it. There is a corresponding law but it is violated very often.
My proposal is to introduce annual tax for the dog owners when they register them.

Prohibit night parking of the cars on the streets. Organize car parking place. Fee should be reasonable, not very high but it will bring funds to the district budget.
I live on ch.Westover, street is only 10 years old, but road coating will be destroyed by the parked cars. Many on them are old, benzene, oil, antifreeze and etc is dropping from them. It will result in the restoration works financed from the district budget.

And the last thing. Preserve the existing system of the mail delivery. Otherwise a lot of promotion materials will be just thrown on the street and extra cleaning will be required. Again additional budget expenses.

Finally I would like to address thanks to the NDG authorities for their care about our district which is always done on due time and regardless of any weather conditions.


7) Good afternoon,

After receiving your flyer regarding what we would like to see in NDG, I would respond with a resounding “Dog Runs”.  I live in a community filled with pet owners, (myself included), with access to both Loyola Park and Gilbert Layton Park.  There are no dog runs in either park and yet there is a huge community of dog owners who use both these parks for recreation and exercise for their animals.  I have had the priviledge of meeting many of my neighbours through these daily walks which I likely never would have if not for my dog. Many of the dog owners I see are senior citizens who have pets for company and need to exercise, yet do not have the stamina to walk them for long periods of time.  A safe place for them to allow their dogs to run, while sitting and socializing with their fellow pet owners would be considerate and useful, as well as healthy for them, allowing the to mingle with others.

In both parks, huge amounts of money were spent on enclosed and locked soccer fields and baseball diamonds which sit empty 9 months out of the year while dog owners seek safe and enclosed areas where their pets can play together and meet on a daily basis. The only dog run in the area, on Patricia is a joke.  Tiny and filled with stones, I, along with many others, will not use this run as the stones cuts the dogs paws and does not offer enough space for numerous dogs to play and have some freedom to run.  Perhaps you should take a lesson from Westmount and Hampstead who have developed some beautiful dog runs including benches for owners to sit, garbage cans, etc.

Having gone to Burlington, Vermont many times, I can’t help but wonder why we are not able to replicate the great dogs runs they have their for the citizens.  Benches, play equipment for the dogs, water and bowls, make it a wonderful experience for both the owners and their four legged friends.  In addition, the dog runs are divided into several secured areas, allowing places for dogs that are friendly versus those that might have some issues – very smart.

I would also say that in regards to having an association will to promote it and take responsibility for the run, we would also need to look at the policy of having pitbulls.  In NDG, there are a huge amount of pitbulls, that are often off leash.  There have been cases of attacks against other dogs.

I urge you to look into this situation.

Many thanks

8)  Dear Jeremy,

In a different reality, your survey of opinions on sports and recreation in NDG would be laudable. In order to reach the libraries, skating rinks, swimming pools …etc. you need to travel on NDG roads and they are almost impassable.  As a resident of NDG for all of my 72 years, I can not remember the roads being in such terrible condition. They are truly in “third world” condition. As a 58 year resident and home owner on Fielding Ave (7325 Fielding -between Westbroadway & Westmore), I have never seen this street in such bad shape, since it was constructed in 1955 (approx.)

Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) on new soccer fields, like the one built in Patricia (William Bowie? ) Park last year (built apparently without consultation with local residents) lets fix the roads first. Incidentally, the placement of the new soccer pitch at Patricia Park eliminated the non-hockey skating rink which had been a mainstay of the park for decades.

9) Dear Jeremy,
Thank you for your letters in the mailbox.
Here are few issues that I would be grateful if you can address:
·         Benny Park Sports and Recreation Facility – While this is a great facility and the people that work there are very helpful, it seems that they run into bureaucratic issues to fix basic issues in the facility. I have been swimming in this facility since its inception and since the very few months in the men’s showers, there has never been a situation that all four showers work. The one that work are actually semi-working and I will explain:
1.       The center shower has such a slow stream that nobody can really rinse the soap. Most visitors will avoid this shower
2.       One shower is turned on a very cold water
3.       One shower is turned on a very hot water
4.       One does not work at all
I would also expect to make some regular tests of the quality of the water and place it in a visible area where the public can see and decide if they would like to use it. Especially on the weekend, it seems that the water lose their transparency.
·         Library – I understand that we are building a new library across the Benny Park Sports and Recreation Center. Will we have ability to load books digitally on iPad or on any dedicated application?
·         Community Gardens – I found the level of investment of public parks in my area is very basic. For better examples, please see Cote St-Luc parks
·         Roads conditions – We are all aware of the condition of roads. Can you send us a plan how the city plan to ensure systematically improve the condition of the roads, while coordinating scheduled work of telephone, Gas and Hydro digging and renewing road )I do not fixing potholes, but ploughing the road and then re-paving it) – see example from Hampstead.
·         St-Jacques entrance to 720 highway – When can we expect to be able to access the 720 highway again? It seems that this area has become a parking lot of the workers there. I am not clear why all NDG residents must make this sacrifice with no clear benefit or compensation.
·         Hydro cable underground – When does the city will approach Hydro to place the Hydro cables underground? Hampstead did it 8 years ago. Is it only relevant for Hampstead residents? Are we waiting for the next ice storm?
·         Metro extension – It is time to extend the metro toward NDG and maybe connect the city that way to the airport, as any modern city in the world. Instead of investing in ridiculous project such as the dangerous Bike path and the failing bike rental organization, that can be used for 3-4 months a month, let’s invest in a serious solution, especially that NDG is one of the largest populated area in Montreal that has no proper solution.
·         Homelessness – I support any solution that will ensure that homeless people will be able to receive shelter. I feel that centers like that must evaluate how they can assist every single person to get back to the circle of work. A social worker must be available 24/7 to assist them under their permission. The program must find them constant shelter and the city should consider hiring them for job opening, based on skills or potential skills and then offer them temporary shelter, in coordination of their intention to acquire a new skill that would allow them to earn money independently. The program should provide incentives – the more the person show effort to enter back to the job market, the more benefits they get. Homeless with mental issues – I do not know the laws, but we must work with their families to receive consent to assist them. Homeless from out of province, especially from the First Nation, should receive settlement benefits as long as they are willing to lean skills that are needed by the city and are willing to stay for a certain period after the city trains them.
I hope that the above suggestions and issues will be taken in a serious manner.
I look forward to receive your feedback.

10) Hi there,

First of all, I just want to say that I really appreciate your regular mail outs asking for our opinion.  I have some opinions with regards to the following:

1.       Skateboard parks:  yes, both my kids love it, and we would welcome more of them.  A great way for our kids to get exercise!  Even an indoor one would be great (like the Taz, but I know that requires more space and is much more expensive to build and to run, so would be content with more outdoor ones).
2.       Swimming pools –
a.       It would be great if the outdoor pool was open longer than just from St Jean baptiste to Labour day.  How about May to September, as long as the weather holds out.
b.      Also, It would be great if the outdoor pool had extended hours, e.g. a pre-work opening – say from 6 to 8:30 or so
c.       Finally, more attention to lanes throughout the summer for the outdoor pool would be nice.
I realize this is just being a bit fussy when the indoor pool gives us all of the above, but the summer is short, and it is so pleasurable doing my laps outside when I can….

Thanks again for soliciting our opinion.

11) Hello,

Thank you for the flyer requesting residents’ opinion.

My husband and I are avid cyclists and would like to see more bike lanes in NDG. There are very few lanes, and the one that exist only cover a small portion of the road. Also, there are major repairs that need to be made to the De maisonneuve bike path, which is used by many bikers on a daily basis.

12) Good day,

In response to your request for opinions,  I appreciate and would very like to see the Cross country ski trails at Somaled Park continue!

Thank you for your consideration

13) Chère Monsieur Searl,

Quelle idée brillante que de demander aux citoyens leurs avis dans le confort de leur foyer  Cependant il n’en tient qu’à vous pour que les suggestions et doléances ne restent pas lettre morte comme la plus part du temps. En politique le citoyen se sent impuissant et sans levier aucun, car chacun doit assurer sa survie et n’a pas le temps de s’impliquer, quand il parvient à s’impliquer cela ne donne pas grand choses et demande tps et énergie que l’on a pas! Alors on se laisse faire. De toute facon les décisions sont souvent prises à l’avance….

Prenons le nouveau centre Benny avec la piscine. Comme nous aurions aimé avoir également un centre d’entrainement accessible à la bourse de tous. Au lieu de cela, une minuscule salle d’entrainement avec des équipements désuets, tout ca dans le but de ne pas faire de concurrence au YMCA et au Centre Perform qui demande des prix exhorbitants pour avoir acces à la salle d’entrainement. Une décision politique qui n’améloire en rien la santé des citoyens qui n’ont pas les moyens de se payer un centre à $600 par année!

Pistes cyclables:  Je les utilise beaucoup mais doit souvent réparer mes pneus ou mes jantes qui frappent les innombrables trous. Ce sont des pistes CABOSSABLES! et non carrossables.  Avez vous vu les conditions de ces pistes à l’ouest de la rue Maisonneuve? Non seulement elles sont en pietre état mais elle sont dangeureuses, et cela va de meme pour la rue Fielding! et Somerled, Westmore.Shebrooke J’habite l’ouest de NDG et les rues sont à l’image des pistes, elles ne peuvent pas faire autrement.


RUES RÉSIDENTIELLES: j’habite la rue Westmore et c’est un véritable boulevard l’été, les gens conduisent à une vitesse folle! Y aurait il moyen d’avoir des dos d’ane permanents? Les poteaux retirables ne fonctionne pas au contraire on dirait que ca incite les gens a aller plus vite!


JARDINS COMMUNAUTAIRES: Excellente idée, il n’y en a pas dans la partie ouest ou s’il y en a commnet fait on pour y avoir acces? Aucune info à ce sujet . J’habite ici depuis 12 ans , Je lis le journal du quartier et j’ai jamais vu ca annoncer.

LES SANS ABRIS: Nous avons besoin d’une politique conjointe munucipale et provinciale pour les sans abris. Prenons le problème à sa source et cessons de faire des mesures de fortune comme des abris de fortune!
Une politique concertée de réinsertion sociale, de logements accessibles pour les sans abris. Ou sont tous les logements sociaux promis par les promoteurs de condos de luxe ds le centre ville et ;a Griffentown???  Personne ne veut avoir des sans abris ds son quartier ou ds les quartiers touristiques! Travaillons à la base: plus de travailleur de rue, plus d’emploi de réinsertion sociale disponibles pour eux et plus de logements accessibles. Il me semble que ces pas compliqué!


14) Good afternoon Mr. Searle,
Just sending a few lines about sports and recreation in NDG.

As a woman in her thirties, I find it difficult to find sports teams in my age range.
I think the new swimming pool at the Benny sports complex is fantastic, and I love the training program they have for swimmers, but it would be nice to have a master’s club there. I’ve heard of a few others in NDG, but there are long waiting lists. I think the Benny pool is a fantastic place to have a master’s club, where we could train and compete against other districts.
I’m also not aware of any triathlon training in NDG…
It would be nice to have a women’s basketball league at the complex or nearby.
I know there is an NDG men’s rugby team, but there isn’t one for women, and in the past, I’ve had to travel to TMR and Beaconsfield to play with teams, and when you rely on public transport, it’s not easy. It would be great to have a team in NDG, and I’m sure some of the players from Concordia Loyola campus women’s team would be interested.
I’ve also noticed that it’s nearly impossible to find a track and field team in this area, I have yet to find one that’s not just for youth. I’ve found teams that train all the way out at centre claude robillard, and one at mcgill Olympic. I was actually going to contact Dennis Barrett this week to inquire about amateur discus throwing at McGill, but it would be great if NDG could have a track and field team, youth to masters.

15) Good evening,

I received your flyer in the mail today asking for feedback. Coincidentally, this week I was just thinking about how the Benny library hours are not conducive to working people.

Proposed new hours

Monday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday: Noon to 8 p.m.
Thursday and Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday : 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Currently I don’t understand why it is open so late on Tuesday and Wednesday and different hours every day makes it hard to remember the schedule. I hope when the new larger library opens there are activities for families and the hours modified.

16) Hello Mr. Searle,

I would like to contribute my opinion about the Centre Sportif de Notre-Dame-de-Grace.

Please allow me to inform you of my intended use of this facility, and help me to understand why I cannot.  Earlier this week, I attempted to register my child for private swimming lessons.  Registration for Borough residents began February 23rd at 9:00AM (in person).  I discovered while waiting for registration in person to begin that on-line registration began at 6:00AM.  Despite arriving at about 8:30AM there were a three people ahead of me.  When I attempted to register my child, I was informed that all the classes were full at 6:01AM that morning, and that I would be fourth on the waiting list.

What is the point of offering something that doesn’t REALLY exist?  This “registration” was a sham.  I was offerred the 4th position on the waiting list, which I accepted, but have ZERO faith that anyone will be calling.  I must also presume that each of the three persons ahead of me in line, all wanted to register for the same lessons.  I don’t believe it.  I don’t like being lied to.  I don’t like paying taxes for whomever the Centre Sportif de Notre-Dame-de-Grace deems worthy.  I don’t think its fair to pretend that something is open to the public, when in reality it is NOT.

In the past (2012 – I think),  my child  did manage to get in once.  The next year we were told that all the lessons were reserved for people who had never had them before, and that therefore we were not welcome.  (After all no-one likes repeat customers, right?)  My child, her mother and I have always been respectful to everyone there, so  I cannot understand why we alone might be black-listed somehow, but that is how I feel.

This reality remains.  A sports center that no-one can reasonably expect access to, should not be on the public purse.  Privatize the place and give me my taxes back, or make it REALLY open to the public.