Letters to the Editor, June 19, 2014

Angell Woods landowners speak out

Dear Editor,

We recognize that there are many differing perspectives on what has happened, and what still needs to happen, with Angell Woods. We would like to share some information that might help clarify our position.

The City of Beaconsfield maintains that they have been attempting to resolve this situation with us for years. This is only true if you believe that we should give up our rights to the land that we have paid taxes on as developable property for 60 years.

In 2009, then Mayor Bob Benedetti offered to “buy” the land; however, he was offering no money, only tax credits. This was not a hard offer to decline.

During Mayor Pollack’s administration, the City relied on Montreal to step in to save all of the woods. Montreal did make offers to a number of owners, but only for pennies on the dollar.

We have been told repeatedly by Mayor George Bourelle that Réal Menard, the individual responsible for preservation on the agglomeration executive council, will negotiate with us.

However, as of this writing, we have never received any communication from Mr. Menard himself.

Before all of that, in 2011, some landowners visited officials in Montreal about finding a resolution in Angell Woods, and were told outright that those officials considered the devaluation of our property -- the result of a Beaconsfield bylaw freezing all development on it - to be the legitimate value that they intended to use in order to acquire it for preservation. This is exactly what we are seeing today.

The City of Beaconsfield has claimed that it has been protecting our rights as landowners, and has tried to blame the public use of our land on APAW, the Association for the Protection Angell Woods. APAW could not do what it does without a compliant administration that willingly works hand in glove with them.

APAW has been deeply involved in the mayoral elections and holds special status in the City. The City has shared information and studies it has commissioned with APAW about our land that it refuses to share with the landowners. The City has also relied on APAW’s documents and studies, without offering us the opportunity to supply our own information.

In permitting APAW to publish public trails in Angell Woods, and to sponsor events like the Angell Woods Appreciation Day, they promote public pressure for saving all of the woods, a clearly articulated APAW objective.

We recognize that the Mayor and his councillors are in a difficult bind: there is public pressure on them to preserve all of the woods, but they claim that there is simply not enough money to buy them. Consequently, some of the landowners believe that the only fair resolution in Angell Woods is one that allows for a mix of preservation and some tasteful and ecologically sensitive development. Such a resolution would recognize landowners’ rights to develop, satisfy the City’s desire to preserve ecologically valuable land, while easing the tax burden for residents, something that makes that very preservation possible.

Our rights as landowners in Beaconsfield have been taken away for too long, but we are still willing to work with the City to find a resolution. We believe transparency is the best way to end this stalemate.

Sincerely,

Diana Shahmoon,

Seda Holdings

New York and Menashi Mashall, Yale Properties Montreal

English School Board elections - Have you been disenfranchised?

Dear Editor,

Many residents domiciled on the Vaudreuil-Soulanges territory may be in for quite a surprise when the English School Board Elections take place on November 2nd, 2014.

Many residents don’t realize that their vote is important in the English School Board elections. The wellbeing of the children in our region is at stake, whether yours, your neighbours’ , or your friends’ children. Their education will be a factor in your future. Our children will become taxpayers and we will be dependent on them to make decisions as intelligent, respectful and responsible citizens.

Who are you?

• Those who have moved to the territory as of 2007 and who currently have no school age children in the English School System are not necessarily on the voters list.

• Those residents, who pay their school taxes jointly to the Commité de Gestion de la Taxe Scolaire de l’Île de Montréal (CGTSIM) and la Commission Scolaire des Trois Lacs, have been listed as voters for the French School Board Elections.

• The third group that has been disenfranchised are the residents who have graduated from secondary school prior to 2011.

• The last group of electors in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges territory that would be at risk are those who have recently moved, or in the near future expect to change their address prior to the 2014 School Board Election period, and have neglected to inform la Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec of a change of address.

To become a voter for the English School Board Elections 2014; you must verify your status with the Returning Officer for the Lester B. Pearson School Board by calling: Rémi Polliquin at 514-780-VOTE (8683) or by obtaining information on the Lester B. Pearson website by clicking “School Board Elections 2014”. This tab is found on the left hand side of the screen and will provide you with the document to change from the French voters list to the English voters list.

Please don’t wait for the last minute; your vote is important to the English community. Your democratic right should not be compromised.

Angela Nolet

Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot

Lemon to sour merchant

Dear Editor,

When it comes to children, I’m a moral fortress and an incident last Saturday in Hudson really shocked and upset me.

Hudson was buzzing with garage sales last weekend and happy shoppers, including the two little boys (accompanied by an adult) who set up a lemonade stand on Main Road with homemade lemonade, which included a choice of a slice of lemon or lime - they were adorable.

While purchasing my lemonade and choosing my slice of preference, a local merchant came out and tried to chase the boys away saying that he sold lemonade too and it would hurt his business.

You don’t need to be named publicly, you know who you are, and in my opinion, you already have a name.

Abbie Bennett

Ste. Anne de Bellevue

School board elections

Dear Editor,

On June 4, 2014, the Couillard government passed its first budget. Even before the reading of the budget, school boards were raising alarms. “Kids and education will suffer,” they said. This is standard procedure for the boards to complain, regardless of which party is in power.

Sure enough, as predicted, after the reading of the Budget, the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) put out a press release: “We are worried for our schools and students given this continuous reduction in school board funding.”

Meanwhile, you may recall, four weeks ago, the President of the Quebec Treasury Board, Martin Coiteux, blasted the spendthrift boards for their “lavish spending.”

Also, on June 4, the Pearson Board put out a “Public Notice” announcement of a meeting on June 23, concerning the proposed ”Budget 2014-2015.”

Prior to the school board budget being passed, the board goes out to the community for a consultation. This year was no exception. However, there was one response that was missing - the Central Parents Committee (CPC).

Last year, the CPC recommended that the board, “minimize Head Office personnel, including past employees of the Board.”

As a taxpayer, last September I submitted several questions dealing with monetary matters to the board, in the hope the September Council meeting would provide some answers.

I was told by Chairperson Stein Day there were too many questions and told to go to ‘Access of Information ‘ or to other organizations , such as the QESBA, where she is a director, to get some answers.

Shortly after that I was barred from addressing the Council. However, I still submitted the same questions to Council meetings, in writing, hoping that I would get some answers. After all, the chair answers questions, by other people, who are not present at the meeting, but put “live” on the blog, which is beside the screen webcasting the meeting.

I will be attending the June 23 Council meeting. I was wondering if Madame Stein Day would answer my questions if I put them on the blog “live,” so to speak.

That said, in April, I decided to run as chairperson of the board in the November 2 elections, created a website and opened up a special Facebook page.

The concerns of parents and my questions from September 2013 are posted on my developing website www.aceteacher.ca.

Chris Eustace

Pierrefonds

Thank you

Dear Editor,

Re: Parrywinkle’s West Island View. Loved your humour when I read the well-written article this week right from the very first word “did” to the last word “wrap.”

I do believe that a lot of readers have had the same life path of friends with good intentions and will also identify with your “memorable mistakes”!

I do thank you for making me smile which must be infectious as I am selling more Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation duck tickets today than ever before at the hospital while reading it.

Namaste,

Bill Wexler

AKA Lakeshore Louis

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