Robert Libman unveiled this morning his detailed campaign platform and policy initiatives agenda for the November 5th mayoralty election in Côte Saint-Luc.
“We live in a great City and community but we have problems related to our tax rate, access to and from our community, railyards and transparency. We can do better with the right leadership and experience and I have prepared the blueprint to take us to the next level” said Libman in unveiling the 40 page document.
The platform is divided into five main themes including:
- Tax reduction strategies
- Urban planning challenges
- Quality of life
Côte Saint-Luc used to have among the lowest tax rates on the Island of Montreal. In 1999 residents were paying at a lower tax rate than 81% of residents on the Island. Today, of all 35 cities and boroughs, only Montreal-West residents pay at a higher tax rate, which represents only one third of 1% of the population on the island of Montreal. Libman unveiled a series of initiatives to bring CSL taxes back down to where they should be without compromising the level of services. These include among others:
- Shaving millions off unnecessary building expenses with greater energy efficiency. He illustrated how many of the more than 20 public buildings are lit up at night, for example
- Gradually replacing the City vehicle fleet with electric vehicles
- Making the Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC) more economically viable
- Fixing roads and potholes once with proper engineering and materials. The roads in CSL have never been this bad and the same repairs seem to be repeated every year
- Home renovation programs with incentives which result in the expansion of the tax base
- Redevelopment of the Saint-Luc Rail Yards to significantly expand the tax base
Côte Saint-Luc also faces numerous challenges related to urban planning. With his background, education and expertise, Libman is better placed than anyone to address these issues:
- Work with Canadian Pacific to eventually relocate the Saint-Luc Rail Yards out of CSL
- Work to champion the Cavendish extension project but without compromising the character of the City and the security of residents
- Traffic and speeding
Libman also promised to bring about a more open and transparent CSL by implementing “Smart City” technology with online dashboards of city operations, finances, projects and objectives so that residents can see for themselves at any point in time “what the city is doing” and “are they doing it well”. Residents have to go through hoops and make access to information requests for almost everything, which are turned down nearly 100% of the time.
Libman also proposed a number of new initiatives and programs including:
- Setting up mentoring for youth at the fork in the road
- Providing a program to help special needs kids improve their social skills
- Pilot Program for youth facing difficult issues related to drugs and gambling addiction
- Seniors and Intergenerational programs
- Maintenance checkups on snow-birds homes (turn the water connection on and off)
- Encouraging space in the Community Centre for the growing Russian Community
- Pilot project to look into allowing overnight parking
- A second rink and improving our inter-city sports programs
- Proposed modifications to the dog park
- Finally completing Kirwan Park
Libman also commented on the issue of leadership and the democratic value of an electoral campaign as opposed to acclamations at every election cycle. A campaign offers citizens an opportunity to debate the important issues of the day. He lamented the fact that his opponent has shied away from all debates and prefers to just focus his entire campaign on twisting the old debate about demerger.
“That’s all he has spoken about in the campaign, knowing full well that about half the current council supported the exact same position that I did in 2004. “I want to look to the future and improve our great City”, said Libman.
The full policy platform and a discussion about the merger/demerger debate can be found by