Côte St-Luc tempo battle heats up as winter nears

Jay Rubinstein, 80, has been asking to put up a tempo for years, but his request became more urgent this year after suffering a massive heart attack in the summer.

An 80-year-old man has been on a six-year crusade to get a tempo

Tempos are popular in certain parts of Montreal, but aren't allowed in Côte St-Luc. One resident in particular, Jay Rubinstein, has been lobbying for a tempo for years. (Tracey Lindeman/CBC)

A senior citizen living in Côte St-Luc is demanding the right to put up a temporary carport in his driveway this winter.

Jay Rubinstein, 80, has been asking to put up a tempo for years, but his request became more urgent this year after suffering a massive heart attack in the summer.

“I was dead for six minutes,” he told Daybreak this morning.

Rubinstein’s doctor warned him that shovelling snow may result in another heart attack. And his sloping driveway is a major obstacle for him, he said.

He fears not having a tempo may mean having to move.

“I want to stay in my home, I’ve been there for 55 years. I don’t want to move to a condo just because i can’t get out of my driveway,” Rubinstein said.

He said he and his neighbour, whose driveways are adjoining, wanted to build a double-wide tempo. The husband has cancer.

Mayor Anthony Housefather said bylaws can’t be amended just so that sick people or people with disabilities can get tempos.

“That’s just not how zoning bylaws work,” he said.

The only exemptions currently granted in Côte St-Luc are for people without garages.

“There have been two residents that have come to numerous council meetings over the last six years asking for tempos,” Housefather said, referring to Rubinstein and another resident.

In 2010, the city looked at the possibility of removing the ban on tempos, but upheld the ban.

Housefather said it was impossible for council to grant an exemption, even if it wanted to.

Previous reasons given by council for the ban involve aesthetics.

Rubinstein contends that his desired tempo would be far less unsightly than the garbage left on lawns around the city after the snow melts.

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