Although it did not get the injunction they wanted to put an immediate stop to the Turcot Project, the City of Westmount is still willing to put up a fight to get the sound barriers they need alongside the project’s new highway.
According to Madame Justice Poisson, “...the balance of convenience” favored the defendants as the city’s lawyers failed to prove that residents who happen to live near the project would be subject to irreparable harm by the noise and dust raised over the course of the project’s construction.
Based upon city documents that were passed on to The Suburban after they initially launched last year’s lawsuit, the MTQ’s (Ministère des Transports du Québec) original plans would have respected the government’s noise standards as the new construction would have depressed the highway’s new route by several meters – a measure that would have created a ‘De Facto’ sound barrier that would effectively baffle much of the noise emitted by passing traffic. Unfortunately, the MTQ quietly decided to drop their plan in order to pursue a previous design that will raise the highway back to its original height and effectively negate any kind of noise reduction in and around the immediate area – an area that includes the entire southern sector of the city. Roughly translated, the city’s lawsuit also goes on to mention that constant noise levels at or above 75 decibels will create a toxic (and unacceptable) noise environment for anybody and everybody who happens to live near and around Westmount’s sector the highway. While she agrees that the roadwork along the inner-city expressway “...is a major source of contamination,” Judge Poisson disagreed, and even took the trouble to mention that the city’s lawyers did not bother to come up with their own noise level tests in order to prove their point about the toxic noise and pollution that effectively defines their case against both the MTQ and KPH Turcot.
As a result of the Poisson judgement, work will proceed according to schedule. But as of last week’s decision, it’s still going to be up to the courts to decide when the city will finally get its sound barriers and –more important – who will finally have to pay for them.