The city of Beaconsfield received news recently that the cost of its projected soundwall project has gone up 127 percent.
Five years ago, the projected cost was about $20 million and according to the city’s recent press release on the subject “a preliminary pre-project study commissioned by the MTQ for the construction of a sound wall along a 5km stretch on the south side of Highway 20 in Beaconsfield, costs will increase from $20.5M to $46.6M. “
“This is a substantial increase considering that the MTQ’s pre-project study is only at the preliminary stage,” noted Mayor Geogres Bourelle via press release.
The city had actually struck a deal, in 2015, with the MTQ that was unique for the province. Municipalities requesting soundwalls had to adhere to the fifty-fifty share cost but Beaconsfield was able to get a 75-25 deal with the province.
The amount for the city, a cost of $5 million, “was a major commitment for our City considering the relative impact of such an expense on our budget,” Mayor Bourelle had stated.
The city noted as well that a resident survey on the financing of the sound wall yielded that “the community is deeply polarized on the pertinence of the wall and the cost-sharing between districts.”
The city is planning to wait longer on the completion of the report waiting to get the results of a soon-to-be completed MTQ report on the file that will determine the sound wall’s future.
Michel Rheault, a member of the grassroots organization The Beaconsfield Pollution Corridor Initiative (BPCI) told The Suburban that this is not a financial issue but a health issue. “A third of all Beaconsfield residents live within 250 metres of the highway,” said Rheault. “3,000 of them are children who live or go to school near the tracks.”
Rheault and the BCPI members find it frustrating that “this is an issue that is long overdue. Mayor Bourelle fought against the agglomeration recently for the unfair taxation revenues the city pays and fights to change the flood maps of 2019, so where is the same passion for a health issue that affects 6,000 out of 19,500 residents?” asked Rheault.
The BCPI launched a petition on the need for a sound wall in the city and it has garnered 1,600 signatures “which accounts for 11% of the voting public.”
To learn more about the BPCI go online at www.beaconsfieldsoundwall.ca.