At the city council meeting of August 22, 2022, the mayor announced that he was suspending actions concerning the noise barrier pending the resolution of a dispute on the following subject:
Is there a public health problem along Highway 20?
After unsuccessful telephone calls, the mayor asked the Minister of Health, Mr. Christian Dubé and the Minister of Transport, Mr. François Bonnardel to agree on this issue.
This is a revolution of the situation because, until now, we were the only ones of this opinion.
Dr. David Kaiser was added, he is an eminent medical specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the Direction régionale de santé publique de Montréal. He works on several files related to the urban environment and health, including environmental noise. The Direction falls under the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The debate between these two Ministers could result in the MTQ having to pay the TOTAL cost of the noise barriers ON BOTH SIDES OF THE 20 AND THE RAILS!
At the last June city council meeting , the mayor refused to apply for grants for the construction of noise barriers north and south of the 20.
He even dared me about it, telling me to apply for such grants by myself.
I couldn’t believe it!
It is not up to a citizen, or even a citizens association, to ask for subsidies for such constructions.
I again appealed to the Public Health Department (DSP) of the Montreal region (part of the Ministry of Health and Social Services). The response of Dr. David Kaiser, Chief Medical Officer at the DSP, was very important to our cause.
I took up the mayor’s challenge and I sent grant applications to all the organizations that seemed to me, directly or indirectly, to have to share the costs of such an undertaking.
Following are copies of the requests I sent to the following Ministries:
The mayor tries to scare citizens by insisting on the total cost ($60 M max.) and on debt as the only solution.
He tries to divide the citizens on this issue and proposes to penalize 6,000 residents who suffer 7/24 with an IMMORAL special tax: “the more you suffer, the more you pay”.
We bring citizens together around a community project based on three practical and realistic solutions to obtain the protection of the noise barrier without paying for it:
Obtain new grants
The mayor asks for many grants for IMAGINE, his pet project to move the library into the Centennial Park. Why not ask for grants to reduce the burden and to resolve a major health issue?
99% of the noise comes from vehicles passing through our city without stopping. So, let us ask a grant from the Agglo, for example, since all this traffic contributes to its growth, but also grants from the Municipal Affairs Ministry, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Health too, since it is a health issue, a major noise source and GHG pollution. Let’s also go back to the MTQ because they are applying a 1998 policy while they began transforming Toronto-Montréal boulevard into a highway in 1985. Moreover, this project is the longest to be built jointly under the Road Noise Policy in more than 24 years, and we are one of the smallest cities to participate. An extra effort Minister?
Create a “Health Reserve” from the welcome tax
Since 2015, the city has been collecting increasingly large sums of so-called welcome tax. The diagram shows the tax collected each year (white) and its impact on the growth of the city bank account (blue).
Let’s create a “Health Reserve” constituted as follows: 2 to 3 M$ to start directly from the cash account. Then $1 to $2 million per year (or more, in good years) from the welcome tax. Thus, at the beginning of the project, in 6 years or more, we will have set aside at least 60% to 100% of the cost. WITHOUT EXTRA TAXES OR NEW DEBT!
Install solar panels to generate energy income
Let’s install 4.8 km of solar panels on our (south) side of the wall. We will get a lot of infinite renewable energy, reducing our financial burden, either by selling this energy to Hydro-Quebec or by using it to reduce our electricity bill and light our streets. In addition, this will accelerate the achievement of carbon neutrality for the city.
In the event of a referendum, these proposals MUST be presented to the citizens.
And this is where the councilors can show their leadership, proposing these solutions and voting for each of these measures.
Councilors have this legitimate power, because they have been elected to protect the citizens.
“There is no health problem in Beaconsfield” the mayor told us last week,
“We are not doctors” repeated the DG of the city.
Last Friday I wrote to those who came, in May 2019, to give a conference 1 on health problems along the highways.
Today I received an email from their boss, Dr. David Kaiser, Chief Medical Officer – Urban Environments and Population Health Sector, Regional Public Health Department – CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.
This email confirms ALL of our claims:
1. There is a public health problem in Beaconsfield.
2. The same problem also exists on the north side.
3. The city should NOT allow construction 2 within 150 yards of a highway, let alone without requiring hearing protection.
 Remember that the city has an important part of responsibility and increase in the problem in the current situation. Since 2010, it has issued several dozen construction permits for new residences directly in the waterfront area already recognized as problematic. These permits were very often issued in the red and purple zones (more than 65 and 70 dBA Leq24h) without requiring noise protection measures:
– All these townhouses along rue Beaurepaire (addresses: 80 to 94, then 185 to 199 Beaurepaire, then 105 to 115 Sussex) – (Adamus/West Hill project at 79 Elm) to the north, just east of Saint Charles Boulevard
When a bridge and road construction engineer tells us he “hasn’t heard of any study that links noise along the 20 to health problems” and the mayor takes those words to conclude that “there is no health problem along the 20” !!!
You should not believe them either. They don’t know what they are talking about.