Baie d’Urfé gets a sound wall. What about Beaconsfield?

Baie d’Urfé gets a sound wall paid 50% by the MTQ and 50% by the city’s surplus. For the mayor of Baie d’Urfé this is a health decision to protect her citizens.

In Beaconsfield, the proposal is 75% for the MTQ and 25% for the city. But the mayor is talking about difficulties, costs overruns and delays. To him this is a decision about money.

In June 2019, the mayor of Beaconsfield has announced a surplus of 10 Millions $ from the welcome tax over the last 5 years. So the city has the money,

10 Millions in surplus over 5 years !

The mayor wants to quash this project with a loan referendum where he will ask “Do you want to pay for a sound wall ?” to those who will NOT benefit from that noise protection…

But the mayor of Baie d’Urfé can use the city’s surplus without asking for a referendum?

About 23% of the Beaconsfield population is sick because of the noise and air pollution near the Highway 20. That is 4,500 citizens, including 2,500 kids, most of them located less than 20 meters from the highway in their homes, in a primary school, in a daycare, in a high school and an academy.

The citizens of Beaconsfield waited for 35 years to resolve this HEALTH ISSUE.

So it seems the mayor of Beaconsfield wants to save the money and get re-elected without considering the health of those citizens and those kids who are suffering in this polluted area.

We say that this is a Public Health issue, and therefore the highest priority project for our city.

PS Thank you GLOBAL NEWS for covering this story.



November 12 and 13, 2019: the Ministry of Health organized the first edition of this two-day event, in collaboration with several other ministries, including transport and environment. It was a great success! Two hundred and forty five (245) participants were registered.

The event was intended for the municipal sector, representatives of citizen groups and non-profit organizations, academia, health and social services network and community stakeholders as well as the various government departments and agencies concerned by this issue.

We have heard lectures on several important dimensions of this scourge and we have mainly made contact with several important players in this field in Quebec in ministries, research centers, cities and dedicated organizations.

This conference will have impacts.

Measure the noise impact at your home

Noise measurement tool to “see” the impact

Some say they are not affected by the noise level stemming from the highway. They believe in what they see, and since the harm is invisible, they say noise does not bother them. They forget that the impact is real and cumulative over years (both for noise and air pollution). Here is a simple way to “see” the noise level.

Take your smart phone or your tablet and go where you can download apps. Search for a “Decibel meter” app. You will be presented with many apps : Some are free, such as Soundprint, Decibel X, Sonometre, Decibel Meter. Other apps come at a fee.

Find the one you feel at ease with and go outside of your house on a weekday around 8 AM or 6 PM. Go on the side where the highway is. Start the app and watch the results. Look at the needles moving when a train is added in the environment..

Please note :

  • This mesurement is instantaneous. The measurement refered to by the Environment specialists and by the Government is an average measure over twenty four (24) hours. So, that includes the relatively low levels of the night.
  • An app on a phone cannot be as precise as the scientific equipment used by the authors of the studies.

Following is the general evaluation grid used by the MTQ (1987 and 2010) when measuring the noise levels along the Highway 20 :

This is the grid used to evaluate the noise levels : Below 55 dBA is weak, 60 dBA to 65 dBA is average, and beyond 65 dBA is strong and requires mitigation.

Impact of air pollution on children when their school is along a highway

September 17 2019 : CBC aired video, audio and web articles about the air and noise pollution in schools along the highways. Here are excerpts and links :

“One hundred and twenty seven (127) primary and secondary schools in Greater Montreal are within a hundred and fifty metres of busy roads, a zone that health authorities in Quebec and elsewhere have deemed hazardous to sensitive people.”

Ultra-fine particles concentrated near roads

” The area immediately next to busy roads has been found to have high concentrations of ultra-fine particles (UFPs). Pollutants too small to be filtered by the nose and trachea often make it inside the lungs. “

“From school administrators to senior staff, these issues have not been raised by any of these schools,” EMSB spokesperson Michael J. Cohen wrote in an email.

Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board, which has six of its hundred and thirteen primary and secondary schools near busy roads, including Beaconsfied Primary, responded similarly. 

There is little distance between the schoolyard at Léonard-de-Vinci school in Montreal and the busiest highway in Quebec, Highway 40. (Sudha Krishnan/CBC)

This is the Web page prepared by CBC News – Sept 17 2019

This is the audio prepared by CBC News Radio – Sept 17, 2019
This is the video prepared by CBC News TV – Sept 17 2019

Pollution Awareness Sessions:

BEACONSFIELD, QC, May 15, 2019 – The Beaconsfield Pollution Corridor Initiative (BPCI) invited you to an information and education session about the air and noise pollution along the Autoroute 20 (A-20) with presentations by two experts, Sophie Goudreau M.Sc. and Louis-François Tétreault, PhD. officials from the Public Health Department from the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec. Solutions were presented with a question and answer period.  

The event was free and open to all.  Become more informed about the pollution corridor and its effects on your quality of life, health and safety.

The event took place on

  • Thursday, May 23, 2019 and
  • Tuesday, June 18 2019

“Noise is an underestimated threat that can cause a number of short- and long-term health problems, such as for example sleep disturbance, cardiovascular effects, poorer work and school performance, hearing impairment, etc.”, states the World Health Organization (WHO).  The noise levels on the south side of A-20 are well above World Health Organization standards.

The Transport Minister (MTQ) recognized the seriousness of the problem and confirmed responsibility by financing 75% of the mitigation project.  The MTQ sound study released in January 1987 and October 2010 determined Beaconsfield is beyond the acceptable ranges and a sound barrier is required for 4,887 metres along the south side of A-20 between Pointe-Claire and Baie d’Urfé on the south side of A-20. However, so far, Beaconsfield municipal representatives do not support the project.

Residents living along the autoroute 20 endure a growing noise level substantially above the maximum acceptable to the provincial public health authorities.  The high levels of dust and C02 can lead to an increase in respiratory and asthmatic symptoms, affecting Beaconsfield citizens, especially our children and the elderly.  Within 100 metres from the autoroute, there are over 2,000 residents, an elementary school, a high school, parks, playgrounds and a public swimming pool. 

Open Letter to the Residents of Beaconsfield, October 18, 2017

For several years now, the Citizens Sound Wall Committee (CSWC), led by Derrick Pounds, has worked diligently to obtain a Sound Wall for the south side of Highway 20. Scientific testing has proven that the noise levels in that area are over 70 dBA’s* which is well above an acceptable threshold of 55 dBA’s as determined by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.). At 65 dBA’s, the MTQ has determined that mitigating action must be taken. It has also been well established that excessive noise has serious health consequences, such as: hearing impairment; interference with spoken communication; sleep disturbances; cardiovascular disturbances; impaired task performance; negative social behaviour, etc. In our city, there are thousands of citizens so affected. During the past four years we have worked with Mayor Georges Bourelle and our Municipal Council to try to secure a Sound Wall but we have had very limited results.

After the CSWC steadfastly lobbied the Ministry of Transport, the City of Beaconsfield received an exceptional offer September 3, 2015 whereby the Provincial Government would pay 75% of the estimated $20 million cost of a Sound Wall if the City of Beaconsfield would pay the remaining 25%. Then Minister of Transport Robert Poëti indicated that it was a one-time offer and urged Mayor Bourelle to accept it without delay. A petition was signed by 845 residents in Oct. 2015 that urged the City to accept the MTQ offer. Two years later, the offer has still not been accepted.

When the Leger and Leger survey was commissioned in the fall of 2015, we asked the City of Beaconsfield to contextualize the Sound Wall question by explaining to residents the impact of noise levels on its citizens and that the cost to citizens could be minimized. Neither was done. In the absence of clarifying information, many of those who took part in the survey did not understand the health implications and were apprehensive it would result in a large tax increase.

In the fall of 2015, the MTQ and City of Beaconsfield agreed to initiate an engineering study to determine structural and architectural components to the Sound Wall. The study was to take place early in 2016 but the contract has still yet to be awarded.

The CSWC also suggested that the City start a reserve fund to help pay the City’s share of the cost of the Sound Wall. This could eliminate or at least significantly reduce the tax implications to Beaconsfield residents. Mayor Bourelle declined to do so despite the fact that Beaconsfield has benefitted from a surplus of $10 million since 2013.

The CSWC is also alarmed that the City continues to allow residential dwellings to be built close to Highway 20 knowing that their occupants would add to the number of Beaconsfield residents subjected to excessive noise. Minister Poëti criticized the City for granting these permits.

Two MTQ studies * (in 1987 and 2010) concluded that a Sound Wall needed to be built on the south side of Highway 20 to mitigate the noise emanating from the highway. The City of Beaconsfield is in violation of Quebec’s Environment Quality Act in that it has not taken action to solve the issue and protect its citizens.

Beaconsfield needs its Mayor and Council to demonstrate effective leadership and firm commitment to complete the Sound Wall project. They have the responsibility to inform citizens about the excessive noise levels and associated health risks and ensure that the Sound Wall is built for their benefit. Suggesting that it is somehow optional is misleading and to leave it up to citizens to decide runs a high risk of resulting in a very divisive process.

This issue must be a top priority of the Mayor and Municipal Council elected Nov. 5, 2017.
Your vote is important November 5, 2017 (advance poll October 29, 2017)

Citizens Sound Wall Committee (CSWC) Derrick Pounds, Chairman