Beaconsfield citizens group pursues sound wall

Anthony Abbondanza
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A recently-formed citizens group in pursuit of a sound wall has the full support of Beaconsfield.

The Beaconsfield Citizen’s Sound Wall Committee has thus far petitioned Jacques-Cartier MNA Geoff Kelley, for two 5-metre high sections of sound walls behind homes on Beaurepaire Drive.

A recently-formed citizens group in pursuit of a sound wall has the full support of Beaconsfield.

During a March 5 meeting chaired by city councillor Karen Messier, and attended by Mayor George Bourelle, the Citizens Sound Wall Committee (CSWC) received the mandate to communicate with government and industry officials for an undetermined time frame as they seek a resolution to the noise traffic along Highway 20.

“Forming a citizens committee made up of residents was the philosophy we wanted to use. At this point, working with citizens would perhaps add value to the efforts we’ve already made,” the mayor said.

Noise traffic is a long-standing issue in the city.

Before 1988, Highway 20 had traffic lights at Cartier Avenue (traffic speed and noise was Woodland Avenue and Morgan Road. In 1988, the Cartier lights were removed and in 1997, those at Woodland and Morgan had also been removed and the speed limit between Morgan and St. Charles boulevards was increased from 80 km/h to 100 km/h.

Today, property owners near the highway are subject to levels over 65 decibels daily, a figure a 2010 Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ) report said required mitigating action.

But to date, any action to curb the noise, such as installing a sound wall barrier which would cost nearly $25 million, has been met with resistance from current and past provincial and municipal governments – mainly because of the high price tag.

Half of the $25 million would be paid by the province, said Bourelle; the other, Beaconsfield.

“The city is willing to pay nothing,” Bourelle said, noting that $12.5 million is “almost as much as the city’s total debt.”

“We don’t have the money. We cannot afford it,” he added.

That’s why the city has mandated the CSWC to not only lobby the government, but to find alternatives to drastically reduce the price tag.

“My philosophy is to involve residents in how we run and what we do in the city… I want to use the talent in our city,” Bourelle added.

That’s where long-time resident and sound barrier advocate Derrick Pounds comes in. He and the six-member citizens’ committee will try to put an end to the current stalemate.

Pounds and his wife live on Sweetbriar Road, enduring what he called “incessant noise” for the last 50 years.

He’s already had an impact, having recently questioned and lobbied the provincial minister responsible for the Montreal region Jean-Francois Lisee and Jacques Cartier MNA Geoff Kelley after the two were finished their electoral debate, moderated by CBC’s Daybreak radio show at Beaconsfield Train Station two weeks ago.

The Chronicle has obtained a copy of an e-mail Pounds sent to Kelley asking whether the MNA was aware that traffic noise levels east of both Woodland (Avenue) and St. Charles (Boulevard) are much higher than 65 decibels.

The CSWC also asked whether the MTQ would support the installation – on government land along Highway 20 – two five-metre high sections of sound walls, each 300 metres long, adjacent to homes on Beaurepaire Drive, east of Woodland Avenue and east of St-Charles Boulevard.

Organizations: Citizens Sound Wall Committee, MTQ, Quebec Ministry of Transport CBC Beaconsfield Train Station

Geographic location: Woodland Avenue, Cartier Avenue, Morgan Road Sweetbriar Road Montreal St-Charles Boulevard

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