Nuisances – Non-compliant Terrace (2017)

Arrondissement de Lachine

Due to nuisances (noise, odours) that she is subjected to, a citizen requests that the restaurant neighbouring her property be compliant with the regulation regarding the installation and operation of its terrace and other areas in the backyard.

The Borough initially responds that the installation and operation of this restaurant and terrace are compliant: it therefore does not plan to intervene in any way, other than meeting with the operator to remind him of the operations that are authorized in his yard. The Borough admits that the business did not obtain the required Certificate to operate the terrace at the back, but adds that if the owner applies for one, it would be issued.

We inspect the site with Borough representatives: several non-compliances are then noted, including what seems to be an expansion installed without a Permit. We question the Borough on the legality and safety of the installations.

The Borough subsequently meets with the restaurant operator. The Borough notifies him of the following: 1) food preparation outside is not allowed; 2) kitchen operations in the veranda are not compliant; 3) work will be required for the operator to remediate the situation; 4) an accessory building at the back will have to be demolished.

The operator then applies for an expansion project with the Borough. In December 2016, the latter notifies our office that the project complies with the regulation, pending PIIA approval.

When we follow up in 2017, the plans have been approved. The operator must however come into an agreement with his neighbour to access her yard in order to lay foundations.

The Borough confirms that it reminded the operator of the rules regarding the installation of a backyard terrace. Inspections are conducted over the summer and adds that there were no citizen complaints. As for our complainant, she has since moved.

Street side cement blocks that are a hindrance – Relocated (2016)

Arrondissement de Lachine

A citizen deplores the presence of sizeable cement blocks on a private property along her street curb: these blocks hinder street parking and would have damaged her car. She would like to have these blocks relocated to a reasonable distance, in compliance with the regulation. She lodged an unsuccessful complaint with the Borough.

Following our intervention, the Borough arranged for the property owner to relocate the cement blocks within an acceptable distance of the street curb.

Our enquiry further revealed that the current use of the land is not compliant with what is allowed. The Borough agreed to intervene to resolve the situation. Our office will follow up.


Non-compliant outdoor storage and other nuisances (2009)

Since 2009, we have been following a nuisance and regulation non-conformity file involving La Ferme Québécoise, in Arrondissement de Pierrefonds-Roxboro. This business sells food, flowers, earth, Christmas trees and other similar products. Among other problems, the owner of the business was often violating the regulations governing outdoor displays and storing of goods and nearby residents were complaining of noise and traffic.

We had issued a Recommendation asking Arrondissement de Pierrefonds-Roxboro to take necessary measures to put an end to the non-conforming activities of this business and to the ensuing nuisances to neighbours. The Borough welcomed this Recommendation: the business was subject to regular inspections which led to statements of offence, namely for the non-conformity in the storage of goods outdoors. These statements of offence were contested by the business owner.

We followed up in 2010, 2011 and 2012: the Borough was pursuing its interventions, as it had committed to, but the business had not corrected all of the non-conformities.

In December 2012, the Montréal Municipal Court found the business guilty of twelve (12) offences regarding outdoor storage. Shortly thereafter, the Borough confirmed that is would maintain its follow-ups to enforce outdoor display and storage regulations.

In 2013, the Borough informed us that the situation had significantly improved, that the premises were inspected regularly and that only one (1) new Statement of offence would be issued. We have witnessed first-hand the improvement of the situation and our plaintiff also confirmed it.

Considering the positive evolution of the situation, we decided to close this file. We are confident that the improvements achieved will remain without further intervention on our part. The Borough must, however, maintain its vigilance.


Persistent flow of wastewater in an alley – Public health issue (2009)

A citizen complained to our office to resolve a problem with the flow of wastewater, in the alley located behind her residence, and to complain about the inaction of Arrondissement Le Plateau-Mont-Royal in correcting the situation.

Our investigation revealed that the flow in question was caused by the obstruction of a private sewer drain, located in a building on Avenue du Parc.

At our request, the borough took samples of this wastewater and had them analyzed: this analysis confirmed the presence of faecal coliforms. Since this flow was coming from a private property, not from Ville de Montréal’s infrastructures, the borough forwarded a Demand Letter to the owner at fault, requesting that he quickly remedies the situation: unfortunately, the owner did not follow up with this Demand Letter.

We then discussed possible solutions, in regards to this inaction and, following the opinion of the City’s Legal Department, the borough filed a Motion asking the Superior Court to issue an Order requesting the owner to repair this sewer, failing which the borough would be authorized to do the repairs itself, at the owner’s expense. While the legal process was following its course, however, the borough and our office had to wait for the court’s decision: we, therefore, suspended our intervention temporarily.

Fortunately for the complainant, the contravening owner finally decided not to wait a court’s decision and made the repairs. The wastewater flow problem has been resolved, to the satisfaction of the citizen and her neighbors.

Lack of rules with regard to spas (2009)

During a previous investigation, a citizen had complained about the harmful effects derived from the presence of an outdoor spa, in her neighbor’s backyard. Arrondissement Le Sud-Ouest had then informed us that they had no By-Law governing the installation of spas in backyards. Our office was very surprised, considering the growing popularity of spas, in backyards.

After due consideration, the borough confirmed that it would modify its By-Laws so as to oversee the installation of spas, in backyards: backyard spas are now subject to similar standards and requirements as pools.

An information sheet was also prepared by the borough in order to explain the norms to respect as regards to pools and spas: this sheet is available on the borough Web site.

Itinerancy, drugs, prostitution, garbage, graffiti (2008)

A citizen complained to our office so that Arrondissement de Ville-Marie and the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal take action to eliminate certain irritants harmful to the quality of life of nearby residents such as graffitis, garbage, animal excrements, as well as problems relating to itinerancy, drugs and prostitution.

Following our intervention, a committee was put into place to specifically address these problems, in this area.

First, the committee agreed on a Phase I:

  • To conduct a survey within the neighborhood in order to obtain an objective diagnosis of the situation;
  • To mobilize the residents in order to elaborate and carry out activities aiming at strengthening the social fiber;
  • That the officers of Police station 22 pursue their interventions and increase surveillance; and
  • That the increased interventions of the borough, in regards to cleanliness, be maintained.

In Phase II, the committee will proceed with the analysis of the survey’s results and identify the required actions, taking into account the priorities expressed by citizens.

Given that the borough and community members have initiated this process, the Ombudsman has suspended her intervention but we since followed up on the committee’s actions to make sure these concerns remain a priority.

Major constructions – Quality of life of nearby residents (2006)

Many citizens of l’Île-des-Soeurs complained to the Ombudsman de Montréal regarding the same situation.

They were complaining about irritants caused by the traffic of numerous trucks, on their street. These trucks were transporting soil to be added on the site of new residential construction projects and on a new golf course. The citizens were complaining about the noise, the dust as well as the speed of these vehicles, which all impacted negatively on their quality of life.

Our investigation revealed that it was the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs of Government of Québec which had imposed to concerned promoters the obligation to add one additional meter of clean soil on the land where they wanted to build: if they failed to satisfy this provincial requirement, the promoters would not get the provincial authorization required to develop the area. Apparently, the site concerned presented a certain degree of contamination which the addition of one meter of clean soil would suffice to neutralize.

According to our investigation, the street on which the trucks were circulating had been chosen by Arrondissement de Verdun, after a study had shown it was the most appropriate path to ensure safe road traffic, while respecting the mandatory norms of the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs.

The borough had tried to limit the negative impact of this recurring circulation of trucks on the quality of life of the nearby residents, by imposing certain measures:

  • The borough required from the promoter of the new golf course that he sets up and systematically uses a cleaning station for his trucks, at the exit of his site;
  • This promoter had to allow other promoters concerned to use this cleaning station, for their own trucks;
  • The borough required of the same promoter that he regularly cleans up the streets where the trucks were circulating, with a watering truck and a mechanical broom;
  • The borough notified all promoters concerned that they were responsible to ensure their activities did not unduly dirty the roads on the island;
  • The borough installed additional stop signs, at each intersection of the street used by these trucks;
  • The borough also installed new speed limit signs along the same itinerary, limiting to 15 km/h the maximum speed allowed whenever truck traffic is permitted; and
  • The trucks were authorized to circulate on this street from Monday to Friday, between 7:00 am until 3:30 pm, only;
  • The borough required from all the promoters that they lock their construction sites at night, to avoid “wild deposits” of soil or other materials. In fact, surveillance by an agent of the borough lead to the identification of a trucker who was dumping the content of his truck at night, on these sites: this stratagem was immediately put to an end.

The borough also requested the local police collaboration who implemented severe measures of control:

  • Police operations were organized to ensure truckers were respecting the speed limits, the stop signs and the prohibition to circulate outside permitted days and hours;
  • During a specific period we studied, 12 Statements of offence were issued to truckers, 4 for not making a stop and 8 for offences related to dirtiness. It is worth mentioning that during the same period, 30 Statements of offence had been given to other motorists on the same street, either for speeding or for not making a stop;
  • From July to October 2006, approximately $60,000 worth of Statements of offence were so given to promoters with regard to dirtiness offence.

In spite of her sympathy towards the citizens concerned, the Ombudsman de Montréal concluded that the decisions, actions or omissions of the borough were not unreasonable and, therefore, it was inappropriate for her to issue a formal Recommendation.

After a thorough investigation, our office came to the conclusion that the borough managers and elected officials had taken action to limit the irritants resulting from this heavy trucks traffic by putting into place various measures to that effect. Another element, which was taken into account, was the fact that, although it lasted for a long while, the situation under study was a temporary one.

After the Ombudsman informed the borough of her observations and conclusions, the mayor and the Directeur d’arrondissement met with a group of citizens affected by the situation to explore with them new ways which could possibly improve their quality of life, until this situation is over.

Noise and Vibrations – Pavement and Parking prohibitions (2006)

A citizen complained to the Ombudsman de Montréal about the noise and strong vibrations when heavy vehicles were passing on his street. He believed the poor maintenance of the pavement was the main reason for this problem and that a bump was at fault.

The citizen was also contesting the appropriateness of some parking prohibitions and complaining about the lack of garbage bins near his home as well as the general dirtiness of his street.

We discussed the situation with representatives of Arrondissement de Ville-Marie and personally went on location, to see for ourselves.

Our investigation confirmed that the noise and vibrations generated at the passing of heavy trucks were indeed intensified due to the presence of a bump on the pavement: this bump had been formed following the breach of an underground water-main. Because of the age of this main, the parts to repair it were not available on the market and Ville de Montréal had to order some made-to-measure ones. This explained the long delays encountered before the main could be repaired which, on the other hand, was a necessary requirement before the pavement could be restored. All of this work has now been completed.

As to the parking prohibitions, they were essentially for street cleaning purposes. However, we questioned the appropriateness of the existing five days a week parking prohibitions, whereas the City broom cleans this area only once or twice a week. We discussed this with borough representatives following which, a traffic study was conducted. The Borough Council later adopted a resolution limiting parking prohibitions in this area, for maintenance purposes, to two days per week.

Finally, the borough agreed to install additional garbage bins in close proximity to the citizen’s home, which has since been done.

Construction site – Limiting irritants (2006)

A citizen complained to the Ombudsman de Montréal about irritants caused by the construction site of a social housing project, in front of his residence. The citizen was mainly complaining about:

  • The dirtiness of the streets, due to dust generated by the site;
  • The fact that, early in the morning, before construction started, workers made a lot of noise and disrupted the peace of nearby residents; as well as
  • The noise, vibrations and pollution caused by the truckers who kept their motor running for long periods of time.

Even if the presence of any construction site necessarily entails temporary irritants for the neighboring environment, we contacted representatives of Arrondissement de Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie to explore what measures could be taken to limit, as much as possible, the inconveniences resulting from this site. As a result, the borough committed to the following:

  • In regards to the dirtiness around the site, the borough undertook to clean regularly the surrounding streets, in priority, with the watering truck and the mechanical broom passed in tandem. Signs prohibiting parking were also installed to ensure the street would be cleared for these cleaning periods;
  • In regards to the recurring problem of noise before the start of the work shifts, the borough made different interventions including the installation of new signs around the site, to remind the workers that they must keep quiet before 7:00 am;
  • Finally, a new Règlement sur la nuisance causée par un véhicule moteur came into effect in this borough, allowing citizens to request the intervention of police whenever a driver lets his motor run while parked.