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.

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