The plaintiffs own an ancestral house, in Arrondissement d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville.  The Borough was requesting that they replace the entire sewer pipe connecting their residence to the public sewer, within 60 days.  If they failed to do so, they could receive a fine of at least $100 for each day of the violation.

The regulations provide that the repair and maintenance of residential sewer pipes are incumbent to the owners only, all the way to the public sewer.  The plaintiffs, therefore, had to incur alone the entire cost of these works.

Over the years and with the development of their neighbourhood, this ancestral property found itself landlocked at the end of a public alley, way back from the street.  Almost all of the pipe section to replace is under this public alley, over a distance of approximately 225 feet.  The estimated cost of the work is $50,000 or more.

The citizens did not understand why the Borough insisted that this work be conducted within 60 days when, according to them and to their plumber, the repair work of their pipe was not urgent.

Moreover, at the time, Ville de Montréal’s Commission permanente sur l’eau, l’environnement, le développement durable et les grands parcs was studying possible amendments to the current regulation, namely as to who should assume the costs of this type of work, under the public domain.

As a first step, we got the Borough to put this file on hold, including its request that the work be executed within 60 days.  We then discussed with the elected officials involved in the project of amendments.

In the months that followed, the City confirmed its intention to take responsibility for the maintenance and repair of sewer pipes located under the public domain, on all its territory.  The new Règlement relatif à l’entretien des branchements d’égout (15-085) came into force on November 30, 2015.  Since then, it is the City who carries out the repairs and replacements of sewer sections located under the public domain, at its own cost, subject to certain conditions, namely:  the failure must not be the result of an improper or abnormal use of the sewer line or of work done on the private property.

As a result, our plaintiffs could file an application asking the City to take charge of the above-mentioned work, in accordance with the new regulation.

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