After years of debate, the sound wall along Highway 20 in Beaconsfield may be one step closer to reality.
City council passed a resolution on Monday night to finally move ahead with a technical study and clear plan of action.
But the project isn’t moving fast enough for residents living along the south side of Highway 20.
Imagine hearing and seeing and feeling a constant flow of loud traffic outside your home every single day and night. It’s the case for hundreds of homeowners on the south side of Beaconsfield.
“We can’t sleep with the windows open, we have triple-glaze windows,” Derrick Pounds said. “We’ve done everything possible to cut down the noise but it’s not working.”
Residents have been calling for a sound wall for decades and claim the growing train and car traffic along Highway 20 has become a health hazard.
“All we’re asking for is our health,” Sheila Venkatesh said. “As we’re getting older, it’s impossible to work from home, impossible to carry on a conversation — we never use our backyard to be honest.
The mayor admits it’s time to take action. Beaconsfield’s city council passed a resolution on Monday night to approve its share of the costs connected to a technical study, which will be conducted by Quebec’s transport ministry.
“The big change is last night, we signed the agreement,” Mayor Georges Bourelle said. “But there’s no doubt it’s a controversial situation depending on where you live.”
Residents in favour of the wall are frustrated and claim the exact same technical study was already approved more than two years ago.
“There was a lot of song and dance about what they’re gonna do but they’ve been dragging their feet, Beaconsfield and the MTQ, for the last two years,” Pounds said.
The mayor blames the delays on the transport ministry and claims he’s committed to finding a solution.
“Unfortunately, it took the two years for the MTQ to get back to us and say, ‘Now, we’re ready,'” Bourelle told Global News. “It’s time that it gets resolved but it’s not gonna be easy.”
The technical study could take up to two years to complete. The final decision will ultimately be up to residents with a vote on whether or not they’re willing to move ahead with the more-than-$20-million project. The fear for some is that people living on the north side won’t see the need which is why the mayor will consider a long list of funding options before presenting them to citizens.
“Do we come up with a gradual tax meaning people who benefit the most pay more?” Bourelle said. “I’ve said all along that this has to be a democratic solution.”