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Group wants appellate court to stop light-rail project

Environmentalists trying to stop REM
WATCH: A group of environmentalists is once again trying to stop Quebec's light rail project, the REM. As Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, they want the Quebec Court of Appeal to overturn a decision to dismiss a lawsuit they filed last year.

A citizen-led coalition is back in court.

This time, it wants the court of appeal to overturn a decision made last year, which threw out a lawsuit the group filed to delay Quebec’s light-rail project.

“The judge, first off, was biased — it was very obvious from reading the transcript from his judgment,” said lawyer Campbell Stuart. “Secondly, he was wrong in law to state that we had no constitutional case in these hearings.”

The first lawsuit was filed in Quebec Superior Court.

READ MORE: Electric train network faces first legal challenge

A coalition of concerned citizens, public transit and environmental advocacy groups argued that the light rail train would violate citizens’ rights because it would increase noise and heat levels.

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On top of that, the coalition insists the project hasn’t been sufficiently researched.

READ MORE: Group seeking injunction to stop new Montreal electric train

“The BAPE said they did not have enough information to render a decision to give a green light to the project and now, more than a year later, we’re still in the same situation — we don’t have enough information on this project,” said John Symon, one of the listed plaintiffs. The Bureau d’audience publique sur l’environnement is Quebec’s environmental assessment agency.

The legal motion was dismissed last December. Lawyers for the promoters, the Caisse de dépôt et placement and the Quebec Government argued that the coalition had no factual basis to advance their claims.  In his ruling, Quebec Superior Court Judge Michel Yergeau ultimately agreed, finding the coalition’s application would have no chance of success at trial.

“The court comes to the conclusion that the application of the plaintiffs has no chance of success in its current form, and it should be stopped now to prevent it from consuming judicial resources and significant money in a legal proceeding that is destined to fail, ” Justice Yergeau wrote in his decision.

The coalition argues that isn’t true. They say, their case has the right to be heard.

READ MORE: Quebec Superior Court quashes legal challenge to REM electric train network

“A lot of people have tried very hard to make this a public debate and the government has made every effort to shut that down, cover it up, and we still have no transparency on this,” said Stuart. “We’re probably $10 billion into a project that quite frankly should have probably have never seen the light of day.”

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The court of appeal is expected to hear the case this September.

The Caisse de dépôt et placement did not return calls for comment.