April 11, 2018 5:14 pm
Updated: April 11, 2018 5:17 pm

Class action lawsuit over noise pollution at Trudeau airport gets green light

WATCH: A Quebec Superior Court judge has officially given the go-ahead for a class-action lawsuit from residents seeking damages due to aircraft noise pollution. As Global's Anne Leclair reports, it's considered the first of its kind in Canada.

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A group of homeowners living along Trudeau airport’s flight paths may soon be able to sleep soundly at night. Quebec Superior Court judge Chantal Tremblay has authorized the class action lawsuit by a group of residents targeting the Aéroports de Montréal (ADM), NAV Canada and Transport Canada.

“We feel happy, we have been working for years to obtain a result,” Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau’s (LPDMT) president Pierre Lachapelle said.

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The decision is considered a huge victory and a first in Canada, according to the group’s lawyer.

“It’s a revolution on the legal-front,” Gérard Samet said. “It’s the first time a federally-run airport will be subjected to the principles of responsibility under Quebec civil law.”

An estimated 200,000 residents living under the airport’s flight paths from Dorval to Ahuntsic could qualify for compensation. While some are hoping for a financial settlement due to damages caused by aircraft noise pollution, most just want it to stop.

“We are looking for a complete curfew from 11 in the evening to 7 in the morning,” Lachapelle told Global News. “We want to be able to sleep at night.”

Many residents claim they’re regularly woken up by the sounds of planes flying overhead, with noise levels reaching up to 90 decibels. The World Health Organization considers anything above 55 to be a health hazard.

“It’s 65, 70, 80 decibels so it’s like firing a gun shot towards you,” Lachapelle said.

 

Territories targeted in class action

“The aircrafts are passing by my house at a distance of about 300 metres at an altitude of 200 metres,” LPDMT board member Roger Trottier said. “It was not supposed to be like that when we moved there, everything was supposed to go back to Mirabel.”

The request for a class action was first filed more than one year ago. It could take years before the court case lands in front of a judge. The group is looking forward to the day the airport authority will have to answer questions and try to prove that it has been following Quebec’s rules and regulations.

“They hide everything all the time, so now the court will ask the questions and we know we will have the truth,” Trottier said.

The ADM declined Global News’ request for an interview and provided the following written statement:

“ADM is currently evaluating what actions will be taken next and therefore we will reserve our comments. It should however be noted that, at this stage, no decision has been rendered regarding the liability of ADM, NAV Canada and Transport Canada. This only allows Pollués de Montreal-Trudeau to have their case heard by the court, in the form of a class action suit. ADM intends to continue to prioritize and rigorously manage the soundscape in collaboration with its partners to promote a balance between air operations and coexistence with the community.”

The defendants have 30 days to appeal the decision. Meanwhile, residents are counting the days until they can sleep soundly again.

“We just want to live normally like any other Montrealer,” Trottier said.

 

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