EXCLUSIVE: Legal battle against City of Montreal turns toxic for homeowners around Baldwin Park

Click to play video: 'Legal battle drags on over contaminated land in Montreal'
Legal battle drags on over contaminated land in Montreal
WATCH: Homeowners locked in a legal battle with the City of Montreal over contaminated land say the city's legal team is acting in bad faith. As Global's Anne Leclair reports, Mayor Valérie Plante insists her legal department is simply doing its job – May 22, 2018

Montreal homeowners around Baldwin Park are furious with the mayor for breaking a pledge. Their homes on Sherbrooke Street east near Fullum Street sit on contaminated land.

They’ve been battling the city since 2016 and were promised the new administration would help them. But the legal battle is dragging on and homeowners are losing patience.

“I would say to Valérie Plante, ‘Why are you doing this to us?'” plaintiff Pascal Cormier said. “It’s with my money that they’re doing that dirty fight!”

Cormier is one of nine homeowners locked in a $7-million legal battle with the City of Montreal. A report filed in court late last year revealed contamination levels were so high, they could cause an explosion.

The City missed the initial deadline to submit its counter-expertise and the plaintiffs now believe lawyers are deliberately stalling the case in court.

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During her election campaign last fall, Plante claimed the Baldwin Park contamination case was a priority but since she took office, her lawyers asked that all communication goes through them.

“It’s almost disgusting because I’m paying those lawyers with my taxes and I’m also paying my lawyers with my money,” Cormier said.

The plaintiffs have already paid $150,000 out-of-pocket on their case.

“We figured out that Plante went straight into Coderre strategy and it’s even worse as I mentioned, they are using appeal after appeal,” Cormier told Global News.

“It’s a very complex case,” Montreal Mayor Plante said on Tuesday. “My hope as mayor of Montreal is to find a solution so families can have some kind of a settlement.”

While she insisted she’s still committed to finding a solution, the mayor is defending her team’s legal strategy.

“I’m not gonna judge the City of Montreal lawyers’ work because of course, whatever happens with this case has consequences for the City of Montreal on the longer term, even for maybe other cities across Quebec,” Plante said.

The homeowners will be back in court on June 8, hoping a Quebec Superior Court judge will agree to fast-track the case.

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In the meantime, Cormier has installed a massive depressurizer to try to get rid of any bio-gas emissions seeping into his house.

But what the father-of-three wants most, is for the mayor he voted for to keep her promise and find a solution, fast.

“I think it’s important that the ‘polluter pays’ principle applies here — who put the garbage underneath here? It’s the city and now the city is using all of their means to exhaust us financially,” Cormier said.

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