Elevated REM stations spark privacy concerns among West Island residents

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WATCH: People who live near the future REM station locations are voicing their concerns about train commuters seeing into their homes. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, seven stations will be elevated above ground level, giving commuters prime viewing into people's windows – Jul 17, 2019

A large hedge on Cérès Street in Dollard-des-Ormeaux gives condo residents some privacy from the nearby train tracks and the Sunnybrooke train station.

The shrubbery blocks passengers on the train from seeing into their backyards — but residents worry that will no longer be the case once the station for the new REM light-rail system is built.

“The structure will be way above our hedge, so the REM will be even higher,” explains Josée Riopel, who lives in a condo just a few metres away from the station.

READ MORE: REM light rail open house draws a large crowd in Pointe-Claire

The light-rail station to be built at Sunnybrooke, replacing the existing commuter train station, will be elevated.

It’s one of eight stations along the REM network that will be above-ground level. Other elevated stations will be placed in Pointe-Claire, Kirkland, and Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

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Residents say they are concerned for their privacy.

“It’s the pillars. It’s the view,” Riopel tells Global News. “It’s the people that will be able to see what we have in our plates when we have a barbecue.”

At the Pierrefonds-Roxboro station, trees now block the view of houses but the elevated station is expected to be above the greenery.

“With the height of the train, they’re basically going to be able to see into my kids’ bedrooms,” says Kristy Thornton-Filion, whose home is located close to the tracks.

READ MORE: REM officials lay out mitigation measures for commuters as construction ramps up

Thornton-Filion and other people who live in the area also worry about potential noise, given the size of the planned station.

The REM says the height of each station has still not been finalized. Spokesperson Jean-Vincent Lacroix says they will take the residents concerns into consideration.

He also explains that they plan to ensure the stations are well integrated into the existing environment, and will let the residents know how they plan to do so.

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