‘We feel violated’: Laval homeowners protest STL bus shelter installation

Click to play video 'Laval homeowners protest STL bus shelter installation' Laval homeowners protest STL bus shelter installation
A Laval family’s protest has halted construction of a bus shelter in front of their home.

A Laval family is up in arms over the installation of a new Société de transport de Laval (STL) bus shelter set to be built in front of their home.

Through protest and sit-ins, Ronia Bitar and Fawzi Yazigy have managed to halt the project, which started in the summer.

“It’s hard for us. It feels like our property and privacy was invaded,” Yazigy said.

They claim the shelter was put in place without their approval or knowledge.

Bitar said it just appeared one day out of the blue on their property, where they have lived for 15 years.

“It felt like a violation. It felt like we were not heard. It felt like we weren’t citizens,” she said.

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The (STL) started digging up the corner of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin Avenue and Jean-Dallaire Street in August.

The location was decided by the transit authority in the winter for the 65 bus stop.

With more than 50 people frequenting the 65 bus, it was deemed necessary, according to an STL spokesperson.

“It respects our standards and answers clients’ needs,” Marilie Beaulieu-Gravel said.

The STL says it received city approval to build in the area as the bus stop is located on municipal land.

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Bitar and Yazigy say they were never notified about the project despite the STL saying letters were sent to residents in April.

“I’ve checked with the neighbours and no one received anything,” Bitar said.

“We receive no notice whatsoever.”

Bitar and Yazigy said they do not mind having the bus stop in front of their home but the shelter is an eyesore and will lower their resale value on their house.

They claim loitering and increased garbage on their property will be a real issue.

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“We don’t mind if people use the bus stop and go on with your day but we don’t want to create an environment for a hangout,” Yazigy said.

“We already suffer with garbage on our lawn.”

Click to play video 'Temporary closure of bus stop in Pierrefonds prompts safety concerns' Temporary closure of bus stop in Pierrefonds prompts safety concerns
Temporary closure of bus stop in Pierrefonds prompts safety concerns

The family has filed a formal complaint with the STL and the city.

The STL says it has taken the family’s concerns into consideration and will continue to pursue the project.

The family says they are willing to do whatever it takes to have the project stopped, vowing to continue protests and sit-ins.

Bitar said they are considering legal action.

“Honestly, I will stop at nothing. I refuse to have it here — I don’t find it necessary,” Bitar said.