Residents in Saint Bruno-de-Montarville are fighting plans by a funeral home to expand their operations and build a crematorium, in spite of a recent court decision supporting the project.
Residents held a protest Sunday next to the proposed site of the facility on Parent Street near Montarville.
“Our logo here for St. Bruno is a leaf,” fumed resident Benjamin Omassi at the start of the protest. “Well we might as well make it a skeleton!”
Officials at the Greater Montreal Funeral Cooperative, which owns the property, claim that they are running out of space at their current facility in Longueuil.
“Within the last five years we’ve doubled the number of families that we’ve served,” explained General Manager Michèle Raymond.
According to her, they chose the location because most of their clients are on the South Shore and that the site had already met zoning requirements.
“The site that we purchased in St. Bruno had a bylaw that was commercial with specific usage for crematorium and funeral home,” Raymond told Global News by phone.
Residents said they have been fighting against the construction since 2019. A resolution adopted a year ago by city council rejected the proposal to build the facility following public outcry, even after the city’s planning committee recommended approval.
So the co-op took the city to court.
On January 31 a Quebec Superior Court judge ruled in favour of the co-op, saying it “declares the resolution adopted by the municipal council of the City of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville at the extraordinary meeting of January 27, 2020 to be null and void; approves the site planning and architectural integration plan submitted by Coopérative funéraire du Grand Montréal under number PIIA 2019-077 and recommended by the Town’s Planning Advisory Committee on July 31, 2019; orders the City of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville to proceed with immediate processing of the building permit application requested by Coopérative funéraire du Grand Montréal on November 8, 2019 …”
Residents disagree with the court’s decision.
“The courts don’t live here,” Omassi pointed out. “We live here. This is our property and it’s our neighbourhood.”
He and others said their main worry is about increased traffic in the area, as well as pollution coming from the site once the crematorium is built.
Andrée Leblanc, head of the Citizens Opposed to Crematoriums Adjacent to Residential Homes said, “it’s because the crematorium – there’s gonna be two incinerators and it’s at 25 metres from a residential neighbourhood.”
Raymond maintains that the incinerators will be 100 metres away on the far side of the property and that the emission limits will exceed environmental requirements.
Leblanc said that she disagrees with those findings and plans to put pressure on the provincial government to help stop the construction.
The city of Saint Bruno-de-Montarville refused to comment saying the matter is still before the courts.