Some residents in Beaconsfield are calling for action when it comes to the construction of a sound barrier along Highway 20.
“Enough is enough, this is our health we’re talking about,” said Beaconsfield resident Michel Rheault who was among a group protesting outside Beaconsfield City Hall on Monday evening.
The protest was held ahead of a scheduled city council meeting where Rheault was set to present a petition on behalf of a citizen group called Beaconsfield Pollution Corridor Initiative.
Rheault said the petition has collected 2,000 signatures of Beaconsfield residents 18 and over who support the building a sound wall.
“The issue has been outstanding for 35 years and I am among those who is very much hurt by the noise and by the air pollution,” he said.
Rheault has been living in Beaconsfield for the past 13 years, with his home some 15 feet from the highway.
He contends the noise leads to problems like tinnitus, hearing impairment and difficulties sleeping at night, especially in the summer.
A technical report released by Quebec’s transport ministry in Sept. of 2020 , but initiated in 2018, estimated the cost of building a barrier at $46.6 million, more than double the previous estimate of $20.5 million in 2010.
Under a 2015 agreement, the transport ministry agreed to foot 75 per cent of the bill, with the city on the hook for the remaining 25 per cent.
At the time, Beaconsfield Mayor George Bourelle said he was “extremely surprised” by the dramatic increase and that it would be up to residents to decide whether they want to go ahead with the project at public consultations headed by the ministry.
In May, city council voted unanimously in favour of continuing procedures with the transport ministry for the consultations to be held.
Rheault, however, argues the city has the funds available and wants the administration to prioritize projects that focus on the health of residents.