As golfers tee off at the Meadowbrook Golf Club in Montreal West, there is an unsightly river flowing right next to the greens.
Untreated wastewater and raw sewage is filling the waterway that meanders across the course.
The problem is due to cross-connecting pipes in the neighbouring cities of Montreal West and Côte Saint-Luc.
Wastewater from people’s homes is supposed to be connected to dedicated sewage lines but, in some cases, that’s not happening.
“Frustrated, for sure,” André Bélanger, the director general of Fondation Rivières, told Global News.
Bélanger wants local municipalities to correct the problem at the source.
“Can Côte Saint-Luc and Montreal West take a stand and say, OK, we will resolve it in the next three years,” he said.
The mayor of Côte Saint-Luc says city officials are aware of the problem and it has plans to correct the issue.
Mitchell Brownstein says there are four cross-connecting pipes on people’s homes and five city-owned sewage lines that leak.
“Of course, it’s a big concern and we’re going to, number one, repair those cross connections and have our residents do the same.” Mitchell said.
In an email to Global News, a Montreal city spokesperson writes that the city plans to build a dike for the untreated wastewater so that raw sewage mixed with rainwater runoff is no longer exposed in the river.
But some conservationists fear the city’s solution will dry up the river.
“There won’t be a river anymore. They’re taking away 96 per cent of the river’s watershed,” Louise Legault, of Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook told Global News.
Bélanger has written to the ministers of municipal affairs and the environment but there has been no commitment to help clean up the environmental mess.
“I feel discouraged from this provincial government,” he said.