West Island residents concerned about REM train lines reducing privacy

Click to play video: 'West island resident wish REM tracks didn’t run through their backyards'
West island resident wish REM tracks didn’t run through their backyards
WATCH: West island residents wish REM tracks didn't run through their backyards – Oct 13, 2021

There is a growing concern with residents living near the future tracks of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), the all-electric train network linking greater Montreal.

Many fear their privacy will be compromised if passengers have unimpeded views into their backyards and homes.

“This is really an eyesore and we’re really concerned about our privacy,” Dollard-des-Ormeaux resident Nilesh Patel told Global News.

READ MORE: REM light rail train network on track to roll out between Brossard, downtown Montreal next year

Parts of the tracks will be elevated several metres high, overlooking the properties of residents and homeowners.

“I don’t want to have people watching over us and, possibly if the curtains are open, seeing what we have or anything,” Krishna Patel, also a DDO resident, told Global News.

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The REM won’t have any level crossings, so some tracks are being elevated on concrete support beams and raised rail beddings near stations to allow vehicle traffic below to flow uninterrupted.

People living near those stops want a wall or a naturally landscaped barrier built to block the view of passengers.

“Is it going to be elevated or ground level? I’ve done the research and I can’t find any information about that,” Richard Nayer, a Pierrefonds resident, told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Petition for REM extension to Vaudreuil-Dorion gains steam'
Petition for REM extension to Vaudreuil-Dorion gains steam

It’s an issue local municipal candidates running for office are aware of and want addressed.

Pulkit Kantawala, the incumbent DDO city councillor running for re-election in District 7, wants a raised berm built with trees planted next to the tracks to obstruct the view of future passengers.

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“Trees could grow easily about 18, 20 feet. Evergreens, they will be always there,” Kantawala told Global News.

It’s one issue of which his challenger agrees.

“Lots of green spaces, continue to plant trees along with this potential barrier,” Ryan Brownstein, also running for the same council seat, told Global News.

A spokesperson for the REM says officials are looking into solutions for concerned residents, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer.

“I can ensure you that we’re really open to look at each case,” Jean-Vincent Lacroix told Global News.

The entire 67 kilometre REM network is expected to come into full service by the end of 2024.

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