Residents of Mascouche have been shocked to learn that they may have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to their municipality if a noise barrier project along Highway 25 goes ahead.
Such a structure is a “sectoral improvement” which will have to be paid for three-quarters by the residents who will benefit from it, rather than being assumed from the municipal budget, warn the engineers of the City of Mascouche in a letter distributed this week, Brian Street.
The missive calls on citizens to speak out. If 65% of them want to go ahead with a wall, the project will progress. Invoice: $136,000 per residence if Quebec subsidizes the site, $272,000 otherwise. Payments can reach $437,000 if citizens choose to spread the bill over 20 years of property taxes.
” I do not have that. I am retired. With our retirement, we arrive, we get out of it, but it is impossible “to pay such a bill, explained Miguel Tomas to The Press. The man put up a “NO TO THE WALL” sign on his carport. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. It’s incredible. Their daughter also fears that the house – whose municipal assessment is around $250,000 – will become unsaleable if buyers have to pay such a bill.
Mr. Tomas and his wife Vilma bought their house in 1987, a year after immigrating to Quebec. Highway 25 was already bordering the modest bungalows on Brien Street at that time. Over the past 35 years, the couple has become accustomed to the presence of noise, which has increased with the increase in automobile traffic. “It doesn’t bother me, the highway,” said Mr. Tomas, whose wife compares the noise to that of the sea.
Other residents seem to appreciate it much less.
It was complaints from citizens that prompted Mascouche to have the noise intensity assessed along the A25 last fall, according to the letter from the engineering department of the City of Mascouche.
Result: the houses on one side of rue Brien, which face the highway, receive a noise level that is too high by virtue of the standards of the Ministère des Transports du Québec.
The only solution mentioned: a noise barrier of “more than 26 million”. “As this is a sectoral improvement, the construction of a noise barrier would be financed 25% by the City of Mascouche and 75% by the residents of the sector who would benefit from it”, continues the document.
And the pool of potential payers is limited: only 73 residences would be called upon to put their hands in their pockets. “If you receive this letter […]you would have to contribute financially,” warns the City of Mascouche.
The City has launched a virtual consultation of the owners of these 73 residences. If 65% of them are in favor, the project will progress.
However, this is far from being the last step before the start of construction of a possible wall, specified the City of Mascouche.
“A mobilization against”
“If the project received enough support from citizens (65% or more), they would be invited to an information session and the project would then have to go through the normal regulatory approval procedure for obtaining a loan by-law,” indicated Isabelle Gagné, Communications Advisor for the City. “This nuance is important since the process could have an impact on the rest of the project. In other words, even if the outcome of the current consultation was favorable to the project, the opening of a register could change the situation. »
Mme Gagné pointed out that the City was responding first to requests from citizens by putting this project on track. However, “I also inform you that at present, we feel a mobilization against the project”, she added.
It may be the fact of Miguel Tomas, who makes the rounds of his neighbors to try to convince them to give up the noise barrier: “We are not going to pay all that for someone’s whim. »