In 2013, the current Beaconsfield Mayor, George Bourelle, ran for office with promises of getting a much-needed sound wall along Highway 20. Residents have complained for years that the levels of sound far exceed what is considered healthy. Subsequently, in 2015, Beaconsfield had reached an advantageous agreement with the then minister that the City would contribute 25% or approximately $5M of the implementation costs. The MTQ would absorb an unheard of 75% of the cost of the wall. Sadly a lack of political will at the municipal level left the project on hold until today.
Seven and half years later, the MTQ expects costs to increase by 127%. The bill for a sound wall along Highway 20 has increased from $20.5M to $46.6M. According to a preliminary pre-project study commissioned by the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) for the construction of a sound wall along a 5km stretch on the south side of Highway 20 in Beaconsfield, costs will increase by 127% from $20.5M to $46.6M.
“This is a substantial increase considering that the MTQ’s pre-project study is only at the preliminary stage. Yet five years ago, the minister at that time had guaranteed that there would be no cost overrun, and the budget would be respected”, recalls Mayor Georges Bourelle according to a prepared press release from the City of Beaconsfield.
In 2015, Beaconsfield had reached an advantageous agreement with the then minister that the City would contribute 25% or approximately $5M of the implementation costs, but the City did not push forward on the issue. In 2015, the Mayor created a committee that would allow anyone with sound wall concerns. They are still waiting.
According to a recent email from the Sound Wall Committee:
“Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of the 3rd September 2015 Sound Wall meeting with MTQ Minister Robert Poëti,” stated Derrick Pounds, Chairman of the Sound Wall Committee.
“We are still awaiting the MTQ/Beaconsfield sound wall study report—that Beaconsfield Council agreed to in December 2015. Do Beaconsfield residents deserve more from our city administration and elected officials?
Are you aware of the BEACONSFIELD POLLUTION CORRIDOR INITIATIVE (BPCI) website? http://www.beaconsfieldsoundwall.ca/
That committee has been unable to get support from the City thus far,” he reiterated.
According to the Beaconsfield press release:
Since the beginning of this project, Mayor Bourelle has maintained the necessity of a citizen’s consultation and approval for a financial participation of the City in view of its sanitary, geographic and financial impact. This is even more significant today: “The skyrocketing costs make the social acceptability of this project even more difficult”, says the Mayor. According to a survey conducted among citizens by a renowned independent firm, the community is deeply polarized on the pertinence of the wall and the cost-sharing between districts.
The preliminary pre-project study shows that the wall with a height of 4 to 4.5m, erected from east to west, will allow for a noise reduction varying between 7 to 13 decibels. Current noise levels vacillate between 63 to 71 decibels over 24 hours.
In its policy on traffic noise adopted in 1998, the MTQ acknowledges its share of responsibility regarding sound pollution generated by road traffic. The MTQ has committed to intervening if the anticipated reduction by mitigation measures is at least 7 decibels. To continually ensure a transparent decision process, Mayor Bourelle and members of the Municipal Council will request MTQ officials to present the project in a public meeting once the final report is completed.