Poëti: “We felt this offer is reasonable and adapted to the history of this case.”
By Kevin Woodhouse
“This is the first time in 30 years that we have had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Transport on this issue, and the results are encouraging and promising,” said Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle via press release.
Bourelle was referring to a meeting he, councilor Karen Messier, CSWC (Citizens Sound Wall Committee) members Derrick Pounds and Ron Belair and Jacques-Cartier MNA Geoffrey Kelley had with Minister of Transport Robert Poëti last Thursday morning.
During the morning meeting at the minister’s Montreal offices, an offer to pay for three quarters of the total $20 million cost for a sound wall on the southern side of Highway 20 was proposed to the city.
Last Thursday, Pounds made a 12 minute resume of the sound wall dossier, dating back to sound surveys of 900 homes in the area denoting unhealthy decibel levels as well as an MTQ report, both completed in 2010, “but no action was ever taken. But Mr. Poëti came up with an amazing proposal and there should be a very positive outcome.”
Pounds has been a stalwart on the topic, working diligently for the last five years to get a sound wall, often stating the highway had drastically increased in volume while decreasing the quality of life for area residents.
Traditionally the MTQ offers to split the cost of erecting a sound wall 50:50 spilt with a municipality on sound wall construction, but Beaconsfield’s situation is special. However, in this case, Beaconsfield would only have to pay a a quarter of the anticipated $20 million cost of building a sound barrier along the south side of Highway 20.
“The Ministry’s cost-sharing rules normally require municipalities to match provincial funding amounts. However, Quebec has agreed to cover three quarters instead of half of the project’s cost, in light of the gradual transformation of Route 20 into a highway, the increased speed limit, and the growth in vehicular traffic,”noted the city’s press release.
“We felt this offer is reasonable and adapted to the history of this case,” Poëti told The Suburban. “We could spend more time talking about the past but we would rather move on with the future.”
“This is a very interesting offer. As usual, we will consult residents, debate with transparency and decide bearing in mind the common good of our community,” noted Bourelle.
Pounds, who is optimistic, said the recent decision will not make the CSWC rest on its laurels because “we cannot just sit back but we have to keep going, especially now that Beaconsfield has received such a generous offer from the MTQ.”