THE BAPE REPORT IS NOW PUBLIC
Québec, November 10, 2009 – At the request of Ms. Line Beauchamp, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) is today making public its examination and public hearing report on the Projet de reconstruction du complexe Turcot à Montréal, Montréal-Ouest et Westmount par le ministère des Transports. This examination and public hearing mandate began on May 11th, 2009. The commission of inquiry in charge of examining the project was chaired by Michel Germain, seconded by Jean-François Longpré and Anne-Marie Parent, commissioners.
For the commission of inquiry, it is important that the reconstruction of the Turcot Complex not be based solely on maintaining the capacity of the highway infrastructure, but that it also reconcile sustainable development issues, including in particular protecting health and improving the quality of life, as well as social fairness and equity.
The carrying out of the project will determine for decades to come the appearance of the complex and consequently, the development and residential constraints. The right choices must therefore be made prior to the commencement of the work as part of a partnership approach with the communities concerned.
The project, as it is currently planned, would lead, in an urban environment already fragmented by the original construction, to other acquisitions of residential properties, something to which the commission of inquiry cannot subscribe. Instead, the commission proposes that the proponent examine, in partnership with the Cities of Montréal and Westmount, a way of reconfiguring the project to avoid such acquisitions. If, by common consent, the acquisition of homes were to prove to be unavoidable, the affected individuals would have to be adequately compensated.
Moreover, the commission of inquiry notes that the atmospheric emissions produced by the road vehicles using the Turcot Complex are of concern, notably in the case of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. The commission would like to see the planned government actions in the automobile energy efficiency field contribute to improving the situation.
The project offers the opportunity to create new green spaces in the Turcot Complex. The commission of inquiry is of the opinion that a corridor should be maintained and that it should be wooded between the foot of the Saint-Jacques escarpment and the right-of-way of the rail and road infrastructures to ensure the protection and contribute to the enhancement of the eco-territory. The commission also considers that a wooded hillock should be added south of Autoroute 20 along Turcot Yard in order to surround it with vegetation.
The place of public and active transportation in the Greater Montréal Area and the need to reduce greenhouse gases were discussed at length during the public hearings. The proponent’s proposal of adding reserved lanes for public transportation on Autoroute 20 to the west of the Turcot interchange represents but a start for a possible network on the metropolitan highway system. Moreover, the Ministère des Transports is in the process of developing a sustainable mobility plan for the region, which could justify updating the transportation management plan for the Greater Montréal Area. In the opinion of the commission of inquiry, this updating should include a public consultation.
The inquiry and public hearing report deals with several other subjects addressed during the hearing and presents the findings and opinions resulting from the commission’s analysis. The public is invited to examine this report.
It should be recalled that during the first part of the public hearing, the commission of inquiry held 7 sessions in Montréal. In the second part, 105 briefs were submitted, 79 of which were presented during a public session, as well as 5 oral presentations, by individuals, groups, organizations and municipalities interested in this project.
Availability of the report
The examination and public hearing report on the Projet de reconstruction du complexe Turcot à Montréal, Montréal-Ouest et Westmount is now available. You can consult it at the BAPE documentation centres as well as on its website at the following address: www.bape.gouv.qc.ca. You can also request the report at the office of the BAPE, either by sending an e-mail to email@example.com, or by dialing 418 643-7447 or toll-free 1 800 463-4732.