Westmount may take Quebec government to court over highway 136 plans

City of Westmount officials are not happy with the Quebec Ministry of Transport's plans for the new highway 136 running along the city's southern edge - to the point where the city may take the ministry to court.

Westmount Mayor Peter Trent says the problem is that the ministry's new highway will push traffic noise over into Westmount, and that the ministry hasn't built in any plans to mitigate that.

"When you're building a spanking new highway it doesn't make any sense to build it without having built in a sound barrier."

Trent says the ministry originally had plans for a lower down highway that would have prevented noise from drifting over into residential areas.

"For us the original plan was fine. We much prefer them to lower the highway. You don't have the visual presence of  a tall sound barrier and you reduce the sound...they decided to reasons best known to themselves that they weren't going to lower it."

The city recently sent a mise en demeure - a demand letter - to the ministry, asking them to act.

"We don't believe we should pay, if they're going to rebuild a highway you should build it according to modern norms which means you don't allow ear-splitting noise to bother the residents who live right along the highway."

Trent says if the ministry doesn't act on Westmount's complaint within a month, the city is likely to seek an injunction in court.

"This thing has not been terribly well-planned and they seem to think that we citizens sort of have to sit passively by while all of this takes place. What we're saying with this mise en demeure is 'don't count on us to sit by and say nothing'".