Could Montreal's light rail system be responsible for dried up wetlands?

Wetlands near the Technopac in St-Laurent have mysteriously dried up and though some fingers are pointed at the REM light rail as the culprit, the contractor building denies being at fault.

David Fletcher of the Green Coalition has been visiting the wetlands for 13 years and said he's never seen them in such a state.

“The fault lies entirely with the REM and the contractors they have doing this work,” he said.

He pointed to a sinkhole in the marshes that he said he believes was created by a boring drill being to dig a tunnel 40 metres below the wetlands. That tunnel will connect the REM to Trudeau Airport once it's completed.

“I think it was incompetence,” he said.

Harout Chitilian, spokesperson for CDPQ, the company overseeing the REM's construction, said no sign has been detected of the missing water and denied the sinkhole was a result of work on the light rail system.

“The sinkhole is behind the boring machine. The boring machine is working almost two football fields of length further from the sinkhole.”

He added that it's been five months since the machine was under the wetlands and that an investigation is underway to determine if the construction team is responsible.

“If it's the case, the data will show it, and if the data shows it, we can conclude on it. But as of right now, the data doesn't lead us to that direction.”

In a statement, the Quebec environment ministry said it's keeping a close eye on the situation.

“(The ministry) will use all the means at its disposal to carry out a rigorous analysis of the situation and will not hesitate to take all the necessary measures to ensure that the required and appropriate actions are carried out.”

Fletcher warned that until an investigation is concluded, the sinkhole must be found the marsh re-filled.

“When they're gone, all the other species that we push to decline are gone. So are we,” he said. “We can't live on a planet where nature doesn't exist.” 

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