REM (Light Rail Transit) Challenged In Court
REM (Light Rail Transit) – Environmental group, Montreal Climate Coalition (Coalition Climat Montréal), made up of a group of businesses and citizens with the mandate ‘to take action against climate change’, has filed a legal challenge in superior court to try and stop the REM (Light Rail Transit) project from moving forward – at least until further environmental studies are done.
Last September 27th, Bill 137 was quietly put forth and adopted by the province, allowing the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to speed up the process for the construction of the REM system, by forcing the expropriation of land and preventing property owners from contesting it.
The bill was introduced by Quebec Transport Minister Laurent Lessard, regardless of much criticism and the call to study the REM’s proposal further – and despite a report published in January by the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) which raised serious concerns about potential environmental consequences of the project. But Premier Philippe Couillard and (then) Mayor Denis Coderre both announced it would still go ahead.
The Coalition says the bill violates two sections of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and states that the project ‘will have a massive and permanent effect on Montreal and the surrounding territory, yet the analysis of its impact has been minimal’.
Linking a good part of the Greater Montreal area, the 67km system would connect the areas of downtown Montreal, the South Shore, West Island, North Shore and Trudeau airport – with hopes of alleviating congestion in the Metro system. But many feel it would do very little and the part of the project linking the Trudeau airport, West Island and Deux-Montagnes area is a waste of money, as it would cut in to existing train service.
The estimated cost for the project is $6 billion – up from the original $5.5 billion first announced. The Caisse de dépôt is still aiming to have the system up and running by 2020.
Bonnie Wurst – mtltimes.ca