Photo credit: Céline Chamiot-Poncet
by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies
A Superior Court judge in Quebec ruled that residents of a Montreal suburb, Brossard, will be compensated for years of excessive traffic noise. Should I repeat this a second time? Yes, residents subjected to traffic noise will be compensated for the suffering they have experienced from unreasonable traffic noise. These residents, who filed a class action lawsuit a decade ago, will finally be compensated for not being able to enjoy their homes, both inside and out, as they were entitled to do.
The city of Brossard defended itself by noting that it had developed the area lawfully and even tried to limit the speed of cars and overall noise coming from the road in question, even though the city also claims it had no obligation to. Historically, this was a quiet suburb, but the growth of the area saw an increase in residents and traffic. In 1999, the city promised the residents that the “historic character” of the road would be protected by steps to limit traffic, but this promise was never kept.
The payments to the residents as the result of the lawsuit were different depending on the year they moved to the area, with long-term residents receiving larger amounts. The residents involved in the lawsuit did not receive all of their requests, like creating two cul-de-sacs. Nevertheless, Justice Dominique Poulin recognized the harmful impacts of traffic noise on the residents. She wrote that “they couldn’t have expected their quality of life to deteriorate to such a degree.”
Not unexpectedly, the city of Brossard is appealing the judge’s decision. This case should still be studied by residents affected by traffic noise. They might be entitled to payments for their suffering or to appropriate actions that will reduce traffic noise.