Meadowbrook & Railway Issues

Quebec’s Largest English Weekly Newspaper

April 14, 2009

Meadowbrook may be too close to Lachine rail

By Joel Goldenberg

A planned $119 million train maintenance facility to be built by the Agence métropolitaine de transport in Lachine in the near future would increase rail activity close to the Lachine side of the Meadowbrook golf course, where development is planned, says Côte St. Luc councilor Dida Berku. But AMT spokesperson Martine Rouette denies this will be the case, saying it merely represents a change in who will be responsible for maintenance of the trains. Despite repeated calls, Groupe Pacific was not available for comment at press time Tuesday afternoon.

Les Amis de Meadowbrook, the organization which seeks to prevent the development of the golf course for housing, held a press conference last week to urge the public to join the group at Montreal city hall, when it will raise the issue of preservation with Mayor Gérald Tremblay and members of Montreal council. Berku said Monday night city hall may have a response to the Labrecque Commission, which recommended protecting Meadowbrook. Les Amis de Meadowbrook recently held a public meeting in which speakers said Montreal would be targeted in its campaign, rather than developer Groupe Pacific. They believe Groupe Pacific is readying plans for development and that it has informed Quebec that Montreal has granted permission for building on the Lachine side — the Côte St. Luc side was rezoned as a golf course. Groupe Pacific has denied informing Quebec of this.

But what caught Berku’s attention was news this past February of a three-year $34 million contract the AMT signed with Bombardier to maintain its three Canadian Pacific commuter train lines to prevent delays, and a plan to build a $119 maintenance facility in Lachine for the Dorion-Rigaud, Blainville-St. Jérôme and Delson-Candiac lines. She and others anticipate that an increased number of train cars will not only be using the three commuter lines, but moving in and out and being repaired the planned facility.

Berku said the current Sortin yard is due west from Montreal West’s Toe Blake Park, across the golf course, 200 meters away. “There are hundreds of cars on that line, and they’re all going to be repaired and maintained in Lachine,” the councilor said last week. “It’s going to greatly intensify the activity in the Lachine Sortin yards — those are official railroad yards.

“If we were in Ontario, according to their municipal guidelines, you couldn’t build within 300 meters of those yards. Unfortunately, Québec hasn’t adopted these, but we have adopted a safe setback guideline of 300 meters through an agreement between the Canadian Railway Association and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. So the Ontario municipal guidelines only apply to us through this agreement.

“This railway yard is going to be very busy — hundreds and thousands of cars are going to be shunted there in the morning and at night.”

Rouette, of the AMT, told The Suburban Tuesday that it is too soon to tell now when the $119 million facility will be built, and that while Bombardier will handle maintenance for the next three years, a call for tenders will go out to other interested companies whenever the facility is built. Another maintenance center will be built in Point St. Charles. Rouette said the AMT bought 160 new cars and ordered 20 bi-modal locomotives. She confirmed that the new Lachine facility will be where the current Sortin yard is.

“But there won’t be more activity [by Bombardier or in the new facility],” Rouette said. “The maintenance is already being done there, so there won’t be more activity. The only difference is that Canadian Pacific will not be doing the maintenance on the equipment — they don’t want to do it, so we have to equip it to do the maintenance ourselves. Our rolling stock is increasing, but it’s only AMT activity.” Rouette said she would have to confirm if there will be more commuter train traffic.

“But I don’t think so because the departures would be the same.”

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November 2006/novembre 2006

Guidelines drafted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) in the the RAC/FCM Proximity Guidelines Report (Nov, 2006), call for residential developments to be set back 300 meters from freight yards which are considered Class III industries because of the daily fugitive emissions. These recommendations have already been accepted by both CN and CP.

A residential development on the golf course would put all dwellings on the south side of Meadowbrook, and most on the north side within the 300 meter setbacks zone.
The circles on the map indicate 300 meter setbacks from the yards. Furthermore all dwellings would be within the 1000 meter area for noise sensitivity and emergency notification which are also described in the Proximity Guidelines Report.

Des directives établies par la Fédération canadienne des municipalités (FCM) et l’association des chemins de fer du Canada (ACFC) dans le rapport des directives de proximité du RAC/ACFC (nov. 2006), en appelle aux développeurs d’adopter un retrait de 300 mètres des cours de triages qui sont considérées comme des industries de classe III à cause des leurs émissions fugitives quotidiennes. Ces recommandations ont déjà été acceptées autant par le CN que par le CP.

Un développement résidentiel sur le terrain de golf placerait toutes les résidences au sud de Meadowbrook et la plupart de celles au nord à l’intérieur de la zone des 300 mètres de retrait.
Les cercles sur la carte montrent le retrait de 300 mètres des cours de triage. En outre, toutes les résidences se trouveraient à moins de 1000 mètres de distance, facteur aggravant pour la susceptibilité au bruit et les avertissements d’urgence qui sont aussi décrits dans le rapport de directives de proximité.

COMPATIBILITY BETWEEN INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES AND SENSITIVE LAND USES. GUIDELINE D-6 (formerly 07-09) From Ontario Guidelines Link to RAC/FCM Proximity Guidelines Report (Nov. 2006)

Click on Setback map to enlarge