Clash over clamour from Parc Jean-Drapeau may soon be resolved

Montreal and Saint-Lambert have agreed to set a cap on how loud concerts can be. It would come into effect next summer, Radio-Canada has learned.

Montreal, Saint-Lambert agree to set a cap on how loud concerts can be

Montreal and Saint-Lambert have been quarrelling over the noise levels coming from concerts held at Parc Jean-Drapeau for years. (Radio-Canada)

The end may be in sight in the years-long battle between Montreal and Saint-Lambert over the noisy concerts at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

The two sides have agreed to set a cap on how loud concerts can be. The limit would come into effect next summer, Radio-Canada has learned.

In the meantime, the cities and the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau, the group that runs the park, will install machines in Saint-Lambert, Montreal and at the park that will measure the decibel levels and help determine what the cap should be.

The mayors of Montreal and Saint-Lambert, on the South Shore, announced in March they were creating a working group to find solutions to the issue. The group came up with this potential solution a few days before festival season begins in earnest.

The conflict over sound levels has been dragging out since 2014, when Montreal's Ville-Marie borough, which includes Île Notre-Dame and Île Sainte-Hélène, lifted the fixed noise limits on concerts.

Saint-Lambert has taken the fight to court, suing Montreal and concert promoter Evenko in an attempt to force them to find a solution to the noise problem.

In 2016, Saint-Lambert requested a permanent injunction that would force Montreal and Evenko to restrict the noise level to 95 decibels (dB) at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

New stage still a major sticking point

The city is building a new amphitheatre on Île Sainte-Hélène which will hold 65,000 concert goers.

The stage is supposed to face the South Shore, which is still a point of contention between the two sides.

Saint-Lambert Mayor Pierre Brodeur, who was elected last fall, wants the stages and speakers reoriented so they face the Montreal side of the island, projecting the noise west. It would cost $10 million to do.

Montreal said it's too late for that, because construction has already started.

Elected officials in Saint-Lambert say as long as the plan stays the same, they won't be dropping the lawsuit against Montreal.

Saint-Lambert residents have complained the noise from the festivals rattles windows, shakes houses and disrupts peaceful summer evenings.

After taking a year hiatus because of construction at the festival site, the Heavy Montreal festival will return in 2018. (Pat Beaudry/Evenko)

Noise levels of 108 dB have been recorded at the concert site and a level of 68 dB was recorded at one residence in Saint-Lambert.

The World Health Organization considers noise above 55 dB to be "disturbing to sleep."

Based on a report by Radio-Canada's Thomas Gerbet

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