Montreal

Hydro-Québec meets with angry Montreal West residents over tree-cutting plans

A group of residents in Montreal West is upset with Hydro-Québec for never informing them that the types of trees they were planting in a public garden behind their backyards would eventually have to be cut down.

Residents at public meeting tell Hydro officials they want trees in public garden to be pruned, not cut down

Hydro says the trees need to be cut down to prevent them touching power lines. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

A group of residents in Montreal West is upset with Hydro-Québec for not informing them that the types of trees they were planting in a public garden behind their backyards would eventually have to be cut down.

About 50 Montreal West residents attended a public meeting with Hydro-Québec officials Monday night to learn the fate of the trees they planted. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)
The hydroelectric utility's plan affects dozens of trees in the neighbourhood.

For the past 50 years, neighbours in a part of Montreal West that stretches along the railroad tracks have planted all sorts of greenery, transforming previously dismal and industrial-looking land into a blossoming garden.

However, it's technically Hydro-Québec's land, and the company wants to remove the trees to prevent against electric arcing and fires.

Hydro-Québec sent a letter last month to the people who live on Roxton Crescent and Radcliffe Road, informing them of its plans to cut down the trees.

Residents at Monday night's meeting told Hydro officials that the trees provide a beautiful green space and they want the trees to be pruned rather than cut down completely.

Louise Chenevert has lived in Montreal West for 15 years. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)
But Hydro-Québec officials said the trees pose a safety hazard, and pruning them would only kill the trees.

That's because the maximum height of any vegetation growing under a power line cannot surpass 2.5 metres. 

Utility officials told the 50 residents who attended the meeting that they have a list of fruit trees and shrubs that don't grow higher than 2.5 metres.

Residents said Hydro should have informed them years ago that they should have been planting small fruit trees instead of big maples and pines.

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