Montreal

Montreal must decide whether to cover or clean up contaminated Meadowbrook stream

The brook is the last vestige of the Saint-Pierre River, which used to flow from the west of the island to Pointe-à-Callière in the Old Port.

Brook is last vestige of the Saint-Pierre River, which once flowed from west of island to Pointe-à-Callière

A recent Superior Court decision will force Montreal either to turn a contaminated stream on the Meadowbrook Golf Club into a sewer, or spend years decontaminating it. (Alexandre Touchette/Radio-Canada)

A recent Superior Court decision will force Montreal either to turn a contaminated stream that runs through the Meadowbrook Golf Club into a sewer, or spend years decontaminating it. 

Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook, a group fighting for decontamination of the stream, says it wants the city to clean the creek for environmental and historical reasons, rather than cover it up and turn it into a sewer.

"What we're doing is trying to put pressure wherever we can so that [the stream] is actually cleaned and not covered," Louise Legault from Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

The brook is the last vestige of the Saint-Pierre River, which used to flow from the west of the island to Pointe-à-Callière in the Old Port.

The stretch that runs through the golf course, which borders Montreal and Côte Saint-Luc, is the only part of that river that remains above ground.

The stream is only supposed to receive storm water runoff, but it's so contaminated with sewage that it's dangerous to touch the water.

That's because according to the City of Montreal, at least 218 buildings in the area have their wastewater systems connected to the storm system sewer.

That means waste is being sent into the waterways instead of storm runoff. It's been that way since the 19th century.

The company that owns the golf course has been trying for years to force Montreal to decontaminate the creek.

In June, Superior Court Judge Paul Corriveau ruled in favour of Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific, which owns the golf course.

He ordered the City of Montreal to "stop any contamination of the Meadowbrook stream from the storm sewer that flows into it" by either burying the stream, fixing the wasterwater systems on those 218 homes, or some other solution.

Corriveau gave Montreal 18 months to complete the work, which the city said leaves it few options other than to channel the stream underground and turn it into a sewer.

'Montreal has no intention of covering it': activist

Montreal tried unsuccessfully to appeal the judgment, saying it wants to solve the problem at its source by correcting the sewer connections for the 218 buildings but that would take four to nine years in total, not 18 months.

That proposal was rejected. The matter is still before the courts.

"In its appeal in the June decision, we have to admit that the City of Montreal has no intention of covering [brook]," said Legault.

The City of Montreal has only said that it is deciding which technical solution it will choose.

Once it makes a choice, the city says it will file a request for a certificate of authorization to carry out work related to the Meadowbrook stream with the Environment Ministry.

With files from CBC Montreal Daybreak, Navneet Pall and Radio-Canada

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