Quebec to fast-track light rail project's environmental review
Time shortened to ensure Caisse de dépôt's LRT meets 2020 deadline
Members of the public will have less time to familiarize themselves with the potential environmental impact of the recently announced commuter rail line project, Radio-Canada has learned.
When CDPQ Infra, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec consortium behind the light rail project, files its environmental impact study this summer, anyone who wants to consult it will only have 30 days to do so instead of the usual 45.
In order to meet the project's tight deadline, everything that can be fast-tracked will be, a source familiar with the dossier said. The plan is to have the electric, fully automated 67-kilometre rail line running by 2020.
According to the Caisse de dépôt, the areas that may be affected by the project include:
- Wetlands, farm land and fish habitats in Brossard.
- Fish habitats and brown snakes in the northern and southern parts of Montreal.
- Wetlands in Pointe-Claire.
- Wildlife species with special status, water quality, fish habitats and flow of water and ice in the Rivière des Milles-Îles and Rivière des Prairies.
Jean-Pierre Pelletier, a lecturer at Université de Sherbrooke, pointed out cutting two weeks from the consultation period will make holding the government to account more difficult.
"Those who want to mobilize and write a brief or put together a presentation during the public hearings will have 15 fewer days to prepare their point of view," he said.
The Environment Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
The project would connect 24 stations stretching from the South Shore to Montreal's Trudeau airport and beyond, to both the West Island and Laval.
Though the period to consult the documents is shorter, the public hearings will last six weeks, as usual.
With files from Radio-Canada's Thomas Gerbet