• John Jantak

Rowdy noise complaints resurface in Ste. Anne’s

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Mayor Paola Hawa is urging citizens to report all noise complaints about rowdy parties directly to police at by calling 911.

Mayor Paola Hawa is urging all Ste. Anne de Bellevue residents to contact 911 directly to report noise complaints about rowdy parties because the city’s municipal patrol doesn’t have the authority to intervene.

Hawa’s recommendation comes after a couple complained during the Monday evening council meeting on July 11 that repeated calls to the municipal patrol failed to stop a loud party at a private residence in the city’s southern sector.

The couple said they even followed advice posted on the city’s website that noise complaints should be reported to the municipal patrol. Hawa replied that while the municipal patrol does look into noise infractions, rowdy parties don’t fall into that domain and should be reported directly to 911 because it’s strictly a police issue.

“People need to call 911,” Hawa told Your Local Journal. “It’s clear that the rules for calling are not what they used to be. It’s not just about emergencies anymore. Our municipal patrol is not equipped to go face 10 or 15 drunken people in an apartment. It’s not their job. It’s the job of the SPVM (Service de police de la Ville de Montréal).

“Citizens are getting confused about the role and responsibility of the police and local municipal patrols,” Hawa added. “Local patrols are there to make sure you don’t leave your garbage out all day. They are not there to put their lives in jeopardy by intervening in a fight with drunken people. It is not a Ste. Anne responsibility; it’s an SPVM responsibility.”

Efforts made by the city to engage its citizens in two prior open forum discussions with SPVM police officials about problems within the community were met with public indifference because fewer than 10 people attended each of the two meetings, said Hawa.

“I think the SPVM has done a fantastic job working with our partners, the schools, and the bars to quell things. They have made sure that on known problem nights, and whether its frosh week or end of school year, they are present. With the challenges and the minimal resources available, I feel the SPVM are doing the best job they possibly can,” said Hawa.

Train speed resolution

Concerns about a possible freight train derailment similar to the Lac-Mégantic disaster prompted council to adopt a resolution requesting Canadian Pacific (CP) to maintain its current 50 mph (80 km/h) speed limit. Ste. Anne’s resolution comes one month after Beaconsfield adopted a similar resolution when it learned that CP is proposing to raise the speed limit to 60 mph (96 km/h).

Municipal officials are worried that any increase in speed from its current limit will increase the risk of a derailment that could result in a situation similar to Lac-Mégantic when a train with oil tankers derailed and exploded, decimating the downtown core and killing 47 people in July, 2013.

“It seems that what happened in Lac-Mégantic three years ago is slowly disappearing from our minds,” Hawa said. “Its memory and the lessons learned are being swept under the rug. It’s a little bit of a surprise to see that in its aftermath, they (CP) decide to the increase the speed. Increased speed means increased damage if there’s an accident.”

A small portion of the train line runs about 100 feet from residential properties and is located close to a church, schools, and Ste. Anne’s Hospital, said Hawa.

Any kind of derailment would severely affect the city because the trains travel along an overpass at the intersection of Boulevard des Anciens-Combattants and Highway 20. A derailment in this area would cut off the only public road that connects the city’s north and south sectors.

“It’s bad enough there’s a risk to begin with and now the risk is going to increase,” said Hawa. “It’s as if Lac-Mégantic never happened. It’s a little bit irresponsible. I understand the commercial necessity of fast trade but there’s also a reality that when you’re crossing a densely populated urban zone, safety has to come first. We need more vigilance, not less.”

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