June 16, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Loud car wash noise | “Like a plane close by”

Loud car wash noise |  "Like a plane close by"

Court rules in favor of Montrealer who complained about car wash noise and blames city for its inaction


Metropolis should toughen its tone on noisemakers, rule out justice by condemning the city to pay thousands of dollars to a cancer patient upset by a 24-hour car wash.

According to the Court of Quebec, Montreal should have enforced its nuisance rules more strictly. Couche-Tard, the business owner, also has to pay.

Jean-Daniel Belek has lived in his apartment in Center-Sud for 21 years in 2019. That year, a nearby gas station, located at the corner of Avenue Papineau and Rue Ontario, converted its Lava-Self into an automatic.

“It’s kept open 24 hours a day. At 2 in the morning, 3 in the morning or 4 in the morning, when the doors open and it goes off, it’s like an airplane right next to his apartment,” he said in an interview in early April. Press. Mr Belek, 67, was then battling cancer.

I was stressed, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to move.

Jean-Daniel Belek

An expert sent by the city of Montreal confirmed the noise was excessive: 49 decibels in his room, the nighttime limit set at 38 decibels, Mr. Belek reported, a verdict obtained earlier in the winter.

Soon after acquiring this expertise, the city of Montreal asked Couche-Tard to respect its regulations. The company has taken measures to reduce the drying time.

But the noise level hasn’t changed, Mr Belek lamented. His analysis was supported by Judge Gilles Lauro. “Montreal accepts temporary noise abatement measures carried out by Couche-Tard without using sound readings or even checking that they are effective,” lamented the Quebec court magistrate.

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Despite several reminders to the City and Couche-Tard, months passed without any improvement in the situation. “They don’t want to know anything,” lamented Mr. Belek.

“Montreal has failed in its responsibility”

Montreal erred by allowing a noisy car wash to operate all night without a crack, Judge Lauro ruled.

A municipality may be liable when it tolerates a prejudicial situation that violates its rules.

Gilles Lauro, Judge of the Court of Quebec.

“Temporary measure [d’atténuation], in this case, was clear: Couche-Tard had to cut its car wash’s operating hours from 11 p.m. to no longer operating at night. By omitting to impose this action on Couche-Tard, under penalty of legal action, Montreal was in effect allowing violations of its noise by-laws to continue, despite knowing of the harm it caused to Belek. In this sense, Montreal failed in its duty of care. Couche-Tard, for its part, erred directly by violating the rules.

In 2020, Jean-Daniel Belek chose to move to another central district in Montreal. “It’s quiet. It’s day and night,” he said.

Montreal and Couche-Tard were ordered to pay him about $1,000 to cover his moving expenses, in addition to $5,000 for his “trouble and inconvenience.” “Belek suffered 485 days of excessive noise that disturbed his nights, Judge Lauro wrote. His claim represents just over $10 a day, which is very reasonable under the circumstances. »

Before going to trial, Mr. Belek questioned the refusal of Couche-Tard and the City of Montreal to participate in the small claims arbitration process.

The city of Montreal declined to comment on the decision. Couche-Tard did not respond to an email from Press. In 2021, a noise barrier was installed near the car wash.

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