Race cars leave St-Lambert residents with headaches
Updated: Sun Aug. 29 2010 5:41:48 PM
The roar of NASCAR engines may be music to the ears of racing fans, but it's yet another summer nuisance in noisy St-Lambert.
The small South Shore suburb sits just across the St-Lawrence Seaway from Ile Notre-Dame, making the rumbling sounds of stock cars hurtling around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve race track a little too close for comfort.
Unfortunately for St-Lambert residents, the excessive noise is a sad reality of their summers because of all the events that take place at Parc Jean Drapeau.
The list includes the Canadian Grand Prix Formula One race, a heavy metal music festival and the Osheaga music festival on consecutive weekends in July, the Piknik Electronique concert series every weekend, and finally this weekend's NASCAR Nationwide series race.
St-Lambert Mayor Philippe Brunet says he, and his taxpayers, have had enough.
"It's been just totally intolerable and unacceptable," Brunet told CTV Montreal's Maya Johnson on Sunday, as NASCAR engines roared in the background. "We're fairly tolerant in St. Lambert, but too much is too much. (Saturday), they started at 7:30 (in the morning), and at 7:00 (at night), there were still some cars driving around. So that's almost a 12-hour day."
St-Lambert's administration has been in talks with both the management of Parc Jean Drapeau and the city of Montreal for years in an effort to find a solution to the problem, but the noise continues every summer.
"They're (the city of Montreal) exporting their nuisance – the sound – to us," Brunet said. "It's only a few hundred yards away. The waterfront amplifies the sound, so it just reverberates very, very loudly within the whole community."
For the residents it makes the warm months a virtual prison, forcing them indoors with the windows closed to escape the invasion of their ears.
"We had decided to keep the windows open last night to sleep, and at 7:30 in the morning we were woken up by this noise," resident Karen Penney said Sunday. "I just sat bolt upright in bed. It was horrible."
In addition to the city's actions, the residents have organized themselves to pressure the city of Montreal and Parc Jean Drapeau to reduce the number of noisy events in the summer.
The citizens' group, St-Lambert is Silence
, has also been pressuring its own city's administration to take legal action. Members of the group inundated the June 21 municipal council meeting, and earlier this month the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau Inc. was sent a letter of demand to "stop degrading the quality of the environment of the residents in the neighbourhood of Jean-Drapeau Park."
The group's leader Daniel Gour posted this explanation on its website: "We are demonstrating our determination to get back what is rightfully ours, peace and tranquility in our own homes, which we had just a few years ago, before the beginning of all those day-long outdoor shows all summer long at excessive volume."
Brunet says the message from his residents has been received loud and clear.
"We'll have to contemplate taking serious legal action to refrain them from producing these shows," Brunet said. "There's no alternative."