Welcome to the first newsletter regarding the activities of Build it Underground DDO (BIUDDO) in the last few months. We are still diligently working to have Hydro Quebec’s Poste Saint-Jean project (which is slated to enlarge the Saint Jean substation and to construct an aerial 315kV high voltage transmission line through the densely populated heart of DDO along the De Salaberry corridor) re-evaluated. Since 2014, BIUDDO has been arguing that the proposed 3km transmission line should be built underground. We have not slowed down our actions and we are constantly working on behalf of all affected DDO residents. Here is the latest news:
We have launched a website at biuddo.ca. We are updating it with ongoing information. Please check in regularly!
Judicial Process Against Hydro-Quebec Project
On June 7, 2017, BIUDDO, represented by Me Ricardo Hrtschan of the Colby-Monet firm, instituted legal proceedings before the Régie de l’Énergie to obtain a right to be heard regarding Hydro-Québec’s Poste Saint-Jean project.
Although the Régie de l’Énergie approved the project, the legal documents deposited by BIUDDO’s lawyer contend that the hundreds of residents living in the impacted area of DDO, some of them as close as 18 meters from the proposed line, were never properly informed of the Régie’s public hearings that would have permitted them to voice their concerns. These concerns include property value depreciation, possible health risks, and environmental impacts. In essence, the legal demand for the revision of the Régie’s decision states that the Régie de l’Énergie did not respect the rights of citizens to be heard on a matter that greatly affects their lives by not providing access to fair hearings, and therefore the Regie’s decision is against the rule of law and is illegal.
After repeated but unsuccessful attempts to convince the Régie de l’Énergie and the Government to accept the underground construction of the line, BIUDDO has instituted the first step of legal proceedings in order to have the rights of DDO citizens respected.
In response to these judicial actions, the Regie D’Energie has granted BIUDDO’s lawyer a hearing on July 14, 2017. Me Hrtschan is preparing for this hearing in conjunction with the BIUDDO team.
Legal Proceedings Regarding Property Value Depreciation
In May, 2017, the BIUDDO team hosted a meeting for DDO residents to discuss the property value ramifications of the proposed aerial installation of the 315kV line. Over 200 residents attended the meeting with city Councillor Morris Vesely opening the meeting. The BIUDDO legal team of Colby Monet was also in attendance along with Mayor Ed Janiszewski and Councillors Zoe Bayouk and Collette Gauthier. At this meeting, Me Hrtschan and members of the BIUDDO team explained that we are building a second judicial case regarding property devaluations. This will not be a class action suit. Rather, individual homeowners will be unique plaintiffs against Hydro-Quebec and the Quebec government. At this meeting, Mayor Janiszewski pledged the financial and moral support of the city of Dollard-Des-Ormeaux in the concerns surrounding property value depreciation.
Each property has a unique market value and will be impacted differently, depending on its proximity to the new aerial transmission line and the supporting pylons. Acting as a group, with individual plaintiffs, will enable us to pool legal costs and more effectively defend ourselves against Hydro’s unilateral acts.
Over the months of May and June, our team members went door-to-door to enlist plaintiffs. To date, 153 residents have signed on as plaintiffs with another 23 considering joining this action. For more information about how to sign onto this legal action, please see the click here or access the “How to Participate” section of our website at www.biuddo.ca.
BIUDDO Work with Other Jurisdictions Fighting Hydro Quebec
Over the last year, the BIUDDO team has forged strong alliances with 3 other Quebec citizen groups that are fighting proposed Hydro Quebec projects in their jurisdictions. The 3 citizen groups are: Citoyens Sous Hautes Tensions (Eastern Townships), Comité aviseur St-Adolphe (in the Laurentians), and SOS Mont Hereford (Eastern Townships). The objective of this alliance is to draw more attention to the Poste Saint-Jean project – by aligning ourselves with a larger group of citizens and to show the government that their unilateral decisions are deeply impacting many residents and that the voices of residents throughout the province are not being heard.
On June 27, Quebec Solidaire held a press conference at the National Assembly and issued a joint press release from our four groups and demanded that the government review these contentious projects. You can view the press conference here.
Media Coverage of BIUDDO
We continue work to keep the opposition to the aerial installation of the 315kV line in the media. Recent press coverage includes a cover story in The Suburban as well as an article in Cite Nouvelles.
We Need More Volunteers
We could use the help of volunteers who can commit to 4 hours per month in support of our continued actions.
Please stay connected with BIUDDO. You can see what’s new on our website at www.biuddo.ca, check us out on Facebook (Construisez-la sous terre/Build it Underground), or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the summer
The BIUDDO Team