The metropolis must toughen its tone towards noise offenders, ruled justice by condemning the City to pay thousands of dollars to a cancer patient disturbed by a car wash open 24 hours a day.

Montreal should have enforced its nuisance by-law more strictly, according to the Court of Quebec. Couche-Tard, owner of the business, will also have to pay.

Jean-Daniel Bélec had been living in his apartment in Centre-Sud for 21 years, in 2019. That year, the nearby gas station, located at the corner of Avenue Papineau and Rue Ontario, changed its lava -self automatic.

“It was made open 24 hours a day. At 2 a.m., 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., when the doors opened and it dried out, it was like there was an airplane next to” his apartment, he recounted in early April in an interview with La Presse. Mr. Bélec, 67, was then battling cancer.

The expert sent by the City of Montreal confirmed that the noise was excessive: 49 decibels in his room, while the night limit is set at 38 decibels, reports the judgment obtained by Mr. Bélec earlier in the winter.

Quickly after this expertise, the City of Montreal asked Couche-Tard to respect its regulations. The company hastened to take measures to reduce the drying time.

But the noise level remained unchanged, Mr. Bélec lamented. His analysis is supported by Judge Gilles Lareau. “Montreal accepts the temporary noise mitigation measures carried out by Couche-Tard without even verifying, using sound readings, whether they are effective,” lamented the magistrate of the Court of Quebec.

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

Montreal made a mistake by letting the noisy car wash continue to operate all night without cracking down, judge Lareau ruled.

“The temporary [mitigation] measure in this case was obvious: Couche-Tard had to reduce the hours of operation of its car wash by no longer operating it at night, i.e. from 23 to 7 a.m., he continued. By neglecting to impose this measure on Couche-Tard, under penalty of prosecution, Montreal in fact allowed it to continue to contravene its noise bylaws, despite its knowledge of the harm this caused to Bélec. In this sense, Montreal failed in its duty of care. Couche-Tard, for its part, directly committed a fault by violating the rules.

In 2020, Jean-Daniel Bélec preferred to move to another central Montreal neighborhood. ” It’s quiet. It’s day and night,” he gloated.

Montreal and Couche-Tard were ordered to pay him nearly $1,000 to cover his moving expenses, in addition to $5,000 for his “trouble and inconvenience.” “Bélec suffered 485 days of excessive noise that disrupted his nights,” Justice Lareau wrote. His claim amounts to just over $10 a day, an amount that is very reasonable under the circumstances. »

Mr. Bélec also deplores that Couche-Tard and the City of Montreal refused to participate in the small claims mediation process, before arriving at a trial.

The City of Montreal would not comment on the decision. Couche-Tard did not respond to La Presse’s email. In 2021, a noise barrier was erected near the car wash.