Hydro-Québec poles disrupt Montreal's Lachine Canal landscape to residents' dismay

·2 min read
Hydro-Quebec plans to set up an underground network across 200 metres in the area.  (Dave St-Amant/CBC - image credit)
Hydro-Quebec plans to set up an underground network across 200 metres in the area. (Dave St-Amant/CBC - image credit)

Residents in Montreal's Saint-Henri neighbourhood are asking Hydro-Québec to remove its newly-installed poles along the Lachine Canal.

Lucie Dugale,who has been living in the area for 20 years, said she was rudely awakened Tuesday morning when she saw five Hydro-Québec trucks and 25 workers setting up poles, without having warned residents.

"We were really in shock," she said. "We didn't know what to do, and we didn't know whom to talk to tell 'it's unacceptable.'"

The Lachine Canal in Montreal's Sud-Ouest borough is a national historic site, meaning its cultural resources are protected by law.

Joanna Boshouwers, who also lives by the canal, said she tried contacting the company as well as the mayor to no avail.

Dave St-Amant/CBC
Dave St-Amant/CBC

"There's been a lot of money poured into this historic site," Boshouwers said.

"We're surprised that that's not an issue that so many poles showed up and ruined the site."

But the installation is part of Hydro-Qubec's plan to move power lines underground by 2022.

According to Cendrix Bouchard, a spokesperson for Hydro-Québec, the company installed four new poles there as Hydro-Québec builds an underground network across 200 metres in the area.

"Those four new poles will be a part of the entrance or the exit points of the new underground network, and we will be removing 10 poles in the area," he said.

Bouchard says Hydro-Québec does not consult the population, because it seeks approval directly from the city and exceptionally, in this case, with Parks Canada.

"We do understand that people have concerns," he said. "Again, one thing to keep in mind is that the situation is going to be improved by the fact that the network is going to be put underground subsequently."

Dave St-Amant/CBC
Dave St-Amant/CBC

Audrey Godin-Champagne, a spokesperson for Parks Canada, said the poles are being temporarily relocated because of the Galdin real estate project.

"Parks Canada has received a request from the Commission des services électriques de Montréal, analyzed the potential impacts and authorized the relocation of the poles," she said in a statement.

Boshouwers said setting up poles does little to conserve the site.

"There's been a lot of talk about how Montreal should be beautified", she said.

"In an ideal world, this whole Lachine Canal would have underground wires and just be a beautiful park."

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