50 teachers taken hostage by a construction site

I wrote on Tuesday about the management of road obstacles in Montreal*, worse than ever if I trust your abundant (and sometimes poetic) reactions.

Posted at 1:33 a.m.

Updated at 6:00 a.m.

I will come back to this later, but first here is a fresh example of a project that went wrong. The story involves around fifty teachers “enclaved” without notice, a request for an injunction from the court and the arrival of a bailiff… to force the City to respect its own “mitigation measures”.

In the “your taxes go a long way” category, it should score quite high.

The case takes place on Beaumont Avenue, in the Parc-Extension district. It is a semi-industrial sector, which often serves as a passageway for motorists in transit towards Boulevard de l’Acadie. There are businesses on one side and residential buildings on the other.

Lots of people per square foot.

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The Brault & Bouthillier company, specializing in the sale of educational materials since 1944, is established there. It also offers training on its premises.

1er Last May, the business received a notice from the City. He learned that Beaumont Avenue would be closed from May 6 – five days later – until an undetermined date in July.

On May 3, the group sent a formal notice to the City, asking it to postpone its waterworks for two weeks. Time, at least, to notify its customers and suppliers.

Three days later, a meeting was organized with two city project managers. Several “mitigation measures” are proposed. The compromise seems satisfactory.

The situation derailed on May 15, according to a request for an injunction filed by the company. Solidly. Despite promises to maintain “local traffic”, Beaumont Avenue suddenly found itself blocked.

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Aerial view of the premises of the Brault & Bouthillier company, in a semi-industrial sector of the Parc-Extension district

A group of around fifty teachers, who came to attend training and buy equipment for the start of the 2024 school year, found themselves stuck on site, it is alleged.

Impossible to get out.

Local traffic has been completely interrupted on both sides of the avenue since 9:30 a.m., so that no truck can enter or exit, and it is impossible for customers, including the group of teachers, and the employees of the plaintiff to leave the warehouse premises.

Extract from the request for an injunction filed by the company Brault & Bouthillier

This is not the hostage-taking of the century, we agree. But soon enough, “chaos” sets in.

Teachers finally managed to escape from the construction site by moving orange cones and barriers themselves, a manager from Brault & Bouthillier told me. Their captivity lasted less than an hour, he said.

Which will not have put an end to the confusion surrounding this work.

“Even the police officers from the Montreal City Police Service (SPVM) dispatched to the site on May 15, 2024 complained of not having been informed of the construction site, as did the representative of the contractor and the person in charge of project on site were not aware of the negotiated agreements,” states the injunction request.

The company believes that the “security” of its customers and employees was put at “risk” by the untimely blocking of all access to its facilities.

Brault & Bouthillier is not seeking any extraordinary compensation. The business just wants the measures promised by the City, namely to maintain minimum access to its business during the work, to be respected.

The basis of the basis.

The court did not take long to agree with him. The same day his request was filed, a Superior Court judge ordered the City of Montreal to submit to “the strict commitments” it had made for a period of 10 days.

All with “fees to follow”.

This decision was notified on Tuesday by a bailiff at the work site.

A lot of time, energy and (public) money wasted, in short, for the City to do what it said it would do. That is to say: manage a construction site well. And ensure minimal coordination between all parties involved.

This case might seem anecdotal. The poor teachers stuck in the construction site managed to return home. The City was forced to correct the situation. The work will continue until an “undetermined date”.

But there are still many examples of this type in Montreal. Dozens of you told me about it after the publication of a column on the reform promised by the Plante* administration.

Among the main irritants are all these ghost construction sites where no worker is seen for days or weeks. Often work carried out by the City or the districts, you reported to me with supporting photos.

There is also a lot of frustration with the (deplorable) quality of the roadway. It does not improve, on the contrary, despite all these cones.

Some readers, like Mélanie, also deplore the illogicality of certain work sequences.

“For two years and more, the street [Mayor] is closed due to construction and/or city work, she wrote to me. Last year, the City had to change the pipes, blocking the street all summer, until December. Once the new asphalt was redone, I thanked the site manager for this great relief. He told me not to get attached to the asphalt because they were going to reopen the street next spring. Something they have been doing since May 13…”

Only one reader, an occasional Uber driver, believes that the situation on construction sites has improved over the past year or two.

I will give the final word to Éric, a resident of Ahuntsic with a sharp pen, who now says he is “disgusted” with the state of his town.

He signs his long email as follows: “A donkey with a broad back. »

*Read the column “Montreal, cone city”



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