Court of Appeal of Quebec

Groupe CRH Canada inc. c. Beauregard

June 21, 2018

500-09-027451-186 et 500-09-027457-183

Duval Hesler, Mainville, Hogue

Appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court allowing an application for an interlocutory injunction. One appeal allowed in part and the other appeal allowed.

The respondents, on their own behalf and for 24 other individuals, instituted an action for a permanent injunction and damages, seeking the cessation of heavy truck traffic on Chemin de la Butte-aux-Renards, where they live. That road is located in Varennes and leads to the stone quarry operated by the appellant Groupe CRH Canada inc. and the asphalt production and asphalting-related products manufacturing facilities of the appellant Bau-Val inc. Since the spring of 2016, traffic has become heavier because the impleaded party, KPH Turcot, who obtained the design-build contract for the Turcot project, is supplied by CRH’s quarry. On March 29, 2018, the Superior Court issued an interlocutory injunction limiting the number of truckloads from CRH’s quarry and Bau-Val’s facilities accessed via Chemin de la Butte-aux-Renards.

The appellants and the respondent are “neighbours” within the meaning of art. 976 of the Civil Code of Québec (RLRQ, c. CCQ-1991). A neighbourhood disturbance may be said to exist when the operator of a neighbouring business is the cause of the excessive transportation of its materials, whether due to the abusive frequency of transportation or the abusive manner in which it is conducted. In this case, the respondents meet the serious question test with respect to the abnormal neighbourhood annoyances caused by the excessive truck traffic on the road at issue. Moreover, they suffer prejudice that is both serious and irreparable because it concerns their health.

It was not open to the trial judge to avoid the balance of convenience analysis by citing case law according to which when an objective standard set out in a public interest statute is breached, this criterion is generally decided in favour of the public interest that the standard seeks to protect because such case law is inapplicable in this case. Only the third aspect of s. 20 of the Environment Quality Act (CQLR, c. Q-2) is relevant here, and it sets out a subjective standard, not an objective one. The interlocutory injunction was likely to lead to significant delays in the Turcot interchange project, resulting in prejudice affecting the public interest in seeing that major highway infrastructure serving hundreds of thousands of users  be completed promptly, which had to be taken into account. However, the discontinuance of KPH Turcot’s appeal means that the two appeals must be analysed as disputes involving purely private interests.

The respondents and CRH should be put back in the situation they were in before the dramatic increase in truck traffic resulting from the procurement for the Turcot project and CRH’s previous operating hours should be restored. As for Bau-Val, the judge noted that nighttime visits were considerably limited and those on the weekend were practically nonexistent. In the circumstances, the interlocutory injunction is quashed in its regard.

*Summary by SOQUIJ
Text of the decision: Http://citoyens.soquij.qc.ca. This link open an external website in a new window.

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