Judge allows eviction of homeless encampment underneath Montreal highway
A Quebec judge has authorized the eviction of a homeless encampment underneath Montreal's Ville-Marie expressway to allow for repairs to the road to proceed after several delays.
The group of people living underneath the highway in downtown Montreal must be notified that they will be evicted and that their camp will be dismantled "after June 15, 2023," according to the decision rendered Tuesday by Superior Court Justice Pierre Nollet.
A legal clinic representing the group of people living under the highway had sought an injunction to delay the construction work between Guy Street and Atwater Avenue.
Justice Nollet ruled there are resources in the community to assist the people living in the encampment, which has been there for years. He said that they have the right to life, liberty, and security, but there is a greater risk to the general public by delaying the badly needed repairs on the aging structure.
"The Montreal region has already seen the disastrous consequences of failing to take proper care of road infrastructure. In addition to the economic consequences, there are human consequences at stake. They cannot be ignored," Nollet wrote in his judgment.
Inspections done on the expressway in 2022 revealed "significant" cracks in the concrete. Delaying the project to July 15 at the request of the legal clinic would cost the Ministry of Transportation hundreds of thousands of dollars in added costs to the project, according to the judge.
The judge ordered the ministry to comply with a previous offer it had made to store the belongings of the people living in the encampment following the eviction.