Environmentalists are concerned that debris from the old Highway 15 South are being dumped into a drained section of the Lachine Canal.

Transport Quebec is calling it a snow wall, meant to contain the waste from the Turcot Interchange’s demolition during winter.

The provincial agency says that the debris should be removed by the end of March.

“First they build a snow bridge, and then they put metal plates, and then they put a geotextile mat over the snow,” said a spokesperson for Transport Quebec.

Environmentalists, however, feel that the risk of debris polluting the canal and, by extension, the St. Lawrence River, is high and will get even higher as the snow starts to melt. 

“It means that you will have more contaminants come to the St. Lawrence River,” said Daniel Green, Deputy Leader of the Canadian Green Party. “There’s a lot of fishermen that fish in the St. Lawrence. It’s also a source of drinking water.”

The canal has a reputation for being heavily polluted.

In 2017 the federal and provincial governments announced the second phase of their 15-year plan. 

The Turcot project shouldn’t be hindering progress, according to Green.

“It is disappointing, I think, that in this day and age, you would let a government-controlled construction project to dump in the Lachine Canal because it’s convenient,” he said. “It goes against common thinking.”

Despite their concerns, Transport Quebec said that there will be no environmental impact from the dumping.

“When they have finished the work, they will remove everything and make sure that if there is snow that is contaminated by the work, the snow will be removed,” said Transport Quebec.