A Historical Perspective

How did we get to this situation where we have to endure this infernal and incessant noise pollution above our heads? Here is some background:

  • 1941  –  Inauguration of the Dorval airport for civilian and military purposes.
  • 1946  –  End of military activities in Dorval. Dorval is designated as an entry point for international flights.
  • 1954-1962  –  Expropriation of additional land for the expansion of Dorval.
  • 1960  –  Opening of Dorval Airport.
  • 1961-1970  –  Development of runways and various additional facilities in Dorval.
  • 1967  –  The Canadian Government considers the possibility of carrying out expansion work at Dorval airport due to a marked increase in air traffic forecast for Montreal.
  • 1968  –  Quebec adopts Bill 296 entitled “An Act to Promote the Development of the Site and Surroundings of a New International Airport in Quebec.” This legislation includes requirements that economic development and environmental planning be done in a harmonious way. This led to the Canadian government taking the bold step of acquiring land that would be affected by aircraft noise.
  • 1969   –  faced with logistical and environmental challenges, Ottawa abandoned the idea to further develop the airport at Dorval. It subsequently announced the expropriation of 88,000 acres of land in St. Scholastica for the provision of a new airport for the Greater Montreal area.
  • 1970   –  Start of development of Mirabel Airport.
  • 1975   –  Inauguration on October 4, and commencement of operations on October 26, of the new airport in Mirabel, which ultimately required the expropriation of 97,000 acres, and the displacement of 3,200 properties, at a cost of $1.4 billion. Then gradually, 21 airlines based in Dorval moved their operations to Mirabel.
  • 1975-1985   –  Energy crisis, recession, economic activity moving toward the centre and west of Canada, and Montreal’s loss of its position as the sole exclusive Canadian gateway for flights from Western Europe.
  • 1982   –  Transport Canada decides not to transfer cross-border traffic and domestic long-haul flights from Dorval to Mirabel. The Canadian Minister of Transport releases a development plan for Montreal airports which provides:
    • Dorval: consolidation of domestic and cross-border flights.
    • Mirabel: consolidation of international flights and air cargo flights.
    • St -Hubert: general aviation.
  • A committee is charged with finding ways to incentivize increased activity at Mirabel.
  • 1984   –  Establishment of an advisory committee on the future of airports in Montreal: the committee is in favor of a single airport to serve the metropolitan area, but does not indicate its choice.
  • 1986   –  The federal government supports both airports and determines their specific functions: international and cargo flights at Mirabel, and domestic and cross-border flights at Dorval.
  • Surrender of 80,000 acres expropriated from former landowners.
  • 1987   –  New Canadian operational policy for airports across the country providing for local management of airport infrastructure. Transport Canada prepares to receive proposals for the transfer to third parties of the ownership and / or operation of the two airports.
  • Creation of the Conseil de l’aéroport international de Montréal.
  • 1989   –  The Conseil de l’aéroport international de Montréal becomes the Société de promotion des aéroports de Montréal (SOPRAM) and creates Aéroports de Montreal (ADM), a nonprofit corporation mandated to negotiate with the Canadian government the transfer to it of management of Montreal airports. In November, ADM is incorporated under Part II of the Canada Corporations Act (SRC 1970 chapter C -32).
  • 1991   –  ADM and Transport Canada sign a letter of agreement for the rental formula for a long-term lease on the transfer of facilities in Dorval and Mirabel.
  • By decree CP1992-19/501 1992, the Government of Canada, represented by the Ministry of Transport, grants to ADM the rights to manage, operate and develop the infrastructure for Dorval and Mirabel. In July, a long-term lease (60 years and renewable for a period of 20 years) between the Government of Canada and ADM is concluded.
  • 1996   –  Decision by ADM in February to allow regular international flights at Dorval and to consolidate charter and all-cargo flights at Mirabel.
  • 1997   –  Thirteen airlines operating scheduled international flights move their operations to Dorval.
  • 2000   –  ADM awarded ISO 14001 certification for its environmental management system (sic)
  • ADM undertakes an extensive expansion program at Dorval including a new cross-border terminal, a new international terminal, and a new international arrivals complex . It will invest $1.5 billion in a decade.
  • 2002   –  Announcement of the consolidation of all passenger flights at Dorval.
  • 2004   –  Consolidation of passenger flights at Dorval, leaving only all-cargo flights, test flights of aircraft manufactured or repaired on site, and general aviation, at Mirabel.
  • Dorval Airport is renamed Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, in accordance with a decision of the Government of Canada.
  • 2010   –  ADM carries out a comprehensive review of best practices in soundscape management . In this context, it says it has sensitized air carriers and operators of general aviation as to the importance of reducing the number of night flights, particularly between 1 pm and 6 am. It says it has reviewed the procedure for granting exemptions in order to strengthen criteria and argues that this has resulted in a decrease in the number of exemptions during the summer!!!
  • 2012   – In February NAV Canada institutes adjustments to routes and altitude levels of aircraft flying over the area between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. These changes, which ADM accepts for Montreal-Trudeau, are the cause of the deterioration in the aerial soundscape over Montreal, and of aircraft flying at lower altitudes over a larger area of ​​the island of Montreal. These changes are not communicated formally to the public and elected representatives in the area.
  • 2013   –  Further extension of 20 years of the lease between ADM and Transport Canada, extending it to 2072 .
  • At its annual general meeting (May), ADM denies that changes have been made in recent months / years to practices pertaining to aircraft flying over Montreal for the purpose of landing or taking off from its runways. ADM even insists that the soundscape climate has improved by 56% since 1995, and that the number of people residing in the noise footprint (NEF method for Noise Exposure Forecast) decreased by 91% since that date from 39,421 to 3,626 people! Faced with criticism regarding night flights, ADM indicates that the situation will be resolved as soon as May 3, 2013 with the transfer of the noisy Convair aircraft of Nolinor from Montreal-Trudeau to Mirabel…
  • Formation of Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau whose first action is to collect signatures in order to file a petition in the House of Commons, calling for measures to reduce all forms of pollution caused by the passage of aircraft at very low altitudes, mainly by the imposition of a true curfew from 23 pm to 7 am. Lisa Raitt Minister of Transport, washes her hands of this, and directs Les Pollués to …  ADM.
  • 2014 –  Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau initiate a fundraising campaign to instal noise measuring stations in the Montréal boroughs of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension, St. Laurent and in the the municipality of Mont-Royal, areas where, with one exception, ADM does not measure the noise …
  • 2015 – A rare public meeting takes place in June between ADM and the population in Ahuntsic. ADM says it does not intend to focus on solutions to mitigate the deafening noise caused by the passage of aircraft over Montreal neighborhoods and Mont-Royal, or to consider tightening its criteria for exempting night flights.
  • – in June NAV Canada publishes a new protocol on communication and consultation that, had it been in effect in 2012, would have allowed the population and elected representatives to reject the adjustments made by NAV Canada.