Shawinigan — The testimonies of the residents are perfectly happy with the flights of seaplanes on the lake at the Tortoise followed at a steady pace Monday, at the courthouse of Shawinigan, in the context of the statement in the class action of the Coalition against noise. In the course of the 17th day, seven people came to say their social life, their daily lives, or that their outdoor activities were not disrupted by the activities of the water aerodrome.
In addition to these residents, Mario Lamontagne, president of the Chamber of commerce and industry of Shawinigan, appeared at the bar to support Bel-Air Laurentien aviation. According to his testimony, the board of directors of the organization has reiterated, in February, a position already taken in 2007 in the context of a debate on the flights of seaplanes tourism. The AIAC represents about 350 companies and 600 members.
“The board of directors has decided to give its support, considering the economic impact of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation,” says Mr. Lamontagne.
On the side of the Coalition against noise, Me Catherine Sylvestre has raised few objections during this testimony. In fact, Mr. Lamontagne has put forward no data that could demonstrate the magnitude of these economic benefits. Once again, justice Suzanne Ouellet stated that it soupèserait the “probative value” of that testimony.
The president of the DCIS has focused on the importance of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation in the regional economic fabric. Cross-examined by mr. Sylvester, Mr. Lamontagne acknowledged that he never went to the meeting of these tourists, lovers of flights of seaplanes, that there has never been a survey on this issue and that he has no idea of what visitors are doing before and after these flights, which he does not know precisely the number of annual.
Residents in solidarity
For the rest, the day was devoted to testimonies of residents of the sector Lac-à-la-Tortue solidarity of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation. My Myriam Brixi and Karine Joizil, lawyers for the defendant, demanded in particular to the witnesses, since when were they living at the lake, the Turtle, from when they became aware that tourist flights were available and if these activities were detrimental to their quality of life. They also checked the personal or professional ties that these people could talk with the leaders of the company, Alfred St-Onge son, and Danielle Mongrain.
For example, Jean Frigon believes that the flights of seaplanes are part of the “heritage” of the lake to the Turtle.
“The planes are there for almost one hundred years,” he recalls. “If I didn’t like the aircraft, I would not have gone to live in the lake.”
The witnesses appeared also in dire straits to establish a difference between the tourist flights and private flights or air taxis.
“I can’t say when the tourist flights were started,” says Alain Guy. “I’ve never paid attention to it. I don’t look at the numbers of the aircraft, or what kind of flight it can be…”
“For us, the seaplanes, are attractions,” says Gilles Frigon. “It’s part of the environment in the lake at the Turtle. This is not a concern.”
A resident of the area, Christine Demers is also on the lake as a biologist. Over the past three years, she has participated in the pilot study and the installation of jute fabric to wipe out the proliferation of milfoil on the cob. In this framework, she has worked on the lake thirty days since 2015 and it will ensure that the flights of seaplanes have never hampered his professional activities.
Most of the witnesses acknowledged that they had signed the opt-out form of collective redress at the invitation of Mrs. Mongrain. In cross-examination, ms. Marie-Anaïs Sauvé, counsel to the Coalition against noise, is interested in the fact that some people had removed the use of more than one recovery. The plaintiff disputes the fact that a thousand of citizens have stepped down from their positions. According to her, several irregularities are that this number is exaggerated.
Another special feature of the witnesses focused generally on the compensation claimed by the Coalition against noise, in the amount of $ 5,000 per member per year since 2008. Only one witness has touched on the fact that the approach also aims to reduce the number of tourist flights.
“The appeal, that is for those who are disturbed by the seaplanes”, considers Louis Gilbert. “To me, it doesn’t bother me. I, therefore, have no business to have money if it doesn’t bother me!”
The same reserve on the side of Éric Dupont, a former employee of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation which quickly set out to find a way to help the company when it was learned that the appeal had been allowed by the judge, Étienne Parent, in 2012.
“I was against it”, let-t-he fall. “The flights of seaplanes does not bother me any more than a motorcycle that passes on my street, or the neighbor who mows his lawn. I find it deplorable to have been included from the outset in this action without that person does not consult me.”