SHAWINIGAN — “If the action [class] happens, we lose everything.” These are the words chosen by Danielle Mongrain, the vice-president of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation, to demonstrate to the court the consequences of a judgment in favor of the Coalition against noise.
Justice Suzanne Ouellet was heard Tuesday, the witness waited for Danielle Mongrain in the trial of the class action lawsuit brought by the Coalition against noise on the damages suffered by the activity of the flights of seaplanes on the lake at the Turtle.
“The tourist flights are the cement that holds the foundation [of the company],” said Danielle Mongrain in his testimony, vice-president and co-owner of the company with her husband Alfred St-Onge.
“It allows you to maintain the airport to the lake at the Tortoise.”
The tourist flights are so important to Bel-Air Laurentien aviation since the late 80’s, when Canadair had left the airport to the lake at the Turtle. Following the departure of flights from Canadair, several companies have offered to this airport, tourist flights by seaplane. Since 2009, these flights aimed at tourists, however, were carried out by Bel-Air Laurentien aviation. The consequences of a stop of the tourist product, destined mainly to european travelers would be the major on the business.
“If the appeal passes, we lost our house, our pension funds and our children will lose their heritage,” added Danielle Mongrain with the throat tied by the emotion.
“It destroyed everything. […] We earn our bread. We always made it honestly. My spouse is 71 years old and me I am 62 years old. You cannot do it again.”
This conflict about the harm caused by the noise of the seaplanes has also had an impact on the whole family of the owners of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation. This is at least what advance Danielle Mongrain, which maintains that the voltage at the lake, the Turtle was hard to live with for his entire family.
“This business is for me, the story of a life. The Coalition against noise destroys us,” said Danielle Mongrain, stressing that collective redress is also causes of concern from tour operators that bring tourists to the lake to the Turtle.
The testimony of Danielle Mongrain has raised the same risk for the company than Alfred St-Onge last April. The president of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation had then said that the consequences of a judgment favorable to the Coalition against noise would be disastrous for him. “If I am condemned, I lose everything,” he summarized. “I’ll have more house, more work, more anything!”
Recall that the application of the class action, was passed at this time from $ 5000 to $ 1000 per member for each year as of 2008.
If the judge Suzanne Ouellet gives the total amount claimed, the respondent party considers that Bel-Air Laurentien aviation should pay nearly $ 10 million to the class members.
In opening testimony, Danielle Mongrain was invited by her lawyer, ms. Karine Joizil, to make the list of noise sources in the area of the lake to the Turtle. The vice-president of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation has said that the sources of noise are the plant Arbec, the yard of the CN, the shooting, the two campgrounds in the area, ATV trails and snowmobile, boats and activities from the airport. Danielle Mongrain was indeed included in the list of maintenance operations mechanical Bel-Air Laurentien aviation and the company Aero-Workshop lead to the airport.
Alfred St-Onge returned to the helm
Dissatisfied with the responses relating to the financial statement of the company formulated by Danielle Mongrain in her cross-examination, the latter claiming not to be responsible for the finances of the company, counsel for the Coalition against noise, Me Marie-Anaïs Sauvé, has asked to be called again to the witness Alfred St-Onge, the president of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation.
By reason of an order of non-publication on the financial details of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation and owners, we are unable to disclose the details of this new testimony.
The judge will go to the lake to the Turtle
The trial of the class action must resume Wednesday morning at the palace of justice of Shawinigan. The lawyers of the Coalition want to hear a witness.
Justice Suzanne Ouellet, however, requested Tuesday for all lawyers involved in the case if they could go on the website of the airport of lake in the Turtle. In particular it wishes to get an idea of the layout of the premises as well as residences around the lake. “I’ve seen several cards, but there is nothing like seeing the scene in three dimensions”, she argued.
The judge must be on the spot in the afternoon, once the procedures at the courthouse will be completed.
Walk in support of Bel-Air Laurentien Aviation
As the trial of the class action on the harms of flights of seaplanes tourist draws to an end, a march in support of Bel-Air Laurentien aviation will be held next Saturday on the lake at the Turtle. This “walk of solidarity”, which will begin at 13 p.m. Saturday in front of the church in the sector Lac-à-la-Tortue, is organized by the supporters of the aviation company group members Facebook “I support Bel Air aviation”. This group has nearly 4000 people. “It is also in the aim of giving a voice to residents, a majority, for which, or their social life, or their lives and or their outdoor activities were disrupted by the activities of the water aerodrome; on the contrary; they are an integral part of the scenery of the lake of the Turtle”, one can read in the press release this march. The participants of this walk will go to the airport, where speeches will be delivered.