Hydro-Quebec is within its rights to go ahead with its Chamouchouane – Bout-de-l’Île high-voltage line to link Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Terrebonne, near Montreal.
This is what the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in a unanimous decision released Friday.
Crown corporation rights of way are deemed inadequate by a group of Lanaudière residents whose properties are on the route.
They argued that the easements used by Hydro-Québec, obtained in 1972 by means of expropriation with compensation, did not allow it to build the new Chamouchouane – Bout-de-l’Île line.
These easements were obtained for the passage of the existing Jacques-Cartier – Duvernay line, which connects Quebec and Laval.
Hydro-Québec argued that the notarized agreements, modified in 1982, allow it to pass three transmission lines over these lands.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the crown corporation, thus overturning the previous decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal.
“[Les conventions] do not mention any restriction as to the source or destination of the electric current. Consequently, the argument according to which the scope of the easements would be limited to the line between the Jacques-Cartier – Duvernay transformer stations cannot be accepted ”, one can read in the judgment.
In May 2018, the Court of Appeal of Quebec had rather leaned on the side of the regrouping of citizens. At first instance, the Superior Court, like the Supreme Court, ruled in favor of Hydro-Québec.
The Chamouchouane – Bout-de-l’Île project, which amounts to $ 1.3 billion, was on hold due to this litigation. It was originally announced in 2015.