Giant LaSalle dirt mound a public safety risk: engineering report

CTV Montreal

Published Monday, January 7, 2019 5:15PM EST

Last Updated Monday, January 7, 2019 7:36PM EST

A large dirt mound in LaSalle is a public safety risk, an engineering report shows.

The mound has been on Cure-de-Rossi St. since the summer, drawing concern from residents.

“People don’t feel comfortable, don’t feel at ease,” said resident Frances Huot.

The source of the giant pile of rock and dirt is a condo development by Apero Construction just on the other side.

The borough has been reassuring residents that the dirt pile may be an eyesore, but it’s not in any danger of collapsing. An engineering report commissioned by LaSalle, however, said it is urgent to proceed with corrective measures to ensure public safety.

The report was written after a Dec. 22 visit to the site and outlines a long list of issues and risks.

  • The mound is far too high
  • The angle too steep
  • The earth is not compacted as it should be
  • The mount is not protected from the elements with a covering

The report also stated there should be a ditch surrounding the mound to capture runoff, as well as cement blocks to keep debris in.

Concordia University civil engineering professor Adel Hanna, who is an expert in soil and foundations at Concordia University, visited the site with CTV.

“This is a dump. This is not an organized embankment,” he said.

After reading the engineering report and having a look for himself, he concluded:

“In terms of stability, it’s okay for now until spring. Spring, I would start to be worried. I assume this has to be removed before sometime in the spring,” he said.

If it’s not quickly removed, Hanna said he has serious concerns about flooding from runoff and about the stability of all the debris.

“So what’s inside the mountain? Nobody knows. So if there is some softer material inside, it will cause a slide of the mountain,” he said.

The borough has been saying it has no power to force the developer to do anything, but it now tells CTV it is looking at trying to use its nuisance bylaw to force the developer to act.

The borough said Apero Construction isn’t returning its calls and several calls from CTV News have also gone unanswered.

Huot said the mound has grown over the last few months. Mud and water have flowed from it into residents’ backyards and at least one basement.

“It’s not a pleasant feeling, and I really am worried. I’m sick of having a knot in my stomach every single waking moment. And every time they say it’s going to be plus 2 (Celsius) today, I know it can’t thaw that fast, but it makes me very nervous,” said Huot.

Huot said her insurer told her it wouldn’t cover damage caused by any problems related to the mound.

To ensure the safety of her and her neighbours, she said she’s now considering taking legal action.

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