Redwood Estates wants Highway 401 sound barrier; noise tanking property value, resident claims

Redwood Estates homeowner Remi Tremblay makes a presentation to South Glengarry council on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Tremblay is asking the township to lobby the Ontario government for a sound barrier along Highway 401, claiming the highway noise is tanking property resale value. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

LANCASTER – A homeowner in a Bainsville area subdivision claims Highway 401 is hurting the resale value of homes in his neighbourhood.

Remi Tremblay, who claims to represent everyone in Redwood Estates, made a presentation to South Glengarry council last week, asking it to lobby the Ministry of Transportation for a sound barrier along the south side of the freeway.

Redwood Estates, established in 1994, has 29 homes along two streets – Shannon Lane and Karen Drive – south of South Service Road and southwest of Bainsville.

“People try to sell their house, it takes forever. It’s always under-evaluated. If the evaluation is at $450,000, it’s going to sell for $50,000 or $60,000 less. It’s a lot of money that we lose,” Tremblay told council.

While there are still nine building lots, Tremblay says “nobody wants to build there” because of the highway noise.

Tremblay claims the highway traffic has increased 40 per cent “over the years,” based on MTO statistics, and that it’s also causing health problems, such as insomnia.

He says they have conducted sound testing at his house, which is 400 meters (1,300 feet) from the highway, and the results were 65-67 decibels. “It’s really way too high,” he said, “(we are) pretty far from the highway.”

He also took issue with South Glengarry being the “king of the truck stops” and that six stops in the area “are always full” and “that’s a big issue.”

“You’d be opening quite a can of worms,” Coun. Sam McDonell said of erecting a sound barrier, asking rhetorically how many kilometers of highway runs through South Glengarry. McDonell also challenged Tremblay’s assertion that the truck stops were a problem, saying that if there were a truck stop at every exit, it would be full every night.

Coun. Martin Lang asked whether the 29 homeowners are “interested in putting money in,” considering they would stand to gain $1.7 million in increased home values (29 homes at a $60,000 increase in value). Tremblay believes the homeowners are already putting a lot of money in through taxes – his taxes are $7,000 a year, which is “too much.”

Tremblay believes a sound barrier will increase home values and encourage more building.

His presentation is being sent to township staff for a report at an upcoming council meeting, likely in January or February 2019.

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