Canada: Deux Actions Collectives Contre Des Parcs Éoliens Récemment Autorisées Au Québec

Last Updated: April 25 2016
Article by Jérémie-Nicolas Moisan and Jean Lortie

Most Read Contributor in Canada, September 2018

Depuis le début de l'année 2016, deux demandes d'autorisation d'exercer des actions collectives ont été accueillies à l'encontre de parcs éoliens situés au Québec.

Le projet éolien Seigneurie de Beaupré1

En janvier dernier, la Cour d'appel a infirmé la décision de la Cour supérieure qui avait rejeté une requête pour autorisation d'exercer un recours collectif contre les Parcs éoliens de la Seigneurie de Beaupré 2 et 3 et Parcs éoliens de la Seigneurie de Beaupré 4 (ci-après « Parcs éoliens de la Seigneurie de Beaupré »), situés dans la région de Québec. Dans cette affaire, les requérants prétendent que les membres subissent, depuis mai 2011, des inconvénients anormaux causés par les activités reliées à la construction de ces parcs éoliens. En avril 2015, l'honorable Johanne April avait rejeté la requête, en retenant notamment que les inconvénients reprochés aux intimées n'étaient pas subis par l'ensemble des membres de l'action collective projetée. La Cour d'appel a, pour sa part, autorisé l'action collective, tout en reconnaissant certaines des lacunes quant à la preuve des requérants qui avaient été aussi soulevées par la juge de première instance. La Cour d'appel, estimant également que les inconvénients allégués n'apparaissaient pas être subis par l'ensemble des membres du groupe, a autorisé l'action collective, mais en prenant soin de circonscrire le groupe aux seuls membres habitant dans un secteur bien précis.

Le projet éolien des Moulins2

En mars, la Cour supérieure a accueilli une demande d'autorisation d'exercer une action collective, fondée sur des troubles de voisinage que subiraient les résidents et occupants d'immeubles à proximité des éoliennes du Parc éolien des Moulins, situé dans les municipalités de Thetford Mines, Kinnear's Mills et Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf. Les requérants se plaignaient non seulement d'inconvénients associés à la construction du parc éolien, mais aussi d'inconvénients associés à l'exploitation de ce parc éolien.

La Cour supérieure a conclu que les quatre critères d'autorisation de l'action collective prévus à l'article 575 du nouveau Code de procédure civile avaient été remplis. La Cour a cependant longuement discuté du second critère, alors qu'elle devait décider si l'action collective allait être autorisée à l'endroit de toutes les parties intimées impliquées dans cette affaire. En effet, cette action était non seulement dirigée contre le propriétaire du parc, un commandité, mais aussi contre le commanditaire et les sociétés qui dirigeaient le commandité et le commanditaire. La Cour a retenu qu'il n'y avait pas de responsabilité potentielle pour plusieurs des entités visées par l'action collective, puis a rejeté la demande d'autorisation à leur endroit.

Conclusion

Les actions collectives autorisées contre les Parcs éoliens de la Seigneurie de Beaupré et le Parc éolien des Moulins s'ajoutent à l'action collective ayant été autorisée à l'encontre du Parc éolien de L'Érable3 en 2014. Il s'en suit que trois parcs éoliens font maintenant l'objet d'actions collectives fondées sur des allégations de troubles de voisinage. Ces actions collectives sont une bonne illustration des enjeux complexes auxquels des projets énergétiques peuvent faire face. Ces décisions nous rappellent également que les tentatives d'entreprendre des actions collectives en matière de droit de l'environnement se multiplient, notamment en matière de troubles de voisinage, depuis la décision de la Cour suprême dans l'affaire Ciment du St-Laurent inc. c. Barrette4.

Footnotes

[1] Blouin c. Parcs éoliens de la Seigneurie de Beaupré 2 et 3, 2016 QCCA 77; Blouin c. Parcs éoliens de la Seigneurie de Beaupré 2 et 3, s.e.n.c., S.E.N.C, 2015 QCCS 1619

[2] Labranche c. Énergie éolienne des Moulins, s.e.c., 2016 QCCS 1479

[3] Rivard c. Éolienne de l'Érable inc., 2014 QCCS 5189

[4] Ciment du St-Laurent inc. c. Barrette, 2008 CSC 64.

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