Quebec expropriated about 235,000 square metres of land from the district to create the Decarie expressway in the early 1960s, leaving a car-filled crater where homes and businesses once flourished.
However expropriation is defined as "the act of taking of privately owned property by a government to be used for the benefit of the public."
In expropriation a government forces a vendor to sell land and then reassigns that land for some other public-oriented purpose.
But in this case the government did not reassign land, they literally carted it off in trucks.
A significant part of the area - maybe 2.5 million cubic metres of land - was trucked off and it is not bringing any benefit to anybody wherever it went.
The province has already paid homeowners who were forced to hand over their property.
But the municipality got nothing.
Assuming the land is worth about $1,000 per square metre, the province should pay $235 million to the borough or perhaps the replacement price equivalent for bringing all that land back, which would be considerably more costly.
What would the borough then do with that money? Glad you asked.
The borough could issue a cheque of $1,424 to each of the 165,000 residents of the borough.
Or else they could take that money and cover parts of the Decarie Expressway with a highway cap park.
Such parks over highways include the Freeway Park in Seattle, the five parks of the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, the five-acre Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, and St. Louis's CityArchRiver at the Gateway Arch created last year at the cost of $380 million.
A recent plan to cover abot 125 metres x 30 metres of the Ville Marie Expressway has been estimated at something between $200 million and $500 million.
The borough could kickstart the process of getting something built over the expressway by launching a lawsuit and seeing where the ball rolls from there.