The use of the two rail lines that go through River Heights for transporting rail cars and industrialization of the adjoining lands continues to increase as does the disruption to the neighbourhood.
The increased use of the rail lines to store and transport rail cars is governed by the Federal Government therefore the City of Winnipeg cannot regulate the land use so it is compatible with the residential neighbourhood.
The result has been the erection of storage Silos, a plan to build a transloading station and the parking of rail cars.
The fact that the City of Winnipeg does not have the authority to regulate the use of these lands illustrates the need remove the rail lines.
The need to remove the rail lines is illustrated by the City of Winnipeg losing its application to have the silo’s removed based on the City’s position that storage of materials is not integral to the rail line operations (works that is integral to a rail lines operation are allowed by Federal law, including transloading stations and storage of material on rail line lands).
A stay of prosecution against Fort Industries was ruled this past Dec 19, 2014. In essence the prosecutor decided that the Federal Government’s jurisdiction over railways and the activities thereof overrules that of the City ability to regulate land use and the Silo’s can stay at the BNSF property.
Over the past few years I have been working to open the door to moving the lines from River Heights to a more suitable location in Centre Port.
A Rail Line Rationalization Working Group is moving forward in working with all stakeholders to remove the rail line out of the River Heights.
There is a basic agreement by all parties on a conceptual plan that will satisfy all stakeholders and detailed implementation issues are presently been addressed.