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Zoning changes to keep dangerous materials further from residential areas

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Fire officials estimated there was upwards of 400,000 litres of explosive chemicals on site, including methanol and diesel fuel.

The City of Winnipeg plans to isolate industrial users with environmental licences from residential neighbourhoods.

Public works chair Coun. Dan Vandal said the zoning changes are the result of the massive fire a year ago at Speedway International, located on Nicholas Avenue in the St. Boniface Industrial Park, near the intersection of Marion Avenue and Rue Archibald.

The fire of biodiesel and racing fuel at the business on Oct. 1, 2012, sent black clouds and fireballs into the late afternoon and early evening sky.

Nearby residents were evacuated as a precaution.

Vandal (St. Boniface) said he remains disappointed that civic staff were unaware of the dangerous materials stored at Speedway International.

A report will be released next week, Vandal said, that will change the zoning rules for industrial users which operate with volatile and dangerous materials.

The report is the result of a year-long effort by the planning department to isolate such industrial firms from residential neighbourhoods.

"I’ve asked the planning department to look at an area plan to put distances between those uses and area residents and that’s coming forward next week," Vandal said. "It’s not something that’s going to happen within one or two months but we need to start a planning process to putting distances between heavy industrial uses with environmental licenses and residents."

Vandal said Speedway International may have begun rebuilding but the company will not be allowed to store the same fuel that was the source of last year’s fire.

Vandal said a separate report was being prepared by the Winnipeg Fire Department and the Office of the Fire Commissioner to improve monitoring of such industrial operations, but he added he didn’t know when that report would be released.

"I was disappointed to hear last year that our department was not aware what was at Speedway," Vandal said. "I know this has really affected the neighbourhood and certainly the politicians and the administration.

"I’m confident (a year later) that our administration is on top of industrial uses."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM CDT: adds video

4:35 PM: Speedway International is located on Nicholas Avenue.

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