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City rules silos in River Heights must be removed

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A city committee has upheld an order which calls for eight metal silos in River Heights to be removed.

In September, Fort Distributors installed eight metal silos along a stretch of rail line in a residential section of River Heights. Neighbours immediately complained to the city and the city ordered the storage tanks be removed by mid-December.

City officials say Fort Distributors is leasing the land from the railway, and the tanks are not core to the railway's operations.

This morning, lawyer Gord Steeves told council's property and development committee the tanks are related to the railway's operations, which the city has no jurisdiction over due to federal transport rules. Steeves asked that the order be cancelled, and the tanks be allowed to remain.

He said the tanks make it easier for Fort Distributors to unload a chemical used to reduce dust on gravel roads, which reduces truck traffic and noise in the neighbourhood. The company is willing to work with the neighbourhood to minimize the impact, he said, which could include things such as painting the tanks.

Nearby residents called the tanks "ugly" and "monstrous" and said they were placed on land zoned for residential use, not heavy industry.

River Heights Coun. John Orlikow urged the committee to deny the appeal, saying the city must not set a precedent that could allow more storage facilities to be built on railway lands within Winnipeg.

Council's property and development committee voted to uphold the order that the silos be removed due to their "substantial impact" on the community.

City property director Barry Thorgrimson said he believes the city has solid ground to move forward and uphold the existing bylaws.

Steeves said there's a "fairly good chance" the matter will be appealed in court.

History

Updated on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:38 AM CST: Updated and new headline

1:57 PM: updates with new photo

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