Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Trail users oppose plant
Fear more traffic, concrete dust
SEVERAL Transcona residents and walking-trail advocates are hoping a city proposal to rezone land beside a recreational trail to allow a concrete plant isn't etched in stone.
But an official with the proposed concrete plant said the company is doing everything it can to address people's concerns.
The residents are opposed to the idea of rezoning the vacant land at Day Street and Valde Avenue from light industrial to heavy manufacturing to make way for the construction of a concrete plant owned by JC Paving.
Cameron McMahon said he takes his young son for walks on the Transcona Trail, which runs alongside their home. But he'd be worried if the concrete plant was built about 300 metres off the trail.
"There would be concrete dust and heavy traffic, and there's also a daycare there," McMahon said. "It makes me sick. I will move from Transcona if this goes ahead."
McMahon and other residents are circulating a petition aimed at stopping the rezoning.
A residents open house was held Tuesday evening at the Oxford Heights Community Club at 359 Dowling Ave. East.
Another meeting has been scheduled by JC Paving on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the same location so residents can hear from the company.
The matter will come up before the East Kildonan-Transcona community committee for a public hearing at city hall on Oct. 15 at 6 p.m.
Tony Teixeira of JC Paving said the company has taken several pre-emptive measures to address the concerns of residents and trail users.
"We've been pretty responsible to make sure nobody is affected," Teixeira said, noting they had hired both a landscaping architect and an environmental consultant to help with the proposed project.
"There are a lot of assumptions that come with a project like this. I don't blame the residents because most people don't know what it is."
Teixeira said the company is building the plant on the far north side of the 6.47 hectares of property it owns, the farthest site away from area homes, and it is going to have two berms and a "beautiful lush green separation" at its perimeter.
"The extensive landscaping will mitigate any collateral dust. We're paving the lot with asphalt chips to keep down the dust and the plant has a dust-collection system to recycle it," he said.
The company has even agreed to pave Valde Avenue at its own expense.
"The two residents on Valde are in support of this... and should the rezoning go through, that's only one step. We then have to make an Environmental Act proposal to Manitoba Conservation," Teixeira said.
But trail users are still concerned about the plant going there.
Area resident Kevin Miller said he roller-skis on the asphalt-paved trail at least three or four times a week while his wife runs on it.
"It is well-used," Miller said.
"The city's trails are getting used more and more each year. And the trail is really maintained. They sweep it and they plow it during winter."
Janice Lukes, chairwoman of the Winnipeg Trails Association, said she is pleased area residents and trail users are up in arms over the proposal.
"The city put a pathway in, the community comes out, they walk on it, and now they take ownership and pride over it so they fight for it," Lukes said. "I'm so happy to hear all that. Hopefully now there will be a sober second thought about the proposal. They don't want to breathe in a bunch of concrete dust."
Leone Banks, a founder of Prairie Pathfinders, which supports hiking in rural and urban areas, said her group uses the trail.
"It seems like there could be a better place for it," Banks said.
"People are making great use of that trail."
Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg, said he sees the Transcona Trail as being one of the major pieces of the city's trail system.
Cohoe said he used to work at a concrete plant so he knows their downsides.
"There's dust, but the trucks coming in and out is an issue. And the noise, too. If you build the trail there, it makes more sense to get the residential density higher. They should look at getting the residential density up instead," Cohoe said.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 9, 2013 B1
Updated on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 7:57 AM CDT: Replaces photo
9:27 AM: Mark Cohoe is executive director of Bike Winnipeg.
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