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Action could be taken to remove River Heights silos

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River Heights residents say they are pleased to hear eight silos which "appeared overnight" in their neighbourhood could eventually be removed.


The eight massive industrial silos, which house salt water, were erected alongside the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line on Lindsay Street near Mathers Avenue in September.


Area residents say they received no notice about the silos prior to their construction. The silos were erected by Fort Distributors, a shipper leasing property from the railway.


Last week, city officials announced they planned to issue a bylaw infraction notice to the rail line or the distributor as the placement of the silos violates city zoning bylaws.


Lindsay Street resident Karen Wesa said she was glad to hear action is being taken to remove the silos.


She attended a town hall meeting in September shortly after the silos were installed, and was skeptical anything could be done to remove the silos, which she said have had a negative impact on the neighbourhood.


 "They came up overnight, and they’re ugly. It looks like (we live) in a big industrial area. It doesn’t feel like the same neighbourhood at all," said Wesa, who has lived in her home for five years.


"If I would’ve seen them when I (was purchasing) my home, it would have made me reconsider."


Wesa said she can’t wait to see the silos removed.


"It would be nice, I’m hoping they go down soon," she said.


Coun. John Orlikow (River Heights) said he’s not sure if the infraction notice will be issued to the rail line or Fort Distributors, but feels something needs to be done about area residents’ concerns.


"The land is residential even though it’s on a rail line, and (by having the silos there) it says storing tankers on residential land is acceptable, and it’s not," he said.


Orlikow said ideally he would like the entire railway line be relocated. However, he said it might be difficult for the city to have the line moved since it falls under the Federal Transportation Act.


However, Orlikow stressed the city should have a say in what happens in residential neighbourhoods.


"(The city is who) needs to have the authority ... we’re working on that. The city government needs to control what happens on lands in Winnipeg," he said.


He noted there is a possibility the rail line, or the distribution company, could take legal action against the city once the infraction notice has been sent.

danielle.finch@canstarnews.com

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