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River Heights residents form neighbourhood association

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The erection of railway silos in River Heights has prompted some residents to form a community association to improve communication between themselves and other area stakeholders.

The eight industrial silos, which sit alongside the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line on Lindsay Street near Mathers Avenue, opened in September.

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

The residents say the silos aren’t the only problem their neighbourhood has been faced with in recent months.

They are also concerned about calls to increase speed limits on residential streets in the area, particularly on Grant Avenue, as well as infill housing and traffic circles.

"We seem to have a non-stop amount of different issues. We think we’ve got one main issue and wake up the next morning and there’s (something else)," said Judy Plotkin, who spearheaded the creation of the River Heights Residents Association.

"The silos were the icing on the cake, the real litmus for change."

Following the construction of the silos, Plotkin and a handful of other residents organized a round table discussion at Montrose School. They delivered leaflets to advertise the first meeting to homes in the neighbourhood. The first meeting attracted about 100 people, and a majority of them voted in favour of forming the residents association.
Since September, the group has held three meetings.

Plotkin said the goal of the association is to create dialogue between area stakeholders, such as government officials and community members, and to deal with some of the major issues in the neighbourhood.

"The economic development (of the neighbourhood) has happened out of scale and proportion with what is deemed reasonable or safe or fair for the tax paying, voting residents of River Heights. We’ve not been a part of that conversation," she said.

Plotkin said one of the main concerns for the group is the removal of the silos, and the eventual relocation of the rail line.

The group will hold its fourth meeting on Jan. 8 at Central Corydon Community Centre’s Sir John Franklin Site. Plotkin said representatives from the civic, provincial and federal government will be in attendance.

"We’re inviting all levels of government… to come together with the community and address these issues," Plotkin said.

Anyone wishing to join the association’s confidential email database should email river.heights.residents.association@gmail.com . The Jan. 8 meeting will be held at 7 p.m.

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