Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/9/2012 (2611 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Eight massive red silos erected last week have residents of a quiet River Heights neighbourhood fuming this week.
Property owners were given no notice the metal structures were going up on a rail siding on Lindsay Street near Mathers Avenue.
They worry the silos were built to contain toxic chemicals. With no labels on the structures, it’s impossible to tell.
Some say they bought bungalows on the street because they like the green space there and now the view is ruined.
"My husband is concerned about the resale value of the house," Lindsay Street resident Jenna Jones said Monday.
"I would have thought there’d be a construction notice," her husband Colin Jones added. "Don’t we need permits to do stuff? I don’t know if the law applies to them."
The rail line is owned by BNSF Railway. The Fort Worth, Texas rail company is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway and is one of the biggest freight rail networks in North America.
Rail spokeswoman Amy McBeth wrote in an email Monday the structures were erected in the middle of the rail yard by a shipper leasing property from BNSF Railway.
"Across our rail network, we lease property to customers who manage their facilities and operations. As part of those agreements, the customer secures any needed local requirements," McBeth wrote.
She identified the Winnipeg leaseholders as Fort Distributors. Company executives did not return calls Monday.
The city councillor for River Heights said he spent the day raising the alarm at city hall in defense of residents’ concerns.
In Canada, railways are a federal jurisdiction and rail corridors are located on Crown land, giving Ottawa the final say on goods and services related to rail transportation. A Transport Canada spokesman is expected to comment this week on the issue.
Regardless of federal jurisdiction, River Heights Coun. John Orlikow believes the rail company should have approached the City of Winnipeg before dropping the silos in place without warning.
"The city has no say about land use? I don’t think so," Orlikow said.
By mid-afternoon, three city departments — land use, planning and legal — were looking into the issue, the councillor said.