In response to; Municipalities should consider rail safety in land-use planning
As a Winnipeg City Councillor, I read with great interest, the editorial on Saturday from Sean Finn, the co-chair of the FCM’s Guidelines for New Development in Proximity to Rail. The author touts the importance of ensuring new housing constructed near active railway operations is done appropriately and calls on the Provinces to enact new regulations that municipalities would have to conform to. He points out that the guidelines are a ready made package that municipalities and provinces should take leadership in implementing. He also lists four provinces who have, or are, implementing them, and the City of Montreal.
FCM Delegates will be pleased to know guidelines are being implemented in Winnipeg after they were unanimously adopted by Council last year. They are used by our Planning Department in development applications since then, and have even been used several times to approve developments that were conforming to the guideline and there has been at least one occasion where a development not conforming to the FCM’S guidelines was rejected at the corner of Elizabeth Rd and Archibald Rd along the CP Emerson Line.The next step for the guidelines is the incorporation of them into the “Our Winnipeg” and “Complete Communities” master planning documents that guide all new development in Winnipeg.
Municipal leaders often lament the fact that our towns and cities have little influence over the railway activities that cross their communities. Transport Canada has complete jurisdiction over railways in Canada, and though many rail companies have had a collaborative approach with municipalities, at the end of the day the Rail Companies answer to the Federal Government.
Any municipality interested in moving forward with safe rail development could follow these steps:
Link to the motion and the report generated by our planning department which was unanimously endorsed by Winnipeg City Council
In closing, municipalities don’t need the provinces to implement safe development near rail, we can pull ourselves by our own bootstraps and get the job done, like Montreal has done, and like we are doing in Winnipeg.
City Councillor for St. Boniface