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Letter from River Heights Residents Association :Re Silos

November 9, 2012

To Whom It May Concern,

We are writing this letter to bring to your attention the recent issues that are seriously impacting our Neighbourhood and creating an unacceptable increase in Industrialization in the heart of our neighbourhood.

As home owners and residents of River Heights, we were shocked to see the addition of eight 35 thousand gallon silos, holding dust control / de-icing chemical, along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) short rail line located between Lindsay Street and Renfrew Street between Grant and Taylor Avenues.

These storage silos were installed by Fort Distributors along the BNSF short line rail in mid-September. No notification was given to the residents living in the area despite the permits having been issued the year prior. No consideration was given to the impact this would have on property values and residents ability to have peaceful enjoyment of our homes.

This unprecedented industrial development in the heart of our neighbourhood has led us to establish the River Heights Residents Association (RHRA). Through our own efforts we have brought the issue to the attention of the local media, our City Councillor, John Orlikow, our MLA, the Honorable Dr. Jon Gerrard, and our Member of Parliament, Joyce Bateman. We have been actively pursuing answers and accountability for this sudden and unfavourable industrial development in the heart of our neighbourhood.

Through the involvement of Councillor John Orlikow and Hon. Jon Gerrard, we have recently learned that this land is zoned Residential and that Fort Distributors is in violation of the city by-laws. BNSF Rail, have leased this land to Fort Distributors. Cando is now planning a new transfer station to be located on the north side of Grant Ave. This site will require a curb cut, which is now under way. The purpose of this site will be to offload goods from rail cars onto flat bed trucks. The curb cut required to accommodate truck traffic, has been approved by the city.

This ramping up of industry in our residential area will quite likely invite increased rail traffic and semi truck traffic along Corydon and Grant Ave.
BNSF Rail plans to increase the rail activity in the near future and this, as property owners and residents, is unacceptable. The transportation plan by BNSF is an insult to the residents of this beautiful neighbourhood.

We are requesting that all levels of government take an active role in the discovery process of the short line rail service running through River Heights and how this will impact property values and the health and safety concerns of our neighbourhood. There is an apparent disconnect that this industrial feature poses to the beauty, value and integrity of one of Winnipeg's most desirable residential neighbourhoods.

We would like the silos removed, and the proposed transfer station relocated to an more suitable industrial setting where they belong.
We will continue to encourage you to become informed and involved in this unprecedented increase in residential area industrial development. It has no place in our back yards.

We will fight for a reduction in our property taxes to reflect the utter disregard BNSF has for our right to peaceful enjoyment of our homes and properties and for the loss of market value that increased industrial development such as this imposes on the home owners of River Heights.

We would appreciate your timely response to this letter by Nov. 25th, 2012 to the attention of the following email: [email protected] for the River Heights Residents Association.
Most Sincerely,
Debra Black, Acting Co-Chair
River Heights Residents Association
Councillor John Orlikow, [email protected]
Hon. Jon Gerrard, [email protected]
Minister Steve Ashton, [email protected]
Minister Steven Fletcher, [email protected]
Premier Greg Selinger, [email protected]
Mayor Sam Katz, [email protected]
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.