Monstrous, hideous, disgraceful eyesores are just some of the words River Heights residents used to describe two storage tanks in their neighbourhood that have been ordered removed by the City of Winnipeg.
On Tuesday, the City’s property and development committee heard an appeal from Fort Distributors to keep the two tanks at 963 Lindsay St., with former councillor Gord Steeves acting as their spokesperson.
Steeves, who represented St. Vital on council for 11 years, argued the City had no jurisdiction over the property, since railways are “beyond municipal power” by way of the Constitution Act of 1867 and the Canadian Transportation Act.
“Railways and the community have to learn to co-exist and we feel this is probably, in the circumstances, about the lightest treading that you could possible have,” said Steeves.
“It is our honest submission that having these tanks here will allow for distributors a better ability to steward the truck traffic in and out of the site at more appropriate times for the community.”
Steeves acknowledged that when the tanks went up, Fort Distributors did not communicate with the residents but has since sent out two letters and held an open house.
Coun. John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) argued the area is zoned residential and allowing the storage tanks to remain would set a precedent all over the city.
The committee members agreed and voted to deny the appeal, even though this may go to a higher court to settle the jurisdictional dispute.
Area resident Debra Black, a member of the River Heights Residents’ Association, called the decision a victory for her neighbourhood.
“We knew that we had a strong case,” said Black, adding that her Association will remain active and keep a close eye on the “eyesore.”
“We would ultimately like to see the removal of the silos, that’s our goal and we hope that that is going to be the end result.”