Citizens rail at rail plan
Source: By ROSS ROMANIUK, SUN MEDIA
Published: June 10th 2008

Several Transcona residents complain major neighbourhood streets will become a chaotic parking lot a few times a day for nearly a year because of CP Rail's plan to hold trains in the district.

Coun. Russ Wyatt (Trans cona) said yesterday his constituents have good reason to be outraged after a city hall committee gave a green light to the plan.

"They have 18 trains a day there," Wyatt said of the plan by CPR and the Manitoba Floodway Authority to allow trains to in effect park across several key arteries intermittently beginning in September.

The city's permission would permit CPR "to use a section of my ward as a train yard" with Panet Road, Plessis Road, Grassie Boulevard and Molson Street traffic coming to a standstill far more frequently because of the province's construction of a bridge as part of a $660-million expansion of the Red River Floodway.

TRAIN STAGING

 The city's public works committee voted 3-1 to allow the train staging, which the floodway authority has said is needed to avoid constructing an additional $19-million rail bridge in the area.

"The city is going to do whatever they damn well please," Kildonan Meadows resident Cindy Petric said, noting her home has one small street for access to Plessis. "And if there are trains blocking both ways, we can't even get out of the area. It could be a problem. It could get bad."

Councillors Bill Clement (Charleswood-Tuxedo), Lillian Thomas (Elmwood-East Kildonan) and Harry Lazarenko (Mynarski) expressed satisfaction with the Doer government's new plan to set up a temporary $1.3-million fire-paramedic station on Plessis Road to avoid obstacles for emergency crews.

Only Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) backed Wyatt.

"There's a historic divide in this city. The north and northwest versus the south and southwest," Wyatt said. "And this is symptomatic of that."

Katz, however, said Wyatt's fire safety concerns have been addressed in the agreement to cover the station's costs. And the mayor denied Wyatt's suggestion he's caving in to pressure from Premier Gary Doer.