NEWS

Montreal councillor wants a stop to building by tracks

08/22/2013 06:01 EDT | Updated 10/22/2013 05:12 EDT
City councillor and St-Laurent borough Mayor Alan DeSousa wants Montreal-area municipalities to adopt new rules that would prevent developments from being built too close to railway tracks and railway yards.

"I think we have to look at safety first. We have to look at our own communities. We have to say that we have to build safe communities," says DeSousa.

He is proposing Montreal adopt guidelines suggested by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Railway Association of Canada.

Under DeSousa's plan, new buildings would have to be 30 metres from railway lines and 300 metres from rail yards.

DeSousa intends to introduce a motion before city council early next week.

The change could affect planned housing developments across Montreal, including the one planned at the current Meadowbrook Golf Course in Côte St. Luc, right along a rail line.

For years, developers have been trying to build a condominium development in the area. The group could not be reached for comment today.

The CBC spoke to some residents in the area who welcome the rules proposed by DeSousa. Ron Eliakim's home is adjacent to the golf course. He says it provides a much-needed buffer zone between families and the rails.

"Anything that could avert any potential disaster would definitely be the right thing to do for the citizens, for the people, especially the citizens around the rails," says Eliakim.

Côte St. Luc city councillor Dida Berku says the golf course plays a role in keeping the community safe.

"Now we're seeing, in light of Lac Megantic and in light of many other events that are happening across the country, that it is safer to have a buffer zone between residents and railways."

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