How Canada is Redeveloping its Rail Yards

[GBP Note:  The article also details redevelopment of Montreal's Rosemont District where a "high-tech business park called the Technopole Angus anchors the site's southern edge, closest to the existing mainline. It and other light industry -- a key demand of the neighbourhood -- provide more than 2,000 jobs."]
A lack of locomotivation

If Regina and Hoboken can redevelop their rail yards, why can’t Winnipeg?

By: Mary Agnes Welch

Posted: 07/14/2012 1:00 AM

Nearly every North American city has them — rail yards that gobble up prime downtown or waterfront land, blight the city and stymie development.

But almost every city has redeveloped them, or is in the process of transforming their rail yards. From Victoria to Moncton to Santa Fe, cities are slowly relocating old rail yards to make way for more lucrative and innovative developments.

Winnipeg is no exception. Nearly 30 years ago, we turned the old CN rail yards into The Forks, and the Fort Rouge Yards are about to become a big, new residential development.

But what of the city’s other central yards — the vast CP Rail tracks that segregate the North End? Recently, the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg has tried to spark a city-wide debate over those tracks, saying the first step is a $1.5-million feasibility study to find out whether moving them makes sense, what might be built instead and how the cost-benefit relation shakes out.

It’s not an easy task. The tracks are huge — once the biggest privately owned yards in the world, according to Doug Bell, president of the Winnipeg Railway Museum. CP Rail is content with them and may sell only reluctantly. Low land prices may make development trickier. And political will is in shorter supply now than when The Forks was created in the mid-’80s.

Click for full article in the Winnipeg Press to read about successful redevelopment in Edmonton and Montreal


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