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Montreal adopts new guidelines for residential developments near railway operations

The City of Montreal has become the first major urban area in Canada to adopt the Guidelines for New Development in Proximity to Railway Operations into its long-term development plan. The guidelines – developed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Railway Association of Canada (RAC) as part of their joint Proximity Initiative – address railway-community issues concerning noise, vibration, and safety.

“We’re very pleased to see the proximity guidelines included in Montreal’s long-term vision,” said Sean Finn, FCM-RAC Proximity Initiative Co-Chair. “Ultimately, this will provide for safer, more livable conditions for Montrealers moving forward.”

The Montreal Agglomeration Council – which represents the City of Montreal and 15 independent cities on the island of Montreal – approved Montreal’s Development Plan on Jan. 29. The plan will steer the city’s development and land use planning over the next 10 years, and identifies requirements – such as setback distances and vibration thresholds – which must be met if sensitive land uses are proposed adjacent to a main railway line or yard. Developers must also fulfill the guidelines’ requirements when completing a viability assessment to ensure safety.

“Montreal is a built up environment with many neighbourhoods in transition,” said Proximity Initiative Co-Chair and mayor of Marwayne, Alta., Jenelle Saskiw. “In this case, the guidelines concerning redevelopment, infill and conversions are particularly relevant.”

The Province of Quebec and the Montreal Metropolitan Community will review the updated plan before the cities of the agglomeration update their respective urban plans.

In September, the City of Montreal won the first-ever Merrill Henderson Award for its proactive approach to identifying and planning for new residential developments in proximity to railway operations.

“We appreciate the commitment of (Lachine mayor and past FCM president) Claude Dauphin and (Montreal Executive Committee Member responsible for Urban Planning) Russell Copeman,” said Proximity Initiative Project Manager, Cynthia Lulham. “The final outcome reflects their continued support.”



Alex Paterson
Railway Association of Canada
Neil Morrison
Federation of Canadian Municipalities

About the Railway Association of Canada

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) represents more than 50 freight and passenger railway companies that move 75 million people and $250 billion worth of goods in Canada each year. As the voice of Canada’s railway industry, RAC advocates on behalf of its members and associate members to ensure that the rail sector remains globally competitive, sustainable, and most importantly, safe. Learn more at railcandev.wpengine.com. Follow us on Twitter:@RailCanada or Facebook: www.facebook.com/RailCanada.

About the Federation of Canadian Municipalities

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the national voice of municipal government. In leading the municipal movement, FCM works to align federal and local priorities, recognizing that strong hometowns make for a strong Canada. Learn more at fcm.ca.