A Winnipeg city councillor is demanding regular inspections for industrial areas, after a city report says the St. Boniface fuel plant that was destroyed in a massive blaze last year was probably not the only facility storing hazardous materials.
The report, which was presented to the city's standing committee on property and development Tuesday, says there are probably more companies in the area that are illegally storing flammable or other materials that are highly hazardous.
An enormous explosion and fire at the Speedway International racing fuel plant on Oct. 1, 2012, resulted in charges against the company with regards to the storage of flammable liquids.
The fuel plant is located in the Mission Industrial Neighbourhood, which the city report says has close to 40 sites storing flammable or high-hazard materials.
"It is not unreasonable to assume that [this] is not an isolated case and that there are many other properties in contravention of city bylaws," the report states in part.
The lack of on-site inspections at industrial sites concerns many who live nearby, like Jamie Pilek, whose neighbourhood is just a block from the Mission Industrial Park.
"If you're going to have flammable goods like that, it should be monitored by somebody," Pilek said.
Little change since last year, says Vandal
St. Boniface Coun. Dan Vandal, whose ward includes the site of the Speedway International fire, says he's upset there has been little change since the blaze last year.
"The province currently legislates daycares, schools, seniors' blocks, and I think the province just needs to look at this and legislate it as well," Vandal said Tuesday.
"High-hazard industrial areas, especially those with environmental licences need to be inspected on a regular basis."
Vandal said provincial inspections aren't being done often enough and the city should look at ways to regularly inspect those businesses.
As well, Vandal said he would like to see some of the industrial sites relocated farther away from residential neighbourhoods.
"Many of them are aging industries, they've been there for decades, and in the next five to 10 they're going to need significant amount of investments. So now's the time to act on that," he said.
The provincial government says it's still working on improving safety standards at industrial sites and setting a minimum number of regular inspections.
Read the city report on the Mission Industrial Neighbourhood here: