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Railway Sector, local governments unveil railway proximity guidelines

VANCOUVER, B.C.– The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) have unveiled brand new land use guidelines and a website intended to promote best practices and awareness about the issues associated with developments near railway operations.

The document, “Guidelines for New Development in Proximity to Railway Operations”, was launched as part of the FCM Annual Conference and builds on guidelines first launched in 2004. 

Using input from various stakeholders, the updated guidelines address issues concerning noise, vibration and safety and focus on the increasing challenges associated with new residential development. 

“We hope the new guidelines will help governments to create or update their policies, regulations and standards for new residential development in proximity to rail operations in order to apply best practices and create consistency across the country,” said FCM/RAC Proximity Initiative Co-chair and Southwest Middlesex, ON Mayor Doug Reycraft. 

Demand for new forms of infill developments across Canadian cities is growing, including on sites in proximity to railway corridors. As older 20th century commercial and industrial properties are increasingly being converted to residential uses, proximity issues are top of mind.

 The new report outlines common issues that can arise when communities and railways are in close proximity. It also indicates mitigation guidelines and implementation mechanisms for new developments. 

“The new guidelines represent an important step in ensuring that proximity issues are addressed and there is greater awareness around the issues,” said Sean Finn, FCM-RAC Proximity Co-Chair and Executive Vice-President of Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer at CN.

 “The railway industry aims to be a good neighbour and, as residential development continues to grow around rail operations, it is essential that municipalities across the country are aware of best practices pertaining to the intersection of property development and rail operations.”

 Another key component to the revamped initiative is an updated Proximity Issues website with increased functionality. Included are updated issues lists and definitions and a complete reference section.

 The guidelines and best practices were developed by the FCM/RAC Proximity Initiative with the help and participation of stakeholders from all levels of government, railway operators, municipal urban planners, the FCM and the RAC.

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