CP Rail begins clearing Arbutus corridor
Railway posts 'No trespass' signs as it continues to assert its rights over rail corridor
On Wednesday, the sound of falling rain was overpowered by the whine of weed whackers along the disused tracks of Vancouver's Arbutus Corridor.
Only weeks after demanding residents remove property from its right of way, CP Rail has begun erecting 'no trespass' signs along the corridor and trimming vegetation.
But it still hasn't touched the community gardens.
CP Rail says brush clearing will continue this month as part of its plan to bring the rail line up to federal operating standards.
- CP Rail orders Arbutus corridor community gardens be removed
- Arbutus corridor will not be cleared immediately, says CP
People were asked to move everything that encroached on CP land by the end of July, including all plants and gardening sheds. But that deadline came and went without incident.
Trains haven't run along the line in more than a decade and some gardeners have spent 20 years or more, trying to create an urban green space there — an oasis of flowers and trees.
Many are frustrated the city and CP haven't been able to reach an agreement to protect it.
"We're very disturbed that there hasn't been mediation, or that there hasn't been a compromise; that the parties haven't been able to meet at a middle ground and find a small piece of property that is not used for the community that could be given to CP," said resident Claire Cameron.
The city says it doesn't want freight trains running down the line, and has offered CP what it calls fair market value for the land. CP says the offer isn't what it considers fair. It says the railway shouldn't be faulted for behaving like one.
"What we really need to emphasize is the Arbutus Corridor is CP property," said CP rail spokesperson Breanne Feigel. "It is property we own and we are acting lawfully as a landowner and as a railway in running operations there and choosing to use that property."
Talks between the city and CP have been ongoing for years. Some neighbourhood residents say it should never have gone this far.
Follow our web reporter Steve Lus as he travels the Arbutus Corridor Rail Line in his blog below:
With files from the CBC's Tim Weekes