British Columbia

Arbutus Corridor: CP to resume work on rail line

Talks on the future of the Arbutus Corridor rail line have collapsed.

Talks collapse as CP Rail claims City of Vancouver 'continues to significantly undervalue the corridor'

Just two weeks after the City of Vancouver reached an agreement with CP Rail to suspend all track maintenance work along the Arbutus Corridor, the railway has announced talks have collapsed.

"After meeting today with senior City representatives, CP remains extremely disappointed that the City of Vancouver continues to significantly undervalue this corridor," the railway said in an emailed statement.

"The Arbutus Corridor remains a valuable asset to the railway and as such CP will resume work to return the corridor to operating standards in the coming days."

CP Rail sent a letter to residents two weeks ago. warning it would start spraying herbicide and begin work to repair tracks and crossing along the Arbutus railway corridor on the west side of Vancouver.  

CP Rail says it could be using a shrouded boom sprayer like this one to distribute herbicide along the Arbutus Corridor in Vancouver. (CP Rail )

That's when the City of Vancouver stepped in and arranged for the work to be postponed while the two sides tried to negotiate a solution.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson disagrees with CP Rail accusations the city is undervaluing the land.

“The City has offered to purchase the land at a fair price, and we came to the table with innovative proposals that would address CP Rail’s concerns," the mayor said.  "We offered to bring in a third party facilitator to reach an agreement and we brought in experienced external professionals to assist with the discussions."

Robertson accused CP of being "unwilling to reach a fair agreement." 

CP’s attempts to clear the corridor are nothing more than a negotiating tactic. The City will not react to this by spending tens of millions of dollars based on flawed appraisals that do not reflect the permitted land use on the corridor. "

The city has rezoned the land to restrict any future commercial or residential development.

CP  previously said it intends to work through August and September in order to have the entire line ready for train operations in the fall.

The railway has already ripped up community gardens along the corridor after bringing in heavy equipment in August to clear the right-of-way near its tracks.

Its goal is to have the rail line up and operating by fall in what the mayor claims is a transparent attempt to force the city to buy the land.

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