Vancouver mayor muscles 1st spike out of Arbutus Corridor
Tracks to be removed over the next couple of months and a temporary pathway installed
Work to remove the Canadian Pacific Railway line from Vancouver's Arbutus Corridor is officially underway, with Mayor Gregor Robertson on hand for a ceremonial removal of the first spike, Friday morning.
Robertson and Vancouver's chief engineer, Jerry Dobrovolny donned safety vests and hard hats for the photo op, and together removed the pre-loosened spike with a long pry bar. The mayor kept it as a souvenir.
- Railway removal starting along Arbutus greenway
- Vancouver to buy Arbutus Corridor from CP Rail for $55M
- CP Rail ripping up Arbutus Corridor community gardens
"We anticipate having a greenway in the near term that people can use, that people can walk, run, cycle, walk the dogs," said Robertson. "We're looking forward to having some very modest facilities initially, in terms of benches and lighting."
.<a href="https://twitter.com/MayorGregor">@MayorGregor</a> dons safety gear to pull the first spike out of the Arbutus corridor. Steel toe boots? 'Close enough.' <a href="https://t.co/rztyWwJXfA">pic.twitter.com/rztyWwJXfA</a>—@raffertybaker
In March, the City of Vancouver reached an agreement with CP to purchase the nine-kilometre corridor for $55 million.
The City of Vancouver will remove the tracks from road crossings and quickly pave over those areas. A CP contractor will do the work to remove the rest of the tracks, beginning at the north end of the corridor, and city workers will follow closely behind to add a temporary asphalt pathway.
Officials expect the track removal to take a couple months, and greenway users should be able to continue using the corridor, with only minor interference at the rolling construction site.
According to Dobrovolny, there shouldn't be much more hassle for gardeners along the corridor, many of whom lost their plots when CP began work to clear the corridor in 2014.
"Right now there have been some sections of garden that were removed over the past couple of years," he said. "There are a couple of tight spots that will need to discussed with the gardeners, but as long as there's room for the equipment to come through, that's fine."
"I just caution people not to come in and create new gardens yet without contacting the city and going through our proper process," Dobrovolny added. "Certainly in the finished product there's opportunity to add more gardens, and that's very much a city priority for us to do that."
The pathway now going in is only meant to bridge the gap until the city undergoes a formal planning process, said officials.
"The city is establishing an Arbutus Greenway project office, which is going to oversee the design and be working on the engagement for the final design of the Arbutus Greenway," said Robertson.
The final greenway plan is expected to be in place in the next year and a half.