CP Rail orders Arbutus corridor community gardens, property, businesses to be removed
CP Rail is carrying out land survey of disused Arbutus rail line, and is giving residents a July 31 deadline
CP Rail is giving residents and businesses along the Arbutus corridor until the end of July to remove property from its land, following failed negotiations with the City of Vancouver over development plans.
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In a letter to residents, the company said it has placed surveying stakes along the borders of its land, and will remove any property left after July 31, such as sheds, storage containers, vehicles and community gardens.
The company admits a dispute with the city over the railway's right to develop the land is behind the efforts to reactivate the line, which has not been used in about 15 years.
In recent years the inactive right of way has become a popular dog walking spot, and sprouted community fruit and vegetable gardens, but the railway has been trying to get plans for a property development approved.
"For many years now, CP has been involved in conversations to convert the Arbutus Corridor for a number of combined public uses such as greenway, public transportation, community gardens and Eco Density development," says a previous letter that was sent in May titled 'Notice to residents: Train activity in your community.'
"Despite our efforts, the company and other parties have been unable to achieve a plan for the disposition of this valuable asset. As a result, the company must look at optimizing the use of this corridor. This includes running trains."
CP Rail spokesperson Ed Greenberg said in May having trains run down the track is just one option the company is considering.
"The Arbutus Corridor has always remained an active rail line which requires the tracks to meet specific safety requirements we have to look at every year," he said.
"The brush clearing and survey work are part of that process in ensuring the tracks meet CTA [Canadian Transportation Act] requirements."
City of Vancouver opposed
In a 2006 Supreme Court of Canada decision, the city won the right to have the final say on development along the Arbutus Corridor. The court rejected a CP plan to develop the corridor for commercial and residential use.
However, the mayor concedes the railway still has the legal right to run trains down an active rail corridor.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said the city doesn't support any plans to reactivate the line, and still wants to see it turned into a greenway.
Follow our web reporter Steve Lus as he travels the Arbutus Corridor Rail Line in his blog below: