The Canadian Pacific Railway has begun the process of demolishing community gardens and structures that occupy its private lands.
Photos tweeted this afternoon show bulldozers and excavators removing vegetation and garden structures on the railway near the Fraser River end.
— bammer (@abamendine) August 14, 2014
Earlier this summer, gardeners were asked to remove their structures, plants and crops no later than July 31. It said this was needed so that its engineers can perform maintenance and surveying work to allow for the possibility of reactivating the railway.
“We are a reasonable landowner who – for some time now – has allowed the presence of trespassers on our land without retribution,” said Mike LoVecchio, Director of Government Affairs of CP Rail. “I know this is a harsh description of those who have put such care into beautifying our land with their unauthorized gardens, but what would you call those who park their vehicles or build storage structures or leave abandoned items on our land without permission?”
The railway company wants to sell the 45 acre, 11 kilometre long property, but to zoning that permits its full development potential. Current municipal zoning restricts the right-of-way to greenway and car-fee transportation uses, which has depreciated the value of the lands to a fraction of its potential full value.
The City of Vancouver has engaged CP Rail in discussions to purchase the railway, but in the latest negotiations both parties were about $80-million apart. The municipal government offered $20-million while the private company asked for $100-million.
The CPR has been trying to sell the Arbutus Corridor for its full development potential since the early 2000s, but the City of Vancouver successfully fought back against any development potential in the Supreme Court of Canada. The company has owned the strip of land for nearly 130 years.
Featured Image: Bammer via Twitter