Residents along Vancouver’s Arbutus Corridor are receiving letters from Mayor Gregor Robertson this week regarding CPR’s stated intention to reactivate cargo trains through their neighbourhoods. The Mayor re-states his firm opposition to cargo trains on the route, provides background on the history of conversations between the CPR and the City of Vancouver, and indicates that the City is prepared to pay fair market value for land.
“As Mayor, I strongly believe that the Arbutus Corridor should remain as it is today - an enjoyable route for people to walk, run and bike along, as well as a home to the many community gardens that contribute to our neighbourhood,” writes Mayor Robertson. “We do not believe there is any business case for CPR to reactivate trains along the Corridor.”
There has been no rail activity on the Arbutus Corridor for nearly 14 years. When the CPR took the City to court in 2005 to challenge authority over land use on the corridor, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the City’s right to determine how land within Vancouver can be used. Since then, the Arbutus Corridor has been used informally by the public as a greenway, walking and cycling route and home of multiple community gardens.
“The City had an independent appraisal done of the Arbutus Corridor lands, and is prepared to pay fair market value for the land,” added the Mayor. “The City is committed to seeking a fair deal with CPR for the Arbutus Corridor lands, so that we can maintain and enhance the Corridor for local residents. We have had discussions for many years and we continue to seek a reasonable agreement. Again, we are hopeful that CPR will accept an offer of fair market value.”