September 12, 2014 7:25 pm

Talks between City of Vancouver and CP over Arbutus Corridor collapse; rail work to resume

WATCH: Asa Rehman reports on the collapse of talks between CP Rail and the City of Vancouver over the Arbutus Corridor

The City of Vancouver and Canadian Pacific met earlier today to discuss the future of the Arbutus Corridor and despite looking at a number of options, the two parties were unable to come to an agreement. CP says it’s going to resume work on restoring rail operations.

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The city and railway have been embroiled in a battle over what to do with the corridor. CP wants to utilize the area for development and the city wants to turn it into a greenway. CP had begun clearing away the brush and community gardens along the corridor but then agreed to suspend the work while the two sides negotiated a sale.

But those talks have fallen apart and according to a statement by CP, they are “extremely disappointed that the City of Vancouver continues to significantly undervalue this corridor.”

Even though CPR says they will resume the work on the corridor in the coming days, the city said in a statement they will “continue to advocate for citizens’ interests along the corridor and will oppose the reactivation of cargo trains along the corridor.”

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson expressed both frustration and disappointment over the failed talks saying, “the city has offered to purchase the land at a fair price, we came to the table with innovative proposals that would address CP Rail’s concerns.”

The mayor went on to say CP’s “attempts to clear the corridor are nothing more than a negotiating tactic” and that the city will not react by spending tens of millions of dollars based on “flawed appraisals.”

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The City of Vancouver says CP Rail has agreed to suspend all “track maintenance” work on the Arbutus Corridor for the next two to three weeks.

A statement from City Hall says “senior officials” from the city and CP Rail have agreed to meet to discuss the future of the corridor.

CP followed up with a statement of their own saying they are “willingly” participating in the meetings and is “hopeful a resolution may be reached.” According to CP, they will suspend any track maintenance work along the corridor for the next two to three weeks but if a “reasonable solution” is not found by that timeframe, they will resume the work.

Residents along the corridor are angry after CP Rail began clearing the rail line, removing gardens and structures erected along the line, which hasn’t seen a train since 2001.

CP had given residents a deadline of July 31 to remove all gardens and structures from CP Rail property and began clearing property on August 14.

Many people suspect that CP would like to sell the land to city, which has reportedly offered $20 million for the property.

At the time of the clearing operation, Mayor Gregor Robertson said CP Rail was “bullying” the city.

“CP’s removal and destruction of long-standing structures along the Arbutus Corridor is completely unwarranted, and these actions are simply a bullying tactic,” said Robertson in a statement. “The City made a fair market offer to CP to buy the land, which they turned down. There is no business case to reactivate cargo trains along the Corridor, and the City’s right to control the zoning was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.”

VIDEO: CP Rail spokesperson Breanne Feigel on the company’s plans for the Arbutus Corridor.


© Shaw Media, 2014

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