October 3, 2014 1:25 pm
Updated: October 3, 2014 3:03 pm

City of Vancouver challenges CP Rail in court over Arbutus corridor


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

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UPDATE: The City of Vancouver is going to court over the Arbutus corridor. It has filed a notice of civil claim in the B.C. Supreme Court, challenging Canadian Pacific’s actions in clearing the Arbutus corridor, and reactivating it as a railway. The City is not only filing a constitutional challenge, but it is also seeking more immediate court orders to stop CP from initiating further construction, demolition or clearing of community gardens.

“We’re using every tool we can access to ensure our citizens are represented and the interests of the City of Vancouver are protected,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, in a press conference today.

“The long term interest in the city, through our citizens, is that that is a green way and not an active railway. It has not been active for a dozen years now, so the City’s case is really about ensuring we protect that corridor in the long term…”

The announcement comes after talks broke down between the two sides in September.

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 last month.

CP announced it would resume work on restoring rail operations when the two parties were unable to come to an agreement.

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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.


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