Arbutus corridor gardeners want city to stop CP Rail bulldozers

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      As everyone in Vancouver has heard by now, CP Rail is razing the community gardens in its right of way on the West Side, starting in Marpole.

      But many are still standing, such as the Pine Street Community Garden, east of Burrard Street.

      One group of gardeners is calling for the city to, well, do something to stop the impending destruction of the remaining gardens in the Arbutus corridor.

      Representatives of Arbutus Victory Gardens, along East Boulevard, have written a letter to the mayor, council, and park board, asking them to take legal action to stop CP Rail. Their August 17 letter states:

      In the wake of the destruction of the Marpole Gardens, the time has now come for action. We respectfully request that the City intervene by any legal means available, such as a stay of action or a legal suit, to halt the progress of CP’s bulldozers until such time as it presents a viable business plan demonstrating actual intent to spend the millions of its dollars required to bring the tracks up to operational standard and demonstrates serious intent to run trains for economic benefit along the corridor.

      We also call on you to prevent CP from spraying herbicides in contravention of City by-laws and other public health policies.

      Further, we ask that you place priority on finding new garden spaces for those whose gardens were destroyed last week.

      Also, as the grantor of the permits for those who garden adjacent the railway corridor, we request that you provide assistance with relocation of plant and garden material placed in good faith. The discovery that many of the garden plots, allocated by the City, straddle both City and CP land is something many gardeners were unaware of until CP installed survey stakes, and many established plants and materials such as compost bins are too unwieldy for gardeners to move themselves.

      The letter also notes:

      Gardens coexisted with the trains for six decades, and did not interfere with safe and effective running and maintenance of the railway line. For decades, there was implicit permission from CP that gardeners could use the land. Moreover, utility poles leased on CP property exist along the tracks closer than the boundaries of the gardens that have been destroyed. If these poles are not a problem for track maintenance, then the gardens are not a problem either.

      It's also worth noting that CP Rail's Arbutus corridor doesn't even connect to those tracks running west-east just south of False Creek. If you've ever bought a coffee at the Starbucks at the entrance to Granville Island, you know trains can't run through that piece of land, sold by CP in the '90s, anymore.

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      19 Comments

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      Stu

      Aug 18, 2014 at 12:42pm

      What part of 'trespassing' do the gardeners not understand?And why should all taxpayers pay to subsidize the gardens of a lucky few Vancouverites wealthy enough to live in this neighbourhood?

      Chris

      Aug 18, 2014 at 1:38pm

      So let me get this straight....if I built a garden in the backyard of an abandoned yard and then years later the owner requests that the garden be removed, I can ask the city to stop the removal??? Are you effin serious??? Wake the EFF up!

      tony

      Aug 18, 2014 at 2:01pm

      CP R ail will change the culture of vancouver one garden at a time.

      15 6Rating: +9

      Id

      Aug 18, 2014 at 2:18pm

      I express my hate to rich people!
      I express my support for alternate group of rich people!
      I seek out these things that are not part of my life, complaining about being a victim is the best part of my day!

      9 15Rating: -6

      Reality

      Aug 18, 2014 at 2:49pm

      What a joke!! If They want to go on a crusade to save their illegal gardens, how about they hire their own lawyer!! The city taxpayers should not be on the hook for court costs so a select few can trespass and benefit from it. These people need a reality check

      Tommy Khang

      Aug 18, 2014 at 2:51pm

      Too bad for these gardeners that Vision has and will be using this as a political issue instead of trying to actually come up with a legitimate solution. Arbutus corridor is Vancouver Aquarium 2.0 of this year's municipal election.

      might want to rethink this

      Aug 18, 2014 at 3:31pm

      so just to be clear, if they actually make CP stop the removal of gardens, will these people pay the city a fee for use of there garden land? or shall we just give it to them for free simply because?
      I think these folks are on a slippery slope with this move. Be glad you had the land for free and got more that a few harvest out of there, because anyway you cut it (city land, or CP land) these gardeners don't own it.
      as for the implied permission argument, if I go into Stanley park and plant a garden, and the garden stay's hidden for 10 years can I ask the city not to remove it since the city was absent in telling me that I was in violation?. I'm thinking the city wants to be no were near this kind of argument in fear of having it comeback to haunt them down the road.
      Best to Call it a day and plant stuff in your own yard people.

      philip

      Aug 18, 2014 at 4:11pm

      How can you complain about something you don't even own? Somebody call the "waaaahmbulance" cuz all I hear are adults having hissyfits #firstworldproblems

      rethink the rethink

      Aug 18, 2014 at 4:29pm

      @might want to rethink this

      A hidden garden in Stanley Park is an extremely weak analogy. CP was fully aware of these gardens as they used to cut the weeds and blackberries back with a tracked mower most years and the gardens were never an issue - in some areas the gardens were being used while they still ran a monthly train. The gardeners and the many people who walk and ride the track have had a good relationship with CP rail for years. In fact CP didn't even bother to replace or install no trespassing signs until just recently. CP has no use for the rail and for most it's history they leased it to companies for tram service - which stopped in 1954. CP has no customers on the line and plenty of empty rail for storage and training elsewhere. They are using the destruction of the gardens to put pressure on the city to buy the land. They just want the money and for them to destroy the gardens only weeks from harvest was senseless. The only reason you are lecturing is that the line is on the west side and people who read the GS hate people living west of Ontario.

      Julie

      Aug 18, 2014 at 5:47pm

      Did you know that one of the garden plots is for food that is taken to the downtown eastside soup kitchen? Did you know some of the gardeners are residents of lower income housing? Maybe you shouldn't be so quick to assume that the gardeners are wealthy Kits folk.

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