Arbutus corridor gardeners want city to stop CP Rail bulldozers
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.