Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson says the city plans to be in “frequent contact” with CP Rail as the company considers its options for the Arbutus corridor.
Workers with CP have been clearing brush along the railway line in preparation for a survey of the land, according to spokesperson Ed Greenberg.
“Our railway’s in the process of sending a letter to residents living along the line so they are aware of what is taking place, and it’s part of a step-by-step process that our railway has started in exploring operational options, and in ensuring this corridor continues to meet Canadian transportation act requirements,” Greenberg told the Straight by phone.
Robertson said the city has made it “very clear” that it would like to see the Arbutus corridor maintained as a greenway for the community, and ultimately continue to have a transportation use for light rail transit.
“CP has a right to use that rail corridor,” he told reporters. “It’s in federal legislation and there’s nothing the city can do to prevent that, other than to say please respect our neighbourhoods, and the historic greenway that’s been there I think is in everyone’s best interest.”
Robertson added the city plans to reiterate its concerns to CP.
“There’s a lot of people that use the Arbutus corridor,” Robertson stated. “It’s quite popular as a place to walk and bike, and walk the dogs, and people have community gardens, so it’s really become an important greenway in the city, and hopefully we see CP respecting that.”
Greenberg said CP has worked with the city in an attempt to reach a deal about the future of the line.
“Unfortunately we weren’t able to find a solution, so we’re at a point now where we determined we should be reconsidering our operational options,” he stated.
“Saying that though, we remain open to continued dialogue and discussions with the City of Vancouver.”
The Arbutus corridor rail line runs between False Creek and the Fraser River.
Robertson noted a 2006 Supreme Court ruling validated the city’s control over development along the track.
“We do not support development on the Arbutus corridor, and we’ll be very clear about that,” he said.
According to Greenberg, CP Rail is still in the early stages of the process, and no decisions have been made yet about future use of the line.