Arbutus corridor gardeners working to salvage plots
Some gardeners along the Arbutus corridor are taking preemptive steps to protect their plots, following the removal of gardens in Marpole last week.
Krista James, a member of the Maple Community Garden in Kitsilano, said the executive decided to cut through fences and wooden garden plots along the CP property line this week.
“We have been trying to take some steps to reduce the amount of damage to our gardens,” James told the Straight by phone.
“Our situation is that our gardens, although we built them in consultation with the city to make sure they were within the right amount of distance from the rail lines, when they were built about 25 years ago it looks like we got misinformation, so our gardens are currently about half on CPR property and half on City of Vancouver property.”
James said bee hives in the garden have been moved across the tracks to ensure they’re on city property, and plants and soil located in a children’s garden have also been moved.
She noted that some gardeners bought soil and cedar to build new pots just this past spring.
“We don’t want the bulldozers to destroy all that beautiful wood and soil that for us was a long-term investment,” said James.
Some people have also been harvesting what they can from their plots, like the sunflowers located on CP property.
“Everybody’s at different stages in trying to salvage pieces of their garden and harvest their plots, but you’ll see probably 25 percent of the garden plots have a good chunk that’s now just soil, because the plants have been harvested early, so we don’t lose them,” said James.
Maureen Ryan, a spokesperson for the Cypress Community Garden, described CP Rail’s removal of gardens along the Arbutus corridor in Marpole last week as “shocking in terms of its devastation”.
“The gardeners at Maple and Cypress Community Garden do understand CP’s legal right to claim their right of way…what we are saddened by is that we always co-existed with CPR and the running of trains,” she said in a phone interview.
“The claiming of the full right of way and the devastation of lilac trees, shrubs, beautiful flower plantings, is a profound loss for the city of Vancouver and for tourists and we’re saddened by that. We hope that the city and CPR will go on negotiating.”
According to the mayor’s office, the city has offered to assist gardeners in relocating any mature fruit trees that could be impacted. It has also offered to take part in a mediated discussion with CP to resolve the issues around the corridor, according to a statement issued this week.