Last summer, I blogged about a sign hanging in the Pine Street Community Garden, which lies in the Arbutus corridor along West 6th Avenue between Fir and Burrard streets. The sign pleaded with CP Rail to spare a tree until November so its fruit could be harvested.
Well, CP waited until February to start ripping up the garden. Today (February 24), a CP crew, accompanied by CP Police Service officers, was on site with an excavator, chainsaws, and shovels.
When I arrived at the scene, the excavator was digging up a plot on the south side of the tracks, east of Pine Street. It looked like a bunch of digging had already been done north of the rails.
The CP staffer who looked to be in charge of the operation wouldn't talk about the work and asked me to leave the "active construction site". One of the CP police officers told me to leave CP's private property, as I stood on the well-used footpath between the tracks and the garden plots.
Amrit Lally, who works just around the corner, stopped to watch the garden's destruction for a moment. He hopes CP won't demolish any more gardens.
"Even though I don't live in the area, I actually spend a lot of time in the gardens just having lunch and just relaxing," Lally said. "So for it to be not available anymore, it's a pretty terrible thing."
On February 6, CP posted the following update on its website: "On January 20, 2015, a judgment of the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed the City's application to prevent CP from operating along the Arbutus corridor and continuing its work. After taking time to evaluate the court's decision, CP is resuming steps for reactivating the corridor for rail operations. "
According to its website, the Pine Street garden is home to an urban orchard with apple, pear, and plum trees, as well as 40 vegetable and garden plots.