“CPR has no heart” signs posted after Pine Street Community Garden razed

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      Members of Kitsilano's Cypress and Maple community gardens are waiting to see if the axe will fall on their plots next.

      This morning (February 26), it was quiet at both gardens along West 6th Avenue at the northern end of the Arbutus corridor, with no Canadian Pacific Railway chainsaws in sight.

      Over the past two days, CP crews tore up much of the neighbouring Pine Street Community Garden—the parts closest to the train tracks, which lie on the company's property.

      On Wednesday (February 25), I spoke to one of the Pine Street gardeners as we watched CP at work. Photographer Martin Kostian, who lives nearby, called it a "sneak attack", though he noted gardeners were warned that anything lying on CP's side of the property line was at risk.

      "I'm not mad at the individual workers that are working the line," Kostian said, amid the sound of a chainsaw. "I'm mad at the company. I am mad at [CP Rail CEO E. Hunter] Harrison, because he has absolutely no care about this sort of thing. Because he lives in New York, he couldn't give a flying..."

      Kostian later sent in the following photos of the Pine Street garden:

      Martin Kostian
      Martin Kostian

      Today, there were "CPR has no heart" signs posted in protest at the Pine, Cypress, and Maple gardens.

      The City of Vancouver has affixed these tags to fruit trees in the corridor:

      Stephen Hui

      In the Maple garden, someone left this message for CP:

      Stephen Hui

      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."

      Comments

      7 Comments

      Tommy Khang

      Feb 26, 2015 at 12:19pm

      People do realize that corporations are not people right?

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      Elly

      Feb 26, 2015 at 12:28pm

      I grew up in the UK, where we Islanders learned to co-habit long ago, mainly because we'd not got a lot of choice! Railways, (major transport in Britain) chugged through areas of prime beauty as well as urban centres. All too frequently, we'd see allotments beside railways. Nobody batted an eyelid at this. It's perfectly natural for the two elements to co-exist, as there's room for all and in an area where we need more agriculture, not less, it makes sense to keep these allotments.
      I don't really understand why it's such a problem here. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't need to be. This may be one Briton's opinion, but it's not a wrong one.

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      Stanley Q Woodvine

      Feb 26, 2015 at 12:56pm

      Oh the irony!

      The CPR of old created both neighbourhoods along the east side of the 11 kilometre Arbutus corridor, along with the sense of privilege that goes with living in the area.

      It is this sense of privilege that Shaughnessy and Fairview residents are currently exercising.

      These are well-off to outright-wealthy folk who not only zealously guard their own private property rights but many of them make their money engaging in the same kind of hard-nosed business practices that the CPR is engaging in.

      It really does depend on who's ox is being gored!

      Don't dare try to plant a garden on any of these residents' property. If they didn't just kick it down, call the police and/or sic their dogs on you (that's a specific dig at Shaughnessy residents BTW) they would take you to court.

      Property rights being what they are, we know they would win.

      And in this case, property rights being what they are, a court has sided with the CPR!

      Thus the irresistible force of Shaughnessy and Fairview residents' self-entitlement runs up against the immoveable object that is the CPR. What a glorious train wreck!

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      WVan

      Feb 26, 2015 at 3:33pm

      Don't worry, wealthy Arbutus gardeners. West Vancouver has well-used train tracks running through equally swishy neighbourhoods and the sky hasn't fallen yet.

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      d. brent

      Feb 27, 2015 at 8:57am

      of all the serious issues going on in vancouver, is this really worthy of our time and concern?? I would rather the city focus its energy trying to address the concerns of thousands of much less fortunate citizens. Please stop giving these handful of whining kitsilano gardeners any more media attention.

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      Martin Kostian

      Feb 27, 2015 at 10:56am

      In fact I know that a lot of the gardeners near me are not wealthy. We also rent 700 square foot apartments with no access to a private yard. Paying to lease a 50 square foot pice of land along some decrepit railway tracks is something we cherish. We are not squatters we are sanctioned by the city and have been for a decade. Along with beautifying the area we also make it safe by cleaning up the rubbish that other citizens leave behind.

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      Tough Luck

      Mar 1, 2015 at 8:06am

      You knew this was coming gardeners. There is nothing illegal with what is being done by CP along their right of way. Ultimately they have no interest in running trains along the route, it lost money before and will lose money again, except as leverage to force the city's hand. Don't fall for that or the emotional propaganda from plot users. The Musqueam People should claim the right of way and take CP to court then negotiate a land swap with the city. That would be a positive move rather than Vision's standard gift to developers.

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