CP Rail rips up Maple and Cypress community gardens in Kitsilano (photos)

    1 of 10 2 of 10

      Community gardeners teared up watching CP Rail contractors pull up their plots in the Arbutus corridor.

      Today (March 2), crews were at the beautiful Maple and Cypress community gardens in Kitsilano, dismantling the half of the gardens that lies on CP property.

      Last week, CP did the same to the neighbouring Pine Street Community Garden, leading to the posting of “CPR has no heart” signs at all three gardens.

      Maple gardener Kate Gole was out making a last-ditch effort to "save some daffodils" as the excavator crept up the garden.

      "I've been here for 25 years, and I can't even talk about it," Gole said before getting too choked up to say anymore.

      Someone left a message for CP at the Maple Community Garden.
      Stephen Hui
      An excavator dismantles a fence at the Maple Community Garden.
      Stephen Hui
      Canadian Pacific Police Service officers at the Maple Community Garden.
      Stephen Hui
      An excavator works its way up the Maple Community Garden.
      Stephen Hui

      Meanwhile, one angry Maple gardener asked workers if they were "proud" of the job they were doing.

      60 seconds of CP Rail demolishing the Maple Community Garden.
      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."

      Maureen Ryan, spokesperson for the Cypress garden, said it was "heartwrenching" to see plants being ripped out of soil.

      "What has happened today is that large trees have been chainsawed and uprooted, and it's very, very painful for the community and for gardeners," Ryan said. "There will be rebuilding on remaining city land to try to restore some kind of environmentally beneficial habitat."

      The line between city and CP land at the Cypress Community Garden.
      Stephen Hui
      A pile of wood at the Cypress Community Garden.
      Stephen Hui
      A tree bears a message at the Cypress Community Garden.
      Stephen Hui

      Ryan, however, acknowledged that some workers have kindly helped gardeners move trees and wood out of the path of the excavator.

      "It is tragic that the negotiations between CP Rail and the city had to come to this," Ryan added.

      A sign at the Cypress Community Garden urges people not to steal plants.
      Stephen Hui

      According to Ryan, since CP started demolishing the Pine Street garden, Cypress and Maple gardeners had been working hard to salvage what they could from CP's property.

      "The sad thing was members of the public came in and stole the stuff we dug up to save," Ryan said.

      Still, Ryan maintained that the gardens of the Arbutus corridor aren't going anywhere, as gardeners are "resilient".




      Mar 2, 2015 at 3:34pm

      It is about time. Those garden squatters had to go. The land belongs to CP, they can do whatever they want with their land. Their land is looking much better when the overgrown plants are removed. It is much easier to trespass now.

      Kenneth Lawson

      Mar 2, 2015 at 6:43pm

      This great news CPR should send a rental bill to the freeloaders living in that area!


      Mar 2, 2015 at 8:24pm

      Where's Gregor in this? Used this as a PR soapbox until it became unwinnable. Never a champion of the losing battle. A phantom.


      Mar 2, 2015 at 10:46pm

      Looks like the CP trolls are having a convo with themselves! Because really, why engage idiots who think corporate greed and ripping up gardens is a good idea?!

      So awlright CP! You showed those snotty high falutin' community gardeners and their recently, overwhelmingly re-elected Mayor Moonbeam whose boss! You're no sore loser, no siree! Just because you weren't able to fleece the Vancouver taxpayers into giving you the massive amount of cash you think you're entitled to (as opposed to the reasonable amount you were actually offered) for lands you were in fact given and no longer have use for, well I dunno. But tearing up community gardens is definitely the negotiating tactic you wanna go with, absolutely! You totally deserve those big balls that hang under your pick up!

      Not as bad as I thought

      Mar 2, 2015 at 11:01pm

      CBC's story claims that some of the land will be spared from cleaning. I hadn't realized that. I'd just finished reading that story when I came here.

      <blockquote>CP is helping gardeners move plants and benches to the side, saving signs and going around trees that have been tagged for transplanting in city parks.

      One of the community gardeners, Kate Goule, said she was moving plants into the part of the garden that will not be cleared, which she said is "basically less than half of what we originally had."</blockquote>

      The most shocking part is...

      Mar 2, 2015 at 11:13pm

      How many commenters here seem to *delight* in the fact that those harmless gardens are being ripped up.

      WTF is wrong with such people?

      Can they make some claim as to being personally harmed by the gardens?

      Do they hate the mayor so much that they, through some twisted logic, enjoy this destruction?

      Are they such bitter people that they enjoy dozens, maybe hundreds of people losing their healthy and visually inoffensive hobbies?

      Are they such corporate whores that they worship the dollar above all else and someone else getting something for free incenses them? (And how, then, do they ignore CPR getting the land for essentially free themselves?)

      WTF is wrong with such people?


      Mar 3, 2015 at 6:23am

      This is such a huge loss, affecting so many along this corridor. These green spaces and gardens offer beautify spaces for all to enjoy and increase food security allowing the opportunity for growing food in an urban area where land prices are unattainable for many. In the past, when the trains ran the cypress and maple community gardens where allowed to be and CPR worked together with the gardeners to maintain the area around the tracks. This disgusting display of bullying and destruction of trees and gardens is completely senseless. Just as disappointing are the comments calling gardeners squatters and freeloaders. It is disturbing that people think this way. Where is your sense of community?! We need to be working together supporting community initiatives rather than the money hungry corporations with far too much power. Shame on CPR, what are you really trying to achieve here?!


      Mar 3, 2015 at 8:23am

      It is not C.P. property nor are any of the lands they are built on or that of C.N. theirs. A treaty was made, several actually, for these CORPORATIONS to "utilize" tracks of land under the management of Native Peoples. In exchange,these CORPS would pay fees to those Nations. It started out alright but over the years, fees have stopped and so it is now Ours again to do what we please and your projects are good ones.

      You are being hosed

      Mar 3, 2015 at 9:10am

      The city is getting the corridor cleaned up on CP's dime. After the sale, the city will clean up any remaining gardens on city property to make it more attractive to potential developers.

      3rd generation Vancouverite

      Mar 3, 2015 at 9:41am

      It is private property. The gardeners were not given permission from the land owner to use the land for any purpose other than to cross to the other side. It is NOT a walkway, green space or parking lot. If random citizens came on to property of other citizens and used it as they wanted there would be anger and possibly lawsuits. Why is it any different for a corporation? The Arbutus Corridor has always had an attitude of 'not in my neighbourhood' and now someone (CP) is finally putting there foot down and saying 'enough'.