My 2 Sense My 2 Sense

My 2 Sense

The Arbutus Corridor


July 3, 2014

Without Prejudice
Arbutus Corridor

Breaking News - Aug 28

Canadian Pacific has granted a two week moratorium on the "clearing" of their right-of-way to allow negotiations with the City to proceed. How big of them. President Keith Creel thinks he's being a nice guy. Listen up Keith. You got the land FREE from the people, now give it BACK to the people for FREE, not for $100 million or $20 million. Have you no honour at all?

Seriously, I understand that CEO's are responsible only to their shareholders who grant them big bonuses when they succeed and golden parachutes when they fail. But the shareholders are CANADIANS too. Do none of them have enough integrity to allow the title on the land to be given back to the people, and their CFO can write it off against profits? Win/Win.
Course I hope this doesn't happen until Gregor gets the boot or he'll put in a bicycle freeway. It is a transportation corridor and should be used for light rapid transit, with safety fences/.hedges on either side with an adjacent bike and walking trail.

Breaking News - July 21

The City of Vancouver is prepared to offer Canadian Pacific “fair market value” to purchase the Arbutus corridor, according to a statement from Mayor Gregor Robertson. As you will see below, “fair market value” should be ZERO dollars. CPR is bluffing as it has no use for the corridor and is not allowed to sell to developers according to the Supreme Court. My worry is Gregor will put in an eight land bike freeway with greenway and Babylonian hanging gardens.
Arbutus Corridor

CPR has been involved in conversations to convert the Arbutus Corridor for a number of combined public uses, such as a greenway, public transportation, community gardens and Eco Density development.

"Despite our efforts, the company and other parties have been unable to achieve a plan for the disposition of this valuable asset," says company spokesperson

"As such, we are moving forward with upgrading this rail line to ensure it meets the regulated safety requirements for our operations. This includes surveying and marking property lines and clearing the right-of-way of encroaching vegetation or other items."

CTV News goes on to say CPR has plans to use the 11k stretch of track for "training" of railway personell. Yeah right. Like the denizens of Angus Drive and Kerrisdale are going to allow trainees to shunt boxcars and engines up and down the tracks.

Here are some facts as related in my 2005 letter to then CEO, Rob Ritchie.

In 1886, the federal government deeded railway right-of-ways to CPR for zero dollars, including the Arbutus Line. In the last 120 years, I have no doubt the railway has recouped the costs of building the line many times over. And now it is time to give it back to the Canadian people. ( see more of that article )

Like all executives of large corporations, the current CEO of CPR, Hunter Harrison ( an American) thinks we are all stupid. For him, it's all about money. The Arbutus Corridor is on the books as a ASSET. As a publicly traded company, to give it away would upset the shareholders, and that of course would not please Mr. Harrison who, like all CEO's depends on that great year-end bonus.

Seriously, they are not going to use the cleaned up tracks for employee training. You think they would be shunting engines and boxcars and perish the thought, tankers through a residential area. They are "cleaning" up the tracks to make the statement that THIS LAND IS OURS so that they can sell it. If the City has the dough, it can be a greenway, or a light transit line. If not, CPR can sell the land to developers for what they call "Eco Denstiy" housing. Which means lots of skinny apartment buildings.

So listen, everyone is going to have a different opinion of what should become of the Arbutus Corridor. My preference is for light rapid transit with possibly a bike lane/walking path incorporated it there is room and it is safe to do so. What NO ONE wants is an 11k line of thin apartment buildings. And for the folks who have gardens there now....be thankful you've had a free ride because it really isn't your land, it should be used for ALL of us.

Mr. Harrsion, please cut the bullshit, grow a pair, accept the historical reality of your company and give the goddamn land back to the people of Vancouver.


Courtney Smith

Original letter to CPR in 2005