Smashy smashy in the west side of Vancouver! This fight is between Vancouver's cleanest and greenest ken doll mayor and CP rail over some railroad tracks that the rail wants to get operational again and the city wants to turn into yet another bike path. It seems like CP rail wants to get their shit operational again so they have another stream of blood money flowing through the city. Over the last 25 years people have been snatching up the free green space along the tracks to plant gardens and carve their niches out of the shithole that is this town. Residents of a bunch of west side neighbourhoods are losing their garden plots and losing their shit in the process.
CP went in with trucks a couple days ago and started tearing out community gardens and mistakenly left their gear out overnight, and lo and behold, someone smashed out a window of their backhoe under the cover of darkness! Congratulations to a neighbourhood I doubted! Let's keep it going!
-a vicariously livin' neighbour
Vancouver mayor calls bulldozing of gardens a ‘bullying tactic’
The destruction of community gardens along the abandoned Canadian Pacific Rail line in Vancouver is “counterproductive, unnecessary, and disrespectful,” the city’s mayor said Friday.
Gregor Robertson issued a statement condemning CP’s decision to start bulldozing benches, sheds, flowers and trees along the Arbutus Corridor this week.
“These actions are simply a bullying tactic. The City made a fair market offer to CP to buy the land, which they turned down. There is no business case to reactivate cargo trains along the Corridor,” Robertson said in a statement.
Crews tear up fences along Vancouver's Arbutus Corridor on Aug. 15, 2014. (CTV Vancouver/Nafeesa Karim)
Crews using equipment to mow down mature trees and tearing up gardens along a stretch of abandoned Canadian Pacific Rail line that runs through the middle of Vancouver (CTV)
Arbutus Corridor backhoe smashed
The window of a backhoe was apparently smashed sometime overnight at the bulldozing site along the Arbutus Corridor. Aug. 15, 2014. (CTV)
Vancouver’s right to control zoning on the land has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada, the mayor added.
CP warned residents growing plants and vegetables along the Corridor that their property would be removed weeks ago. The decision to move forward on Thursday still angered many who had been using the land for years undisturbed.
“You can’t recognize it now,” resident Gerry Oldman told CTV News while standing in the remains of his garden. “It looks just like a clear-cut.”
CP Police were sent to oversee the demolition Friday after bulldozing crews arrived at work to find some of their equipment damaged.
The window of a backhoe was apparently smashed sometime overnight. Workers pulled a golfball-sized rock from inside the cup holder.
The Arbutus Corridor demolition marks the culmination of a growing dispute between the rail company and the City of Vancouver over the value of the land.
On Thursday, Robertson called for an immediate halt to the work, but CP issued a statement saying it was "doing what it said it would do."
"We ask that the public respect that the corridor as CP private property and stay out of the area for their safety and the safety of our crews," the statement reads.
CP warned residents back in May that it would been taking over the land and assessing the current track condition for the possibility of running trains again. Oldman said there was no warning that work would start Thursday morning, however.
Oldman and his wife saw activity in the corridor early in the afternoon and decided to go harvest their crops in case the demolition started. That turned out to be the right decision. They got some beans and zucchini out before the bulldozer arrived.
“It didn’t take very long to dismantle years of work and love that was put into the work,” Oldman said. “I was sitting there watching for half an hour and it was all gone.”
Even if CP is going to use the tracks again, Oldman said, it probably won’t be ready to do so for quite a while. He said he thinks the company started bulldozing the corridor earlier than necessary as a “negotiating ploy.”
“They’re not going to use that,” he said, gesturing to the neglected tracks. “Let’s say they use it in October. Let us harvest our crop, at least.”