Canadian Pacific has finished clearing gardens, brush and other obstructions on its property along Arbutus Corridor and now it’s replacing railway ties that aren't up to operational standard. That replacement work, which paves the way for CP to start using the track for its operations again, began this week.
“Tie replacement should be completed in the next two to three weeks. Following that, CP will turn its attention to any upgrades that might be required at crossings. We do not have a timeline in place for this phase but should have a better idea in the next week or so,” spokesman Martin Cej told the Courier in an email.
“Once all that work is completed and the corridor is brought up to operational standards, Transport Canada will be notified and inspect the line. Once TC signs off, CP will renew rail operations along the corridor.”
Cej wouldn’t reveal how much it’s costing CP to bring the track back to operational standards. “I don’t have that estimate,” he said, adding, “We wouldn’t disclose that.”
CP argued the land is worth $400 million if developed and offered to sell it to the city for $100 million, but the city said it would pay no more than $20 million for the property, which is designated for transportation or greenways.
There haven’t been any further talks about the land — formal or informal — between CP and the City of Vancouver, according to Cej.
Gudrun Langolf, a Marpole resident 30 years, spotted crews replacing the railway ties near Southwest Marine and Barnard Street from the balcony of her co-op apartment on Tuesday.
She maintains it’s a bad decision on CP’s part.
“They don’t have the public on their side on this one,” she said.
Langolf, who’s used the corridor for walking and biking, said she wouldn’t mind if the city bought the land — but not at any price.
“I just wish they [CP] weren’t so greedy. I’m pleased that our city government is looking out for our tax dollar interests because I think the amount that CPR was asking is outrageous.”
Langolf said she wouldn’t be bothered if trains return to the tracks.
“They were here when I first moved here. They were two or three times a day. They were delivering stuff to Molson’s. It didn’t bother me for a second,” she said. “It’s a mechanical sound. It’s not like jet engines from the airport, which are a hell of a lot worse, especially at three o’clock in the morning. And it was a welcome sight. Neighbourhood kids would wave at the engineers and they would wave back. It was not an annoying part of the soundscape.”
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