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Spring Gillard
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Tracking Threats

CPsignCanadian Pacific (CP) Rail posted this sign along the 11 km railway tracks on Vancouver’s westside this week. Community gardens line what is known as the Arbutus Corridor. The tracks haven’t been in use since 2001, except for dogwalkers, gardeners and evening strollers. There has been a long battle between the City and CP about these lands. CP owns the track and up to ten metres of right of way along either side. The city owns the land that the gardens are on. CP says they want to develop the land. My guess is that they want the City to buy it. They intermittently raise a ruckus in the media to try to get their way, or raze the blackberries, or spray them with herbicides. They are currently bullying the community gardeners, warning them to remove sheds and fruit trees by the end of the month, or else. Now they’ve posted this threatening sign. What they are really doing is making sure the gardeners put pressure on the City so that they will buy the land. Which appears to be working. Some of my fellow community gardeners have been writing letters to city politicians.

Hey CP, here’s a better corporate citizen idea. Instead of a skinny band of row houses along that narrow strip of land, why not think social housing? Why not put your old trains on the defunct tracks and create nice tiny mobile homes for low-income people along that beautiful, lush greenway? We have homeless people on the westside too. Bet your stock would grow as well as the gardens then.

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