The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that the City of Vancouver has the right to designate the Arbutus Corridor as a transportation route. The decision culminates a six-year-long dispute between the Canadian Pacific Railway and the City over the future of the 11-km long rail line.
"I am pleased that the courts have upheld the right of the City and its residents to preserve this unique land as a transportation route," said Vancouver COPE Councillor David Cadman. " It is now time for the CPR to sit down with the City and start the process of turning the Corridor into a public amenity that could include pedestrian and cycling paths, community gardens, greenways and transit."
The future of the Corridor, which runs from False Creek to Kerrisdale and Marpole, was first raised in 1999 when the CPR wanted to discontinue rail service and build condos and commercial buildings on the Corridor. The City, however, designated the line as a transportation route. Although surveys at the time found that more than 78 percent of Vancouverites agreed that the Corridor should be preserved for transportation, the CPR launched the legal challenge which has now been settled.
In the 2005 municipal election, COPE proposed a plan that would involve local communities in planning a future for the Corridor that would include multiple uses such as community gardens, bike ways and a link with the city-owned streetcar that now runs along the south side of False Creek.
In 2004, the Kitsilano-based environmental group SPEC held a public visioning competition for the Corridor. The vast majority of entries pictured transportation uses. None called for condos or commercial development.