City of Vancouver, CP Rail reach agreement on Arbutus Corridor


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The City of Vancouver and CP Rail have reached an agreement on the Arbutus Corridor lands.

It will see the corridor turned into a shared pathway. The city is billing it as a way to connect parks and people. The city says there is also the possibility of a future light rail through the area.

The cost of the deal is $55 million. CP had once said the land value was $400 million.

The 42 acres of open space runs about 9 km from False Creek to the Fraser River.

“This is Vancouver’s chance to have a New York style highline, re-purposing what was freight railroad. This is kilometres of public space that’s accessible through our city for all residents to use,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

“The cost to purchase the 42 acres of land was $55 million, which both sides agree is a fair market evaluation, as the land is committed to be an active transportation corridor in the future.”

No development is being envisioned for the narrow strip of land. The public process for the future of the space is expected to be completed in four years.

CP will begin removing the rail tracks within a year; it should be completed within two years.

Any land that’s not needed for the transportation corridor, with the profits split between the city and CP Rail.

How did two parties seemingly so far apart reach a deal?

Canadian Pacific has said the land is valued at $400-million and wanted $100-million from the city, much more than the $55-million deal reached. The City of Vancouver thought $20-million would be fair.

The city has said repeatedly the land would only be used as a transportation corridor. In order to offer CP some assurance that’s the case, both parties have reached a profit-sharing agreement should that end up changing.

Canadian Pacific will get 75 per cent of the proceeds on the first $50-million sold, 50 per cent on the second $50-million and 25% of the third $50-million. The City of Vancouver will retain all proceeds above that.

It seemed both parties were headed for court, but Mayor Robertson says there was a change of heart. “That’s where I think the success started to happen. Recognizing a valuation by an independent appraisal and working from there. And keeping in mind for the potential for councils of the future to do something different with excess lands and that CP would have an upside to that.”

The agreement will be released publicly once the transaction is complete.

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