At long last there is some very significant progress on the Arbutus Corridor.
Just last week the City of Vancouver and CP Rail, the owner of the land, reached an agreement. CP will sell this 9-km rail corridor, stretching from Marpole to south False Creek, to the city for $55 million.
Many years ago the rail line supported passenger trains (the last one ran in 1954) as well as trains carrying freight bound for industrial sites along the route and around False Creek. It’s high time we put public transit back into this corridor. However, with a combination of political leadership and architectural ingenuity we can deliver much more.
When I was first elected to the board for Vancouver City Savings Credit Union our head office was located at 10th and Cambie. When we had outgrown this space, some very creative minds came up with the idea of building our new head office over top of the Skytrain station at Main Street.
Sometimes the obvious just needs to be pointed out. The current plan for the Arbutus Corridor indicates that it could one day carry a light rail passenger service, so there would be a lot of unused airspace over top of any stations or the track itself.
Let’s work together to ensure that a significant amount of affordable housing is constructed making use of that space. The city has already paid for the land so this housing will be massively cheaper than it would be elsewhere. The only cost will be the cost of the housing itself and not the cost of the land under it, which, in Vancouver, is the major driver of high housing prices.
While I’m disappointed that CP is being paid anything for this corridor, given the fact that the company was given the land for free in the first place, I am nevertheless very excited envisioning the great potential this purchase has now created.