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Arbutus vs. Cambie

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For a few weeks each spring, Japanese Cherry trees all along the Boulevard burst forth into glorious colour. Did you know that these trees—100 of them—were a gift from Yokohama on the occasion of the 1967 Canadian Centennial? Now in their prime, the Cherry trees are under grave threat due to the RAV line to the Airport.

WHERE WILL THE CARS GO If we lose Cambie Street as one of the major northsouth routes through the city due to RAV construction, what will happen to traffic on Granville and Oak Streets? On Main and Fraser and Knight? The reported plan is for years of RAV surface construction along Cambie from 33TH Ave south to Marine Drive. From downtown to 33rd, RAV will be contained in a tunnel. From 33rd to 49th confidential reports indicate the use of cut & cover construction—like that used for the Cassiar Connector—to dig a big ditch, place the subway deep inside and then fill over at surface level. From 49th Ave south, an at-grade system is expected to eat up traffic lanes or Boulevard north to Marine drive, causing months and years of traffic gridlock. No consideration has been given to the economic cost to commuters and commerce that delays on all the major north-south routes would impose.

Of course, construction using the Arbutus Corridor would barely inconvenience anyone. That the line would be at least $500 million dollars less expensive to build, easily on time for the Olympics and more likely to succeed than a Cambie route given stops at Granville Island and UBC use, don’t seem to matter to our political leaders.

VANCOUVER TAXPAYERS HAVE EXTRA LIABILITY Only GVRD taxpayers are responsible for cost overruns for RAV tunneling. Subway tunnels are notorious for going over budget. Check Seattle or San Francisco or, worse still, Boston. A tunnel project in Boston called the ‘big dig’ was going to cost under $3 Billion when construction started in 1991. Today they are still digging the Boston tunnel. The cost now sits at over $16 Billion. At home, RAV promoters assure us everything will be OK with our tunnel; they know what they’re doing, they say. $200 million has been budgeted for a tunnel that will start under Downtown and continue under False Creek and under Cambie Street before surfacing at 33rd Ave next to Queen Elizabeth Park.

We are also liable for ridership shortfalls. Currently 40 thousand people use the ‘Cambie corridor’. Wildly optimistic ridership numbers of 100,000 per day on RAV are predicted. Anything less and GVRD, but especially Vancouver, taxpayers are there is greater public support for an increased gasoline tax than more property tax. responsible. We pay more because Vancouver property is worth more.

Confidential RAV documents also indicate that payments to the line’s private operator could stretch out beyond the planned 35-year life of the contract.

There is only one taxpayer. So the ‘contributions’ of $300 million each from the GVRD and the Province and the Federal Government and yes, even the Airport’s ‘contribution’ have come—or will come—from your pocket.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE Join us in our fight to save the Heritage Boulevard on Cambie, to prevent Vancouver’s worst traffic nightmare and from burdening ourselves and our children with unnecessary tax risks for decades to come.

Join us with your active involvement.
Or support us with a contribution.
Call 604-738-7534.

Save the Cherry Trees and so much more

copyright © 2002-2006 Cambie Boulevard Heritage Society, Vancouver, B.C. Canada