Its one of those stories that just won’t go away-why do the railways in major cities behave in such an unfriendly  manner? As reported in Business in Vancouver  Jane Seyd in the Northshore News has written about CN Rail undertaking a lawsuit  asking for millions of dollars a year in rent to CN Rail from the District of West Vancouver..

“On Feb. 17, CN Acquisition, an arm of the railway company, filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court against the municipality, stating that the rail company had cancelled the district’s lease. The suit asks for an injunction preventing the District of West Vancouver from trespassing on the land.The lawsuit also seeks damages for the district’s use of the land and for overdue rental payments.

The municipality has fired back with an application filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency, a quasi-judicial federal agency that oversees railway operations. In that, the district has asked for an order allowing the municipality continued use of the Seawalk over the CN right-of-way, “which has been used by the residents of West Vancouver for the past 50 years” and which “forms an integral part of the system of pedestrian walkways in place in West Vancouver.”

So it seems that there has been no lease or rental payments for two decades and that CN had wanted the District to pony up for a payment for that recreational walking corridor. It also seemed appropriate to CN Rail for the District of West Vancouver with a population of 42,000 to pay an annual rent of 3.7 million dollars. Since the offer from the District was $12,500 you could say the two parties are far apart in the negotiating.

It appears that since 1913 West Vancouver allowed rail corridors on their land as long as there were public crossings. The question is whether the very popular Seawalk, which was also in the lands acquired by CN Rail when they took over BC Rail in 2004 is a “crossing” or -well, something they can get some good revenue from.