What the heck is “contiguous” about?

Recent editions of the Richmond Review and Richmond News included a letter over the name of a Chamber of Commerce representative, though seemingly written by the would-be developers of the Garden City lands. People have been asking about the use of the word contiguous to describe the Public Lands (almost the same as “City lands”), as the developers have not used that term before. No doubt the shift is a calculated one, not a haphazard one.

The background is that the City has been acting for a long time as though all its land would be together, and there have been suggestions that the city should make sure it gets one half or another (although the City would almost certainly get far less than half). The answer has been that the City won’t get half, or even its three-sevenths, in one large parcel. Canada Lands Company CLC and the Musqueam Indian Band have a position of great strength in the agreements, and they phrased the agreements so that the City land would be available throughout their mega-density developments.

In that context, contiguous may be deceptive, not meaning what the ordinary reader would expect. The City’s land could technically be contiguous, for example, if the many parcels would just generally touch at some point such as a corner, perhaps with a road in between.

Here are the precise quotes in the two relevant agreements, which the developers will be able to enforce at will if the “development” goes ahead:

Memorandum of Understanding, 1(10) of March 2005, final sentence: “The Public Lands will be scattered throughout the entire Garden City Property.”

Agreement of Purchase and Sale, 4.5, Subdivision Approval Condition, final paragraph: “The parties hereto acknowledge and agree that as expressly stated in Section 1(10) of the MOU, and unless otherwise agreed in connection with the approval of any Comprehensive Development Plan, the Public Lands will be scattered throughout the entirety of the Lands.”

Notes:
1. The emphasis in those quotations has been added.
2. The Agreement of Purchase and Sale of November 2005 has never been made available to the public, even on the Richmond.ca website, even though it clearly should have been.

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