Comments on MP John Cummins’ Letter

The Jan. 18 Richmond News and Jan. 19 Richmond Review include a Garden City lands letter from MP John Cummins.  It’s great that the Richmond community has made known its Garden City City lands views to Mr. Cummins and that he has acted. Mr. Cummins is correct in the main points, including these ones:

·        The Musqueam do not have any right to the entire Lands.

·        If the Lands are returned to the federal government, the Musqueam will not have a claim on the Lands as long as the federal government does not designate them as “surplus.”

A few related points:

·        The land available for the “Richmond uses” that Richmond council approved on Dec. 17 would be far less than half the acreage. As the “68-58-48” post explains, it would be either 58 or 48 acres if the entire property is 136 acres.

·        There are termination provisions in the current legal agreements, and the lands can go back to the federal government after termination. The first necessary step is for the Agricultural Land Commission to again refuse to exclude the Garden City lands from the ALR when the re-application comes up in a few months.

·        Canada Lands Company CLC, which is leading the ALR-exclusion project (even though the City of Richmond is the figurehead applicant), is doing thorough project management. Overcoming that factor will be a huge challenge for those who are committed to conserving the Lands in the ALR.

At first, one sentence in MP John Cummins’ letter seemed too sweeping:

Yet there is nothing in that agreement that will benefit the people of Richmond and plenty that runs counter to the notion of sustainable, environmentally friendly development.

When I thought more about it, I came to this conclusion: that sentence is right on the mark.

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