The purchase agreement expiry

Executive director Colin Fry has told me that the Agricultural Land Commission will not exclude the Garden City lands from the ALR in 2008. As a result, the City of Richmond’s purchase agreement to buy part of the lands will become null and void at the end of the year. Where does that leave us?

Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Pave-Garden-City councillors have warned that the City had to request the exclusion or lose its purchase right. Thanks to their foot-dragging, they’ve lost that right anyway.

After the first application was rejected, they dilly-dallied for nineteen months. Then they dumped a mound of second application on the commission. It’s repetitious, incoherent, and self-contradicting.  Who’d want to shovel through that?

Pave-Garden-City council members have signed bad agreements and ignored our citizens’ values. Now they’ve lost what they said they’d save.

The good news, given their track record, is that they’re likely wrong about how much we’ll lose.

For a start, the basic memorandum of understanding (MOU) remains. If its four parties act with goodwill, they will—as need be—renegotiate, go to arbitration, and restore each party to its pre-MOU position.

That could even include renegotiating very soon to allow the purchase agreement to apply for a few more months. Perhaps surprisingly, I wouldn’t necessarily be against that. The probability is that the application would be rejected anyway, and that would bring a fitting closure to that particular assault on the ALR.

However, for Save-Garden-City council members to consider going along with that, I hope they would expect equally valuable considerations in return from the Musqueam Indian Band and Canada Lands Company CLC. Contrary to what Pave Garden City may think, the Band and CLC would be the beneficiaries of the application’s new life.

At renegotiation time, one might worry that CLC (entrusted with the property title by the federal goernment) has not lavished goodwill on the City. To be fair, though, Pave Garden City seemed content to be pushed around.

In contrast to them, a Save-Garden-City council would get CLC to act in keeping with its community mandate, its reason for being entrusted with our lands, and its instinct for self-preservation.

In the renegotiation, a Pave-Garden-City council might keep dawdling in the wrong direction.

In contrast again, a Save-Garden-City council would renegotiate to keep the Garden City lands green for community benefit.  That’s no piece of cake, though. They’ll have to work with expert legal advice, thorough knowledge, systematic thinking, patience, and courage.

Pave Garden City is an attitude, not a party. It was shown by candidates refusing to sign David Reay’s recent petition to keep the lands in the ALR—despite campaign promises to protect the Garden City lands and other farmland. They are Derek Dang, Bill McNulty, Cynthia Chen, Evelina and Greg Halsey-Brandt, Kiichi Kumagai, and Malcolm Brodie.

Save Garden City is a commitment, not a party. Its faces are the 19 (out of 26) candidates who signed the petition.

From that wealth of talent, my personal choices for councillor begin with incumbents Harold Steves, Linda Barnes, and Sue Halsey-Brandt. Along with them, I’m picking Ken Johnston, Howard Jampolsky, Michael Wolfe, David Reay, and Richard Lee to get the job done. Anna Bloomfield, Pat Young, Linda Burchill, and Ralf Hallum are also strong.


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