Consensus reached, decision requested

This post is the content of a message that I sent, as president of the Garden City Lands Coalition Society, to the Agricultural Land Commission on Dec. 17, 2008.

The Garden City Lands Coalition requests you to announce a decision soon on the 2008 re-application to exclude Richmond’s Garden City Lands from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

If you have had time to read the Coalition’s Save Garden City response to the application, as well as the outpouring of submissions from citizens, we anticipate that Richmond staff’s view of your opinion is accurate — “very little chance of approval.” We appreciate that promising outlook, since the proposed development would harm agriculture, food security and the environment while aggravating community needs.

Although the City of Richmond nominally put forward the re-application, Canada Lands Company CLC Limited and the Musqueam Indian Band were co-applicants, and all three applicants have stated that the City will possess no interest in the Lands after the City’s purchase agreement expires on Dec. 31, 2008. The applicants’ views have been expressed most eloquently by the Band’s lawyer, and the Richmond Review summarized them like this: “Richmond is still obligated to assist a development project on the lands — only now it won’t get an acre of land” (Dec. 13, 2008, p. A3). While the Band and CLC apparently still want the application to proceed, they are now admitting that the benefits from a decision to exclude the property from the ALR would just profit them. The applicants no longer even pretend that the supposed benefits for agriculture and the community actually exist.

By refuting their previous reasons for excluding the property from the ALR, the applicants have implicitly agreed with the Garden City Lands Coalition that there is no good reason. At last, the consensus has become as broad as possible. We ask you to reject the application, publicly affirming the consensus, as soon as possible. Such a decision will clarify the ongoing ALR status of the Garden City Lands, enabling the Coalition and our supportive politicians to move forward more effectively toward saving the Lands for ALR-appropriate uses in perpetuity.


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