Update – January 20, 2009

The Garden City Lands story has paused for over a month. At the end of 2008, the future of that 136-acre green space in Richmond Centre took a turn for the better with the expiry of a bad agreement that would have put high-density construction on that fertile wetland. Judging from a Richmond Council vote on Dec. 8, the Richmond Council that emerged from the November 2008 elections is in favour of saving the Garden City Lands.

In that 6-3 vote, Council soundly defeated a drastic motion that would have extended the bad agreement and added new burdens on Richmond in order to buy support from B.C.’s Agricultural Land Commission to remove the lands from the protection of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

There are understandings in a more basic memorandum of understanding (MOU) that need to be renegotiated by the City of Richmond and other parties in order to determine the future of the lands. The other parties will include at least Canada Lands Company CLC Limited and the Musqueam Indian Band, and they may include the Government of Canada at some point.

However, the Commission still has not ruled on the application. It does not make much sense to renegotiate before the decision is definite. No doubt CLC and the Band are getting geared up, but not much is happening on the surface.

With the lull in the Garden City Lands issue, this blog has taken a one-month break. However, this is the calm before the storm, and intense action will begin after the decision. Deeply held values, along with hundreds of millions of dollars, are at stake.

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