MPs’ growing role

A Richmond News article and editorial have provided insightful coverage of the Agricultural Land Commission decision to keep Richmond’s Garden City Lands in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). As I read, I realized it might be useful to explain why our members of parliament have a larger role now. Like so much of this issue, it’s complex.

Be aware first that there were two Garden City lands agreements: the purchase agreement, which is now “null and void,” and the basic memorandum of understanding (MOU), which still applies. Because the decision prevents mega-density development, the MOU parties must renegotiate certain MOU understandings.

There are four MOU parties. In contrast, the void purchase agreement had only three parties, which were the City of Richmond, the Musqueam Indian Band, and Canada Lands Company CLC, the federal land disposer. The fourth MOU party is the federal government, which owned the lands before entrusting them to CLC under the MOU.

The lands are already green space that benefits Richmond, but for best benefit the City could offer to buy the property at market value. CLC and the Musqueam can reject the city and terminate the MOU, but only after the parties restore each to its pre-MOU position. (This blog post highlights the key MOU provision.)

In case the lands get restored to the federal government, the role of our MPs—Alice Wong and John Cummins—is to help it be ready with uses that suit our community needs.

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