Invitation to Canada Lands’ president

This post is written by a guest blogger, Richmond’s Olga Tkatcheva, a quality assurance professional who is a City Centre activist.

I read with interest Carol Southgate’s article where she is talking about the mandate of the Canada Lands Company to dispose federal properties like the Garden City Lands to “produce the optimal benefit for the Government of Canada and local communities.”

In a recent letter to me, Mark B. Laroche, the president of Canada Lands Company, said something similar in reply to my question about the company’s principles. Mr. Laroche expressed it as a goal, “the goal of implementing innovative property solutions to benefit communities across Canada.”

Is there is a conflict between the general policy of Canada Lands Company and its implementation here by its local representative who was the project manager for the failed ALR-exclusion application? We did not need to accommodate more than 15,000 more people on top of the planned 120,000 in the City Centre area. The company would have got more money from the sale of land to real estate developers, but it would have meant a huge loss to our quality of life.

We do have serious community needs for the Garden City Lands. We need to provide food-growing lots within the walking distance for the people from the high density areas next door, to provide a teaching field for Kwantlen Polytechnic University urban agriculture students, to grow more local produce, to preserve the bog as a carbon sink, and to keep green space.

I invite Mr. Laroche to come to Richmond to tour the Lands, to speak to the people and to realize that the benefits for Canada and the people of Richmond do not exclude each other. We people of Richmond are Canada too.

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