To Mark Laroche – from Carol Southgate

This post is a follow-up to the excellent “Optimal community value—CLC” post by guest blogger Carol Southgate. Besides publishing that message on this blog and in both Richmond newspapers, Carol sent it to Mark Laroche, the president of Canada Lands Company, with a cover letter dated March 29, 2009. At the same time, Carol forwarded the cover letter to the Garden City Lands Coalition with permission to use it at the appropriate time. We felt that we should wait before posting it in order to allow a little to allow time for a Laroche reply. No reply has been received yet, but we’ve waited long enough. Here is the cover letter, which we hope you will find as illuminating as what Carol wrote before.


Mark B. Laroche, President and CEO
Canada Lands Company
Dear Mr. Laroche:

Please take a new look at the way Canada Lands Company implements its mandate in its stewardship of the Garden City Lands, Richmond, BC. I explained the need to the people of Richmond in the enclosed letter that the Richmond papers published online and in print (Richmond News, March 18, and Richmond Review, March 19).

That letter focuses on the future, but for your background I will also comment on past experience. As a grower and a member of the Richmond Agricultural Advisory Committee (RAAC), I did not find that Canada Lands’ project management of the application to exclude the Garden City Lands from the BC Agricultural Land Reserve was beneficial to the community. In brief, these are just two of many possible examples:

·        An Agricultural Endowment Fund idea featured in the application, though never endorsed by the RAAC, would have divisively set “bona fide farmers” (large conventional growers with little understanding of urban agriculture) against smaller growers, leading to the loss of a lot more farmland and harming local food security.

·        No sensitivity has been shown to the property being largely peatland, which requires much different management strategies than any other type of land.

Your corporate plan says, “Through fulfilling its mandate, CLCL takes pride in strengthening the many communities in which it operates across Canada . . . and attempts to enhance the quality of life in local communities.” Your company still has a great opportunity to make that sentiment a reality in Richmond, and I wish you success. Please think about what I am suggesting and let me know what you come up with. I very much look forward to hearing from you.

Carol Southgate

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