How MLAs can help

As an earlier post describes, some Richmond candidates in British Columbia’s May 12, 2009, election have already acted to help save the Garden City Lands. There are now various ways our MLAs can help ensure a green future for the lands for community benefit. That is true even though the province is not a party* to the basic Garden City Lands agreement, the memorandum of understanding known as “the MOU.” The BC government and MLAs can:

1. Keep the Agricultural Land Commission strong and faithful to its purpose.

2. Urge the Musqueam Indian Band to partner in keeping the Garden City Lands green for the benefit of the community where the lands are located, moving forward together with the Richmond community in the spirit of the 2008 Musqueam Reconciliation Agreement.

3. Urge Canada Lands Company to ensure that any transfer of the Garden City Lands (whether to the City of Richmond, a federal department, or any other party) occurs for local community benefit for permitted uses under the province’s Agricultural Land Commission Act.

4. Provide provincial collaboration in Garden City Lands uses that naturally involve the province, e.g., Kwantlen Polytechnic University urban agriculture education, agriculture, and affordable housing (as discussed in “15. Homelessness + GCL”).

5. Urge the federal government to support transfer of the lands to a suitable party, such as the City of Richmond or a land conservancy, for ALR-permitted purposes at a suitable price, most likely the fair market value stated in the MOU, although some citizens are adament that it should be one dollar. (For legal assurance that the intent is honoured, a covenant on the title would make sense.)

Other ideas? Please suggest them via a comment or email.

___________

* Note: The parties to the MOU are the federal and Richmond governments, Canada Lands Company, and the Musqueam Indian Band. The MOU is currently at the stage where there should be renegotiation of certain conditions that can no longer be met, primarily because the property has not been—and very clearly should never be—removed from the BC Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

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