The Lands and the Green Zone

Garden City lands not in green zone,” Alan Campbell’s well-written article in the Richmond News, has brought light to a topic that needed it. Allow me to add three candles.

First, strengthening Metro Vancouver’s Green/Agricultural Zone will be good for Richmond. With agricultural-zone solidarity at the city, metro, and provincial (ALR) levels, Richmond may even stand a fighting chance against federal raids on our farmland.

Second, it is the Agricultural Land Commission, not just Coun. Harold Steves or I, that has repeatedly affirmed the Garden City Lands to be prime farmland. That is a silver lining of the ALR-exclusion attempts.

Third, it is Canada Lands Company, the federal land disposer, that is entrusted with the title to the lands, although it would have split the rezoning profits with the Musqueam Indian Band. The article foresees money going from Richmond to the Musqueam, but I think Canada Lands would receive it and compensate the Musqueam.

However, the recession and the ALR decisions have left the fair market value of the Garden City Lands at around the $9.54 million the company is paying the federal government. There’s no profit to split. The parties could still gain a lot from the lands, but it would be gained in goodwill and a good shared future.

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