New action steps

Richmond school trustee Carol Day recently letter to the Richmond News published,  and we’ve heard a lot of favourable comments about it. Carol wrote:

The Garden City lands are still in jeopardy as talks continue between Canada Lands Company, the Musqueam and the City of Richmond. These three parties will ultimately decide the future of these lands in the next two or three weeks. You are a stakeholder too, and you can help by writing to those parties and letting them know your wishes.

In response, people are asking “What should I say when I write them?” and “Where do I reach them?” I’ll offer a few thoughts here.

First, we most need to get through to Canada Lands Company. They hold the title to the Garden City Lands, and they have a mandate to provide community benefit when disposing of surplus federal lands like that. They don’t seem to understand the strength of the community feeling about keeping the Garden City Lands green, so the main point of your letter might be to let them know why it is important to keep the lands green and also to persuade them to find ways to make that possible. Write to:

Mark Laroche
President and CEO
Canada Lands Company
1 University Ave., Suite 1200
Toronto, ON  M5J 2P1
mlaroche@clc.ca

Second, we need to get through to Richmond council that we need them to work together to ensure that the Garden City Lands remain green for community benefit. The biggest obstacle to a good result from the current renegotiations under the Garden City Lands memorandum of understanding is that three council members and some senior City staff are still fighting lost battles. Your challenging task is to persuade them all to work together. (Note, by the way, that we don’t necessarily need them to purchase all of the Garden City lands. It is possible for the lands to remain green in any of several ways that don’t require City ownership. Write to:

Mayor and Council
City of Richmond
6911 No. 3 Road
Richmond, BC  V6Y 2C1
mayorandcouncillors@richmond.ca

Third, there’s a challenge that is very demanding but also potentially very rewarding. There are clearly some members of the Musqueam First Nation (legally the “Musqueam Indian Band”) that care a great deal about the environment, but they are not the most powerful members. It will be wonderful if the band will adjust its course enough to work with other parties to keep the Garden City lands green for community benefit. If the Musqueam act with that kind of goodwill, there will be a rapid increase in public respect for them and genuine reconciliation, which would be amazingly wonderful. If you are ready to give that a try, write to:

Chief Earnest Campbell and Band Council
Musqueam Indian Band
6735 Salish Drive
Vancouver, B.C.  V6N 4C4

In your messages to those parties, it is typically useful to cc our members of parliament, who can help if the people show they want their help, and also the Garden City Lands Coalition. If you are writing the MPs at their Ottawa addresses, there is no postage required. Here are the addresses to cc:

John Cummins, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6
cummij@parl.gc.ca

Alice Wong, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6
WongA1@parl.gc.ca

On top of that, please cc the Garden City Lands Coalition and the Minister Responsible for Canada Lands Company, Rob Merrifield.

Garden City Lands Coalition
8300 Osgoode Drive
Richmond, BC  V7A 4P1
GardenCityLands@Shaw.ca

Hon. Rob Merrifield
Minister of State, Transport
Place de Ville, Tower C, 29th Floor
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0N5
Merrifield.R@parl.gc.ca

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