Community to Canada Lands I

In a Richmond News letter of July 3, 2009, and in other ways, I urged citizens to ask Canada Lands Company, the federal land disposer, to keep the Garden City lands green forever. Soon, a stream of people—exactly fifty at last count—had let the Garden City Lands Coalition know (usually via cc) that they’d acted. Excellent!

Save-Garden-City

As well, the coalition put together a Canada Lands Company edition of Save Garden City, our 200-page in-depth analysis of the issue, including the community’s 1,962-name petition. In the July 10–20 period, we sent a July 10 introductory message and a July 15 note to let Canada Lands know it was coming, couriered the highly organized binder (17 tabbed dividers!) to Canada Lands president Mark Laroche, and added a concise follow-up letter and a further letter after hearing from him.

Neither Save Garden City nor the petition has been acknowledged. Nevertheless, Canada Lands now knows how to meet its community-benefit mandate when renegotiating the Garden City Lands agreement. That might include using a land trust and/or covenant to ensure that the 136 acres of Richmond green space will stay in BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve and be used only in ALR-permissible ways.

Justly, the ironclad ALR-use constraint should limit the property price (if there’s a suitable purchaser) to an ALR-land price, which is what Canada Lands paid the federal government for it.

Equally justly, that would allow no ill-gotten profit from the unseemly raid on the land reserve by parties who should have known better. In turn, that would help protect the future of the ALR.

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