NO housing on Garden City Lands!

This is a follow-up to the previous post, “Affordable housing on the Garden City lands?” (with the question mark at the end), which the Richmond News published in its Nov. 25 issue as “Garden City key to affordable housing.” It was prompted by a Nov. 20 News article, “Free land offered: Society,” and Malcolm Brodie, Richmond’s mayor responded in the Nov. 27 News in “No Garden City offer was made.”
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Judging from feedback, I must clarify: my recent post did not condone housing on the Garden City lands — even if we obtain the property without charge under a federal program that uses surplus property to combat homelessness.

One critic with nightmares of a built-up Garden City lands told me that the best place for homes for the neediest is directly to the north in the Alexandra area, where much inexpensive housing has been demolished. His idea is a good example of what’s possible, so I’ll use it in the following scenario.

First, our council cooperates with our housing advocates and our members of parliament to get back the Garden City lands under the federal homelessness program.

Second, council arranges to keep the Garden City lands as green space, not a construction site, by using that program’s property-exchange feature.

Third, in exchange, council supplies suitable property of equal value. It consists of vacant sites in the Alexandra area.

Fourth, council makes those Alexandra sites available to community partners who build and manage affordable housing on them.

That provides desperately needed homes. At the same time, it’s one of the possible ways to conserve the Garden City lands for “Richmond’s Stanley Park.”

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