A new record and pause to reflect

In our 28th month, the readers of this blog have just set our new personal record for most visits in one month. After a sleepy start, March 2010 finally came in like a lion with the March 8 Richmond council meeting in which council voted 7-2 to provide funds from the Community Legacy and Land Replacement Reserve in order to purchase the Garden City lands from Canada Lands Company and its partner, the Musqueam Indian Band, for $59.17 million. Since then, you’ve kept visiting, and we’ve kept adding posts to make your return visits worthwhile.

Five days ago, you passed November 2008, when changes of view during the election campaign and changes of council members in the election changed the balance from a 6-3 Pave Garden City majority to what became a 6-3 Save Garden City majority for key votes, including the one on December 8, 2008, that doomed the high-density development project that would have destroyed the lands.

Three days ago, you passed an earlier month, February 2008, a tumultuous period that included the Garden City Lands open houses, where Olga Tkatcheva and others managed to share the truth and gather the visitors’ ideas. Along with that, the public were smart enough to outwit the open house survey so that it was impossible for the sponsors to come up with the kind of pro-development report they obviously had in mind.

At around 11:50 p.m. on Sunday, March 28, 2010, you passed the previous record-holder, March 2008, the month of the Garden City Lands public hearings in the Richmond council chambers. The hearings lasted 23.5 hours, and some Save Garden City supporters were there the whole time. The great thing was the number of people of all ages who made presentations, some of them speaking in public for the first time in the face of some difficult council members, including one whose mission seemed to be to trap (with little success) and patronize (with little effect). No council member changed sides in the public hearings, but I think the event was the turning point. That said, victory in keeping the lands in the ALR for appropriate uses for community wellness is still a long way from assured.

The record readership this month shows the public interest and concern with purchase of the lands by the city when council has not committed to an ALR future for the lands. Since certain council members seem always ready to throw monkey wrenches into the gear box, having informed citizens will make a huge difference in the challenging times ahead.

Of course, a personal record like today’s is an indicator that’s not much more than fascinating trivia at best, but for some of us it’s a bit of fun. Which we all deserve.

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