Why you’re amazing

My previous letter in defence of the Garden City Lands Coalition and my own integrity was not published by the Richmond Review, so I tried again, this time more briefly. You, the blog reader, are quite likely among the people of the coalition. I think you’re amazing people. I hope that the editor will publish it this time so that everyone who reads the paper will know about you.

Update added on April 2: At least in the online version, the letter has been published without the content that I’ve shown in red below. That was the minimum that needed to be included to offset derogatory remarks aimed against me personally. Since an unfair attack on me also unfairly weakens the efforts of you citizens, the published letter only partially resolves the unfair damage to you that was created by Coun. Evelina Halsey-Brandt’s letter. I will add a detailed note below the letter.

Re: “Councillor responds to Garden City Lands Coalition,” Letters, March 18.

Coun. Evelina Halsey-Brandt’s comments were questionable.

If a Garden City lands process was “commandeered,” it was by three big organizations, not by ordinary citizens who stood up to them. The 136-acre green space in Richmond’s city centre had long been conserved in the Agricultural Land Reserve for the benefit of future citizens, not whoever could rezone it for dense construction.

We citizens slowly awoke to the threat. Alone and in clusters and then as a coalition, we acted as citizens should. We gave many hundreds of hours to serve the community in the time of need. More and more, the coalition and community became one.

Together, we turned back waves of propaganda. The Garden City lands stayed green. That’s something to celebrate, not denigrate.

At times I’ve commended the councillor in this paper and in person. However, she was mistaken in disputing my account of December 2008 remarks about the value of the Garden City lands. I wrote with due diligence in the light of a blog post I’d written only two nights after the remarks.*

Like so many fellow citizens, I seek and share the truth.

Jim Wright
President, Garden City Lands Coalition Society

*Note added on April 2: The councillor’s letter in the Richmond Review said that “Wright and everyone who follows council meetings knows that at no time did I nor Coun. Greg Halsey-Brandt say that Richmond’s offer to buy the Garden City lands should be based on the value of the Walmart property across Alderbridge Road.” The councillor is alleging that I deliberately said something untrue, and that is incorrect because I had done due diligence in checking the information, as the Richmond Review was aware. (I didn’t say anything untrue at all, but the evidence of due diligence, which appears in the second-to-last paragraph of the “Fair market value” post on this blog, is all that is needed to disprove Coun. Evelina’s extreme statement.)

Furthermore, Coun. Harold Steves is definitely an “everyone who follows council meetings,” and he had occasion to be conscious of the comments that Coun. Evelina denies, since Coun. Steves spoke after Coun. Greg’s comments and responded in part to them at the time. This is what Coun. Steves wrote about it in an email message to me:

I remember the Special General Purposes meeting Dec. 8, 2008 very well. I remember  very well when Greg referred to the Walmart property across the street as the price we would have to pay. I avoided discussing the price as I did not want to get into a public bidding war over the Garden City Lands.

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