Richmond Citizens’ Vision

Here’s another vision for the Garden City Lands as green space in the ALR. (Previous posts about visions for the lands have included Sustainable Food Park and More dreaming big.)

This vision takes us back to the Garden City Lands open houses in February 2008. The parties behind the event wanted the lands out of the ALR but didn’t get the feedback they wanted, so they never put together the community vision they’d promised. Fortunately, though, Garden City Lands Coalition members were available at all times to listen to the visitors’ ideas.

The vast majority of visitors to the Garden City Lands open houses wanted the lands kept for purposes that can be permitted within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Beyond that, they were generally willing to compromise on uses. However, retaining food-growing capability for the community was popular, as was urban agricultural education. Almost everyone did not want one thing: big buildings on the lands.

We passed on the feedback to an artist, who turned it into a conceptual map. Here it is, the Richmond citizens’ vision. As far as I can determine, everything shown is possible within the ALR, mostly without permission from the Agricultural Land Commission.

Notes about the map:

  1. The citizens’ vision map is conceptual, and features would ultimately be located in different places. For example, the main reservoir lake would be wherever the City engineers and agrologists choose, though not where shown if sphagnum bog is restored there. Similarly, some of the trails are just where the artist happened to put them.
  2. With regard to natural-turf playing fields, the Agricultural Land Commission used to give permission for a lot of sports uses. Although the trend seems to have changed, coalition people like me would strongly support sports-field availability in Richmond.
  3. Of the not-large number of people who suggested sports fields, one I remember well was a fellow from the West Indies who noticed a display-board photo of a cricketer in action and envisioned himself playing cricket on the lands. Actually, cricket would be a relatively suitable sport for ALR lands, since all it requires is a large circle of grass with a well cared-for rectangle, the pitch, in the middle.

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