Carol Day’s invitation to the Musqueam

It’s time for a guest shot from Richmond School Trustee Carol Day.

The Musqueam have started a law suit against the City of Richmond and once again tried to use the courts to impose a better deal. I believe a judge will see that the City of Richmond honored the Garden City Lands Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and went beyond what could be reasonably expected.

The Agricultural Land Commission received not one but two applications to remove the Garden City lands from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and rejected both of them. I was at the meeting with the ALC panel and saw all the city’s diligent efforts to persuade the panel to remove the lands from the ALR.

The Musqueam were well aware of the ALR status of the Garden City Lands when they entered into the MOU. For them to argue that the city did not use due diligence in trying to remove the lands from the ALR is nonsense.

The MOU came to an end when the City of Richmond purchased the lands from the Musqueam and their partners, the Canada Lands Company. Can you imagine the nightmare if realtors had to deal with clients that wanted to change the terms of a home sale after the fact?

It is over, and the Musqueam need to be respectful of that process and move on. The courts are full of unrealistic court cases like this, and that is why the court system is so bogged down and slow.

I believe that we always have to find some good out of every situation, and this one has another side too. A large majority of the people of Richmond want the lands to stay green. Whether they become playing fields, park land, community gardens, a centre for agritourism or agricultural education or what have you, the real benefit of this lawsuit is that as long as the Garden City Lands stay in the ALR the City and lands are protected.

I ask the Musqueam to be good neighbors and be part of the future of the Garden City Lands. The legacy these lands provide is exciting, and history will record those who worked to make it a public space for all to enjoy as saviors and stewards of the land. The Musqueam can roll up their sleeves and help us to create something special for future generations or be known only as the ones who tried and failed to destroy the Garden City Lands.

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