“Richmond’s Uses”—council’s concept

Richmond council* unanimously endorsed a Garden City Lands

It was at a special meeting of council on Dec. 17, 2007. In my view, it was a pivotal decision.

The concept is three “Richmond’s uses”:**

  • Community wellness and enabling healthy lifestyles
  • Urban agriculture
  • Showcasing environmental sustainability

City staff had filled out the Richmond’s Uses concept for the Garden City Lands in a report the council members received with the meeting agenda:

At this stage of planning, staff believe that the most appropriate uses for the Garden City Lands fit into these three purposes:

Community Wellness and Enabling Healthy Lifestyles

As a City committed to maintaining and improving community wellness and healthy lifestyles, the provision of a variety of outdoor public amenities is necessary to serve a growing population. Examples of these amenities include: passive and active parks and open places for community celebration, and youth oriented activity zones. In addition, a range of outdoor community sport amenities and playing fields is envisioned to provide increased capacity for community use and for tournaments.

Urban Agriculture

The interest for urban agriculture is demonstrated by the demand for community gardens in Richmond. The City has constructed community gardens in four locations across the City and maintains lengthy waitlists for plots. The Garden City Lands could be a model for meeting the need for urban agriculture. The Garden City Lands and its location at the urban/agricultural interface presents a tremendous opportunity to engage the community in awareness building and active programming related to agriculture and food security.

Showcasing Environmental Sustainability

The Garden City Lands could play a significant role in showcasing environmental sustainability. This could both mitigate the impacts of urban development and integrate environmental resources into urban areas. The size and location of the Garden City Lands could present a unique opportunity to develop another environmental showcase such as the establishment of wetlands for storm management and habitat, the creation of an urban forest would contribute to air quality, alternative energy technologies and improving the city’s resilience to climate change.

All nine council members voted in favor of the resolution.***

It was a resolution that drew heavily on the Sustainable Food Systems Park proposal that citizens had already put forward, and it was the context for further concepts and proposals that citizens put forward afterward.

Since then, Councillors Ken Johnston and Greg Halsey-Brandt have joined council. A  strong majority of the current council members seem to have kept faith with the 2007 council’s firm decision and our trust. A minority act as though the resolution never happened, even if they voted for it.


* In December 2007, council consisted of Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Councillors Linda Barnes, Cynthia Chen, Derek Dang, Evelina Halsey-Brandt, Sue Halsey-Brandt, Rob Howard, Bill McNulty, and Harold Steves. All nine council members voted in favour of the Richmond’s Uses concept.

** Not incidentally, the draft resolution phrased by Richmond staff had called them “preferred uses.” Coun. Sue Halsey-Brandt, with support from Coun. Linda Barnes, had alertly requested the change to “Richmond’s uses” to make the resolution express what Richmond would do, not just what it would prefer.

*** The resolution states: “Council endorse Community Wellness and Enabling Healthy Lifestyles, Urban Agriculture, and Showcasing Environmental Sustainability as outlined in the staff report from the Acting Director of Development dated December 13, 2007, as Richmond’s uses on the City’s portion of the Garden City Lands.” It was evident from other votes that six council members envisioned the City’s portion as only part of the lands (within a dense development), while the other three envisioned it as being the whole property (within the ALR), but all nine were in agreement about Richmond’s uses.

Sources: Dec. 17, 2007, Special Council Meeting Agenda, page 3; Staff Report, pages 12 and 13; Minutes, pages 1, 8 and 9.



  1. 1
    Roland Says:

    I think the ALC will see through the charade of 2 of the 3 topics ie

    (i) Community Wellness and Enabling Healthy Lifestyles

    (ii) Showcasing Environmental Sustainability

    The Olympic Ovals post Olympic use will provide many of the amenities not provided previously.
    If people want to swim year round, all of Richmond uses the Minoru pool.
    For Hockey, they travel to the Richmond Ice Center .
    For soccer/football, they have centralized Hugh Boyd site.

    The ALC classic judgement on many DENIED applications refer to a given parcels is suitable for agriculture. That can be translated into the classic definition of Agriculture.

    Recent ALC decisions had far smaller parcels in Metro Vancouver seeking subdivision or exclusion , and ALL were denied .

    The GCL is within close proximity of the Richmond Nature Park and the ” natural” North McLenann park and the ” natural ” Paulik Park (South McLennan), and the McNeill High /Anderson co-joined school fields.

    West Cambie (North of GCL) will also have its own park .
    The DND lands immediately East of the GCL, are in the ALR and basically left to nature.

    That only leaves ” agriculture “.
    Nobody asked the City to force the issue with the densification.
    The ALC is not a lackey to be used for poor planning.

  2. 2
    Roland Says:

    I should also add that most Richmond sports groups are leaning towards centralized locales, and not have their venues spread throughout the City . RGSA (Softball) has 3 locations (London, McNair and Grauer). Baseball has 4 locales..South Arm, Gibbons, Brighouse Park and Blundell. Such organized field sports groups require high quality high maintenance fields as many of them host tournaments, hence the logisitics dictate concentration in specified locales.

    Also, I forgot to mention the ODLINWOOD area (#4RD and Alderbridge) The City had purchased these 30 + acres and if not mistaken there was discussion to locate public amenities there, but then the decision was to locate them at #6RD and Steveston and lease these from a developer( I believe it was a 25 year lease) .

    Then the City developed Odlinwood into a residential subdivision and used the funds to pay for the new City Hall.

    Again , opportunity after opportunity frittered away.

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