Welcome, Jane Doe!

From: Jane Doe
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 7:12 PM
To: gardencitylands@shaw.ca
Subject: Please subscribe me to the Garden City News

Hi, I am interested in current situation of the Garden City Land. I heard the news that City of Richmond has already bought it. What’s the next step? What are they gonna develop it? I would like to keep one eye on it and support to have more green space.

Thank you.
Jane

Except for the name Jane Doe, that’s an actual email. Here’s the reply:

To: Jane Doe
Subject: Current situation of the Garden City Lands

Welcome, Jane!

If it’s okay with you, I’ll write a thorough answer and post it with your question on the Richmond’s Garden City Lands blog.

Yes, on March 8, 2010, the Richmond council voted to fund the purchase of the Garden City Lands. That was fairly good news because it improved the odds that the Garden City Lands will remain green.

The actual next step was that a couple of Pave Garden City councillors (people who had wanted dense construction on the lands) began a loud campaign to get the lands out of the Agricultural Land Reserve, the ALR. That was bad news because Save Garden City people (citizens like you who want to keep the lands green) have realized that the only reliable way to keep the lands green is through ongoing protection in the ALR.

Unfortunately, those councillors confused the public through the media. For instance, one implied that community gardens are not permitted if the lands remain in the ALR and that the only agricultural use would be cranberries and perhaps blueberries (all nonsense). The other blamed fellow council members for paying too much for the lands, even though the couple themselves had actually suggested paying more. She labelled us, the citizens who work to save the lands, as “a special interest group.”

A few days after the sale was completed, the Musqueam Indian Band, which had sold its interest in the lands to the City of Richmond, sued the City of Richmond to get more of our money and to place a covenant on the lands that might give the Band an ongoing means to get our money forever. I believe that the City showed immense goodwill to the Band. If all members of council work together and hire the best lawyers, the litigation will fail. In the meantime, the lands will stay green, at least while the litigation lasts.

A good way to combat the Band’s action is to support the Richmond council members who act together to stand up to the attempt to wring more money from us. To be informed for yourself and the people you talk to, read the related posts on this blog. About three inches from the top of the Main Menu (on the left side of this window), there’s a “Categories” drop-down menu. If you click on “Musqueam Band,” you will get a page of links to recent posts on the topic. (Or you can just click here.)

A good way to combat the confusion that Pave Garden City council members spread is to develop one’s own green vision for the Garden City Lands. Here on the Richmond’s Garden City Lands blog, you could go to the “Categories” drop-down menu again and click on “Visions for the Lands.” (Or you can just click here.) You will get a page of links to recent posts about green visions, especially ones that have been presented to Richmond council in the lengthy consultation process. As far as I know, there has never been more council consultation on any Richmond issue, and almost all the public input (other than Pave Garden City input from those who stood to gain from dense development) was ways to keep the lands green. If you read some of those visions and share what you arrive at with the people you know, that will help, especially if you can get council to listen to you too.

Thank you for your support for keeping the Garden City Lands green and for your intent to keep an eye on the issue. Together, we will all succeed for the good of all.

The Garden City Lands Coalition

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