The Richmond City Centre vision for the lands

Susan Match of the City Centre Community Association once said this to Richmond council:

The nature of the City Centre is changing. There are people who are older, perhaps on lower incomes. There are also a large number of people living with young families. If you go to the Lang Centre any time during the day, you see lots of  people who don’t have vehicles. There’s the wealth, but there’s also a large number of young families who cannot afford single-family homes.

So I only wanted to remind you that some of the creative planning that’s come out for the Garden City Lands seems to look really, really good and could be the most healing, livable, well-managed community for the people that actually work and live in the City Centre.

That was in December 2008. The significance is as clear today as it was then, when it was much further from becoming reality. The significance is that a City Centre vision.

On the Richmond website, the Community Association page gives the City Centre population as 17,000 (actually the total a couple of year ago, rather than today, I suspect). But the Official Community Plan anticipates 120,000 residents—a lot of people, mainly in tall buildings. The Garden City Lands is an open area, and it should remain as an open area where people can get away from the crowding. It would be a green space they can walk to, an open-land park where they can grow food and flowers in plentiful community gardens and perhaps a few community farms, relax by ponds, and enjoy the restored wetland habitat—the ancient but revitalized sphagnum peat bog ecosystem—on all-weather bordering trails.

Of course the Garden City Lands would be a park for the whole Richmond community, as well as for visitors from surrounding cities and afar, but it will have failed if it doesn’t meet the more local needs first. Even with that priority, the benefits will be widespread. Adding so much to City Centre livability will make the area less likely to spiral downward like many inner cities. A vibrant city core will set the tone for a vibrant new Richmond, once again the Garden City.


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