Reflection: A good/flawed fix-it meeting

The  “General Urban bites the dust . . .” post  (below this one), is an overview of a council that semi-fixed a problem affecting the Garden City Lands, the new Metro bylaw, and the ALR. Over the next few days, I’ll reflect further and share different insights, starting with this post.

The closest that Richmond citizens get to the real decision-making at city hall is when council meets as a committee. On Monday, some far-reaching decisions broadcast into living rooms from a 7 p.m. council meeting had been made at a general purposes committee meeting at 5 p.m.

At the committee meeting, every council member did some things well as council finally fixed wrong “land use designations” in the new Metro Vancouver bylaw. Large areas of Richmond had been designated as “General Urban” (residential) even though they should never be residential.

Much of that area, including the Garden City Lands, is in the ALR. Besides being senseless, the problem violated the Agricultural Land Commission Act.

The weakest aspect of decisions that were largely good was a delay in fixing the illegal designations until after the bylaw is in place. That could be four months from now. The two Metro directors on council said it will be easy then, whereas the changes need support from all 24 of Metro’s local governments now. 

Council was told that all the Metro directors will support it later, when it just needs a board vote. In that case, one would think that all Metro governments would support it now. And how could anyone object to making the bylaw fully legal?

Along with an improvement, we still have uncertainty, continued (though softened) evasion of the ALC Act, and blurred intent that can only harm us in the Musqueam lawsuit against us.

After attending many council committee meetings, I’ve come to appreciate how Coun. Sue Halsey-Brandt raises the level of decency. On Monday she stood out for principle, foresight, and due caution. On a good but flawed evening, our music-teacher councillor was the one with perfect pitch.

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    al Says:

    Having attended the GP meeting yesterday, I was not the least bit impressed.

    Prior to the 5 PM meeting , there was a closed meeting at 4 PM. It is fair to postulate that Council was “briefed” prior to the 5PM meeting, as opposed to reading the documentation over the weekend and keeping an open mind.

    The whole 5 PM open meeting, which lasted 2 hours, was a charade and an abomination of democracy and representation.

    After approx. 45 minutes of public submissions, the magic show started.

    All sorts of changes were tabled .

    The Mayor whipped up a real beauty…ie the DND lands (in the ALR) should not be deemd Agricultural….as if they were farmed, drainage issues would affect Richmond Nature Park (East of Shell Road)..also in the ALR. So now we have on record a senior- elected official stating drainage is an issue for agricultural viability , when in fact large areas of the ALR have no agri-drainage.

    The discussion reminds me of a sideshow act whereby a ball is put under one of 3 cups and deftly shifted so it is difficult to keep track of.

    Then, of the 3 Options tabled in the Staff Report… # 3 was chosen, which effectively approves the RGS and all its implications. Under Option 3, Council can table changes to the GCL, DND and Terra Nova lands.
    I have no idea why Terra Nova even entered the discussion, it was never a real issue.

    IMHO, given the City purchased the GCL in the midst of the MVRGS drafts, and was sued by the Musqueam shortly thereafter. The City has changed designations solely as a legal defense via zoning semantics to counter the Musqueam claim of City enrichment.

    There is no guarantee Metro will agree to Richmond’s designation changes …though some on Council feel it is slam dunk ?

    Regardless, what I saw yesterday further verified my lack of respect and mistrust for this current administration at City Hall, you had to be there to witness the pathetic dog and pony circus.


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