Garden City News, 2011-04-02

The Garden City News is usually just emailed to the very large “Friends of Garden City” group. For this issue, we are trying out a supplementary approach: posting it here on the blog.
          

Friends of Garden City:

This issue of the Garden City News addresses current topics at four levels:

  • Metro-­level success — bylaw corrected
  • Federal-level challenge — illuminating Garden City politics
  • City-level solution — Save Garden City primary election
  • Community-level opportunity — 100th Day Tour (April 10)

     
1. 
Federal-level challenge — illuminating Garden City politics

We are in a federal election campaign until May 2. The Garden City Lands were a wedge issue in the 2008 campaign, and they (along with the DND Lands) are an issue again. The Garden City Lands Coalition website and the Richmond’s Garden City Lands blog will not endorse any candidate in the Richmond and Delta–Richmond East ridings. However, we will credit candidates as objectively as we can after learning what we can. That is relatively easy for the Richmond riding but more challenging for Delta-Richmond East, which seems headed toward all-new candidates. If candidates make illuminating or misleading statements, that sort of topic will be addressed only on the blog, which is more editorial by nature. So far there’s just one post like that.

     
2. Metro-­level success — bylaw corrected

Thanks to our messages and presentations to council, along with a legal opinion to the Garden City Lands Coalition from lawyer Andrew Gage, we succeeded together in getting Richmond council to require a needed change to Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy bylaw. It had unacceptably designated the Garden City Lands and the federal “DND Lands” to the east as “General Urban,” which means “residential,” even though they are in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Both areas will now be designated as “Conservation and Recreation,” which is acceptable. We preferred that the Metro designation be “Agricultural,” and Coun. Sue Halsey-Brandt tried valiantly for that, but the actual result is still a win because the residential designation is being replaced by an ALR-compatible one. As a spin-off bonus, the Terra Nova Rural Park and Natural Area, which had also been designated “General Urban” (residential), will be changed to “Conservation and Recreation” too. Great teamwork! (Note: There are details in several posts on this blog.)

     
3. City-level solution — Save Garden City primary election

B.C. municipal councils will be elected on November 19 for the period until the end of 2014. By that time, the Garden City Lands will either have fallen far short of their incredible promise or be well on their way to achieving it. Retaining and strengthening the “Save Garden City” presence on Richmond council is vital. For that, we need “Save Garden City” candidates who are both capable and committed. We also need to somehow overcome the self-defeating effects of vote-splitting. In the last election, we had major success, but we also fell short, particularly because the Save Garden City vote was so widely split. A good solution must enable the coalition to remain inclusive and non-partisan while overcoming the problem. To that end, the directors of the Garden City Lands Coalition Society are considering a “primary election” for non-incumbent Save Garden City candidates. Please read the primary election post  and provide constructive input by adding concise comments at the end of that post.

    
 4. Community-level opportunity — 100th Day Tour (April 10)

No amount of reading about the Garden City Lands can replace the value of a guided tour with Michael Wolfe, whose deep commitment is matched by his expert insight and teaching skill. Since you’re reading this, you probably want to help steward the lands in the ALR for a fitting blend of agricultural, ecological, and open-land-park uses for community wellness. Join Michael and like-minded citizens for the next Garden City Lands tour. It is on the hundredth day of 2011, Sunday, April 10, at 2:30 p.m. Richmond’s John Harrison, who was a remarkable organic farmer, used to say that “Nature is the first agriculturist,” and the tour theme this time is “Nature’s Agriculture.” For more details, please visit the Garden City Lands Tours page.

      
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Note: If you support the goals of the Garden City Lands Coalition, you are welcome to subscribe to the emailed Garden City News and simultaneously become a Friend of Garden City and . Simply send a message to the coalition with “Subscribe” in the subject line.

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