City Centre centre prompts subversive thoughts

We keep getting messages about the City Centre from Friends of Garden City. They seem to be prompted by a newspaper ad about an open house at the Richmond Cultural Centre on September 14, part of the City Centre Community Centre project.

There’s a related online survey, and the concern from reading it is that the consultation is framed to limit ideas to harmless choices among yoga, cards, billiards, etc. There is nothing to prompt thoughts of food-sustainability groups, naturalist gatherings, and walking/cycling clubs. Such groups might want to expand the City Centre’s shrinking green space and ensure stewardship of the Garden City Lands and other open spaces for community wellness, with particular emphasis on the wellness of the City Centre community.

Besides the ongoing survey, there are open houses. The first open house is in the Richmond Cultural Centre on Wednesday, Sept. 14. The time is 5–8 p.m. but with the discussion at 7 p.m., with inclusion of Mandarin and Cantonese.

In the rest of this post, I happily to share some thoughtful input sent by a Friend of Garden City.


The Garden City Lands is a natural complement to the new Community Centre.

  • Why is the City Centre always short-changed compared to other city neighborhoods?
  • What is the City of Richmond doing to promote community wellness?
  • What is being done to promote green space in the City Centre?
  • What about the implantation of the PARC concept in the City Centre — Parkland for Agriculture, Recreation, and Conservation?

What is being done about Food Security in the City Centre?

  • City Centre youth have to go all the way to Terra Nova to participate in local food production and farm-based recreation.  Is there an opportunity to provide local community farms and gardens?
  • Kwantlen College has made it known that their Agricultural Department is interested in making urban agriculture, research, and education accessible to the public.  How can they best partner with the community?
  • Where can people be exposed to the harvesting of wild species and traditional medicinal plant resources?

How can the City Centre support biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem?

  • The Garden City Lands in their natural state provide suitable living and reproductive space, biological and genetic diversity, nurseries, refugia, and habitat for migratory species.  How can we conserve what is there?
  • Nature passively provides valuable Ecosystem Services such as filtration, abatement of noise pollution, air pollution absorption by trees and climate regulation resulting from carbon storage in trees, plants and soils. Natural spaces also provide food, nectar and habitat for pollinators, and help control runoff and absorb wastes.  How can we support this natural productivity?

Having a variety of cultural, educational and recreational activities is important to me.  Living in the City Centre, where can I access nature?

  • Variety in natural landscapes, natural features and nature provides opportunities for cognitive development: scenery, cultural motivation, environmental education, spiritual value, scientific knowledge, and connection to traditions and community heritage.
  • Tourism is the second largest income generator in the province. Nature-based tourism such as bird-watching and wildlife viewing requires habitat. How might local ecotourism opportunities be encouraged to highlight biological and genetic diversity?

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