2011 Richmond Council election – Friends Running for Mayor

In the recent survey of Richmond council candidates, both candidates for mayor indicated their commitment to stewarding the Garden City Lands in the Agricultural Land Reserve for agricultural, ecological and open-land park uses for community benefit. Barring a double calamity between now and election day, the citizens will definitely elect a mayor with that commitment. Great progress!

Richard Lee

A member of the Garden City Lands Coalition Society, Richard Lee keeps in touch from time to time and did a little translation into Traditional Chinese that the coalition needed at short notice. At the recent World Food Day celebration at the cultural centre, Richard staffed the coalition booth for several hours, and his language skills and good-natured personality were useful. Richard has some firsthand familiarity with the lands, and it was evident from his comments at an all-candidates meeting that he has read at least one of the documents that were filed with the Supreme Court of BC in the April–August period of 2010. That scored points with me because we could do with council members with skill in reading legal documents related to the Garden City Lands and other issues. It was also evident that he can retain his assertiveness, composure and good humour under pressure, and that would be useful in dealing with tough partners like the Garden City Lands partners (e.g., if the lawsuit goes to mediation).

Malcolm Brodie

Malcolm Brodie was in an almost impossible situation with the Garden City Lands agreements:

  • On the one hand, in his mayor’s role as the chief executive of the City of Richmond, he had to work with city staff to implement the Garden City Lands agreements between the city as a business entity and the Musqueam Indian Band (also as a business entity) and Canada Lands Company CLC Ltd.
  • On the other hand, he had to use his legislative discretion in the best interests of the citizens of Richmond in his mayor’s role as a voting member of council.

Since Richmond as a business and Richmond as a legislative council were increasingly pulling in opposite directions, that was difficult. Since the Musqueam Indian Band’s lawsuit shows that it wasn’t super-sensitive to the council’s legislative discretion, it was an even more difficult spot for the mayor to be in. In view of that situation, it is better to focus on the future, rather than dwell on a past in which the intertangled roles must have had a major effect.

In the recent survey of candidates, Malcolm included a comment that quoted the definition of “Conservation and Recreation,” the land use designation that has been adopted for Richmond in the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy. That neither expands nor limits what can be done under the provincial ALR designation, which takes precedence, so I’m not sure how it is relevant other than as a statement of intent that should be adequate for Musqueam lawsuit purposes. However, I’m mentioning it in case any reader sees a greater significance. (The Metro designations are vague and toothless but have symbolic significance.)


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