John ter Borg’s PARC insights

This guest post from John ter Borg was also published in the Richmond Review as “Preserving the Garden City Lands. . . .” It responds to the key article titledListening to the Lands = PARC.”

At first glance the Garden City lands PARC concept map looks simple, but upon deeper inspection it becomes clearer that important knowledge, ideas, and natural history have been captured.

As someone who has participated in the public eco-tours led by Michael Wolfe, I have been able to see firsthand the diversity of animal and plant species that make up the Garden City Lands.

It is clear to me that the concept map is a valuable tool that will allow the future potential of the lands to be communicated, and lead to the restoration of a naturally productive bog ecosystem. It is on these tours that I am always reminded of just how lucky we are to be able to access nature so close to home.

The lands which have never been farmed form a natural buffer between Richmond’s high density urban centre and the Richmond Nature Park to the east. These remnants of the vast bogs that once covered more than one-third of the island passively provide essential ecosystem services that contribute to the wellness of our community.

Conservation of this prime agricultural land has the net benefit of securing our future food needs, while at the same time providing abatement of noise and air pollution, climate regulation resulting from carbon storage in trees, plants and soils, habitat for pollinators, and helps to control runoff and absorb wastes.

Proceeding with a dyke-trail approach, including the perimeter dyke, would facilitate effective water management and encourage the development of a sustainable food systems park that could incorporate community farms and gardens, allow urban agriculture research, and opportunities for nature-based recreation.

A natural next step is for the City of Richmond to recognize and incorporate the Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog report as a baseline for guiding further studies and for planning purposes.

A related article on this blog is “Getting PARC trails on the Lands soon.”

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