New views on Richmond’s legacy viewscapes

A team of ten of us got together on Sunday at the West entrance to the Garden City Lands to act on “The legacy views story” and “You’re invited.” We saw a September 2012 version of the March 2012 scene above.

As in March, it was evident that the woods across Alderbridge in the Walmart area have been degraded in the site loading process. It would be possible to offset that harm, partially offsetting the ecological damage at the same time. The woods in the West Cambie Natural Park are still providing both biodiversity and an essential element in the legacy view.

The panorama keeps on going from west to east and then southward until one is facing Mount Baker and the Seven Sisters. It was pointed out that we need to give due credit to those views to the northeast, east, and southeast, treating them as part of the legacy while addressing the present threat to the northern view.

As we walked around the south side of the Lands, we envisioned how the trees could be filled in to screen even the tallest buildings in the West Cambie area as long as the City does not give permission for new tall buildings that are close to Alderbridge. For safety reasons, trees along Alderbridge should not be very tall, and it was a welcome surprise to see that trees of a safe height can do the job well. As we thought about the natural park, we were reminded how diverse the trees there are are, and it was clear that it’s best to retain the diversity while mainly adding evergreens.

On Sunday we weren’t looking across an expanse of water, as in the March photo, but we talked about making the Lands a much wetter place in the drier seasons. It’s realistic to think of the legacy view as including ponds, because they will be there in one way or another.

After the planned tour, Michael Wolfe invited us all to go north to Alexandra Road and look at the Walmart area and natural park from the other side. That made me more conscious of the value of retaining a wildlife corridor on the north side of Alderbridge, and that fits well with the value of the woods for the legacy view.

The bottom line is clear: the legacy viewscapes from the Garden City Lands are as important to fight for as the other legacies of the Lands. What’s unclear to all is why the value is NOT as obvious to City Hall as it is to the citizens. Maybe they share our view and just haven’t communicated it.

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    Barbara Mathias Says:

    I firmly believe that the viewscapes from the south side of the GCLs are a precious part of our city. Stunning. Ours. The GCL is no less precious. As the 27 + new highrises are added within the city centre alone, Richmond needs the open space there, and many pocket parks, for residents to get out of their apartment homes for a bit of fresh air, greenery and open space.


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