Analysis of “Create” Garden City display boards

The City of Richmond suggests reading its Ideas Fair display boards before signing in to Let’s Talk Richmond or registering. (One could also read the guide we provided here.)

The display boards are useful overall but vary widely in quality.

Context Display Board: It’s basically okay, but it’s odd to describe the Garden City Lands as a finger. (Is a finger almost square?)

Also, the lands are home to some of Richmond’s greatest legacies from the past. We can steward the wonderful legacies from the past to us, and there’s an element of creating in that, but we’e straying into quicksand if we suppose the lands to be “our legacy to create.”

Heritage Display Board for the Ideas Fair for "Create" Garden CityHeritage Display Board: Even as history, this would include the citizens’ successful fight to keep the Garden City Lands for ALR values. As heritage, it would best include natural legacies. It appears that the heritage hunters with rifles are ready to shoot down the origami bird symbol at top left. If it will clear the way for heritage legacies to thrive, that’s okay.

Environment Display Board: In the only available study, the peat depth of the lands (except in fill areas) ranges from 60 cm to 140 cm; the display board is therefore incorrect. Also, the point about 30 cm in 500 years is confusing and led to incorrect information in a Vancouver Sun story.

The sphagnum aspect, which is crucial, is missing. In addition, the expression “poorly drained” connotes a problem, but in fact the area retained as sphagnum bog would typically be better off with less drainage. (Actually, though, the key is to retain sufficient precipitation to enable water-table levels that are precisely controlled to be optimal for sphagnum moss generation.

Health and Wellness Display Board: Outstanding! Well-chosen accurate info in a work of art.

Placemaking hazard“Placemaking” Display Board: The “placemaking” content is troubling. Conserve nature’s art! We don’t need “land art” to connect us to the views if we retain and enhance the continuous natural viewscapes we’re struggling to protect. Adjusting the focus that way while improving all-weather access will make the lands a great place for artists, and having artists in action around the lands will naturally fill out a kind of placemaking.

As a former Occupational Health and Safety Committee chair, I shudder at the photo of hazardous “land art,” with a little girl balancing on angular blocks of wood that would be easy to trip on. Her baby doll has fallen from her hand—headfirst over the edge to her left.

As art, though, the photo is powerful.

Agricultural Land Reserve Display Board: The “What’s permitted in the ALR?” list is concisely accurate. (Excellent.) Most of the photos are okay, but the golf course ones are misleading, since they show a use that can no longer apply to the Garden City Lands.

Missing display board: The aspect that has been missed is infrastructure for getting around on the lands. Since the Agricultural Lands Commission has described the lands as a single farming unit, the infrastructure could logically feature farm roads that can also serve as all-weather trails. By nature, they would have a diking effect, so they would also serve as dikes that help (not hinder) the hydrology-informed water management.

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