A pre-review of the Garden City Lands open house

Update Nov. 7, 2013: At the open house, we passed out 350 fact sheets to roughly 450 people and received a very good response.

Update, Nov. 6, 2013: We’ve prepared a one-page fact sheet. You can open/download it in English or in Chinese. Also, this post has been published as a “Digging Deep” column in the online Richmond Review and newspaper.

Synopsis: No option put forth at the Garden City Lands open house respects the ALR or the legacies of the lands. However, all include the perimeter trail. If done well, it is an excellent option that enables access ASAP while also enabling flexible further enhancement. Venue: Lansdowne Centre, Thursday, November 7, 2013, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

___________

Visit the Garden City Lands open house! It’s at a shopping mall, an apt place to kick off a marketing campaign. They want you to buy into their model, which comes in three options for our central park: A, B and C, like the sedan, coupe and hatchback versions of a car.

It’s a 2014 Lemon. Looks pretty. Sounds sexy. Not too reliable.

Or lawful. In my view, none of the “options” are lawful, since A, B and C all include a non-ALR use. It’s incognito on the option maps, but it came out last week when a Richmond parks manager spoke to the parks committee.

Let’s put that aside for now, as I did with John ter Borg, a UBC master’s student in land and water systems who knows the lands well.

John ter Borg, while working on a clean water supply project in a developing country with Engineers Without Borders a few years ago.

John ter Borg, while working on a clean water supply project in a developing country with Engineers Without Borders a few years ago.

We looked for strengths in the “options,” especially in conserving nature’s legacy. Too often we had to say “They just don’t get it.”

An example: Every “option” has a “sanctuary.” In the option map below it’s southeast of the middle of the lands, a bit like a lush green squashed starfish. That “sanctuary” is the best patch of sphagnum moss, the keystone species of sphagnum bogs, but it’s shown outside the bog conservation area, where the water table should be closely regulated.

Option B for enhancement of the Garden City Lands park, one of three "options" that don't meet the minimum standard of including only ALR uses.

Option B for enhancement of the Garden City Lands park, one of three options that don’t meet the minimum standard of including only ALR uses.

Another example: For our unique legacy of a sphagnum bog in a city centre, the northeast part of the lands is a great place for the proven restoration method. Instead, we see “naturalized woodlot” there (dark green), like the Richmond Nature Park. Redundance instead of excellence.

A good feature: The perimeter trail on the option maps is needed, though for more than the stated “cycling & pedestrian” uses. It’s essential to add service vehicle access and rolling—at least wheelchairs and scooters. Also, the trail has crucial dyking roles for water management.

Option E, for “Excellent”: Sharing current knowledge about the perimeter trail would take a new column. But clearly the trail is a solid start, and it’s what needs action now. Let’s get Option E done.

Meanwhile: The process is said to be in Phase 4 of six, but no phase has been adequate, mainly because Phase O got skipped. The O is for Orientation. It’s the firm foundation of what nature is telling us, plus a range of givens and near-givens.

The PARC concept graphic provides a context of existing knowledge for thinking about saving and enhancing the natural legacies of the Garden City Lands for community wellness.

The PARC concept graphic provides a context of existing knowledge for thinking about saving and enhancing the natural legacies of the Garden City Lands for community wellness.

Phase O is embodied in the PARC concept graphic (above) and explanation, along with related local knowledge, as discussed in “Listening to the Lands = PARC on this blog. The project has far too rarely heeded our citizens’ wealth of local knowledge—except when planning the non-ALR use.

OptionBBack with that non-ALR use: The code name “community fields” in the map legend for Options A, B and C turned out to mean organized sports, with room for “five natural grass soccer fields.”

That  feature appears mainly on the northwest berm along Alderbridge (top right in map). The sports-complex lobbyers have derided grass fields (goose poop, etc.), but they’d be a foot in the door.

Months ago, their leader told me he wanted that area, and I said it’s needed for orchards. They’re widely wanted, and only that one part of the lands is suited to them. But orchards got left out!

So why test-drive the 2014 Lemon? The project team will be there at Lansdowne Centre (centre court, it seems) with their colourful displays. They’re good people with good ideas, and the biggest problems are caused from above.

I also hope to be there to answer questions, as do Michael Wolfe and John ter Borg for shorter periods.

The different perspectives will help you reach informed opinions. Also, I can go into details such as the huge risks from flirting with non-ALR uses.

Goal: Turning the 2014 Lemon into metaphorical lemonade would be too trite. How about an all-natural lemon meringue pie?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s