How the “community field” deprives family neighbourhoods

Background: Several articles in the series about park enhancement of the Garden City Lands park deal with a recent City of Richmond survey that is clearly not valid. The worst element that was slipped in was the “community field.” As a soccer tournament centre, it is a non-ALR use, but it appears in all three variants of the city’s concept for the lands. It appears designed to fool citizens and the Agricultural Land Commission.

Concept map A from Garden City Lands park planners. The "community field," which has turned out be a non-ALR use, is in the northwest corner (top right).

Concept map A from Garden City Lands park planners. The “community field,” which has turned out be a non-ALR use, is in the northwest corner (top right).

The loss will also be felt by neighbourhoods. When artificial-turf soccer fields were completed at Minoru and King George Park in 2008, the City of Richmond’s news release reported that fifty natural-turf soccer fields had been “released” from that use. Neighbourhoods, including my own, lost their fields when they were not maintained. (Playing soccer there would put one at risk for a sprained ankle now.)

It’s especially hard on families that can’t afford the time and money to take their children to organized sports. Some of those local fields could be restored immediately, and that is in contrast to the many-years vague timeline for the Garden City Lands. Sadly, the ongoing attempt to put the non-ALR use in the ALR park is paralyzing that neighbourhood-field restoration possibility too.

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