Many council candidates tour Garden City Lands

It’s increasingly clear that the people who most need Garden City Conservation’s eco-tours of the Garden City Lands are the incumbent and potential members of Richmond council. There are basic kinds of understanding that council members are not picking up in any other way. An effect has been that the park enhancement is not progressing, and answers at a recent all-candidate meeting underlined that.


An example:

For instance, an incumbent extolled the perimeter boardwalk that was planned. However, the trail needs to be on an ALR roadway system. It would be a clay farm roadway with a diking role, as part of the water management system that is essential for the bog restoration and agricultural uses in the current concept. That has been known at City Hall, and I can’t fathom the lack of information flow, but it is what it is.

The roadway system also needs to be sturdy enough for the heaviest service vehicles while providing a smooth and safe surface for full accessibility for citizens with mobility challenges. (That includes wheelchairs, scooters and walkers and young children’s strollers, for instance.)

From a follow-up email from that incumbent, I gather that he/she was drawing on what she had learned on the Lands from city staff. Her decisions to not go on Garden City Conservation eco-tours as well are hindering him/her from coming to more comprehensive opinions.

If he/she happens to like boardwalks, he/she would learn that they could be feature of the enhanced park, just not part of the robust infrastructure that is needed for water management and all-weather access for all foreseeable purposes. I’m talking about a smart person who would have picked up this sort of thing on any of the recent eco-tours.


Fortunately, many people running for council in the November 2014 election have experienced Garden City Lands tours and will be better prepared if elected. Here they are! I’ll list the names under the photo.

Note: For a larger version of the set of photos, simply double-click on it.


Richmond B.C.’s 2014 council candidates who have taken part in Garden City Conservation’s eco-tours of the Garden City Lands. Top row: Coun. Harold Steves, Michael Wolfe, Coun. Chak Au, Carol Day. Second row from top: Grace Tsang, Dave Semple, Alexa Loo, Jerome Dickey. Next row: Kris von Schalburg, Jennifer Huang, Helen Quan, Roy Sakata. Bottom row: Mayoral candidate Richard Lee, Adil Awan. The graphic between them is Adil’s recent photo of the Garden City Lands, looking southwest from the air transport plane he was piloting.


Of course, the useful experience had a range of personal contexts, and I’ll give a few examples. Michael is highly knowledgeable and has led many eco-tours. At least Carol Day. Kris Schalburg and Richard Lee have participated in more than one of them. Helen Quan needed to leave quite early, but a short experience can still be useful. Adil Awan brought his insight from thinking about the Lands from the air.

When candidate Jerome Dickey came on tour led by Michael Wolfe, Jerome was building on the useful experience of going on one of the tours at the Ideas Fair the City held on the Lands in mid-2013. (They were led by well-informed guides the City had hired.) As it happens, thanks to help from City staff, I had a table overlooking the entrance drive for the entire Ideas Fair, and I didn’t see any of the incumbent councillors there. (Mayor Malcolm Brodie did drop by.)


It’s great that so many candidates for the 2014–18 council are seeing the value of “doing their homework” with Garden City Conservation eco-tours, and many of them are evidently finding it a memorable experience.


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