Archive for the ‘2014 Richmond election’ Category

Richmond, BC 2014 election results — analysis

November 15, 2014

For the 2014 Richmond election, these are the unofficial results:

Council

Malcolm Brodie has been re-elected as mayor. He is a capable administrator, and his effect depends on the councillors on council with him.

These councillors have been elected: Bill McNulty, Chak Au, Linda McPhail, Derek Dang, Harold Steves, Carol Day, Ken Johnston and Alexa Loo.

The four in this colour typically vote to give the big rezoner-developers what they want. The four in this colour are better for the environment and neighbourhoods.

This colour is for the one elected council memher who is a big rezoner-developer supporter but who also can be significantly for the environment. Malcolm Brodie moved significantly in that direction in the current term that is coming to a close.

Two likely changes with the election of Carol Day and Alexa Loo (along with six incumbents):

  • Council will be livelier.
  • Neightbourhoods will be heard—good for conservation.

School Board

For school board, the unofficially elected trustees are Donna Sargent, Debbie Tablotney, Eric YungKen HamaguchiJonathan Ho, Sandra Nixon and Alice S. Wong. It is a good sign that the candidates shown in colour have taken part in Garden City Lands tours (although Jonathan Ho had to leave early on). Eric Yung has well-developed thinking about how the school district can collaborate with Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the City in agriculture on the Lands. Donna Sargent and Debbie Tablotney are very capable.  If the city gets its act together in real progress to enhance the Garden City Lands, I expect that this new school board will capably join in.

Personally I also like Ken Hamaguchi’s concern for students with special needs. Paying attention to those with the greatest needs raises the level of the whole community.

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The stump

November 7, 2014

This evening we received this message from a Friend of Garden City in response to our 2014 Richmond Election articles:

I hope something will change.

The same people have been around too long.

The other day they cut one of the biggest trees
not far from where I live.

According to them it was sick.

They knew it was not, and when I confronted them they just left.

A municipal employee came to look at the tree,
and without getting out of the car,
looked at the stump, laughed and left.

If it goes on like this, Richmond will be a very unlivable place to live.

7 pivotal issues for a proactive new council

November 7, 2014
Northward viewscape from the Garden City Lands in 2005 — Michael Wolfe photo

The viewscape from Richmond City Centre in this 2005 Michael Wolfe photo includes mixed urban forest on the north side of Alderbridge Way. Most of the trees are in an area that has now been “clearcut.”

For the next four years, we could have a proactive new Richmond council that gets results. Strong candidates in the current election would thrive on pivotal issues like these.

1 Faulty consultation

When West Cambie Natural Park was eyed for development, the city gave neighbours a choice: (a) Townhouses or (b) Townhouses + apartments. When a survey responder said to keep the park, staff said “Unacceptable,” and council agreed and abandoned the land to developers. There’s room to improve.

2 Salty irrigation water

Removing the Massey Tunnel in favour of the Port Metro Bridge* would trigger deeper dredging of the Fraser for larger ships. The natural “salt wedge” of seawater would then press further up the channel.

Nowadays, South Arm pumping stations from 6 Road east can often let in water fit for crops. In future, saltier water at intake would hinder that—and Richmond farming.

3 Flood risk

The ocean is rising. As well, dredging a deeper channel will start a chain of effects, and storm waves will hit our shores with growing power.

Or council can take action with senior governments to step up the diking. And perhaps the tunnel and channel depth can be retained, with or without the Port Metro Bridge.

4 Tunnel risk

As a reinforced concrete structure, the tunnel gets stronger with time, but earthquake effects could sweep away what’s under it, causing death and injury. That could be prevented by implementing modern ways to stabilize the area.

The current project knows this but mostly wants to remove, not improve. Still, with a timely sliver of Port Metro Bridge funding, tunnel users could get safety, a bargain no matter how long the tunnel stays.

5 Respecting the ALR

The Garden City Lands need a 3-in-1 ALR roadway near the perimeter. It will serve as a heavy-duty farm road, a clay dike for water control, and a wide all-weather trail for cycling, walking and smooth rolling—wheelchairs, strollers, etc.

Yet a council incumbent lately enthused about a boardwalk instead. That wouldn’t suit the 3-in-1 needs, although boardwalks would suit some other needs on the lands. Besides, our central park can be the best place anywhere to celebrate B.C.’s ALR legacy, and the ALR roadway would be integral.

6 Lost viewscapes

The panoramic natural viewscapes north and east from the Garden City Lands area were a City Centre legacy. After council stripped away protection, an expanse of mixed urban forest north of Alderbridge Way was clearcut.

In partial late atonement, council arranged for a new treed buffer along Alderbridge, now quasi-planned. Vigilant action by caring councillors can limit the loss there and along the whole block from Garden City Road to 4 Road.

7 Feeding the BiRDs

The “big rezoner-developers,” as Michael Wolfe terms them. Six-storey buildings rising north of Alderbridge mar the viewscapes. To please developers, there was rezoning from four storeys, and the increased height makes it hard for trees to ever screen the buildings while not screening the mountains.

Between the rezoning and the clearcutting, Richmond has borne a priceless loss of legacy so that developers could be given millions of bucks in land-value windfalls. In approach, the example is typical, not ideal.

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On the current council, Harold Steves and Chak Au have best handled issues like these. I hope other incumbent councillors, all good people, will find happiness off council, since there’s a range of “new blood” with potential to do what’s needed well.

I’ve taken part in meetings of council and its committees for years, and I’m confident in the candidates who’ve been there speaking usefully on issues. In order, that includes Michael Wolfe, Carol Day and, more recently, Jerome Dickey.

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*Note: I coined “Port Metro Bridge” for the announced but officially unnamed South Arm bridge.

Unless there’s a better Wei, should Brodie or Lee be mayor?

November 1, 2014

This is just my personal view of Malcolm Brodie vs Richard Lee in the 2014 Richmond election for mayor.

Malcolm Brodie and Richard Lee in 2014 Richmond election debate for candidates for mayor

As mayor, Malcolm Brodie has a mixed record on conservation. Candidate Richard Lee talks a better conservation game and seems to mean it. The third candidate, Cliff Wei, seems like a good person but probably not a contender to win.

I am impressed that Richard Lee has taken part in eco-tours of the Garden City Lands. In all likelihood that puts him in the position of best knowledge on that issue, which is important because of the lack of stewarding of the lands, our central park, for the past few years.

Malcolm Brodie and Richard Lee would have different strengths as mayor, and I was very interested to read about their TV debate and to watch it. After watching, I was more confident about Richard Lee because of his courage and less confident about Malcolm Brodie after seeing him slip away at the end when the other two candidates were acting respectfully. (The etiquette at the end of a TV debate is well established, and a long-time politician would surely know it.)

In other words, the mayoral election has become a bit of a contest, less one-sided than usual. I recommend that you read and watch for yourself. It will take about 45 minutes in total, but it will help enable you to make an informed decision between Malcolm Brodie and Richard Lee and also Cliff Wei, since he’s prominent in the video too.

You’ll find the video within Graeme Wood’s online Richmond News article with a rather long title: “Brodie refuses to shake Lee’s hand after debate: Visibly upset mayor walked off Shaw stage after live TV tussle with rival Richard Lee.” The illustration with this article is from Graeme Wood’s article too.

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This blog has many articles about the 2014 Richmond Election. You can click that link or use the search box or the drop-down Categories menu, both at top left.

For articles about choices for councillor consider these:

Picking a 4-year team of Richmond councillors

October 31, 2014

This article is my personal view. I am not speaking for the Garden City Conservation in it. Neither I nor the society endorses candidates, but I can still go further than the society in my personal opinions.

2014 Richmond Council election picks

It’s time to rebuild Richmond council for a strong four years —ill late 2018. We need “new blood” that’s ready to succeed in team roles from the start and for the long term. To that I’d add a savvy old-timer or two who put citizens first, not developers first.

As a voter, I’ve viewed the all-candidate meetings as tryouts for the council team. Great new talent!

One party wants the city to pay consultants to curb its spending. At a tryout, Grace Tsang and Alexa Loo had no-cost solutions. Grace, a school trustee and financial planner, proposed an audit committee like the school board’s. For clear sidewalks, Alexa would guide residents to trim back shrubs but bill at cost if the city has to step in.

For a question about the ALR legacy of the Garden City Lands, incumbents who’d hindered it puffed about their own legacy. In contrast, Adil Awan and Coun. Chak Au cited community perseverance to save the lands for ALR values. Bonus points to Laura Nastasa, whose insight began with the honest “I worked on the developer side at first.”

Note: Earlier, Coun. Harold Steves had described the community role in many conservation successes, including the lands. When he brought in his own role, it was the truth.

From seven years working with Carol Day and Michael Wolfe, I admire how they’ve led community action for neighbourhoods and the environment. Also, they often bring input to council meetings. Anyone half-awake can echo staff, but Carol and Michael go further.

Jerome Dickey has interacted a bit with council and a lot with citizens in person and via JeromeDickey.com, where he analyzes each issue. We could do with his diligence.

After chatting at length with ex-staff Dave Semple, I’m perplexed that the city’s half-baked Garden City Lands concept hasn’t drawn on his expertise. Still, I think he’d apply it on council, which also needs his concern for the poor and his sense of fun.

My top eight are all among the 21 candidates in this election who’ve taken part in Garden City Lands tours with Garden City Conservation. Of the present council, in contrast, only Chak and Harold have done so. The difference shows.

My councillor team so far: Chak Au, Michael Wolfe, Carol Day, Harold Steves, Alexa Loo, Dave Semple, Jerome Dickey and Grace Tsang. The first six became clear choices as the campaign went on. Some others I’ve considered for the final two spots are Adil Awan, Jennifer Huang, Sal Buhlar and Andy Hobbs.

Each person I’ve mentioned would bring a particular strength. For personal strength, I’d choose Jennifer Huang first, but she seems too low-profile to get elected, so I’ve reluctantly left her off my list.

By the way, if too few candidates deserved my vote, I’d vote for less than allowed. To avoid forgetting my final selections, I’ll bring my list to the voting booth.

I’ve evaluated largely on “level playing fields” like candidate meetings, eco-tours and the Review’s “Richmond election candidates survey.” It’s also easy to access candidate profiles at Richmond.ca.

Bad choices would haunt us for four years. Let’s get it right! For now, thank you, candidates, for being so good that you make our choice hard.

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Related articles include:

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Update:

I strongly recommend AGAINST slate voting for Richmond First, with its developer ties, but Andy Hobbs shows some promise.

Similarly, I strongly recommend slate AGAINST slate voting for Richmond Community Coalition. Despite the benign name, they are led by developer Rob Howard, who was shrilly for high-density development of the Garden City Lands when on council, and they won’t reveal where their big budget is coming from (quite likely developers who expect something in return).  However, I strongly support Chak Au, and there are others like Sal Bhullar who show some promise.

Many council candidates tour Garden City Lands

October 28, 2014

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.

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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.

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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.

Eco-tourists

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.

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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.)

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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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Related articles include:

Richmond trustee candidates know the Lands

October 27, 2014

For the past few years, Richmond school trustees have been taking part in eco-tours of the Garden City Lands, no doubt partly for their own interest but also because they realize various kinds of educational potential from the lands, our central park. Some of those trustees have move on, and some are among the seven 2014 candidates for school trustee who have participate in one or more of the tours. Here they are, with the names below the set of photos.

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

2014 Richmond School Board candidates who have taken part in Garden City Lands eco-tours

Richmond’s 2014 candidates for School Trustee who have taken part in Garden City Lands eco-tours. Top row: Sandra Nixon, Trustee Dr. Norm Goldstein, Michael Starchuk. Bottom row: Alice S. Wong, Trustee Dr. Eric Yung, Jonathan Ho, Trustee Rod Belezza.

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These participants range from one who unfortunately had to leave after fifteen minutes (Jonathon Ho) to ones who have been on two or three tours (Michael Starchuk and Norm Goldstein). I know that Norm and Eric Yung have each put considerable thought into school district uses of the Garden City Lands, but I’m not in a position to know how deeply the others have. In any case, it is reasonable to assume that they are all better able to think about the Lands in an informed way.

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With candidates like these, no wonder we have good schools!

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Related articles include:

Roy Sakata’s Info Forum

October 26, 2014

Roy-Sakata-speaking 2Roy Sakata, a Friend of Garden City and an Independent Richmond councillor candidate, wants to spread the news about his “Info Forum” events about current matters of concern.

Oct. 28. 2014, 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Drought in USA , Virtual water and Canada’s Food Production Strategy.
Speaker: Dr. Hans Schreier, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Land & Food Systems, UBC.

Update, Oct. 28, 8 p.m.: Excellent!

Nov. 4, 2014, 6:30–7:45 p.m.
Looking After the “Commons”: Pacific Ocean Herring Biomass Enhancement.
Speaker: ND Dr. Jonn Matsen, Squamish Stream Keepers Coordinator of Herring Spawn Survival Enhancement.

Nov 6, 2014 6:00–7:00p.m.
Community Noise and Chronic Health (air traffic, railway, vehicular, etc.)
Speaker: Dr. Hugh Davies, UBC Professor

Location for all the events: Steveston Buddhist Temple, 430 Gary Street, Richmond, B.C. Directions: Come south on Railway Avenue past Steveston Highway to Gary Street. Turn right on Gary Street and proceed west about 1 block. You will see a clear “Steveston Buddhist Temple” sign. Just past the sign, turn left into the parking lot.

Admission: Donations at the door to cover costs of hall rental, cleaning and refreshments.

Questions: Call Roy Sakata at 604-447-2285.

Wolfe and Day have proven themselves

October 21, 2014

Two directors of the Garden City Conservation Society—Carol Day and Michael Wolfe—are candidates for councillor in the 2014 Richmond council election, officially on Saturday, Nov. 15.

The society never endorses candidates. However, with quite a bit of care, I as an individual can express personal appreciation for Carol and Michael.

Michael Wolfe and Carol Day

Personally, I believe that both Michael Wolfe and Carol Day have prepared themselves to be highly capable councillors. I agree with them that they have worked hard and well for the environment and neighbourhoods.

As a human resources maxim puts it, “Past performance is the best predictor of future performance.” For many years Michael and Carol have been doing what they say they’ll do, so we can be confident they will come through for the community.

Frequently for several years, Michael has presented insights at council meetings. He is typically better prepared on the issues than the council members who are being paid for it.

Carol also presents well-prepared explanations of the various issues she champions. One such presentation in late 2008 was extremely important for the MaClennan Area, and it was also very significant for the Garden City Lands. The subject matter was largely beyond my expertise, but I believe that the 10-point persuasive analysis was as good as possible. It’s here on the blog.

On development issues, we need balance, but for years the advantage has gone to what Michael calls “big rezone-developers,” not the people of Richmond. Following the developers’ plans, staff often recommends rezoning worth millions of dollars, and council goes through the motions to approve it. I react when there’s a major conservation loss, but the situation is more widespread. We deserve councillors who examine each project on its merits, and Michael and Carol fit that need.

Seven years ago, when stopping Mayor Brodie’s deal for dense development of the Garden City Lands seemed impossible, Michael Wolfe and Carol Day were two of the community leaders who came together with others as the Garden City Lands Coalition. After huge volunteer efforts, the coalition succeeded against all odds. When the coalition broadened its aims as the Garden City Conservation Society, they remained just as active.

Michael Wolfe and Carol Day are running as a two-person team with shared higher values and shared positions on some key issues. They can be several times as effective together as either of them could be in isolation. For conservation and community wellness, I am hoping that they will be elected.

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Note: From a conservation standpoint, it seems obvious to favour those two candidates along with incumbent councillors Harold Steves and Chak Au.

Fortunately, there are many other candidates who have acted in positive ways that the Garden City Conservation Society has been acknowledging and will continue to acknowledge.

I personally am still narrowing down and confirming my sense of which councillor candidates would best complement the core four. I anticipate that I will share that in one way or another, probably in a week or so since there is no need to rush. In any case, I will aim to be as clear as possible that it is an individual view.

Related articles include:

Richmond council shades of green

October 20, 2014

Canuck-fan green menB.C.’s local elections are officially on Saturday, November 15. This is a period when candidates turn greener. (And we thank the Canuck-fan green men for illustrating.)

In Richmond, being green is genuinely at least a side of who they are. That was evident recently in their support of the right to a healthy environment.

But we also know that some current members of the Richmond council have not acted in keeping with what they said in a straightforward survey before the last election in 2011.

It was conducted by a Garden City Conservation Society director, and it asked this question:

Are you committed to stewarding the Garden City Lands in the ALR for agricultural, ecological and open-land park uses for community benefit?

All the elected council members who are running again in 2014 answered “Yes.” That was even after some sought clarification and were told, for instance, that we do not consider playing fields for organized sports to be an ALR use (since they aren’t).

On the basis of how some of them later acted, their “Yes” answer was misleading. It is evident that some were later supportive of contra-ALR use. As I have described in other articles, I consider that to be a major factor in the lack of progress in stewarding the Garden City Lands.

There are six councillors who are running again in the 2014 Richmond council elections. From the standpoint of the Garden City Lands and other conservation issues, none has a perfect record. However, two have good records. They are Harold Steves and Chak Au.

Harold StevesChak-Au 2In my view, they also stand out in overall performance. Speaking only for myself, I can say that I will be happy to vote for Harold and Chak again.

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Related articles include:

Getting to the bottom of Richmond consultation

October 18, 2014

Note: This column and the one below it were published as “Digging Deep” columns in the Richmond Review. I’m adding them here in the “2014 Richmond election” category because consultation is an issue.

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Get to the bottom of the puzzles of the Garden City Lands, consultation and “the city.” Find paths from the north side. For solutions, see the end of the article..

Get to the bottom of the puzzles of the Garden City Lands, consultation and “the city.” Find paths from the north side. For solutions, see the end of the article..

Richmond’s civic parties like engagement. Good. But we need to aim higher too: we need valid consultation.

Our central park, the Garden City Lands, keeps prompting engagement, so let’s use it as an example. In this context, “the city” will mean council and upper staff.

Quick review: The park is an open space that had panoramic views and other natural legacies. In March 2010, it went from federal to city title via the federal land disposer.

The property, which had been confirmed as ALR, was bought as parkland, with intent to enhance. So far, there’s little net progress. Why? One factor is failure to consult well.

There had been years of immense engagement by the citizens who saved the Garden City Lands from the dense development the city championed. After losing that battle—but gaining ownership—the city could have turned the engagement into consultation by drawing on it. In effect, the city refused.

Instead, it catered to the few who still wanted contra-ALR uses for the park. Yet the community had already rejected such uses when citizens overwhelmingly told the Agricultural Land Commission the lands could best serve agricultural, ecological and open-land recreation uses for community wellness.

Still, citizens kept engaging where possible with the city’s Garden City Lands planning. What’s more, city events like the Ideas Fair in the park and the open house in a mall were outstanding in several ways. There just wasn’t enough valid consultation.

With the Ideas Fair, the faulty premise was that the lands are a blank canvas. That ignored nature’s legacies, the ALR status and common sense.

With the open house, engaged citizens found ways to be heard about getting the perimeter trail built, but mostly the survey design prevented clear results. I tried every means to inform council about it, even going prepared to explain at the proper time at the most appropriate meeting. I got silenced, not even allowed to say why it was relevant.

Now, 4.5 years after buying the Garden City Lands, the city’s concept is slowly getting better, and I wish I could say it’s wonderful. However, I see basic gaps in understanding, and there’s no real plan.

Meanwhile, the costs keep growing, largely with city salaries. In another sense, there’ve been costs in wasted input, diminished legacies and limited use of the park’s potential.

One more perspective: The opportunity cost for the property has been $7 million so far. (It’s like the city’s income if it had kept the purchase sum invested: almost $60 million for 4.5 years at 2.6%.)

To conclude, the Garden City Lands experience confirms the value of building from engagement to effective consultation, which has been lacking. To wrap up, I’ll suggest a few simple ways to think and act for progress.

We’ve seen how the Garden City Lands puzzle ties in with the consultation puzzle. We can also see the challenges as signs of the city’s systemic problems, a broader puzzle.

It seems that finding paths through mazes is a useful skill to serve on council or advise it. As a rule, a timely start is a step to success, so I’ve provided some mazes (above) for practice.

Another step is to elect citizens with firsthand knowledge. For the Garden City Lands, Michael Wolfe’s next free eco-tour is on Sunday, Oct. 12 at 2:00 p.m. It begins at the west entrance, south of Lansdowne Road on Garden City Road.

So far, at least seven candidates have taken part in the eco-tours. Besides Michael, they include Richard Lee, Harold Steves, Chak Au and Carol Day for council plus Eric Yung and Norm Goldstein for school board.

Getting to the bottom of the Garden City Lands, consultation and “the city.” For the unsolved mazes, go to top.

Getting to the bottom of the Garden City Lands, consultation and “the city.” For the unsolved mazes, go to top.

Richmond could learn from ALR consultation

October 18, 2014

Note: This column and the one above it were published as “Digging Deep” columns in the Richmond Review. I’m adding them here in th“2014 Richmond election” category because consultation is an issue.   If you’re reading both, the message will be clearest if you start with the above one.

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Norm LetnickIt’s great when government gets it right. Minister Norm Letnick and his Ministry of Agriculture team have done it again with their consultation about ALR regulations.

In Digging Deep two months ago, I said the consultation seemed genuine, and I implied it was worth taking part. Plenty of citizens—from here and all regions—did act. The newly shared results seem fine for food security.

A faction in B.C.’s governing party may still hinder the process, which reduces harm from a previous minister’s Bill 24. In the spring, they rammed that ALR bill into law in defiance of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and the public. This time around, the new minister has involved the ALC and public.

As a bonus, Richmond can learn from the ministry consultation. With that in mind, let’s focus on a few aspects.

For engagement to become consultation, it has to be heeded. For me, the ministry’s heeding began early on when I let the project leader know about a survey flaw and a way to fix it. She acted fast, making the survey results more reliable.

Before that, the minister and his team had heeded those who could help them get their bearings. The know-how came from the B.C. Agriculture Council, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and especially the ALC. It led to a dozen useful questions about regulations. The ALC also cleaned up clutter to keep things simple.

Then the ministry team, ALC included, toured the province to listen to the range of stakeholders in each region. The twelve questions were the framework. For the final month, an online survey was added, with public input on the questions welcome by email and mail too. Along the way, the team engaged with First Nations.

From the thorough summary of responses, I’m confident that views were weighed well. For example, form letters got less weight than individual responses but were still heeded. Since almost all the questions start with proposed changes, the summary shows the big for-and-against picture for each. A wealth of subtler findings fills it out.

I compared the results with an incisive analysis the B.C. Food Systems Network had done. The BCFSN, which excels at policy analysis, is a foremost champion of B.C. food security. In the big picture, the survey results didn’t differ much from the BCFSN choices.

Since polls show terrific support for the ALR and food security, I would expect the broad results from well-done consultation to be consistent with the BCFSN analysis. The achieved consistency builds confidence in the next phase, implementation, where heeding matters most.

The consultation for Bill 24 was mostly ministers chatting with their buddies, and the current related consultation is a sea-change from that. A key factor is the new minister who makes the most of the ALC, all sorts of stakeholders, and ministry talent—resources that were there all along.

In Richmond, the sea-change from deficient consultation will require a proactive council with the courage to set firm expectations for staff, including valid consultation that builds on the best of local know-how.

A final caution: Be aware that the ministry consultation about ALR regulations only reduces the harm from the ALR bill that prompted it. That ugly monument to non-consultation should still be scrapped.