Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Support the 2017 Oxfam Richmond Walkathon

June 16, 2017

Orval Chapman, longtime Friend of Garden City, is a tireless volunteer despite the severe ongoing effects of being knocked down by a car several years ago. Currently in his mid-eighties, he is a co-organizer of the 2017 Oxfam Walkathon, which will be on Sunday, June 25.

Here, with a photo of Orval, are their poster (click for a larger version) and letter:

Several African nations and also Yemen are now facing the worst famines since the Second World War.

On Sunday, June 25, 1:30–4 p.m., the Richmond Oxfam Committee will once again host a Walkathon at Garry Point Park in order to help. The government of Canada will be doubling all donations up until June 30.

Please join our Oxfam Richmond Walkathon, gather some pledges, or donate to this worthy cause. We would like to have all donations by June 25 so they can reach Oxfam in Ottawa in time. You can also donate online.

Thanks very much!
Richmond Oxfam Committee—Orval Chapman, Carol Rennie, Don Maclean

An  anniversary: Canada’s 150th birthday year is also the 50th anniversary of the Miles for Millions Walkathons across Canada, raising funds for victims of famine in Africa since the 1960s and 70s.


New president of Garden City Conservation

June 16, 2016

Sharon MacGouganAll going well, Sharon MacGougan will succeed Jim Wright as president of the Garden City Conservation Society on June 23, 2016. Sharon has been vice president for the past two years.

No stranger to leadership, Sharon is a former local president of Amnesty International and then president of Amnesty International Canada.

A career band teacher, Sharon is the published author of two books about teaching music, and she went on to publish a novel, The Mayan Mysteries. She is actually dressed for promoting that book in the photo at right.

Sharon also teaches kung fu and (not necessarily related) was the president of a local non-partisan group, Team Richmond, that helped elect candidates in Richmond elections.

Sharon likes to work with the City of Richmond in implementing its excellent Ecological Network Management Strategy, which can be thought of as an approach to restoring the Garden City. She was pleased with the response to her Earth Day 2016 letter to the City (delivered on behalf of  Garden City Conservation) on that topic.

Sharon is currently also active in Save Richmond Trees. That is in keeping with her personal commitment to saving trees and bird habitat and her ongoing related efforts with Garden City Conservation.

At the Annual Gathering on Thursday, June 23, 2016, Sharon will lead a half-hour discussion to bring out the directions that are important to members. That could well include trees, but it’s up to the members.

If you support the Garden City Conservation purposes and wish to take part in the Annual Gathering, please respond with this innovative RSVP form.


Note: Scroll up for a newer and more thorough article about Sharon MacGougan as the new president of the Garden City Conservation Society.

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.

Wear Blue Dot blue to council, Oct 14, 7 pm

October 6, 2014

Update: Everyone supported the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a very positive collaborative spirit, there was an excellent presentation by Blue Dot national organizer Sophika Kostyniuk with three young people, several citizen follow-ups, and council follow-ups by every member there. I think that Richmond is the first small or mid-size city to take that step.

You can watch the council meeting online. The relevant part begins at 00:19:25. The video may take a minute to load.


A message from Carolyn Quirt, a Friend of Garden City who coordinates Richmond Blue Dot:

blue-dot-here-thereA Richmond Council committee voted unanimously to present the Right to a Healthy Environment at the next Richmond City Council meeting.

If City Council supports the declaration, Richmond will be the first municipality in Canada to do so. You can help to make the dream a reality.

How can you help? It’s simple! Please attend the next Richmond City Council meeting. Your presence will tell Richmond City Council that you believe we must enshrine this right for our health and that of future generations.

Wear BLUE and show your support for the Blue Dot Movement.

Where: Council Chambers, City Hall, 6911 No. 3 Road, Richmond, B.C.

When:  Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm

The Richmond Blue Dot Movement is a group of local volunteers. Working with the David Suzuki Foundation, we’re fighting for the Right to a Healthy Environment: fresh air, clean water, and healthy food.

The Blue Dot Movement started here in Richmond. Over 1,500 citizens in our community have signed our petition asking the City of Richmond to declare that its citizens have the right to a healthy environment.


Note: The Garden City Conservation Society acted quickly to endorse and support Blue Dot as soon as Sophika Kostyniuk of the David Suzuki Foundation approached us. Sophika and a colleague addressed our annual gathering in June. So far there are five articles about Blue Dot and the Right to a Healthy Environment on this blog. One way to  reach them is a search (top left corner) for “Suzuki”.

You’re invited — VAPOR, Wednesday, Oct 1

September 20, 2014

Here’s an invitation from VAPOR, still fighting to ensure that any expansion of jet fuel supplies to YVR occurs in environmentally better ways.

Buck & Ear sign, StevestonYou’re invited to a VAPOR fundraiser. It’s in support of legal action to stop the shipment of jet fuel on the Fraser River.

Enjoy a burger & beer* and good company at the Buck & Ear Bar & Grill. It’s at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1, 2014.

The Buck & Ear is located at the Steveston Hotel, 12111 Third Ave, between Chatham and Moncton streets. There is free parking next to the restaurant and lots of space to park bicycles.

The price is $25. That includes tax (but not tips). Much of the proceeds will go to the legal action fund.**

Please book early. Email VAPOR’s event organizer.

You can also mail a donation to VAPOR at 11631 Seahurst Road, Richmond, B.C. V7A 4K1. Online, you can click on the Donate button on the VAPOR site. (The button is at the bottom of the black menu on the left side.)

The VAPOR court date to contest the problem plan is approaching.



* “Burger” = cheeseburger or veggie burger, with choice of chips or salad. “Beer” can be a small wine instead.

** From the $25, VAPOR will receive $16.50 for the legal action fund.

This blog also includes a set of articles on the YVR fuel topic.

The Blue Dot Tour starts soon

September 16, 2014

Update, Sept. 17: The Blue Dot project will seek council endorsement for the Right to a Healthy Environment at the Richmond Parks Committee on Wed., Sept. 24, at 4 p.m. in the Anderson Room of Richmond City Hall.

David Suzuki Blue Dot TourDavid Suzuki will soon begin the Blue Dot Tour across Canada. It celebrates a simple yet powerful idea:

That all Canadians
should have the right
to drink clean water,
breathe fresh air
and eat healthy food.

We’re a country where amazing things can happen. We’re a place were a small-town minister can build a universal health-care system. Where five women from the prairies can change the lives of women forever by helping guarantee their right to vote. Canadians stand up for what they believe in.

Once again, it’s time for our highest values to be reflected in our highest laws. And as always, this kind of change comes from a movement of Canadians committed to protecting the people and places they love.

Blue-Dot-TourThe Garden City Conservation Soccity has endorsed the right to a healthy environment, which is described above in red type. In fact, we helped the campaign get started.

The Blue Dot Tour video is here.

The information is from the David Suzuki Foundation.

Our Right to a Healthy Environment

July 6, 2014

Update: We’ve added an article above this that goes further on the topic.

The Garden City Conservation Society endorses the David Suzuki Foundation campaign to establish the Right to a Healthy Environment. The intent is to use Richmond as a model for the communities in the rest of Canada.

It all begins on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at the Britannia Shipyards. The Suzuki campaign is led by Sophika Kostyniuk, National Organizer. Sophika is also a Garden City Conservation member.

In addition, Michael Wolfe, is active in the campaign. Michael is one of our Garden City Conservation directors and a longtime conservation leader in Richmond. He is also a director of the Richmond Nature Park Society. Michael will be leading a “Bog Life” activity at the family event.

As the flyer below states, the event is from 1–3 p.m. As it implies, the event is kids-friendly.


Richmond_BlueDot Flyer_Page_2

There’s a two-minute video on the Right to a Healthy Environment page.

David Suzuki has taken that further in “We can make Canada’s reality match its image.”

From space, Earth is a blue dot, and the campaign features the Blue Dot Tour.

Isabel Ramirez, R.I.P., faithful Friend of Garden City and the people of the Downtown Eastside

June 21, 2014

From the early days of the old Garden City Lands Coalition Society, Isabel Ramirez faithfully kept up her paid membership. It was energizing to receive her neat membership form and annual fees and added donations in the mail. In efforts to save the Garden City Lands and later the Garden City, she was the kind of person I couldn’t let down.

I always hoped to meet Isabel, but cancer took her a month ago. Afterwards I learned of other ways she was special. It turns out she was the kind of person I’d envisioned and even better.

This is Isabel in the photo, giving her time and loving attention at the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House to joyfully teach Mexican crafts.

Isabel Ramirez, Downtown Eastside

Sharon MacGougan, vice president of what’s now the Garden City Conservation Society, knew Isabel well. Here’s what Sharon has shared about Isabel:

I loved knowing Isabel. She was infectiously happy, someone who lived life exuberantly, a good example to us all. She was a kind-hearted and generous person who helped others whenever she could.

Isabel’s life was rich with laughter and family and many, many friends. She was usually the last person to leave a party and also the one who brought the most to it—be it food (always Mexican, and in large quantities) or laughter or her gentle presence.

I remember particularly her pride in her Mexican heritage. It gave her much pleasure to create beautiful Mexican Day of the Dead altars in the Downtown Eastside. She spent many volunteer hours there, sharing the culture she was so proud of.

In Mexico there is a saying that “My house is your house.” Isabel epitomized that saying. She was the most welcoming person I’ve ever known.

And because Isabel really loved a party, there will be a big party for her!

The Carnival Band logoMemorial for Maria Isabel Ramirez

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Watari Centre, 877 E. Hastings St.

Downtown Eastside

People are meeting at the Watari Centre at 1 p.m. and then walking in a procession to Oppenheimer Park, accompanied by The Carnival Band. There will be music and food and a piñata to enjoy in the park.

In one way or another, you will be there, Isabel. Have a great party!

Welcome to our Annual Gathering!

June 6, 2014

Post-gathering update: Thank you to the 23 members who made the gathering such a wide-ranging event.

Michael WolfeSophika KostyniukWinnieHwo



Carol Day

The Garden City Conservation Society has a great Annual Gathering coming up on the evening of Wednesday, June 18. The interactive Sharon MacGouganJim Wrightpresenters, clockwise, are Michael Wolfe, Sophika Kostyniuk, Winnie Hwo, Carol Day, Jim Wright and Sharon MacGougan. Have a look at the attached invitation for the story.

One update to the story: We are delighted to add Winnie Hwo of the David Suzuki Foundation to the team. Winnie is expert in what could be called cross-cultural communication or ethnic engagement—bridging gaps for conservation action. That will now be a motif running through the evening.

The gatherings always go well. Typically there’s a feature presentation with lots of people joining in. This year it’s a set, with a sequence of interactive presentations beginning with an optional eco-tour.

We have a registration (sign-up) approach that makes things easy for you and the people taking care of food or setting up the venue, the Red Barn (shown at bottom). You’ll see that there are flexible ways to answer.

To register, you can go to the form now.

The annual gathering is for members of the society, which has a nominal annual membership fee, $10. Beyond that requirement, there is no charge for the gathering.

Also, you may wish to join or renew your membership. You can do that on the membership page or at the sign-in desk at the Annual Gathering. Membership is open to all who support the purposes of the society.

Once again, welcome! And please act now! The Red Barn, Terra Nova Rural Park, Richmond, BC

Alert about legislation to limit ALC and ALR

March 24, 2014

Linda Geggie, BC Food Systems NetworkFrom Linda Geggie, @lgegs, Policy Chair, BC Food Systems Network:

Dear members and friends:

It’s going to happen this week.  We have heard that the legislation that we have been concerned about regarding changes to the ALR is going to be introduced by the BC Government.

The BCFSN Food Policy Working Group will be monitoring the house closely this week and report back to you what we learn.  A provincial Agriculture Land Alliance has also formed, and we will be having a conference call to discuss what responses we feel will take forward the concerns that we have as effectively as possible.

If you are on twitter you can follow for updates: @AgLandAlliance .

 Forwarded message from Guy Dauncey:

Re:  ALR Crisis

I have heard that legislation may be introduced by the BC government in the coming days or weeks that will affect the Agricultural Land Commission. More than ever, we need everyone to tell the government: “Hands off.”

There are two things you can do to help:

(a) Write to the Premier, PO BOX 9041, STN PROV GOVT, VICTORIA, BC V8W 9E1
Telephone: 250-387-1715

 (b) Share IntegrityBC’s petition with friends and colleagues across the province. Here’s the petition:

Madam Premier:

During this year’s provincial election campaign, the BC Liberal party did not campaign on plans to modify or scrap the Agricultural Land Commission. Search the party’s platform for Agricultural Land Commission and the result is clear: “no match found.”

Your party’s response to a specific question on the Agricultural Land Commission (posed by Metro Vancouver) during the campaign didn’t even hint at the plans now under consideration by your government.

You have no mandate to make the changes that were detailed in cabinet documents released – not by your government but by the Globe and Mail – and we ask that you immediately withdraw them from consideration.

You can stay up-to-date with news on the ALC by visiting the petition page. We regularly post news and upcoming special events there, so do check often.

And thank you. You’ve been great at helping us share the word. Together, you’ve helped bring us close to 6,000 signatures. And each time someone signs, we make sure Premier Clark hears that signature.


Update: Thanks for the report of an early hyperlink glitch. It has been fixed.

FarmWatch ALR Dinner, March 2, 2014

February 18, 2014

Harold Steves

Ray GalawanUpdates, March 2, 11 pm: Sun & Province.

Join FarmWatch BC at Vancouver’s Graze Restaurant on Sunday, March 2 for the FarmWatch ALR Dinner. The core period is 5:15–7:30 p.m., but Graze has scheduled the whole evening for the event.

Romantic food aspect:
Plant-based 3-course set menu “to provide people of all eating preferences something that they can really fall in love with.”

Fundraiser aspect:
For down-to-earth action to protect and respect the ALR, FarmWatch is hard to beat. Graze will pass on to FarmWatch a significant part of the proceeds (details below).

Dr. Lenore NewmanPanel discussion aspect—
Three panelists will add food for thought:

  • Richmond councillor Harold Steves
    (top left) helped found the ALR.
  • Dr. Lenore Newman (left) researches and writes about it.
  • Farmer Ray Galawan (above right) defends it on the front lines.

Graze Restaurant, 3980 Fraser Street, VancouverLocation: Graze Restaurant is at 3980 Fraser Street, Vancouver. It’s on the east side of Fraser just north of 24th Ave. There’s ample street parking nearby (but no parking lot). Graze is also on the #8 and #25 bus routes.

Phone Graze:
(604) 620-8822

Graze on FacebookGraze websiteEmail

Suggested timeline from FarmWatch:

  • On Sunday, March 2, you can meet the panelists at Graze Restaurant with your questions & ideas from 5 p.m. on (to 9:30 p.m. if need be).
  • By around 5:15 p.m (and not later than 5:30 p.m.), arrive and mingle.
  • By 6 p.m., be seated for dinner. FarmWatch encourages you to welcome others to join you—and you to join others.
  • Roughly 6:30–7:30 p.m., listen to the panelists and discuss.
  • 8:00–10:00 p.m.: cocktails and tapas, if you wish. Full Graze menu available too.

Intro to FarmWatch BC: FarmWatch is a grassroots group of farmers and residents in Richmond, B.C. Together they are working to protect farmland and farm ecosystems from dumping and degradation. Their efforts have demonstrated:

  • The inadequate farmland protection at all levels of government
  • The urgency of defending the ALR
  • The fundamental need for respect, autonomy and proper funding for the Agricultural Land Commission
  • The ability of determined respecters of farmland to get results

Intro to Graze:

  • Plant-based restaurant
  • Focused on local, sustainable & organic produce
  • Committed to values-based business & supporting social change

Price—threecourse dinner (set menu)

  • Sliding scale: $35–50, depending on your means and inclination.
    Beyond the first $30, whatever you pay goes to FarmWatch.
  • Tips for the restaurant staff are extra. (The tip would normally be on the basic amount.)
  • Taxes are also extra: GST at 5%. (No PST except 10% on alcoholic drinks.)

Reservations: (604) 620-8822.

Note: Graze Restaurant is open from 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. on weekends.


Small update—Graze Restaurant has clarified in response to a Friend of Garden City’s question:

If a participant chooses to pay (for example) $50 for the basic dinner, do they pay the 5% GST on the whole $50 amount, even though Graze will be donating the amount over $30 to FarmWatch?

Answer:  Yes, the participant will pay the GST 5%, which would amount to $1 extra in the example. However, Graze will donate that extra GST amount (the extra $1 in the example) to FarmWatch.

That approach enables Graze to use their computer system for fast service and then calculate the rebate to include in the donation a little later. The approach Graze is taking is both sensible and thoughtful. Kudos!

A later update: Graze now says “Attendees should arrive at 5:15 p.m. and no later than 5:30 p.m.” The article has been revised accordingly, using red type to show the updated arrival times.

An even-later update about reservations:  Graze Restaurant says you can phone or email at any time to make reservations, and it works well. They will later get back to you to confirm.

Get your 2014 FarmWatch calendar!

January 22, 2014

As you know from the “Happy birthday, FarmWatch!” article below this one, this is a time for celebrating what FarmWatch calls “A year of protecting our farms, our food, our future.”

The rest of this article is from FarmWatch, based in Richmond.

FarmWatch Calendar sneak peak

The 12-month calendar is a story in photos, quotes and facts, quite beautiful and impactful. While focused on one farm in Richmond, the photos and story have relevance far beyond.

Buy your own or sponsor a copy that we send to local and provincial politicians, the Richmond Agricultural Advisory Committee and media.

It is a way to remind them all that thousands of tons of demolition waste are still buried in the field on the Finn Road farm. One reason that matters is that Richmond City Council will soon be considering whether or not to increase funding for increased monitoring and protection of farmland.

It is also a way to remind politicians that agricultural land throughout B.C. needs stronger protection.

This message couldn’t come at a more important time, as the provincial government threatens to dismantle the Agricultural Land Reserve and the protective powers of the Agricultural Land Commission.

All donations and proceeds will fund FarmWatch activities such as media outreach, advocacy, public education, and legal costs.

How much?

$20 to buy a calendar or send one to politicians, ALC, and media

How to get a calendar?

Online order & payment option:

Please help us circulate this calendar widely! 

  • If you can sell 5–10 calendars in your circle of friends, family and coworkers, please let us know. And please pass this message along.
  • For further info, please call 604-447-2050.

FarmWatch is a grassroots group, 100% volunteer-run, and we appreciate every dollar of support. Thanks for supporting FarmWatch and farmland and keeping local farming alive.

Feds put Pacific salmon at greater risk

January 16, 2014

Alexandra MortonThis morning’s Vancouver Sun has a shocker of a front-page story. Here’s the sub-heading: “Critics say wild salmon at risk as 11 companies apply to expand or build new farms.”

That refers to open-net Atlantic salmon farms, which appear likely to be a threat to Pacific salmon, our wild salmon. My view is that the evidence is strong.

To me, the most credible voice on this topic is Alexandra Morton. I’m passing on part of her message about the news:

It is with disbelief and horror that I pass on the news the Norwegian operators in BC will be raising even more Atlantic salmon in BC’s waters.

Ottawa has given these companies a licence that allows them to use fish carrying viruses, even though section 56 of our Fisheries Act prohibits transfer of fish carrying a disease agent that may be harmful to the protection and conservation of fish. I am in court right now fighting this.

A friend has asked us to attend a local Superstore and educate people about farmed salmon. I received his press release at nearly the same time as I got the news about the fate of this coast – sold off for use to raise fish for Norwegian companies.

So I pass the information on to you, in case you want to let markets know how you feel about them buying these farmed salmon from the companies using BC waters. How you feel about the Prime Minister completely disregarding the $26 million Cohen Commission we all paid for that made 11 recommendations specific to protecting wild salmon from salmon farms.

Read the rest of this story on Alexandra Morton’s blog.

That link is to the particular story, and this one is to Alexandra’s whole blog.

We’ve published at least half a dozen articles about Alexandra Morton’s work on this blog in the past few years. As a brave battle against incredible odds, the work of Alexandra and all her supporters is an inspiration as we stay strong in addressing our challenges.

ALR rally planned — Victoria, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014

January 14, 2014

Food for the-Future, February10, 2014 rallyA rally to support the Agricultural Land Reserve is being planned for the BC Legislature grounds on Monday, February 10, 2014, starting at noon.

The timing makes sense because the next session of the BC legislature begins (with the speech from the throne) the next day.

The problem that has prompted pro-ALR action, including the rally, surfaced at the beginning of August 2013. We addressed it in “Core review minister fumbles ALR” at the time.

All signs are that the Family Day rally is gaining wide support. So far most of the available information is on the poster (at right).  For now, mark the date. More soon.

No doubt there’ll be some anti-Liberal partisan action by some rally participants, and the Garden City Conservation Society tries not to get drawn into partisan politics like that. However, I think the focus will be on the issue. With that caveat, the Garden City Conservation Society supports the upcoming event, “Food for the Future.”


The distinction: The rally is necessarily political because it’s intended to send a strong message about public opinion to the politicians. However, it becomes too partisan if political activists use the rally largely to score political points for their parties by villainizing their opponents who form the current BC government. There’s a fine line, and respecting it is good for the pro-ALR cause and fair to those who are focused on it. Apart from being the decent thing to do, showing respect is far more likely to win the hearts of the Liberal caucus and cabinet than calling them names.

VAPOR fundraiser

January 13, 2014

Steveston Seafood HouseI’m passing along an invitation from VAPOR, the group that is fighting to ensure that the expansion of jet fuel supplies to YVR occurs in environmentally better ways than the single option that has been reviewed.

(This blog also includes a set of articles on the topic.)

Steveston Seafood house  VaporYou are invited to attend a fundraiser in support of VAPOR’s  legal action to stop the shipment of jet fuel on the Fraser River.  Enjoy a four-course dinner at the Steveston Seafood House, which is enabling much of the proceeds to go to the legal action fund.  

Reserve online or phone 604-271-5252 and mention the VAPOR fundraiser.

The dinner is at 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 2. The price is $50, tax included. The Steveston Seafood House is located at 3951 Moncton St. Please book early.

Update on Saturday morning, Feb. 1: Carol Day writes: “We are close to sold out for the dinner, and now the owner of the Steveston Seafood house has offered that people can come for a 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. sitting on Sunday, Feb. 2 and on Monday, Feb. 3.”

Finding Dawn on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013

November 27, 2013

Finding Dawn, Dec 4, 2013This is an invitation to a free screening/discussion of Finding Dawn in Richmond on Wednesday, December 4. If you want to get straight to the details, skip my reflection, which is indented and in colour.

Natural conservation often involves seeing value where it could easily be missed. We apply that approach a lot to the Garden City Lands. Recently we’ve applied it to the ribbon of land across the street from the lands that was environmentally sensitive area (ESA) until that bit of protection was  taken away last year for no good reason.

There are all kinds of value there, but city staff and council refused to listen. The values include the wildlife corridor value and viewscape value. Many citizens spoke about the values, but little was heard.

That natural conservation approach involves pausing to notice value instead of ignoring the possibility. I think it is equally applicable to human conservation. That’s not surprising, since we are part of nature.

The film titled Finding Dawn helps us to pause to notice value. When Dawn’s DNA was found on the Pickton farm, she was No. 23 in the missing women identified there. Through the film, we see Dawn as more than a number, and Dawn can have an influence for good, influencing us, the viewers.

Finding Dawn is about the families of missing and murdered women in the Downtown Eastside.  It is described as “a beautifully painful film leaving us not with a frustrating end to a series of unsolved and unending violent mysteries but with the hope that community building and healing can bring.”

Two guest speakers who will discuss what the film means:

  • Cherry Smiley is from Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry (IWASI).
  • Chris McDowell is fromRemember Our Sisters Everywhere  (ROSE), a project of the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre.

When: Wednesday December 4, 2013:

  • 6:30–7  Welcome and refreshments
  • 7–8:20  Film screening
  • 8:20–9  Guest speakers’ comments and discussion

Where: Ralph Fisher Auditorium,  Richmond Hospital, corner of Gilbert Rd and Westminster Hwy. Free parking in the gravel lot (enter from Westminster Hwy).

Co-hosts: Chimo Community Services, the Canadian Federation of University Women Richmond, and the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre.

How the Walmart Mall public hearing went

November 19, 2013

The total submissions—oral and written—to the Walmart Mall public hearing  included 19 in favour and 36 opposed (or with reservations).

  • At the Richmond Walmart Mall public hearing on Nov. 18, there were 12 oral submission in support of the application and 12 opposed.
  • In the written submissions to the public hearing, there were 7 in support and 29 opposed (but with 5 who also spoke).

In addition, previous written submissions from the public prior to the period that counted for the hearing were overwhelmingly opposed, with none in favour and 20 opposed. Also, oral submissions to council at  planning committee meetings were 1 in favour and 12 opposed.

Counting all submissions and eliminating overlaps (so that no person is counted twice), there were 19 in support and 58 opposed. Those  figures are significant  because they reflect that the amount of reasoned advice to council. However, some addressed council prior to the public hearing period and then again for the public hearing.

In other words,  three-quarters of the parties who took the time to share advice with council were opposed to the Walmart mall application in whole or in part.


Since almost all council members make up their minds before a public hearing like that, it was obvious that all would favour the proposal except Coun. Harold Steves and possibly Coun. Chak Au. As a result of the public input at the hearing, Coun. Au voted against (along with Coun. Steves).

Significantly, Mayor Malcolm Brodie introduced a referral to staff at the end, and the councillors unanimously supported it. The effect of it is that a buffer strip along Alderbridge Way will be considered during the development permit stage. (In effect, it is similar to the Alderbridge wildlife corridor.) If a buffer strip is done well, that will address the main conservation concerns. SmartCentres will need to be collaborative in order to get a development permit, so it all depends on what the mayor wants.

The presentations by Ying Wang and John ter Borg were particularly well received.

Congratulations to all who participated, enabling a better result than expected.

Fairchild TV and threats to the ALC and ALR

November 13, 2013

Fairchild TV just interviewed me for this evening’s Cantonese news. Reporter Vincent Ng wanted to talk about recent threats to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). I said something like this:

There are certainly threats to the Agricultural Land Commission and the ALR because Ministers Pat Pimm and Bill Bennett have made threats.

 The threats will go away if all of us citizens speak up. We need to tell Premier Christy Clark and all our politicians that we respect the ALR and the Agricultural Land Commission. We need to tell them to strengthen the Agricultural Land Commission.

 We need the Agricultural Land Commission to be a strong and independent tribunal to protect the legacy of our scarce farmland for our children and our children’s children.

He followed up to ask about the effects if the Agricultural Land Commission is dismantled or weakened. I said we can already see the effects, because the comments from Minister Bennett and then Pat Pimm are likely causes of increasing farmland prices. Loose comments like that prompt speculators to buy up farmland, and the increased demand leads to higher land prices. I focused on the effect for young farmers, who are prevented from being able to buy land at a reasonable price that makes business sense. Killing the hopes and opportunities of young farmers kills agriculture and food security.

It also got into the Garden City Lands, where the ALR is again under threat, and ALR boundary reviews, which I respect.


Reporter Vincent Ng told me that a clip of my little interview will be on the Fairchild website this evening (Nov. 13) at 8 p.m. Since I have difficulty doing web navigating in Traditional Chinese, please let me know the exact URL if you find it.

Happy Birthday, Burns Bog!

October 24, 2013

25 years old soon! Congratulations, Burns Bog Conservation Society!

Burns Bog Conservation Society's 25th birthday!

Premier Christy Clarks says, “Since its establishment, the Burns Bog Conservation Society has been committed to protecting and preserving this integral part (Burns Bog) of the Lower Mainland ecosystem. Their dedication to conservation and maintenance of the ecological integrity of the wetlands is admirable.”

MLA Vicki Huntington says, “The Burns Bog Conservation Society keeps the legacy of this magnificent ecosystem at the forefront of public discourse. The need to keep “The Bog” front and centre is paramount: out of sight, out of mind. So keep up your tireless work—we depend on you!

Gala Poster 2013The keynote speaker at the Gala is Dr. Art Hister. Society president Eliza Olson calls him “the only person I know who can make a disease sound funny.” Eliza deserves a laugh and continued success, as do all the thousands of people who have joined in conserving the Burns Bog, now as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.

For details, click on the thumbnail poster at right.

A happy exchange about Richard Bullock, ALC Chair

June 14, 2013

Update: For the latest re Richard Bullockgo here.

Someone noticed that the Agricultural Land Commission’s website indicated that the term of Richard Bullock as Chair would end on June 17, which is this coming Monday. That prompted the directors of the Garden City Conservation Society to write a letter of appreciation to Mr. Bullock. As shown in many other articles on this blog, Mr. Bullock has done a great job for BC farmland and the people of BC.

With further digging, we became fairly confident that Mr. Bullock will be staying as Chair until the end of November 2015. We sent our letter anyway, and the commission confirmed that Mr. Bullock will be staying on. That’s great, and it was also great that we had the chance to share well-deserved appreciation with Mr. Bullock and many other people who were on our CC and FW lists.

In other words, we got to have our cake and eat it.

Here below is our covering message, and our letter and another included item are attached to this article (via links). At the bottom of this article, you will see a response from the commission’s executive director.

From: Garden City Conservation Society
Date: Friday, 14 June, 2013
To: Agriculture Land Commission
Subject: Thank you, Richard Bullock

Agricultural Land Commission,

Please pass this along to Richard Bullock ASAP. The main attachment is a letter of appreciation. If Mr. Bullock’s term as Chair of the ALC actually ends on June 17, 2013 (as stated on the ALC website), it is time-sensitive.

Jim Wright
Garden City Conservation Society, Richmond, BC

CC: Hon. Pat Pimm, Hon. Steve Thomson.
FW: MLA Lana Popham (Agriculture Critic), Richmond MLAs, Richmond Council, Richmond MPs, BC Food Systems Network, Garden City Conservation Society.

The letter refers to a 2010 letter to Richard Bullock, which is available here.

Here is the reply from Brian Underhill, executive director of the Agricultural Land Commission:

Dear Mr. Wright:  Thank you for your email correspondence of today’s date.  The Commission is in the process of updating the biography of Mr. Bullock on its website, which we recently noticed was out of date as well.  As you have pointed out, Mr. Bullock’s  term as Chair expires November 30, 2015.

On behalf of Mr. Bullock, he thanks you for your kind thoughts and words of encouragement.


Sustainable outreach from the Lands: Have a say!

June 12, 2013

NEW: Kwantlen’s Kent Mullinix, PhD, and Anna Rallings will lead the interactive keynote, “Sustainable outreach from the Lands,” at the Garden City Conservation annual gathering on the evening of Monday, June 17.

Kent and Anna will first share the “big picture” of their Sustainable Agriculture proposal for the Garden City Lands. They have education, research and outreach goals, along with commitment to an appealing ALR park for community wellness.

As an early step in the Kwantlen outreach, you will help shape the outreach by participating in it.

Kent and Anna will heed Friends of Garden City input and aim to bring it into the proposal, which is in preliminary form. They most need input into the community outreach from fellow Friends of Garden City. (What outreaching to us do we want from them?)

Kent Mullinix, PhD (central, wearing hat) engaging in community outreach in Richmond.

Kent Mullinix, PhD (central, wearing hat) engages in community outreach in Richmond.

The Kwantlen proposal evolved from the early-2007 Sustainable Food Systems Park proposal from poverty-response groups. Leaders of the informed planning included the late Mary Gazetas and Arzeena Hamir. Citizens who came together to save the Garden City Lands from dense development say the proposal inspired them and helped them to visualize the ALR value of the lands and succeed.

In the context of that ground-breaking proposal, Dr. Mullinix presented an urban agriculture concept to council in early 2008. Staff were directed to look into it for 48 acres of the Lands. The current Kwantlen proposal builds on that.

Your brainstorming can be as imaginative as you want. Ultimately, the outreach from the lands must be sustainable, but there needs to be an imaginative stage in order to reach a practical stage worth reaching.

Register ASAP. Your cooperation in doing that enables the event planners to plan. As you’ll see there, the registration approach is flexible, and it works. (It’s innovative and practical, like the Kwantlen proposal.)


Agrologist Kent Mullinix, PhD, is Director, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security, Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Research associate Anna Rallings is a farmer who is coordinator of the Richmond Farm School, Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, Kwantlen Polytechnic University.


Input that will make a difference is being sincerely sought. Participants can speak up or be quietly supportive, and both kinds are welcome. It’s a rare opportunity. Flexible registration here.

Garden City Conservation Gathering, 17 June 2013

June 5, 2013
Many of the participants at an earlier annual gathering took a break for this photo.

Most of the participants at an earlier annual gathering took a break for this photo.

Update: The presentations part of the gathering will feature an interactive keynote led by Kent Mullinix, PhD, and Anna Rallings of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

The Garden City Conservation Society has at least one gathering each year. It includes the required AGM (annual general meeting), which moves fast. The gathering typically includes an optional agri-tour, and there’s a promising one with a bonus feature (seed starter kit) this year. There will be time to bring up conservation issues and group-troubleshoot them.

This year, the gathering is on Monday, June 17. The issues will include Kwantlen’s Sustainable Agriculture community outreach, the current Garden City Lands park process and the Walmart issue, since many people express concern about the proposed Walmart Mall displacing the Alderbridge Wildlife Corridor and ruining the City Centre’s viewscapes. The intent is to leave time for others at up to five minutes each. There’s also a time for brief announcements about relevant upcoming events, etc.

There’s  information about the meeting on the society’s Home Page, the agri-tour on the Tours Page, and society membership on the About Us Page.

As that page indicates, you are welcome to be a member if you support the society’s purposes. In particular, this purpose remains crucial at this time:

To keep the Garden City Lands green in the Agricultural Land Reserve and to steward their natural legacy for agricultural, ecological and open-land park uses for community wellness.

The coalition is a community of people who cooperate toward that goal as a public service for the citizens of Richmond, as well as the region, the province, and the world.

Fast-print option: To suit everyone, you also have the option of downloading a single easy-to-print page about the meeting in PDF here or Word here and another single page about the agri-tour in PDF here or Word here.

Options begin before 6 pm. Please at least aim to be there by 6:45 pm. The brief annual general meeting of the Garden City Conservation Society will begin at 7:10 pm (for 15 minutes before the interactive keynote).