Archive for the ‘Visions for the Lands’ Category

Restore the GCL peat bog excellently

June 3, 2016

GCL-peat-bog-conservation-areaNote: There is overlap between this article and earlier ones (lower on the web page). Although there is a bit of repetition, the emphasis is different  in each article.

A recent update by the team for the Garden City Lands park enhancement project left me wondering if they intend to restore the sphagnum peat bog at all.

Project maps show the bog as more than half the park, as shown at right.

For certain, we don’t need the ecosystem to evolve to bog forest. In the big picture of City of Richmond parks, the Richmond Nature Park already fills that role.

I believe that the sphagnum peat bog restoration is vital. It should begin first, even before the central dike-road trail. It could even have begun when the city got title six years ago. The need was clear in 2009 when the city offered to buy the Lands, and any buyer would look ahead.

The update identifies project phases, and there’s no bog restoration phase. It’s not even in the future phases, years down the road. So far the city just does an annual cutback on the Lands, which does have net value. (But I wish they’d stop lopping the stunted pines, which are red-listed in association with sphagnum.)

When I talked to project team members at the project’s open house, they at least seemed to have restoration in mind in a warm and fuzzy way. A start.

In any case, it’s crucial to restore the keystone species—the sphagnum peat mosses. And systematic effort is required. In contrast, it seems now that the legacy bog could actually be harmed by other phases unless the bog restoration becomes more credible soon.

rerouting central dike-road trailIt’s also crucial to restore an area that’s actually peat bog. The best available info is from local expert Michael Wolfe (2011) and project consultant Terry Taylor (2013). The diagram at right gives a sense of where the central trail would best be placed.

Since the project is also trying to create a fen (in the SW area, the diagram also shows how the perimeter trail could be jogged to conserve an existing fen with a distinct ecosystem the project would mostly destroy.

Note: Michael Wolfe recommends a modified area that retains the unique ecosystem but best suits the pollinators that have chosen to make their home in that southwest corner.

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GCL in the top echelon of world parks?

June 3, 2016

This article is a filled-out version of a Digging Deep column in the Richmond News, and it includes some time-saving links. It is further filled out by several related articles you can reach on this blog. 

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The City of Richmond project to enhance the Garden City Lands is gaining momentum, so it’s time for a shared challenge. Let’s bring the Lands, our central park, to the top echelon of the world’s parks.

The community has always wanted to help steward the Lands with ALR values for agriculture, ecological conservation and open-land park recreation for community wellness. The land has stayed ready too, although the central dike-trail that’s been started is well-positioned in the north half and poorly positioned in the south half.

In this window of opportunity, what will it take to salvage success?

  1. Focus on the goal of an ALR central park that celebrates the ALR.
  2. Ensure full benefit from the Garden City Conservation Society, with its insight and commitment. It exists to help like this.
  3. Ensure accessibility. Design the infrastructure—such as dike-road trails—for wheelchairs, mobility walkers and strollers.
  4. Ensure ample capacity. That means, for example, wide-enough trails for the highest anticipated use, looking far ahead. It might also mean a long and narrow parking area on the Lands beside No. 4 Road.
  5. Be radically inclusive. Take the perspectives of people living with poverty, social anxiety, security concerns when near woods, need for nearby washrooms, etc. (Helpful action will tend to benefit all users.)
  6. Encourage all sorts of agriculture. For example, permaculturists might love to use hügelkultur to make a hard-to-irrigate part bounteous. Also, foresee how much land will be needed for community gardens in the future (ten hectares?), and ensure that interim uses will improve the soil.
  7. Use dike-road trails around the restorable sphagnum bog on the east side to enable bog-specific steps. Save the southwest fen, a distinct and thriving ecosystem with native pollinators. Also consider a bird-oriented feature like the Terra Nova Natural Area.
  8. Act promptly toward a range of bog restoration methods, including those of Canadian peat moss associations and the Camosun Bog Restoration Group.
  9. On the north edge, re-establish a mixed urban forest by transplanting trees that would be lost with demolitions. Also honour the perseverance of the Lands’ pioneer trees—the truncated shore pines and crabapple trees.
  10. Protect the green viewscapes and salvage the lost ones. (A viewscape takes in everything from a viewing point all the way to distant features such as mountains.) As it is now, people get angry when they look north across Alderbridge at the destruction by construction.
  11. Make the Lands an exemplary hub in Richmond’s Ecological Network Management Strategy, an outstanding plan to put into action.
  12. Live up to our role as a model for the world. (IESCO, a UN affiliate, selected us as an International Eco-Safety Demonstrative City in 2010.)

Readers, this will be the heart of my feedback at Let’s Talk Richmond. Download the current Garden City Lands PDF there and see pages 4 and 11. Maybe google my “Natural resources versus waste” blog for insights. Beat the feedback deadline, June 12.

What must the Lands project do now to succeed?

May 31, 2016

Received a request: Tell us bluntly what the Garden City Lands project must do now to succeed.

Okay, but first a review. We’ll use the sky view of the Lands. It shows where water settles in rainy season. (Darker is wetter.)

Central dike road trail

The graphic also draws on findings about vegetation patterns by local expert Michael Wolfe (2011) and consultant Terry Taylor (2013), which were similar.

The green lines represent the main routes for dike-road trails. Notice the curving green line, the central dike-road trail.

As dikes, the trails retain rainwater in the sphagnum bog restoration area on the No. 4 Road side. That’s a natural legacy.

The bog ecosystem needs a high water table, so it’s good the bog area is wet. There’s a drier area near the centre, but it surrounds a wet saucer of sphagnum moss, the best patch of that keystone species.

The graphic was made for a column in early 2014, after citizens used a late-2013 survey to demand that dike-road trails be built without delay.

The Taylor study was the biophysical inventory, an essential, but the funding was skimpy, and it shows. The project needed to fill it out with an inventory of soil and vegetation at a practical level of detail. Act now, I urged.

Ha-ha. Parks staff enlightened me, “We always take years and years.” So true.

This brings us back to the dike-road trails. With better guidance, they could be placed just right and built with little harm to nature. The aim is to start building them soon, so Garden City Conservation gave council an urgent report last week.

GCL-peat-bog-conservation-area

The report’s focus was on the central dike-road trail. In the project plan, the southern half of it drifts far to the west, bringing in many hectares that are beyond restoring as sphagnum bog ecosystem.

I’ve added the “PEAT BOG” label to what the City of Richmond’s project is showing as peat bog, with a whole lot in the southern half that is far along in ecosystem succession that it will never  function as a peat bog ecosystem again. It could be used well for other conservation or for agriculture, but not in the peat bog area.

Including all those extra hectares could defeat the purpose of the enclosed bog restoration area. It was to raise the water table with precipitation and keep it raised, enabling year-round water for native bog vegetation.

The problem is that invasive plants use up a lot of water and harm the water quality. (They harm the desirable acidity and add undesirable nutrients, e.g., by dropping birch leaves). To support the legacy ecosystem, we have to get rid of invaders, not welcome them. Anyone planning the central dike-road trail route should know that.

rerouting central dike-road trailIn contrast to what I’ve described in the City’s map, the central dike-reoad trail route I’ve drawn in at right follows what the project’s Biophysical Inventory consultant and Michael Wolfe imply to be the natural boundary for the southern half. 

It’s essentially what I showed on the satellite map early in this article but a little closer to being precise.

It is knowledge-based to the extent that is possible at this time.Unfortunately, the project has seemed more whim-based than knowledge-based.

What’s more, if hired experts are given whims as a starting point, their answers to the wrong questions are just a waste of money.

On the bright side, a May 30th project update has made use of community input. Also, we’ve come a long way from the days of 2008 when thousands of us had to fight to save the Lands from development, making the park possible.

Now we need the City of Richmond to whole-heartedly do what’s right.

Once again, Garden City Conservation urges results-oriented consultation with the goal of celebrating the ALR quality of the Lands. That could still lead to one of the world’s great parks.

At less cost. In less time. With joy.

Appeal to council for better GCL action

May 27, 2016

satellite image of Garden City Lands, with darkness showing wetnessGarden City Conservation recently sent the follow message about the Garden City Lands to Richmond council, especially the parks committee. The responsive have so far ranged from supportive to undermining.

For now, you will find it informative to go beyond the email to the attached letter from the Garden City Conservation Society.

Note: In the satellite image, darkness indicates wetness.

Mayor and Councillors, especially Parks Committee,

It would be a mistake beyond remedy to proceed with the construction of the dike-road trail infrastructure on the Garden City Lands at this time. The project continues to be whim-based, not knowledge-based, despite the expertise of the consultants who build on the non-foundation to the limited possible extent.

The most visible issue is the central dike-road trail route. It is crucial in itself, and we have focused on it in the attached letter because it is time-sensitive and manifests the underlying issues. They include gaps in basic knowledge that was scheduled to be gathered and analyzed in the first year of the project.

There is still tremendous potential for all-ALR use of the Lands that showcases the ALR’s benefits—along with Richmond ALR agri-eco legacies—for our community and the world. That’s what the community showed it wanted when the issue was front and centre in 2008, and it’s an aspect of what’s at risk.

Garden City Conservation retains the community vision along with current expertise—in service to the citizens of the Garden City and, for them, to the City. Please read the attached letter for community insight.

I will write more about the results as they become clearer.

Highly accessible trails vital for Lands

May 5, 2016

rerouting central dike-road trailMay 5th tour info. Richmond News version. For related survey tips, scroll down.

Update: We have added an illustrated explanation of the value of rerouting the central dike-road trail from the route that is shown in the City of Richmond’s April 2016 plan. For a larger version, click on the thumbnail image at right.

Looking north from the main (west) entrance to the Garden City Lands, we see a seasonal pond, a grassy raised area (about 100 metres by 400), some vehicles that are moving along Alderbridge Way, the treed environmentally sensitive area (ESA, already compromised on the west side by Walmart site preparation), and the Coast Mountains. The treed ESA and the scene of woods and mountains are mentioned in the third and fifth points in this article.

Richmond’s central park, the Garden City Lands, is coming along. The planning focus now is on the arterial trails: the dike-road trail system of central and perimeter trails. Last week there were wonderful open houses—thanks to staff, consultants and citizens. A survey is online at Let’s Talk Richmond till the end of Mother’s Day, May 8.

Of course, the park itself is thanks to the community of Richmond. Twice (2005 and 2008), we had to ask the Agricultural Land Commission to keep the Lands in the ALR. We showed that ALR uses of the Lands offer more community benefit than the non-ALR uses the City of Richmond and its developer partners wanted.

Now, long after the Commission sided with us, we see glimmers of ALR respect in the City’s planning, with less weaseling around the ALR status. If the City adopts our desire to celebrate the ALR, the Lands can still become one of the world’s great parks for community wellness. You can use the survey to encourage that.

Oddly, only the first question is about the dike-road trail system. It offers two options about cycling. I favor the option with bikes on an adjacent path. That simply separates bikes from the wheelchairs, service vehicles, joggers, etc., on the main path. A safer choice, it helps everyone to enjoy open-land park recreation, an ALR activity.

Luckily, the survey has a “General Comments” box. I’ll use it to urge meaningful park access via free-flowing arteries for the lifeblood—us—in all seasons. I may add that opportunities to interact with agriculture, ecological conservation and related recreation around the Lands are as vital as clog-free paths.

As an example, my photo shows the Lands from the Garden City Road entrance in 2012, when a pond formed, like ponds in the plan. Now imagine you’re there in 2018. A sign tells your future self that the pond stores water for crops, and a dike-road trail keeps your feet dry as you commune with the ducks in the agri-eco-rec milieu.

For more now, come to the Garden City Lands eco-tour from the No. 4 Road entrance on Thursday, May 5 at 7 p.m. Besides tour guide Michael Wolfe, biologist Mike Coulthard of Diamond Head Consulting will take part. It’s priceless and free. Details at GardenCityLands.ca.

Since it’s spring, you may find it easy to get around, but you’ll also sense why a free-flowing all-season trail system matters. A crucial aspect is sufficient width for people to choose their pace—and pause to chat or find a nearby spot for tai chi. We need a main-path width of at least 5 metres, plus a metre-wide shoulder on each side.

The Let’s Talk Richmond survey is tricky, but my blog tips will help. (To reach them, scroll down.) I hope you’ll support year-round accessibility for Garden City Lands fans of all mobility modes, ages, security concerns, washroom needs—you name it. In any case, all informed input is good. See you Thursday!

2 ways to steward the Lands

April 29, 2016

legacy view of North Shore mountains from Garden City Lands, including the damaged area where the mall developers have killed trees and deposited sand

Advance a goal of Garden City Conservation: steward the Lands for best ALR uses for community wellness:

(1) Get up-to-date on the May 5 eco-tour.

(2) Do the Garden City Lands survey well.

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1 Get to know the Garden City Lands:

The Thursday, May 5, 2016 eco-tour starts at the East Entrance (No. 4 Rd) by 7:10 p.m. It’s guided by conservationist teacher Michael Wolfe, joined by key project member Mike Coulthard, Diamond Head Consulting. See details of May 5 and May 29 tours.

 

2 Then do the current Garden City Lands project survey well:

Online resources tip: The survey is on Let’s Talk Richmond and also here in PDF. Click on GFX links for relevant graphics. (Update: This referred to a survey that is now closed, but a simpler feedback opportunity is open until the end of Sunday, June 12, 2016.)

Success tips: Compose your answers in Word so it’s easy to refine them. Then paste them into the survey’s text boxes after refining. Notice that some text boxes limit the number of characters (to 256) and that the “General comments” box near the end has no limit.

Question 1 (GFX-1) limits the options for the perimeter trail to:

  • Option A, only an all-use path just 4 metres wide—for pedestrian/mobility, bike, service, and (in illustration) pet use
  • Option B, a pedestrian/mobility/service path just 2.5 metres wide, plus a separated bike path (on outer side in illustration)

Option B—the option of two separated paths—is more pleasant and safe for all uses. However, the stated pedestrian/all-use path widths are woefully constricting. (See “General Comments” near end.)

Questions 2 (GFX-2), 3 (GFX-3) and 4 (GFX-4) are phrased to prompt a “Yes” response (e.g., with “enhance the ecological performance”). Take care with question 4, as the “Rise” is the best part of the Lands for agriculture. (If we use the image of eggs in one basket, the “Rise” basket is loaded with rec eggs. Free-flowing trails should enable ALR rec needs to be met all around the Lands—eggs in many baskets.)

Question 5 (GFX-5): The least intrusive place for ample parking is on the wide strip of disturbed land down No. 4 Road. Between entry and exit, there could be fishbone parking with an aisle down the middle. Re surface, if there’s runoff, accessibility should trump permeability.

General comments (near end):
Assuming Option B, there’s:
(1) a basic network of perimeter and central dike-road trail plus
(2) a separated bike stream on the same routes. In that context:

  • The entire basic network should be wide enough for the community to enjoy the park together—on foot, in a stroller, or using a mobility aid such as a wheelchair or mobility walker.
  • The surface could be treated clay that’s more durable than asphalt, slightly convex for runoff, with white lines (broken centre line and solid margin lines), and with room to pause and enjoy or chat or use interpretive features.
  • For the basic network, a 7-metre total width could be just enough, even with only 5 metres for thoroughfare (2.5 m in each direction). That enables two metre-wide shoulders for safety and enjoyment. It also enables occasional service vehicles to carefully share the trail.
  • Eliminating the proposed kilometre of wooden viaducts over the bog (a headache for bog restoration) would save more than enough cost and space to let this basic infrastructure be done right.

Thank you for helping to steward the Garden City Lands!

Re-creating Richmond’s mixed urban forest

April 25, 2016

Garden City Lands legacy landscape

Have a look at the photo, taken from Richmond’s City Centre. It’s one-fifth of a panoramic scene. The rest of the panorama includes the Lions to the west (left) and Mount Baker to the southeast. It’s a viewscape—all one can see from near to far, from wetland to mountains and sky.

In between, you see part of Richmond’s last mixed urban forest, also known as the Alderbridge wildlife corridor. It’s on the north edge of noisy Alderbridge Way, but you could crouch there on a sunny day and feel bathed in the sounds of nature.

It’s special to sense nature’s life as you soak in natural viewscapes from the middle of a city. What unique good fortune! No wonder the City of Richmond put this legacy viewscape on the covers of its 2014 Legacy Landscape booklet.

The bad news: We’ve lost that legacy viewscape. Although the forest had layers of protection, the city brushed them aside, ignoring informed citizens. That doomed the mixed urban forest.

A band of developments has taken its place. As a legacy step, it’s like sticking duct tape on Leonardo’s Mona Lisa at eye level.

The good news: We can unlose what’s lost. In effect, we can shift the mixed urban forest south across Alderbridge. We can regenerate it on the Garden City Lands between the Alderbridge sidewalk and the dike-road trail. If the city acts on this, it will enrich a Legacy Landscape idea—perimeter woods.

Before the doomed forest was moonscaped, people looked north at it and wondered which side of Alderbridge it was on. From the photo, you may wonder too. In that aspect, the old and new forest will eventually look the same.

Efficient technology and potential funding exist to transplant mid-size trees from demolition sites for this purpose. Crucially, there’s a manager on staff who could lead it well.

Lately, in a Bridge Street development area with over 250 trees, only nine were kept. Although we want to retain more trees where they are, let’s re-home trees as need be. In that way (among others), the lost legacy of mixed urban forest can take shape again as an engaging ALR feature of our ALR central park.

As I see it, there will be most kinds of Richmond trees there, especially evergreens that grow to a happy-medium height, screening the developments but not the mountains.

Along Alderbridge in the northwest corner of the park, half the 50,000 cubic metres of clay in “the mound” could be moved to make way for forest soil and trees. (That clay would then be mixed with organic soil for agriculture.)

As before, the Alderbridge mixed urban forest would stretch from Garden City Road to No. 4 Road, but the ends of the strip would ideally curve south. From most angles, that would screen the intersections, making for greener viewscapes.

All going well, the ecosystem of the lost legacy will thrive again, with values for wellness, wildlife and more.

Let’s get this right.

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Update, April 25, 2016: Lots of people have asked what’s going on with the City of Richmond cutting down trees on the Alderbridge Way median between the last vestiges of the former mixed urban forest and the Garden City Lands (and also on Garden City Road). The removal enables the median to be cut back, for new intersections and turn lanes. On the reduced median, the removed trees are supposed to be replaced by several kinds of new coniferous evergreens. The plan is described in this staff memo.

The Alderbridge median trees that will supposedly be added seem fine except that some will grow taller than ideal from a viewscape standpoint. However, from the standpoints of mixed urban forest, wildlife corridor and natural screen (for City Centre northward viewscapes), that step is no replacement for the kind of mixed urban forest I have proposed as the optimal form of what the GCL park enhancement team has proposed for the north edge of the GCL.

A safety aspect too: Of those that would be too tall, what stands out (accidental play on words) is grand fir, which can grow to over 250 feet. The inclusion of grand fir also leads me, as a former member of “joint occupational health and safety committees” on postsecondary campuses, to be instinctively concerned. One kind of factor we were routinely conscious of (in scheduled inspections and in an ongoing way) was anything that might fall on people, especially in situations when it would complicate emergencies, which would include wind/rain storms and earthquakes.

Garden City Lands preliminary plan is a milestone

May 28, 2014

2014 preliminary plan for the Garden City Lands park

Yesterday, May 27, 2014, Richmond Council’s parks committee approved a preliminary plan for enhancing the Garden City Lands, Richmond’s central park.

I had provided some recommendations on behalf of the Garden City Conservation Society, and other ideas came from John ter Borg and De Whalen—and naturally from council members. In the context, the reasonable expectation is that the city team will heed all the advice while proceeding.

As a society, we don’t try to plan designs but do promote a conservation way of thinking that starts with appreciating what has come down from the past, the legacies of the lands. In keeping with our Garden City Lands Coalition roots, we also focus on good stewardship for a harmonious set of agricultural, ecological and open-land park uses for community wellness. The preliminary plan is designed for that.

The city has owned the lands for 50 months, and parks staff have been addressing the project since a council meeting 20 months ago, so there’s been no problem with too much haste. The most obvious obstacle to efficient progress has been the influence of parties doggedly insisting on non-ALR uses. It is hard to be certain, but the main problem of covert inclusion of organized sports uses has finally been put aside as firmly as possible.

Also, staff were able to fend off the attempts by one or two councillors to prompt another large marketing event (in the guise of consulting the public). The marketing effect is largely fine, but it saps the city’s finances and energy. There would still be a marketing event in mid-2015, and that allows time for a lot of practical progress.

This is a milestone for the grassroots movement that took on impossible odds to save the Garden City Lands from development. That started almost ten years ago and became most intense with a lengthy public hearing six years ago. As that event approached, they came together as a coalition, and the Garden City Conservation is descended from it.

After an overwhelming number of the submissions to the Agricultural Land Commission opposed allowing the lands to be taken out of the Agricultural Land Reserve for the high density development. That include a thorough Garden City Lands Coalition submission to the ALC.

Kirby Dynamics - A ToastThe watershed event for saving the lands for community wellness came in February 2009 when the ALC decision ended the high-density development scheme.

Since then, it’s been slow, but progress is progress. Congratulations, citizens!

Trails as Garden City Lands infrastructure

April 4, 2014

Trails as Garden City Lands infrastructure

Tuesday was the parks meeting for Richmond council for March. The Garden City Lands inched ahead, a welcome turn of events.

For things to speed up, farm roads on the lands are key. They could be called something else, but “farm road” is apt, and our central park is an ALR farm. If it weren’t, it couldn’t have come to be a park. As you may recall, it was to be a construction zone until the people and the Agricultural Land Commission said “No!”

The main farm road for now is the perimeter trail. It will be a low dyke too. The roles of service road, public trail and water dyke are all key in their own ways.

People always want me to describe how things will be. This time I’ll answer, but it’s just an informed guess. (It’s up to city planners to plan.)

Look at the satellite view of the Garden City Lands, which are wet. The darker parts are the wetter ones, the lower ones. In the northwest corner at top left, there’s a wide berm. It’s the highest and driest part of the lands because the commission once let 50,000 cubic metres of clean clay fill be placed there.

The line drawn all around, near the edge of the image, gives a sense of the perimeter trail. It’s a farm road-dyke-trail that we can see as we look into the future. It consists of clean clay fill, like the northwest berm that in effect is part of it.

The durable surface is typically five metres wide. Some parts are wider to allow service vehicles to turn around and people to sit and chat and learn from interpretive signs.

We (in the future) use the trail to get around on foot or maybe by mobility scooter or bike. It’s pleasant to be a bit away from the arterial roads that surround the lands.

Outside the trail on the north edge, there’s a ribbon of woods. It can’t restore the senseless loss of natural viewscape across Alderbridge Way, but it lessens the scar.

On the east edge beyond the trail, there’s a gravel parking lot. It’s inside the No. 4 Road fence and above the water-system conduits. Better there than elsewhere.

As a dyke, the perimeter trail enables water management. That’s vital for every use of the park. The older ditch along Westminster Highway and stormwater drains along Garden City Road are outside the dyke to take the road runoff. They’re also useful when water is let out from the lands to drain a section.

The north-south line curving through the satellite image represents a similar farm road-dyke-trail. There will be others, but that one is crucial for another legacy, the sphagnum moss bog. Looking east from the new trail, we see an ecosystem that is abused and fragile but still restorable.

The trails around the sphagnum bog on the east side of the lands keep precipitation in, enabling a high water table, an essential for recovery. They also keep out water with unwelcome nutrients and the alkalinity that’s better for agriculture. Sphagnum likes acidic water, which it helps create in a natural way.

Sphagnum moss, a marvel of nature, is the keystone species of the bog ecosystem, which once took in a large area of Lulu Island. Progress has meant decline until there’s just the one bit left (except on off-limits federal land). The farm road-dyke-trails may save the legacy.

Long ago, sphagnum moss formed the land, and the native bog plants still depend on it. It deserves a better life and its own column. For now, it’s got its own cartoon.

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This article appeared on March 28, 2014 as a column in my Digging Deep series in the Richmond Review. It was titled “The multi-gift trails of our central park.”

Revised GCL concept still loses legacies

March 24, 2014

Since my last “Digging Deep” column, City of Richmond doublespeak about the Garden City Lands has redoubled. That could fool citizens and the Agricultural Land Commission about intents for our central park.

It’s a shame. While city resources get sapped, we’re losing the natural legacies of the lands, including unique legacies of agriculture, ecology and wellness. The only comfort is that things could have been far worse if the community had not saved the city from itself a few years ago.

The city had got caught in the quicksand of a bad deal to turn the federal Garden City Lands into dense development. The city got the booby prize, an iffy right to buy half the area. Much was to be “scattered throughout the property” at the seller’s whim. The rest was for an exhibition centre with a leaky business case, which sank.

Almost all the many groups and individuals who wrote to the Agricultural Land Commission advocated ALR uses for community benefit. The community won. That result was a thousand times better.

Five or six years later, the city’s concept for enhancing the lands is back at council. The new version still disguises contra-ALR uses, but they’re been dolled up. The “Community Fields” (five soccer fields) now look prettier and have new names (“The Commons” and “Event Field”) and more acres. They’re #22 and #24 in the pretty graphic below. They’re still contra-ALR and still belong in better places in Richmond.

City of Richmond concept for Garden City Lands, March 2014

I hoped the new version would finally show a basic sense of how to restore the sphagnum bog ecosystem. That knowledge, readily available from Garden City Conservation, was a skipped aim of the first phase of the six-phase project. Despite slight progress, it’s still missing in the final phase. Goodbye ecosystem. It’s another huge and senseless loss of natural legacy.

The project does continue to do some aspects very well. That has included the Garden City Lands ideas fair and open house, two marketing events. The stated goals and principles are mostly great too. I just don’t see them applied enough.

As a key example, I looked at the perimeter trail. It’s essential infrastructure and should be a top priority but isn’t. I looked for mention of its ALR use as a farm road (for service vehicles) and for water management, but that’s lacking too. The shallow ALR thinking, an aspect of the zealous drive for contra-ALR uses, is the fatal flaw.

The trails, especially the perimeter one, should be trails for everyone, but I see no mention of mobility scooters, walkers and wheelchairs in the lengthy report and no sign of them in about 35 trail illustrations. It’s an aspect of the same disregard for ordinary people that led to the senseless loss of viewscape legacy.

The problem is the stultifying expectations from above, not the staff who do the work.

Although the contra-ALR uses are bad for the community, they’re unjust enrichment in the context of the Musqueam lawsuit, raising Richmond’s risk.

_________

Important meeting: This matter is on the agenda (Item 2) for the meeting of Richmond’s parks committee, chaired by Coun. Harold Steves, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. in the Anderson Room (east end of 2nd floor) at Richmond City Hall, SW corner of No. 3 Road and Granville Road, Richmond. Normally citizens get a chance to speak on the agenda item for up to 5 minutes. It is good to bring speaking notes, which one can provide to the recording secretary for inclusion in the minutes. The full agenda package is here. A smaller version, which also allows rotating of images when opened in Acrobat or Adobe Reader, is here.

Pollinator insects and the Garden City Lands

February 6, 2014

PARC-concept2Michael Wolfe drew our attention to the importance of pollinating insects when he identified “native bees and nesting birds” as a natural conservation value of the southwest corner of the Garden City Lands, as shown in the PARC concept map. (Click on the small version for a large one.)

We know from Richmond beekeeper Brian Campbell that there are ways to help the native bees to migrate around the lands as part of bog restoration. It occurs to me that Kwantlen Polytechnic could also do research with plantings that bring back other pollinators in farming areas of the lands.

I keep an eye out for further insights, and today’s Yale Environment 360 has filled the bill with a report titled “Growing Insects: Farmers Can Help to Bring Back Pollinators.” Click on the intro below to read the article.

Growing Insects

It got me thinking further. A bonus is that having flowers for pollinators for much of the year would add to the natural colour for all who visit the lands, Richmond’s central park. We go there to feel happy and healthy in a natural environment, and our human nature will be a winner as we experience the goal of community wellness.

It also brought the obstacles to mind. We have seen our native bees, especially in their pollinator role, as important enough to discuss in at least five previous articles on this blog, but the City of Richmond ignored them and all insects in its terms of reference for the biophysical inventory of the Garden City Lands. A capable company did what it could in that very important but underfunded task. However, the financial and mandate limits doomed it to being half done, which means that it has about a tenth of the value we should have received.

What we can do is keep being informed, and the Yale article is a good means. Like the decline of pollinators, the Richmond situation may seem hopeless, but “hope springs eternal.”

The Garden City’s flower by nature?

January 27, 2014

In his writings, Richmond pioneer Thomas Kidd kept mentioning the wild roses. For instance, he describes them like this in his ode to Lulu Island:

With wild rose bordering all, whose spring display
Crowns every bush and festoon-links the trees
And fills with fragrance sweet our springtime breeze:
A beauty that no words can e’er portray.

I wish he’d found a few more words for the roses, but Coun. Harold Steves has an idea what kind they were. When I asked Harold about it, he suggested Nootka rose or swamp rose. In that case, I’d think Nootka rose, which can grow tall. Maybe some of our rose experts and heritage experts can get together to be sure. For now, here’s what Nootka roses look like.

Nootka roses

Some people have advocated botanical gardens on the Garden City Lands, and that seems appropriate for the Garden City and for the role of our central park as a garden for City Centre residents. The idea leads to visions of towering Nootka roses all around the lands.

What’s more, if any city deserves its own official city flower, it is the Garden City. If the Nootka rose is indeed the flower that grew around Lulu Island in such a natural, profuse and breathtaking way, it has pretty much chosen itself as our flower.

Celebrating World Wetlands Day on Feb 2, 2014

January 25, 2014

Celebrate World Wetlands Day on February 2, this year and every year. It’s the birthday of Wetlands of International Importance. (On Feb. 2, 1971, the Ramsar Convention was signed, officially starting it all.)

This year’s World Wetlands Day theme is “Wetlands and Agriculture.” The focus on that partnership is fitting for the Garden City and especially the Garden City Lands, where wetlands and agriculture come together.

In recent years, Burns Bog in Delta was designated a Wetland of International Importance, and the site was later enlarged and renamed Fraser River Delta, including the Sturgeon Bank and South Arm marshes.

Before the expansion, I answered whether the Garden City Lands could qualify in “Wetland of International Importance?”. I thought a multi-part Garden City Wetland of International Importance could centre on a restored sphagnum bog area of the lands. At this time, I think it is still possible, including Sturgeon Bank and some South Arm marshes if that is best for the wetlands.

Alternatively, the inland bog segments could be included in the Fraser River Delta site, all in a single Wetland of International Importance.

Please celebrate World Wetlands Day by reading “Wetland of International Importance?” and thinking about a possible one with the Garden City Lands as an interpretive hub. The bog part of the lands could have that role even in the Fraser River Delta site, probably with one or more additional hubs in Delta.

This map shows the areas included in the Fraser River Delta as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance:

Wetland of International Importance site known as "Fraser River Delta"

For a larger image, double-click the map.

Also, you may wish to see what the Ramsar Convention website says about the Fraser River Delta site. Here it is:

Fraser-River-Delta-Wetland-of-International-Importance

Mall*Wart or Malwart?

November 13, 2013

Update, 4 pm, Nov. 13: The Mall*Wart sign has been removed.

Sign on the corner of Alderbridge Way and Garden City Road, the Walmart mall site: MALL WART sign

Now that’s the kind of Richmond we can be proud of. Beyond being a protest and call to action, it’s a work of public art. I have reservations about some (but not all) of the public art that gets brought in for hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time, but this piece of art is worth keeping and treasuring.

____________________________________________________________

Walmart City—an artist’s overlay of the developers’ simulation on the pre-dumping viewscape from the Garden City Lands: Walmart City

It actually does make one think of a giant wart on our legacy viewscape. The viewscape makes the mall look more attractive, but the mall sure doesn’t do the same for the Garden City Lands. It is Malcolm Brodie’s responsibility, and he must have gone by “Mal” at some point, so it could fittingly be “Malwart.” I don’t encourage calling it either “Mall*Wart” or “Malwart” beyond the artistic billboard and this reflection on it, but the names do capture elements of truth.

The tourism value of the Walmart City Lands

February 15, 2013

legacy view of North Shore mountains from Garden City Lands

The tourism value of our central park, the Garden City Lands, is immense. And it can help, not hinder, the park’s basic values for agriculture, conservation and recreation.

The park should soon be a prime tourist destination, a hub for Richmond tourism. However, the City of Richmond may squelch that value.

The big threat is the Walmart mall proposal that City staff brought to council. It does more than wipe out natural areas that were protected. It also devastates the viewscapes from the Garden City Lands and nearby parts of the City Centre.

The effect on the tourism value of our central park is stark. The loss of must-see natural viewscapes would shatter the Garden City Lands’ most striking appeal.

A reminder: While other cities have large central parks, they rarely have natural views like ours, almost unbroken from the inland park as far as the eye can see. With a little restoration, our natural viewscapes may be unique—once in a world.

Looking north across Alderbridge Way, even when the mountains are shrouded, the view of urban forest is pleasant. To gaze at stores in place of woods along that lengthy block would be unpleasant, and the Walmart sign would be repulsive.

Tourists won’t come for that, and we need a better way of thinking. There is one in the story of High Line, the last remnant of an old freight line. Its trains ran on a viaduct almost thirty feet above southwest Manhattan.

The High Line in Manhattan, New York City at West 20th Street, looking downtown (south)

The City of New York saw High Line as an impediment to progress, as happened with the Garden City Lands. Like the sphagnum peat of the lands, which was to be torn up, the line was to be torn down.

Then citizens looked at the hardy weeds that had found a home on the sturdy old structure above the concrete city and saw a living green place to conserve and enjoy.

Community action kicked in. High Line became a park. I went there last August.

High Line is a mile long. I strolled from end to end and back and was pleased it had kept its character. I empathized too. Like the Garden City Lands it had been disparaged until people paused to think.

The pioneer weeds seem at ease with their cultivated kin in their High Line home. Life has changed, though: they’re botanical stars now.

The High Line is close to forty feet wide, on average, but the walkways are far narrower. In spite of crowding on the summer day, the mood was happy.

Last year, High Line had 3.7 million visitors. Half were tourists, and half of us tourists were from other countries. Close to a million foreign tourists!

Some New Yorkers think there’s even too much High Line tourism. No doubt, similar concern will come up here, but the needed all-weather trails in our central park could handle High Line numbers, which are not looming.

Like our Garden City Lands, the Manhattan park was basically for local people, and the tourism value grew because each aspect is done well. For instance, High Line itself became a work of art, and it makes the most of the views from it.

In the decade-old project plan, I found a secret to success. The Friends of the High Line believed the possibilities were boundless, and politicians at all levels bought in. Friends of Garden City typically feel that way about the Garden City Lands too, and we hope our politicians at least see the possibilities worth saving now.

If not, our natural jewel will become, in effect, the Walmart City Lands. The immense tourism value of that central park will be largely lost, with much more, and we’ll have nothing worth seeing to show for it.

_____

Also published in the Richmond Review of February 13, 2013.

Sports fields an option for Garden City Lands?

November 30, 2012

Today’s Richmond Review published this asSports fields are not an option for the Garden City Lands.”

Re: “Garden City Lands are the wrong place for aquatic centre, stadium” (Oct. 26).

The growing clarity about acceptable ALR uses for Richmond’s Garden City Lands is good. I hope it will enable the promised 2013 consultations to get as much informed input as the previous round in 2008.

To that end, I’ll address the lingering idea of grass sports fields on the lands. It seemed like an option years ago, but the logic against it is so strong now it’s just a harmful distraction.

First, B.C.’s Agricultural Land Commission will not agree to that use. Two of the factors: its decisions are getting stricter, and the city appears to ignore the commission staff’s advice (Apr. 11, 2006) to locate amenities for the area in adjacent non-ALR lands. In fact, the city even canceled a nearby 12-acre park this year.

snow geeseSecond, wetlands like the Garden City Lands are unsuited to sports fields. And grass is far less suited to organized sports than synthetic turf, as Peter Mitchell of Richmond Sports Council told city council (Feb. 28, 2011). He included the image of “a person being at risk for going home wearing a byproduct of a half-dozen geese in certain seasons.”

(From the snow goose perspective, the short grass of a sports field is a fast-food bonanza. So easy to get at the tasty roots!)

Third, Richmond has lots of better fields in disuse. When the city added two synthetic fields, it said they would “release approximately 50 existing playing fields in residential neighbourhoods” (Sept. 22, 2008). Let’s ask neighbourhoods if they’d like their “released” fields restored—with synthetic turf or, geese willing, well-drained grass where desired (plus thief-proof goalposts, etc.).

Fourth, grass sports fields are as bad as stadiums and synthetic fields in the Musqueam lawsuit context. In contrast, prudent uses of the Garden City Lands may defuse the “unjust enrichment” claim against Richmond.

Fifth, previous input revealed an abundance of promising ALR uses of the lands for community wellness. The next step is to add and integrate for excellence, not reduce to mediocrity or worse.

To be clear, real turf can still belong on the Garden City Lands. For natural playgrounds? Grass gathering places for all ages? Peaceful pond-side lawns for tai chi? Green dining room for the snow geese? It’s up to all of us.

Curing the wrong-place madness

November 15, 2012

The Richmond Review published “Garden City Lands are the wrong place for aquatic centre, stadium” weeks ago, but there’s been little change in the faulty assumption from some (who should know better) that it’s fine to disrespect (a) the Agricultural Land Reserve and (b) the Musqueam lawsuit.

Here (below) is the answer in a new form, with an illustration of part of the viewscape that would replace the green natural one in a concept that would consolidate Riverport and Minoru facilities on the Garden City Lands. It’s practically certain the concept will never become reality, but the problem is extensive collateral damage of several kinds, which is 100% certain if the madness continues.

Part of a Garden City Lands viewscape in the rinks/pools idea.

When a TV crew interviewed me on the Garden City Lands this week, I found they’d just interviewed a citizen who wants community sports facilities in that green space. The facilities might include an aquatic centre, stadium and artificial-grass fields. Wrong place.

They can only happen if the lands are removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). But the Agricultural Land Commission has rejected two recent applications for that. Most likely it wouldn’t even listen to a third.

In any case, I followed clues to the source of confusion. It seems the citizen had given undue significance to the “Conservation and Recreation” label on the Garden City Lands in a Metro Vancouver bylaw map.

The key point here is that B.C.’s Agricultural Land Commission Act always prevails over any local bylaw that conflicts with it. Both the provincial act (section 46) and the Metro bylaw (6.11.2) state that. To the extent of any conflict, the local bylaw has “no force or effect.”

As it happens, though, the proposed non-ALR uses for the lands don’t even fit with the brief Metro description of “Conservation and Recreation.” Its focus is to protect natural assets.

For taxpayers, the problem also adds to our risk in the Musqueam lawsuit. Put simply, it claims the city “unjustly enriched” itself by making a weak failed effort at getting the lands out of the ALR so as to buy the Musqueam’s interest at a depressed price. If the park planning assumes the city can get the lands out of the ALR with a good effort, it supports the case against us. The “unjust enrichment” figures work out to $250 million.

Fortunately, informed citizens have shown how the Garden City Lands can simultaneously serve entirely for agriculture, entirely for conservation and entirely for recreation in the open-land park in the ALR.

Our justly rich success will flow from our responsible approach:

  • honouring the natural legacies of the lands,
  • valuing community wellness and harmony,
  • and setting firm expectations for excellence.

Council’s perplexing bog-park plan

November 1, 2012

The above graphic uses a satellite image to illustrate Coun. Harold Steves’ concept for the Garden City Lands. Councillor Steves has been promoting it for several years, most recently at the public hearing of Oct. 15, 2012. Other council members never object, and no city would spend almost $60 million buying a piece of land without a plan for it, so I guess the concept must be the basic council plan.

Although the concept keeps changing in some ways, there’s always about 60% of the park set aside for sphagnum peat bog. As a concept it is acceptable enough—except that the bog ecosystem is in dire straits—and in fact the PARC concept that’s described in “Listening to the Lands = PARC” is essentially the Steves one. (It was adapted by Garden City Lands Coalition Society directors to illustrate a kind of thinking about the Lands.)

Personally, I’m not sure that so little of the Lands (40%) should be allocated to agriculture and other ALR uses, but I’m more interested in encouraging appropriate excellence than in thinking about the best mix of uses. In that context, it could only make sense to use three-fifths of the Lands for bog if the challenging restoration and/or regeneration of the legacy sphagnum bog is going to be the best ever anywhere. (The Olympic Oval of restored sphagnum bogs?)

cThat happens to be possible. However, there is no reason for confidence it will get done. The city has been perplexingly inactive when it could have been taking high-impact steps with expertly led volunteers at no cost.

For now, we need more citizens who know what’s going on. It will make a difference if you and other citizens get firsthand knowledge: put on your rain boots and see for yourself on an eco-tour with an expert guide. The next tour is on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, at the East Entrance at 1:30 p.m. Here are the details.

I hope to write more on this topic later — after we find a way to get beyond being perplexed.

Stewarding the viewscape legacy of the Lands

October 12, 2012

Richmond’s Garden City Lands are a park full of legacies—gifts from nature and our communal past. Our responsibility is to steward them.

One cherished legacy of the Garden City Lands is the world-class viewscapes. Back when the community came together to save the lands from dense construction, citizens liked the Agricultural Land Reserve values, but the charm of the setting won many hearts.

Research shows that green and scenic settings are positively related to mental health. With all-weather trails and tranquil gathering places, the Garden City Lands will combine that with physical and social health benefits for locals and tourists.

But a key viewscape is at risk. It is the northward panorama that stretches from the green open space to the woods and finally the North Shore Mountains. Most people want ponds, so the chosen photo has one.

You’ll notice that the natural scene is almost unbroken, since Alderbridge Way is partly hidden. Where else would you see natural views like that from an inland  downtown area, let alone from all around a central park?

Sadly, that northward viewscape has been marred in the Walmart area in recent years. The lost quality could soon be irreversible.

Think of the Walmart area as the west half of the woods as you look north from the Garden City Lands past the green ridge and Alderbridge Way. Ecologically, it used to be mixed urban forest. It was guarded by both the tree bylaw and an “environmentally sensitive area” (ESA) along Alderbridge, but they’ve sometimes been ignored.

Altough some of it is still good, you see a long heap of grey sand on one part now. The trees are sparse, and developments are showing through.

A natural remedy would be a wildlife corridor at least 20 metres wide on the north edge of Alderbridge. Adding diverse evergreens of medium height could restore the viewscape and some lost habitat. (I used to think at least 10 or 15 metres, but on further examination I see that the need is for at least 20 metres.)

Coun. Harold Steves briefly suggested that feature to staff at the council meeting of March 12.

Think of the east half of the Alderbridge woods as mostly West Cambie Natural Park. The viewscape is intact there, but the park may be cancelled for townhouses.

Part of that area will still be ESA along Alderbridge. Before rezoning, the City could implement the wildlife corridor from Garden City Road to No. 4 Road.

I spoke on this at the council meeting of September 24. City Centre activist Peter Mitchell reiterated the viewscape trees concept, and Michael Wolfe spoke in a similar vein.

Coun. Chak Au sought prompt staff action, and council showed some interest.

Mayor Brodie encouraged Peter Mitchell, Michael Wolfe and me to speak with staff. Soon afterward, Manager of Policy Planning Terry Crowe brought me together with Senior Planner June Christy and him, and we shared many win-win ideas. Good start!

Almost all on council are committed to stewarding the Garden City Lands in the ALR for agricultural, ecological and open-land park uses for community wellness. That would include the legacy views. If you see fit to encourage them, thank you.

________

This article has also been published as a column,Stewarding the viewscape legacy of the Garden City Lands,” in the Green Edition of the Richmond Review, Oct. 13, 2012.

Update, March 9, 2013: In the months since this article was posted, the Walmart mall has become a much greater concern. We found that the Walmart mall would go right up to Alderbridge Way, as came out in a staff report. Afterwards, we discovered that a developers’ video that showed the Walmart mall right on the edge of Alderbridge Way had been online since April 2012. Here’s the video.

What’s left for growing food?

March 11, 2012

The haphazard “Garden City Lake” that appears in some form each winter is sometimes picturesque, and it’s a duck heaven, but it’s not the ideal harbinger for future food growing on the Garden City Lands.

Insights prompted by photo-story about the “lake”

A Friend of Garden City put that in perspective with these thoughts:

  1. It would be lovely to see a habitat for ducks and waterfowl, but if we are going to restrict agriculture to the west side of the property, how do we manage that?
  2. Many crops that could be grown on the property should be overwintering, and they’ll die out if they’re underwater for any more than half a day.
  3. I could see two large ponds being dug to drain water on the west side and keep it aside for irrigation.

Important background

The insightful comments implicitly refer to the PARC concept map shown at right and discussed in a key article on this blog, “Listening to the Lands = PARC.” The map is based on a simple concept map that Coun. Harold Steves has discussed at council meetings. The dominant feature is a rectangle of 80­–85 acres where Coun. Steves hopes the sphagnum bog will recover. It includes the entire eastern three-fifths of the lands. Keeping to the concept, the Garden City Lands Coalition drew on Michael Wolfe’s biophysical observations to configure that conservation acreage for more optimal ecological effect, but it still takes up three-fifths of the lands.

Response to the insights

  1. Since we’re talking about Agricultural Land Reserve parkland and since food security is so important in the Richmond community, it may be that Councilor Steves’ concept that’s reflected in the PARC graphic leaves too little land for food growing. It will be up to the groups and individuals who value community gardens, community farms (e.g., for the food bank), and related wellness values to address the seeming imbalance.
  2. The insights from a reader show the critical importance of expert water management for food growing, and that applies also to bog restoration. Since we’ve owned the lands for almost two years, I hope that the city has been using that time for hydrologic study of the lands in the context of the intended ALR uses for agriculture, conservation and recreation. The problem of overwintering crops being destroyed by flooding, even for less than a day, illustrates why the basic interventions need to occur early.
  3. Having two large drainage/irrigation ponds on the west side makes sense. Although there’s a row of drains (usually clogged) on the Lands a few metres from Garden City Road, agricultural visions for the lands seem typically value true sustainability, which includes irrigating with stored drainage water. Evidently there will also be a pond for storm water from the City Centre, which might supplement the irrigation water; it cannot be used for sound bog restoration, but no doubt the ducks will like it.

New lake on Garden City Lands seems popular

March 7, 2012

In this recent view of the Garden City Lands, we’re looking north and northwest toward the Lions from the turnaround at the end of the main (west) entrance, a raised drive about 100 metres south of Lansdowne Road on Garden City Road.

Lately there’s been a lake of up to twenty acres on the Garden City Lands. It’s in the parts of the Garden City Road side, the west side, that look darkest (wettest) on the satellite image that underlies the PARC concept map. The lake extends both south and north of the west entrance. The next view (below) is looking east from Garden City Road about 150 metres south of Alderbridge Way.

The southern part of the lake literally went down the drain on Tuesday when city workers cleared up the drainage near the road. In the next photo, you can see the workers’ truck just past the entrance driveway. In mid-afternoon, there was still some pooled water south of the entrance (lower right of photo), but that disappeared when they unplugged a nearby drain.

They told me that there’s a drain every twenty steps. So far, though, they haven’t gone north of the main entrance with their drain unplugging.

The lake is a visual reminder of the crucial importance of thorough hydrology. That would begin with study of the water aspects of the lands in the context of the potential ALR uses. Along with that, there would be scientific/engineering implementation of systematic methods and ongoing evaluation. So far one group of residents has become right at home with the changing hydrology. That would be the ducks (below). A surprising factor that made an impression on me was that the several Friends of Garden City who alerted me to the impressive lake were all enthused about the ducks.

We know from the highly commendable Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog that some hydrology action has been taken with the rest of the Lulu Island Bog—the Richmond Nature Park and Department of National Defence Lands (DND Lands) to the east. However, the implementation has been inadequate. The history is instructive, partly because it describes what has helped and largely because it implies what must be done differently and better.

After talking to the drain-clearing workers on Tuesday, I returned later to leisurely take in the scenery, including Mount Baker peaking over the clouds (below) in the southeast. When I took that photo, evening was coming on, and I was walking south on Garden City Road. Nearing the bus stop on the east side, I noticed a young fellow of about sixteen looking out at the Lands as he waited for his bus. I made some brief small talk about the new lake and asked him what he thought about it: “Should we try to keep it?” He said, “Yes, keep it. For the ducks.”

In our legacy from the past for the future, it would be great for humans too, especially the City Centre Area residents. The open-land park will be needed more and more as the projected 120,000 people fill in. They will get to enjoy the scenery as they walk in the park, and a lake or lakes would enhance it—as do the stars of the show, the ducks.

Garden City Lands practical visionary moves ahead

February 24, 2012

It’s great to see an article about financial support for Kent Mullinix and his leading-edge sustainable agriculture work with Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Yesterday’s announcement was for a major commitment from the Real Estate Foundation toward a sustainable agri-food model for Southwest British Columbia. The Garden City Lands would ideally play a key role by showing how the conceptual model is put into practice.

The City of Richmond has partnered with Dr. Mullinix and his program for the past four years, and council asked city parks staff to look into the possibility of using 48 acres of the Garden City Lands for urban agriculture education led by Kwantlen.

Note: It is said that the Musqueam lawsuit against the city to get more money from the Garden City Lands is delaying things, but I think (as one who has sifted through the lawsuit documents) that proceeding to plan with Kwantlen would be far more likely to help Richmond’s case than to hinder it.

It is very important that as many citizens as possible be aware of the value of the Kwantlen concept for part of the Garden City Lands. That’s not just for enabling food security for Richmond and for this part of the province but also for honoring the legacy that we’ve received in that unique parkland. The Kwantlen concept is one of the most promising ways to bring out the potential of the Garden City Lands in an ongoing legacy that we not only enjoy but also pass on to future generations.

Read “An amazing opportunity to lead the world.” If that article about the Kwantlen concept whets your appetite, you’ll find a link near the end that will open up many more facets of this unique situation for you.