Garden City Lands: Separating Facts From Fiction
garden city lands

Garden City Lands: Separating Facts From Fiction

It is shameful that Richmond city councillors who voted to destroy the Garden City Lands would now attempt to convince unsuspecting voters that they worked to save the lands.

The Defenders Of The Garden City Lands

Fact: The Garden City Lands Coalition was formed in late 2007 to protect the lands from dense construction on 65% of the area and also to enable better ALR uses for the community.  Carol Day and Michael Wolfe have been leaders of the coalition for seven years. (It evolved into the Garden City Conservation Society in 2012, and they are directors of the society.)

Fact: Harold Steves, Michael Wolfe and Carol Day are the council candidates who have worked from an early stage to save the Garden City Lands. For example, public outreach at Terra Nova, Earth Day celebrations, council presentations and eco-tours all helped to educate the public and council.

Who Tried To Remove The Garden City Lands From The Agricultural Land Reserve?

Fact: Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Councillors Derek Dang and Bill McNulty voted to apply to the Agricultural Land Commission to have the lands removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve — TWICE!

Fact: When purchasing the lands, the City of Richmond neglected to get its partners (the federal land disposer and Musqueam Indian Band) to terminate the initial agreement (“the MOU”) as it appears to require. This opened the way for the Musqueam to claim the initial agreement was still binding when they filed a lawsuit against the City of Richmond a week after the city paid almost $60 million for the property.

Preserving The Garden City Lands

Fact: Council candidates Michael Wolfe, Harold Steves and Carol Day have demonstrated their understanding of the significance of the heritage bog and the benefits to all Richmondites from restoring the bog for cleaner air, a unique ecological legacy and open-land-park recreation.

Fact: The Garden City Lands were slated for development to include dense residential construction and a trade and exhibition centre. Richmond First was in support of that plan along with the Musqueam and federal land disposer.

The eventual council vote to purchase the lands was kept confidential, so the public does not know which council members supported it or why. That being the case, it is inappropriate for Richmond First to take credit.

Bill McNulty On The Garden City Lands

Fiction:  Bill McNulty wanted to save the Garden City Lands in 1974.

Fact: McNulty wanted to build a sports complex on the lands, and it seems that he kept wanting that for the next forty years. However, he voted for the agreement between the City of Richmond, Musqueam and federal representatives. The area the city hoped to obtain at market value was 35% — less than 48 acres (other than the trade and exhibition centre). The initial agreement and a later detailed agreement were both clear that those acres were to be scattered throughout the property, and that was at the discretion of the other parties. Getting a site for a huge sports complex was obviously not possible. Furthermore, it was a non-ALR use, and the citizens who fought to save the lands were fighting to keep them in the ALR for ALR uses for greater community benefit. What Bill McNulty thinks he wanted to do in 1974 does not fit with what the Save Garden City Lands campaign fought for.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie One The Garden City Lands

Fiction: Mayor Brodie was convinced by the people of Richmond to make “The Garden City Lands one of our greatest environmental legacies.”

Fact: The people of Richmond expressed that in a 23.5-hour public hearing and in presentations to the Agricultural Land Commission from 150 groups and individuals, almost all (94%, it seems) opposed to removing the lands from the ALR and in favour of ALR uses for community benefit, but the mayor ignored that.

He later changed his stance when there was practically no alternative. Even then, he went along with an expensive public relations campaign to convince the citizens that the lands were “a blank canvas.” A blank canvas and an environmental legacy are mutually exclusive.

Question The Richmond Municipal Election Candidates!

When you read the promotional material supplied by the candidates, be aware that NOT everything you read is accurate. Ask questions and do the research, because not all of the 2014 Richmond election campaigns are open and transparent. Some of the campaigns are full of inaccuracies and fear mongering.

Remember to vote for the people you can trust and support.  Don’t waste your vote on people who are trying to manipulate your sense of duty.