Succulunt cranberries growing on the Garden City Lands, Richmond, B.C., Canada. Michael Wolfe photo.

Many kinds of edible berries, including these cranberries, flourish on the Garden City Lands.

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Answers about the Garden City Lands

Why do people want to save the Garden City Lands?

At the Garden City Lands open houses in 2008, these were some views we heard:

  • We need more open space (or green space or parkland) in Richmond, not less.
  • These Richmond lands should benefit the people who need them, not just big speculators.
  • We should do our part to keep the air clean. (We don't need thousands more cars polluting and congesting.)
  • The urban agriculture proposals (from Kwantlen University College and the Richmond Poverty Response Committee) are wonderful.
  • We don't want all those big concrete buildings. Our quality of life is being ruined.
  • This is the people's land (or the taxpayer's land). The federal government should keep it for the people.
  • The city is becoming more and more unliveable. Paving the farmland makes it worse.

What are the alternatives to development?

  • Several better future uses for the Garden City Lands have been proposed, including conserving the land as natural habitat and using it as an agricultural park. For details, visit our Future page.

What can you do?

Why protect farmland?

  • Around the world, farmland is dwindling at the same time that a growing population places ever-greater demands on our food supply. Our cities are built close to our best farmland, so there is constant tension between agriculture and development.
  • Fertile soil takes thousands of years to develop¡Xor a single development to destroy. Once the soil has been compacted, paved over, and built on, it is very difficult to restore its food-growing capabilities.
  • Diminishing world oil supplies will make it too costly  to import so much of our food.
  • The effects of global warming will impact agriculture worldwide, reducing the global food supply. Thus we will be forced to rely more on the food we can produce locally.
What is the ALR?
  • The Agricultural Land Reserve, or ALR, was established in the 1970s to protect BC¡¦s farmland from development and act as an urban growth boundary.
  • The ALR currently protects 4.7 million hectares of farmland (only 5% of BC¡¦s land base)
  • The ALR is governed by the Agricultural Land Commission, which makes all decisions on land exclusions from the ALR. The commission is an independent provincial agency whose decisions are affected by public input. It is their job to protect the public interest.
  • The ALR is an agricultural land reserve, not an urban land reserve!

What¡¦s the heritage of the Garden City Lands?

  • A pioneer wrote about the Garden City Lands, ¡§Whole families or a few friends got off at the tram stops and hiked off, blueberry pail in hand, towards No. 4 Rd. to pick the tasty berries."
  • From early in the last century, the Garden City Lands were part of the Dominion Rifle Range. The range had its own tram stop, and people would ride in from Vancouver to pick blueberries to sell at the market.
  • Many people still alive today have fond memories of cutting Christmas trees on the Lands each year, and it was an excellent spot for pheasant and duck hunting.
  • During World War II, the Lands were home to anti-aircraft guns and military transmission towers.
  • Later they were used for Coast Guard transmission towers, and the berry bushes and trees were removed.
  • Since 1994, the Lands have been green open space.
  • The traditional uses of the Garden City Lands include community agriculture. Below, Steves family members harvest blueberries on the Lands, circa 1915.

The Steves family harvesting blueberries on the Garden City Lands, Richmond, circa 1915.

For more answers, visit the Garden City Lands blog.

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