On March 31, 2010, the City of Richmond settled the purchase of the Garden City Lands from the Canada Lands Company Ltd. and Musqueam Indian Band for $59.17 million. Now, an extensive year-long public planning process is in progress to plan the potential use of these lands. Based on community participation, the City of Richmond will choose one, out of three proposed plans.
- In Nature
- On the Grid
- Off the Grid
Each plan comes with different long term visions which are either nature conservation focus, or urban agricultural focus.
The proposed plan for In Nature will use the existing land structure to create a natural sanctuary. It’s inspiredby Richmond’s history and will include urban and agricultural land. This plan utilizes the lands natural resources and incorporates the existing seasonal wetlands to create a storm water retention area. Most of the land will be devoted to a bog, with a meadow surrounding the wet areas. The long term vision is to focus on nature and conservation, and the agricultural component of the site will take up to 35 acres. Proposed features in this space include a green roof on the community hub, educational farm tours, a nature sanctuary, ponds, meadows and a forest of ferns.
The second proposed plan, On the Grid will focus to make a larger urban agricultural area. This plan will be in the pattern of a historical Richmond grid system, which blends urban and agricultural patterns. The grid offers agricultural plats, garden areas and activities for the community. This plan will also incorporate the natural wetlands into a bog area, but on a smaller scale. The long term vision for On the Grid is to focus on urban agriculture and will feature community gardens, and community farms, a playground, demonstration gardens and community field gatherings.
The final plan proposed by the City of Richmond is Off the Grid. This plan will include the natural bog from In Nature, and the agricultural plots from On the Grid. This hybrid plan will have opportunities for agriculture, ecological conservation, community, and woodlot progression. The plan’s long term vision is also focuses on urban agriculture, and will feature community demonstration events, research fields, community farms, bog ecology, art opportunities, sanctuary, and multipurpose community fields. This plan proposes to act as a gateway and connect the Olympic Oval and Middle Arm Waterfront to the Garden City lands.
Each plan will include trails for biking and or walking. The integral part of these plans though, is the multi-functional community hub which will boast a community farm, and sustainability hub. Because this land has remained untouched for so long, the land contains the leftovers of a slough system. This allows the city to integrate the natural bog into their plans, and highlight the rare portion of Richmond’s natural heritage. The goals for the development of this land are to help build a healthy, inclusive community, build a sustainable downtown area, and to create a legacy for future generations.