All may not yet be lost for the world of sport in Richmond when it comes to how the Garden City Lands is sliced up.
On the face of it — when three heavily agricultural and nature-based themed options were presented to city council this week — local sport seemed to have been over-looked.
However, the use of a ten-acre parcel in the centre of the controversial lands, referred to in all three choices as “community fields,” could be open to interpretation, depending on whom you talk to.
The options will be laid out for all to see at an all-day public open house in Lansdowne Shopping Centre on Thursday, Nov. 7, with the option ultimately chosen — or a combination of all three — forming the final concept plan for the 136-acre site, bought by the city for almost $60 million in 2010.
“I like the plans; this is a community park and a community plan and that should include recreation,”
Jim Lamond, Richmond Sports Council chair, told city council’s parks and recreation committee.
“If we don’t take all that into consideration, then I think we’re doing something wrong.
“We don’t want the whole thing, but everybody should get a part of it. I don’t mind carrots and vegetables, as long as they’re not growing on the playing fields.”
Smelling a rat, Jim Wright, president of the Garden City Conservation Society, told council he was ready to congratulate the city on the conservation and nature-themed choices, until he heard staff speak of the aforementioned “community fields.”
Wright told council his suspicions of sport getting his hands on some of the lands grew with the mention by senior parks manager Mike Redpath’s reference to the community fields being the size of “five soccer fields.”
All three choices include: a 15-acre bog; water features; agriculture; naturalized woodlot; walking and cycling trails; a community hub and community fields.
Coun. Harold Steves said he was concerned that the hydrology of the site hadn’t been investigated properly before the choices were presented.
“I’m not sure any of these (choices) are feasible?” said Steves.
“Are we going to put dykes in or are we going to raise the land?”
Redpath said any work carried out on the site will be “science-based” with the help of relevant experts.
Endorsing the choices to be presented at the open house, Coun. Ken Johnston said it’s important the matter proceed so the city can “send a message” to people about crazy rumours surrounding what the lands are to be used for.
“This sets a direction of what this might look like,” said Johnston.
“There are people still out there who think we’re building high-rises on the lands.”
The main difference between the options is that A focuses on the majority of the site being natural, with a 35-acre urban agriculture component. B and C increase the urban agriculture portion to around 50 acres.
As well as the open house on Nov. 7, the three options are being placed on the creategardencitylands.ca and Let’s Talk Richmond websites for public feedback.
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