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Food hub, boardwalks over the bog planned for Garden City Lands

The City of Richmond is seeking ALC approval to allow agricultural and ecological activities on a 136-acre lot in City Centre.

Boardwalks over the bog, a lookout tower, an agriculturally themed playground on a knoll – as well as three parking areas - are some of the features planned for the Garden City Lands.

But a food hub and ecological interpretive centre – to support agriculture and bog health and rehabilitation - is being proposed as the central project for the site.

This hub is envisioned by city staff as looking like a typical farm barn, but would include a food prep area and a commercial kitchen.

It’s being called the “Garden City Lands Agricultural and Ecology Centre” in a report going to city council's parks and recreation meeting next week.

“This would support the Centre's function as a 'food hub' in Richmond City Centre,” reads the report.

Just a few weeks after opening up 200 garden plots at the 136-acre site in Richmond’s City Centre, city staff are asking council to endorse an application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to add these features, allowing more public access.

But the plans also include parking areas – street parking on No. 4 Road, a small parking lot off Alderbridge Way and 64 parking spaces close to the community gardens off Garden City Road.

From a shooting range to an ecological site

With a long history of various uses, the city is currently doing soil studies to see if there’s any residual contamination on the Garden City Lands.

The site was used as a shooting range early in the last century. Furthermore, there used to be underground fuel tanks for transmission towers on the Garden City Lands.

In its report, city staff say the plans support the two-fold mission of the Garden City Lands, that is, the agriculture and food-related aspect and the ecological aspect.

The east side of the lot is covered in bogs, and the city proposed to build raised wooden boardwalks for walking through the bog without disturbing the “ecologically sensitive” area. Besides, it’s expected the area will be covered in water throughout the year, making it unsuitable for ground pathways.

The playground is planned for the northeast corner of the lot – across from Wal-Mart.

Kwantlen Polytechnic is currently farming on six acres of the property.