2015: The year in review in Richmond

Tiny Lulu Island was packed with big, interesting events and happenings

January

- Popular local band Thor reunites at the Pumphouse Pub.

- A drug lab prompts a Hazmat response on Triangle Road.

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- Home height restrictions are discussed at Richmond city council.

- West Richmond residents hold a town hall meeting to rally against residential break-ins, which hit an all-time high in 2014. 

- Keith ‘Dick’ Easterbrook becomes first in B.C. to receive the Royal Canadian Legion’s 70-year service pin.

- Developer Charan Sethi installs solar panels on a townhouse development.

February

- The Richmond Women’s Resource Centre makes a pitch to Richmond city council for more grant funding. The centre temporarily closes later in the year to save money.

- Vandals destroy a slide at Terra Nova Rural Park.

- Target begins liquidating its inventory at Lansdowne Centre. 

- City of Richmond reports having more $200,000-plus earners — that includes benefits and payouts — than any other local government organization, other than TransLink.

- The City of Richmond announces a “multi-pronged” public consultation process on foreign language signage.

- Blueprints for an international trade centre at Bridgeport are submitted to the city.

- Elections BC reports that local politicians tipped the $1 million mark in spending during the 2014 election. The Richmond Community Coalition supplants Richmond First as the biggest spender.

- RCMP Const. Kwesi Millington is found guilty of perjury in the Braidwood (Robert Dziekanski) inquiry. He’s later sentenced to 30 months in prison.

- Sears closes in Richmond Centre.

- Metro Vancouver mayors begin a campaign to promote a regional transit tax.

- A warm winter puts farmers on high-alert for upcoming crops.

March

- The City of Richmond rakes in a record $21 million from River Rock Casino revenues in 2014.

- The Westwind Ratepayers’ Association forms to pressure city hall into terminating land-use contracts and better enforcement of building bylaws.

- The Richmond School District sees a decline in enrolment by 500 students and is hit with a $4 million budget shortfall.

- A community roundtable on foreign language signs is hosted by the City of Richmond. 

- RCMP Const. Benjamin ‘Monty’ Robinson found guilty of perjury in Braidwood (Robert Dziekanski) inquiry. He’s later sentenced to 24 months in prison.

April

- The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal rules a family from Hong Kong held a Filipino nanny like a “virtual slave” in a Richmond hotel.

- Cuddle parties become a thing as a Richmond group encourages physically comforting strangers.

- Frances Clark, a longtime community activist and founder of the Richmond Centre for Disabilities, passes. 

- Bath Slough gets buzzing as volunteers plant wild flowers to encourage bee habitat.

May

- Interpol and the Chinese government are reported to be seeking the arrest of Michael Ching, the developer of Richmond’s proposed international trade centre, on corruption charges. Ching donated to several municipal politicians. 

- After Westwind residents host a town hall on residential construction, concerned developers begin to turn up at city hall to voice their opposition to proposed bylaw changes. 

- Ron Mahy, the father Cristy Mahy, who died in 2014 after being hit by a car while cycling on Sea Island, continues his long wait for criminal charges against the driver, who subsequently left the country. 

- Richmond RCMP suspect Darwin Lescano in the murder of his mother, Redelma Belisario. He’s arrested and charged the next month.

- Tait elementary student Mike Cui becomes a Richmond RCMP officer for a day.

- The Buck and Ear pub sells to a franchise restaurant group.

June

- Mounties shoot a dog during an investigation, which sparks an investigation.

- Richmond city council asks the city to investigate the merits of licensing marijuana dispensaries.

- Musician Nikki Yanofsky headlines 2015 Pan Am Games celebrations at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

- Big potential changes abound for Steveston: Rod’s Building Supplies is in talks with a developer wanting to build a grocery store; Steveston’s Marine and Hardware applies for a brewery licence; Councillors pitch a pier at Garry Point; and Steveston Harbour Authority mulls a marine industrial park. 

- RCMP IHIT probes murder on grounds of Nanaksar Gurdwara Gursikh Temple.

- Hamilton residents rail against city plans to allow McRae’s Environmental Services to operate next to a residential zone. 

- At a four-hour planning committee meeting, the City of Richmond proposes new residential building bylaws to curtail mega homes. Council decides to hold off on a decision for more public consultation.

July 

- Richmondites celebrate the 70th Steveston Salmon Festival.

- VAPOR loses a court battle against the jet fuel facility proponents, VAFFC, after trying to argue the public consultation process was flawed.

- Richmond city council approves a $250,000 “mirror ball” tower as a public art display in Minoru Park.

- Steveston Seafood House fails to convince Richmond city council to alter zoning at Onni’s Imperial Landing on the Steveston boardwalk, which is left empty for another summer. 

- The region falls under Stage 3 water restrictions as a major drought continues. 

- A developer unveils plans to build a new, private athletic club in east Richmond.

- McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Mall opens with great fanfare on Sea Island. 

- Information sessions on mega homes are held at Richmond City Hall. 

- Richmond Hospital opens a new pediatrics unit.

- The Richmond Review shuts down after 83 years of publishing news in Richmond.

- The City of Richmond moves to restrict residential construction noise on Sundays and holidays.

- July marks a record month for home demolitions.

August

- The Paperboys perform on the main stage of the 12th Annual Richmond Maritime Festival as the hot summer persists.

- The Steveston Harbour Authority launches a fishing net recycling program to remove abandoned nets from the West Coast. 

- The Liberal Party of Canada finds itself in hot water in Richmond after nomination candidate, and local businesswoman, Wendy Yuan claims “kingmaker,” and former Richmond MP, Raymond Chan thwarted her bid for the Steveston-Richmond East riding. Lawyer Joe Peschisolido is sworn in at a quiet ceremony as the riding executive resigns in protest.

- A drone — or unmanned aerial vehicle — narrowly misses a seaplane on the Fraser River a month after the City of Richmond restricted such use to Manoah Steves Park.

- Germany’s national broadcaster ZDF is the sixth foreign media company to visit Richmond to document Chinese immigration to the city, according to community activist Kerry Starchuk.

- A federal election is called and Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes Richmond one of his first campaign stops.

September

- Richmond businessmen Salinder Burmy and Ramanjit Bachra die in a tragic jet skiing accident on the Fraser River.

- Richmond hosts the first Richmond World Festival, attended by 25,000 people. 

- Richmond’s religious institutions and non-profit groups assemble to welcome Syrian refugees.

- A six-hour public hearing takes place as Richmond city council decides to lower home height restrictions to nine metres. Oversized ceilings are kept but the city pledges to address additional measures, such as backyard setbacks. 

- A Richmond School District report indicates school closures are imminent. Public consultation begins.

- A trial for Richmondite Yuan Xi Tang begins after Crown Counsel accuses him of murdering his mother. He’s later found guilty.

- Richmond reports it handed out 407 tickets for water restriction violations.

- The City of Richmond asks Port Metro Vancouver to commit to protecting farmland. The port responds by asking the city to free up land for industry.

October

- A series of local all-candidates meetings for the federal election takes place. Conservative candidates fail to attend some of them.

- Liberal leader Justin Trudeau whisked into Richmond, didn’t take questions from media and promises more Canada Line trains.

- Richmond resident Scott Lecy goes public with his complaint that his neighbour’s house is operating like a hotel. 

- City crews cut down trees in a Steveston park to install a Japanese garden.

- Joe Peschisolido rebounds from early party turmoil and accomplishes a historic political win in the federal election, taking the Steveston riding, which had not been represented by a non-conservative party in over 40 years. 

- MP Alice Wong rebounds from an early call by CTV News that Liberal Lawrence Woo had won the Richmond Centre riding and defeats Woo by more than 1,000 votes at the end.

- The NDP reverts to third-party status nationally and locally, where its candidates garnered just 12 per cent of the popular vote.

November

- Several merchants pan a proposed Steveston Business Improvement Association.

- Harvest Power comes under fire for its stinky composting emissions, which are close to 1,000 per cent above permit levels.

- Xun ‘Sunny’ Wang, who ran an immigration-consulting firm in Richmond, is sentenced to seven years in prison for providing fake passports and other services to roughly 1,200 immigrants. 

- The $10 million Richmond Olympic Experience opens as 16 local contributors to sport are inducted into the Richmond Sports Wall of Fame.

- Home prices continue to soar near the end of 2015 as a typical detached home in Richmond reaches $1.25 million.

- A public hearing takes place to address land-use contracts. Richmond city council decides to terminate the LUCs early, bringing all residential properties under one set of bylaws.

- Council approves a nearly $600,000 plan to bring the Japanese tall ship Kaiwo Maru to Richmond in 2017.

- Students from Steveston-London secondary visit the Normandy grave of WWII Richmond soldier Bob Bowcock.  

December

- A City of Richmond report indicates transitioning to a municipal police force would cost about $20 million. Council will soon decide if the cost is merited in order to have better local control of policing.

- The first Syrian refugee family arrives in Richmond.

- The City of Richmond reports building permits hit an annual record of $876 million (construction value), and only by the end of October.

- A job posting for a city sign bylaw inspector is placed online.

- Library hours are cut back by Richmond city council as property taxes rise 3.1 per cent.

- The province announces a new bridge at the George Massey Tunnel crossing will cost $3.5 billion and be finished in 2022.

- A group of Richmond homeowners files a Human Rights Tribunal complaint after their strata council switches to Mandarin for official business and meetings.

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