2016 Year in Review: Month by month in Richmond

January

Ken Brodie
Ken Brodie was hailed as a hero for leaping his garden fence to help distract an out-of-control Rottweiler cross who was attacking two young women - Graeme Wood/Richmond News

• Retired mailman Ken Brodie, 74, receives praise from the community for intervening in a vicious dog attack on twin sisters Jessi and Kati Mathers and a young child. Brodie was honoured by Richmond RCMP this year and was a nominee for the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission medal.

• New Richmond Animal Protection Society CEO Eyal Lichtmann begins a new chapter for the animal shelter.

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• Richmond city council votes 7-2 in opposition of the George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge and in favour of a twinned tunnel. Couns. Alexa Loo and Ken Johnston find themselves on the outside and in favour of the bridge plan.

• Controversy over Chinese language-only signs continues, this time with Coun. Chak Au objecting to a Budweiser bus stop ad.

• Rampant spitting in Richmond’s pool facilities prompts city officials to post signage condemning the behaviour.

• The City of Richmond and Canadian Race Relations Foundation host a town hall on race relations and intercultural harmony.

February

Black
Steveston’s Mary Wilson came up with the idea for Richmond to host its first ever Black History Month events, in an effort to educate locals of the roots of people of African and Caribbean descent. - Alan Campbell/Richmond News

• Anti-poverty advocates gear up to find solutions on how to address housing unaffordability among seniors.

• Richmond Hospital celebrates its 50th anniversary. The first baby born at the facility, Bob de Boer, returns to mark the occasion.

• Steveston resident Mary WIlson sparks Richmond’s first Black History Month event.

• Development firm Onni hosts open houses to sway public support for rezoning of Steveston’s Imperial Landing boardwalk. The site would subsequently remain empty for a fourth straight summer.

• Once Upon a Time marks its 100th episode filmed in Steveston.

• Debate is sparked over the true intentions of the George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge. Critics say the provincial government has no financial plan for the $3.5 billion structure and its purpose is to expand port activity up the Fraser River at the expense of  the environment. Proponents contend the bridge will foster economic development and is safer than a new tunnel.

• The new Mary’s Barn at the Sharing Farm is named after community leader Mary Gazetas.

• The proposed jet fuel facility gets its permits from Port of Vancouver.

• A Globe and Mail investigation on shadow flipping exposes the seedy underbelly of real estate transactions in Richmond. 

March

David Ley
Geography professor David Ley has traced Metro’s out-of-control housing prices to poltiical decisions made as long ago as Expo 86, in a new peer-reviewed study. Photo by Jason Payne/Vancouver Sun

• Local provincial MLAs announce designs for a new Richmond Hospital south tower.

• International students reach record levels in Richmond School District, with one in 20 coming from overseas.

• Federal government eases language requirements for immigrants as ESL wait lists grow in Richmond.

• More peer-reviewed research by UBC geography professor Dr. David Ley links Richmond’s high rate of investor-class immigrants and outflow of capital from China to record-level real estate prices

April

Mullinix
Dr. Kent Mullinix, director of Kantlen’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, not only supports a foreign ownership tax on propertiy, but argues for an outright ban on forgeign ownership of farmland. File photo

• The public art process in Richmond once again falls under criticism from the public and even Coun. Harold Steves, who suggests developer contributions to art should be transferred to affordable housing.

• Kwantlen professor Dr. Kent Mullinix, director of the university’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, raises red flags over speculation and foreign ownership of farmland, as the price per acre in Richmond reaches $300,000.

• Couns. Derek Dang and Ken Johnston become joint partners in a townhouse development by demolishing two homes on Blundell Road to pave way for the 15-unit complex dubbed Shangri-La.

• A Richmond driver causes waves after being caught distracted driving for a 14th time.

• City council decides to keep Richmond RCMP after review.

•Richmond firm New Coast Realty falls under supervision of the Real Estate Council of B.C. for shadow flipping.

May

passport

Canada’s Auditor General determines federal agencies are not adequately detecting and preventing citizenship fraud, a matter that hit close to home when one of the largest schemes was uncovered at the Richmond-based immigration consulting firm of Xun “Sunny” Wang, who pled guilty to eight charges in 2015.

• City of Richmond launches an affordable housing survey, with a focus on increasing housing supply. The city also launches consultation on further densification of arterial roads.

• Richmond city council calls on federal government to redo environmental assessment of a jet fuel facility and pipeline project. MP Joe Peschisolido indicates he is opposed to the project, but no action is taken and construction continues.

June

polygon
Many in the lineup for townhomes at Kingsley Estates were tight-lipped about how they heard sales would be happening on Saturday. - Graeme Wood

• Queue-jumping accusation fly at the sales centre for Polygon’s Kingsley Estates townhouse development on No. 2 Road. The units sell for an incredible $1.2-1.4 million each.

• Richmond realtor Layla Yang plans a lawsuit against man who accused her of threatening him with Chinese mobsters.

• Prominent Richmond-based developer Amarjit Singh Sandhu is killed in the Coppersmith shopping centre parking lot. Indo-Canadian media link Sandhu to controversial temple politics.

• Lingyen Mountain Temple gets green light to expand with a smaller, revised design after more than a decade of rezoning applications.

• Self-proclaimed missionary and charity leader Alan Lau, of the Canadian Low Income Seniors Affordable Housing Society, is deemed to have committed fraud by the B.C. Securities Commission after taking $40,000 from a local resident.

•Popular Steveston resident Kay Sakata passes away at age 100.

July

maternity
Richmond Hospital birth centre

• An acupuncture clinic operating illegally out of a home is shut down by Richmond RCMP.

• Controversy swirls around Richmond Hospital’s maternity ward, with foreigners now accounting for one in six births and underground baby houses being marketed in China.

• Wandering Pokemon Go players prompt safety warning from police.

• John Chang, president of Lulu Island Winery, is held in custody in China on smuggling charges.

• Generations Daycare moves into the Onni site at Imperial Landing.

August

real estate
Real estate sign in Richmond, B.C.

• A nine-week window of newly-collected data reveals one in four homes in Richmond being purchased by foreigners, with roughly 90 per cent of buyers coming from China. A new 15 per cent tax is introduced on such purchasers.

• Ron Mahy takes part in second memorial motorcycle ride in Richmond to honour his late daughter Christy Mahy, who was killed by a wayward vehicle July 30, 2014 while cycling on Russ Baker Way. Police continue their investigation as the Mahy family expresses frustration at delays in charges.

• City of Richmond staff head to Rio de Janeiro to promote the Richmond Olympic Experience.

• Realtor Morning Yu files a lawsuit against New Coast Realty for unpaid commissions.

• A 101-year-old Richmond resident, “Nippy” Nihal Gill, takes gold in the Americas Masters Games in Vancouver for the 100-metre dash with a time of one minute, 25 seconds.

•Art Knapp Plantland pulls up roots in Richmond.

• The benchmark price of a detached home peaks in 2016 at $1.71 million.

September

Party on for next year's OktoberfeSteveston_1

• A settlement between residents at Wellington Court falls apart and a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case over the right to have English spoken at strata council meetings is reignited.

• Chinese immigrants face-off against pro-Communist Chinese immigrants celebrating the 40th anniversary of Chairman Mao’s death.

• Steveston businesses successfully host the first OktoberfeSteveston event.

• An elderly man dies in a house fire.

• City of Richmond requires English on its bus stop advertisements.

•WorkSafe BC upholds $280,000 in fines to Richmond-based Seattle Environmental Consulting Ltd. for improper asbestos removal.

• Steveston-Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido’s law firm named in lawsuits accusing Richmond immigration consultant, businessman and socialite Paul Oei of a $6.9 million fraud scheme.

• A Richmond News investigation reveals the booming illegal house-hotel industry growing in.

October

Autism Hub - Clark
Premier Christy Clark chats with some youngsters in the pre-school area of the Goodlife Fitness Family Autism Hub that officially opened Wednesday afternoon on Sea Island. Photo by Philip Raphael/Richmond News

• MP Joe Peschisolido criticized for wearing a Communist China red scarf at Chinese flag-raising ceremony in Vancouver.

• City of Richmond expresses concerns over new Harvest Power permit.

• Metro Vancouver launches anti-grease campaign in Richmond.

• Goodlife Family Autism Hub on Sea Island opens.

• School closure process temporarily halted.

• Listeria outbreak shuts down Foody World.

• Vancouver International Airport CEO Craig Richmond voices concerns over federal government’s airport privatization report.

• Protest over Harvest Power reaches record levels with thousands of complaints pouring into Metro Vancouver’s hotline. 

• Walmart opens in Richmond.

November

Harvest protest
Stop the Stink (Facebook page) members and concerned residents, from left to right, Arnold Shuchat, Helina Clement, Joanne Charity and Rob Fillo stand in front of the Harvest Power compost facility. November, 2016.

• Citizens appeal new Harvest Power permit and City of Richmond follows suit. Harvest Power appeals new enforcement measures in new permit.

• A petition — with nearly 9,000 signatures — against birth tourism started by Kerry Starchuk is tabled to Parliament by MP Alice Wong.

• Richmond resident Timothy Hsia celebrates his winning Canada 150 toonie design.

• Cyclist Brad Dean is killed on River Road, prompting widespread debate over cycling safety in the city.

• Students demand LGBT policy in Richmond schools and receive unanimous support from trustees.

• Reports reveal MLA Teresa Wat had been stranded in China with a broken hip.

• Racist flyers distributed in neighbourhoods prompts community rallies.

• Coun. Harold Steves calls on city council to restrict mega mansions on farmland after a Globe and Mail investigation exposes the extent of farmland destruction and tax loopholes related to such homes.

December

Saretsky
Richmond-born realtor Steve Saretsky stands in front of the four-year-old River Green development, which appears more empty than occupied.

• Realtor Steve Saretsky reveals nearly half of all condo sales in City Centre are of vacant properties, noting there is likely a correlation with the high rate of foreign home ownership.

• Creep-catching crusade comes to Richmond. Police voice concerns despite broad support for the vigilantes.

• Richmond records its first significant snowfall in nearly three years.

•Hundreds stand for unity against racist flyers in more rallies.

• B.C. Law Society takes over practice of Hong Guo after $7.5 million disappears from her trust account intended for real estate purchases by Chinese investors.

• Richmond city council passes new bylaws to further densify arterial roads with more opportunities for townhouses, rowhouses and coach houses. Coun. Carol Day objects in a 6-1 vote.

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