City to ask feds to take hands off Gilmore Farms

Port Metro Vancouver's growth strategy must be put into question, says city

The City of Richmond is asking the federal government to force Port Metro Vancouver to sell Gilmore Farms so it can be farmed in perpetuity.

The port (PMV) has yet to determine what to do with the 230-acre east Richmond lot situated in the Agricultural Land Reserve, however, the land falls under a “special study area,” according to its land-use plan.

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The city is upset the port may develop the farm 10-plus years into the future.

According to the port, its current inventory of industrial land is sufficient to meet demand for the next 10 years. To meet long-term needs the port has told the city it requires 2,300 acres across Metro Vancouver.

Because the port is a quasi-federal agency, it may be able to supersede the authority of the provincial Agricultural Land Commission and thus develop farmland, unless otherwise challenged in court.

“All indications are that PMV will continue to purchase more agricultural land in the City and throughout the Metro Vancouver region for their future expansion,” wrote Amarjeet Rattan, Richmond’s director of intergovernmental relations, in a report to council (click here).

Rattan also addressed city councillors on Monday at a general committee meeting.

“Their growth strategy needs to be put into question. The port has a mantra of growth at any cost,” said Rattan.

The city is also calling on the federal government — via John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities — to prohibit the port from purchasing more farmland.

Further to that, a third request is for the government to establish a “meaningful consultation process and a formal dispute resolution process to address municipal-port issues arising from its operations and activities.”

The port lies in a grey area and is not subject to freedom of information requests from the public/media or transparent decision making with municipalities.

The City of Richmond is asking other municipalities to join in its request to reform Port Metro Vancouver’s activities:

“As PMV has refused to acknowledge the City's concerns, in relation to their ownership and future use of ALR lands, staff recommend that the City direct its efforts to collaborating with the Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA), Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Metro Vancouver and member municipalities, to seek their support in requesting that the Government of Canada reform and improve PMV,” stated Rattan.

Port Metro Vancouver land in Richmond:

Active port use - 375 acres

Lease to Harvest Power and Adesa Auto Auction – 240 acres

Gilmore Farms – 230 acres

Undeveloped - 175 acres

Fraser Wharves – 55 acres

Source: City of Richmond

@WestcoastWood

gwood@richmond-news.com

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