Farmland mansion petition presented to council

Former NDP candidates deliver 3,000 signatures against ALR house sizes

Two former NDP candidates from Richmond presented a near 3,000-strong petition to city council, calling for further restrictions on the size of houses built on the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

“We asked the city to limit the maximum house size on the ALR to 500 square metres and implement a moratorium on new applications before the bylaw is adopted,” said Kelly Greene, who ran in last spring’s provincial election, told the Richmond News.

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The petition, launched on Change.org, has received just under 3,000 signatures to date.

Greene said she, and Jack Trovato — who previously ran in a federal election — went to council Tuesday night to “give the councillors an update of our petition, so that they can get an idea of what people are thinking in Richmond.

“We will close the petition in the New Year and present a finalized number of signatures to city council, indicating the support we’ve got over the period.”

Greene hopes, through this petition, she can bring the voices of Richmond residents, who care about this issue but don’t know how to speak up, to city council.

“It’s hard to know where to bring your concerns to, or how to write your opinion to the city,” she added.

“Everyone is busy putting food on the table and a roof over their heads, and it’s hard to think about one more thing.”

The two have been going door to door in the neighbourhood, talking to people on the street in downtown Richmond and seeking input online.

“Overwhelmingly, people in Richmond want more restrictions on house sizes on farmland and they are disappointed by the extremely large size currently allowed,” said Greene.

She believes the proposed restrictions will prevent farmland being subject to speculation, hence allowing more land to become available at an affordable price.

“People don’t realise that less than five per cent of land in B.C. can be farmed and only one per cent has the quality of the soil we have in Richmond,” said Greene.

“The purpose of the ALR is to save land for future farming use. The land doesn’t need to be farmed now. It’s a bank. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can’t make withdrawals in the future if you find your bank account is empty.”

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