Farmland Owners Association BBQ leads to social media scrutiny

A local barbecue has been under social media scrutiny after a marketing mishap suggested it was a fundraiser for a 2018 election slate.

On June 30, Richmond Farmland Owner’s Association, a group typically known for its opposition to limiting home sizes on agricultural land, hosted its first annual summer barbecue. However, posters released on social media stated the event was a “fundraiser for the Richmond First City candidates Peter Liu, Derek Dang, Bill McNulty, Sunny Ho, Andy Hobbs and Linda McPhail.” Attendees were invited to “come and enjoy good food, live entertainment and lend (their) support to our candidates.”

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In May, Couns. McNulty, McPhail and Dang all voted against further limiting home sizes on Richmond’s agricultural land, which are currently allowed to be 10,764 sq. ft. As a result, some on social media criticized the fundraising event.

“When #RichmondBC councillors vote to help you make millions on your farmland by allowing mega mansions, it's only polite to thank them,” said John Roston, who is running for council independently, on Twitter.

Coun. Harold Steves also tweeted his criticism, saying “six #RichmondBC councillors ‘opened the barn door for rampant speculation on agricultural farmland’…they are supported by the ‘Farmland Owners’ who are fundraising to keep them in office,” adding the hashtag “VoteThemOut.”

However, the poster was later changed to remove details about the event being a fundraiser. Ben Dhimon, director of the Farmland Owner’s Association said the original poster was a mistake.

“That was not what was authorized to be put out there,” Dhimon said. “It was just a Richmond Farmland Owner’s Association barbecue and it was for our membership.”



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