Letter: Click, there’s no place like home

Dear Editor,

As a lifetime (50-plus years) member of the Richmond community, I feel a sense of anguish in what is currently taking place here with rampant development and the changes that have exploded over the past decade. 

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An intrusion of development. This tells of my dream to click my ruby red slippers together three times while reciting “there’s no place like home” and, hopefully, getting back to a place I once knew and loved. Lately, it’s unrecognizable and heartless.

The breaking point for me was in reading a notice from the city that my aunt, a resident here for 70-plus years, just received. It indicated that the trees and hedges bordering her home of 50 years were “in conflict of demo and construction and were being removed.

The City said it would replant new trees “if area permits” (which likely won’t be so). In what world is this OK, when developers looking to profit can “change” the face of our lifetime homes/properties without any regard or respect?

Here are my poetic thoughts:

“Build it, they said, “and they shall come”

But the shortsighted plan trampled on some

Boundaries were stretched as huge monster homes

Looked more like castles that Kings and Queens own

Invaded the neighbourhoods, despite peasants’ cries

No beauty to be found in developer’s eyes

Just money, that’s all, as memories crashed down

To supersize Richmond, their once friendly “town”

They’d lived here forever, helped make this place great

And would never have imagined they’d meet this sad fate

Planners didn’t care as some castles sat bare

“Afterall”, they proclaimed, “that’s money parked there”

Dollar signs blurred their visions, their focus was wrong

And they forgot all the words to that Joni Mitchell song

The hospitals - crowded, schools bursting to the brim

Traffic was a nightmare and the future grew dim

For they only saw the present(s), they lived for today

As they bulldozed the houses and trees in their way

The taxes grew higher, homes no longer afforded

By the peasants’, whose dreams would all be aborted

For decades they’d lived, side by side in bliss

They couldn’t believe it was coming to this

They were told to be happy with their home values high

But they cared not to pack up and leave with goodbye

There clearly is no mercy in greed and power

Shame on you, Richmond, in your darkest hour

Can’t open a window without hitting a wall

Don’t care about trees as, in numbers, they fall

The farmland will slowly be phased out too

Who needs crops when you’ve money to stew?

But you can’t eat cash and you need room to breathe

People are of value, and some will grieve

As their peaceful tranquility’s a thing of the past

With luxury cars whizzing steadily past

It’s lovely to blend a variety of cultures

But developers are picking the bones like vultures

They’re onto something here, so it’s full steam ahead

But the Richmond we knew is officially dead

Some values aren’t only measured in money

Like a yard full of neighbours gathered when it’s sunny

But there’ll be no neighbours or yards to be seen

High rises are in and gray’s the the new green

There is no turning back once paradise is lost

We’ve been sold out here, at such a great cost

RIP my fine city, I shall never forget you

The beauty you once held

Before greed beset you.

D. Wilde


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