Letter: What if things changed for the better?

Dear Editor,

My husband and I attended the public workshop on height and massing of new houses July 8 and the workshop for developers July 9. What became abundantly clear is the lagging interest of city council in the mega house issue, the slow response to not only enforce the existing home size restriction bylaws and close some loopholes surrounding the building of mega homes, but also the inaction over time to deal with the land use contracts. 

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So I started to think… what if. 

What if city council actually demonstrated that they believed in the “Vision of a Sustainable Richmond.” 

What if builders and developers didn’t have free reign to just build luxury homes and condos suitable to a specific market. 

What if the character of single-family neighbourhoods was protected? 

What if city planners did some planning for a diverse, vibrant community — not just culturally diverse but socioeconomically diverse? 

What if in order to maintain that diversity, long time residents weren’t told, if you don’t like the changes “cash out and leave”? 

What if work and the proximity to family, determine in part, the location of a residence? 

What if Richmond is our home, and not just a residence of convenience and opportunism? 

What if long-time residents were valued, contributing members of the community and their opinions mattered? 

What if environmental sustainability was a priority, limiting the building of houses with five to seven bathrooms — and perhaps avoid them being rented out as hotel rooms? 

What if every new mega house didn’t have a wall around it that signals “keep out”, atypical of a Canadian welcome? 

What if a beautiful backyard garden buzzing with life was as important as a great room with 20-foot ceilings? 

And what if there were stricter rules around recycling house demolition waste thus avoiding the tons of housing waste at the dump, while the rest of us recycle carrot peelings? 

What if our tree protection bylaws were enforced and green space valued? 

What if it wasn’t so much about density and frenzied construction but also about aesthetics? The Richmond skyline is starting to look like box Communist blocks. 

What if we didn’t have people like Kerry Starchuk and Lynda ter Borg who care enough about Richmond to bring some of these concerns to the attention of city council? 

What if realtors/developers actually reported large cash transactions to reduce money laundering? 

What if we all looked the other way just so that we could max out on our property value? 

What if we had a strong proactive civic leadership, that set “best practices, bylaws and policies” to work for a better Richmond for all? 

What if it was about more than just money and greed and opportunism, and.. What if ………?

N McDonald

Richmond

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