A group of Richmond residents is planning to hold a rally to protest mega-mansions on the city’s agricultural land reserve before tonight’s city council meeting, where a decision is expected to be made on size limits and secondary units.
The Richmond Citizens’ Association, a municipal political group that wants to see home sizes further limited, has announced they will gather outside council chambers at 6 p.m. on Monday with the hopes of sending a message to council before the vote on ALR home sizes.
“Let's pack the chambers and get as many speakers as possible to share with the council that our food security and the ability of future farmers to purchase farmland in Richmond has been irreparably compromised due to their negligence to preserve the Agricultural Land Reserve,” the group said in a Facebook post. “This critical issue is not only in the best interest of Richmondites but food security for all British Columbians.”
In March, after more than two hours of hearing from more than 30 delegations on the issue of home sizes on Richmond’s agricultural land reserve, council voted to send the matter back to staff for further review. One of the matters reconsidered was secondary homes on properties.
However, last Monday, at a general purposes committee meeting, councillors voted to not only keep the maximum farmhouse size at the current 10,764 sq. ft., but also to allow an additional house to be built on the land without rezoning.
Several concerned Richmond residents have taken to social media over the past few days to express their frustration over Monday’s general purposes committee meeting vote.
There is no way to sugarcoat this: #RichmondBC has abdicated leadership & moral stewardship on the preservation of the #ALR, which is being overdeveloped into extravagant mega-mansions. Stand with us, and tell @Richmond_BC #NoMegaManisons on #Farmland. https://t.co/HqlueNst5X …— Jack Trovato (@JackTrovatoRCA) May 12, 2018
#RichmondBC council has promoted a system where wealthy non-farmers own the megamansions and #farmland. Should municipalities be able to make decisions for #ALR and #foodsecurity that affect the entire province and our future? #bcpoli #cdnpoli— Richmond FarmWatch (@FARMWATCHBC) May 10, 2018
This infuriates me. I’ve lived in Richmond my whole life & to see farmland turned into #megamansions & destroyed is sickening. October 20 elections couldn’t be more important. #RichmondBC #ALR #NoMegaMansions #saveoursoil #farmland #BCAgri #VoteThemOut2018— Arielle B (@Arielle82) May 8, 2018
However, when the decision was made in March to return the issue back to city staff for further review, members of the Richmond Farmland Owners’ Association welcomed the result.
“The Richmond Farmland Owners Association was very pleased by City of Richmond Council's balanced decision (on March 26) to maintain the status quo and allow more time for the true effects of the current policy to be seen before making any decision on further restrictions,” the group said in a Facebook post in after the March council meeting.
“We especially thank Councillors Linda McPhail, Alexa Loo, Chak Au, Bill McNulty and Ken Johnson for their leadership on this issue and for adhering to evidence-based decision making.”
Now, council is expected to come to a decision on the matter at tonight’s meeting. Council will not only decide on what size to limit ALR homes to, but whether or not allow secondary units without rezoning.
The city council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, May 14 in council chambers at 6911 No. 3 Rd. The public is welcome to attend or watch an online broadcast of the meeting.