Richmond council voted early Tuesday morning to limit the size of homes in the Agricultural Land Reserve to 400 square metres with Mayor Malcolm Brodie and councillors Alexa Loo and Linda McPhail . . .
If farmland preservation matters to you, please show up tonight (Monday) at city hall at 7 pm.
Here is an excellent letter from a Richmond resident to council today:
“The remaining rich alluvial soil within our city is so scarce, so valuable, and so important to the future of all of us that I am urging you to vote in favour of the smallest residential incursion on farmland, the 400 m2 (over 4300 sq ft) house size option.
That this is the best produce-growing land in BC, and possibly in Canada, is beyond doubt. It was also obvious to the early settlers of Richmond 136 years ago. I quoted them to the News, with passages written by knowledgeable Richmondites for the 1882 BC Directory. They wrote, “It is perhaps to the cultivation of root crops that these delta lands are specially adapted. Even with comparatively careless cultivation enormous yields are realized.” They wrote of “advantages of situation, with a soil wonderfully fertile and practically inexhaustible.”
But the News did not include other interesting statements about this farmland. I am including what I sent them at the bottom of this email, if you feel like seeing the opinion of record in 1882.
Why do Richmondites care about this?
Common sense. People just drive by ridiculously large palatial estates on farmland and common sense tells them there’s something wrong with the picture. That is why so many Richmond voters have woken up to how wrong the free-for-all on our farmland has been.
People increasingly know again what was known 130 years ago, that wonderful and affordable local produce is here because of the soil of Richmond. They know that the best restaurants in Metro Vancouver rely on the bounty of this soil. They know that the future and the quality of produce imported from afar are very limited.
How right is it to place restrictions on house size? Preserving BC’s farmland was not a decision of a group of farmland owners large or small, but of the whole electorate of BC. The preservation policy was enacted by a BC government decades ago but all governments have chosen to keep it in place, most notably the Campbell and Clark BC Liberal governments who explicitly endorsed farmland preservation and kept the ALR. They knew that the vast majority of BC’ers want the long-term food security that farmland preservation gives us.
The policy of recognizing the value of this soil and so keeping as much of it as possible available for farming, letting as little as possible go under residential construction, is comparable to other government actions for the general good. The radio wave spectrum for instance was not left up to free-for-all uses. Air space is controlled on behalf of all of us. Road safety is maintained by restrictions on individual drivers, including license and insurance requirements. Financial probity is enforced by government regulations. And general security of property and persons means government has to enforce many laws via the policing and justice system. Likewise there is every reason to look out for the country’s long-term food security and to guard against the loss of the country's richest soil.
It is essential that Richmond takes this step to be seen as a leader in farmland preservation, no longer bowing to developer and real estate interests. There is no need to allow all ALR land owners to build a mansion, as bonafide farmers have always had the option to apply for a larger home through the Agricultural Land Commission.
What about the house size?
The newly-proposed house size limit is and has always been the appropriate farmhouse size for Richmond to reduce speculation on agricultural land and to divert residential uses to city lots, as it is in line with the maximum house sizes on Richmond's city lots.
Please keep in mind what is at stake here and vote for the 400 m2 house size.” ...
Monday night at 7 pm, Richmond residents face their last hurdle in ensuring that farmland is preserved by limiting "farmhouse" sizes on ALR properties to 400 m2.
We are asking that residents email mayor and council urging them to vote for 400 m2 (over 4300 sq ft), the house size that was determined to be the best size for Richmond, given that that is the largest size allowed on larger residential lots.
A form letter is included in the comments. Feel free to edit as you see fit. Personalized letters tend to be read more but the number of respondents is also important.
Please email by 3 pm Monday. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Breaking: Tonight ALC Bill 52 passed with an amendment.
Richmond FarmWatch looks forward to the end of this division in the farming community. We also look forward to working toward helping all farmers get the assistance they need to have their families prosper and to grow the food that will increasingly need to be produced closer to home as the effects of global warming materialize.
Unfortunate that Surrey NDP MLAs pressured the government to give more time to non-farmers to build mega mansions on farmland. They will have to live with them as a reminder of where they chose to put their priorities. However the end of such mansions for non-farmers is in sight and farmland will be preserved for future generations. ...
Widespread support for bill 52 is coming in from all over the province.
“Dhaliwal said when people build these mega-mansions on farmland, it drives up land prices very quickly. That’s why it’s important for the government to do something so that bona fide farmers don’t get hurt.”
The president of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association likes what he sees when looking at Bill 52, the provincial government’s new legislation protecting farmland. Pinder Dhaliwal, who farms in Oliver, reacted to the Ministry of Agriculture’s new bill that makes it clear that land in the Agricultu...
Please write to Premier Horgan today telling him that Bill 52 must proceed! It is an important safeguard that needs to be in place- mega mansions and toxic dumping should not be allowed on farmland and need to be halted immediately! email@example.com ...
Please share: Article on Richmond Farmland Owners and Richmond FarmWatch’s opposing views on mega mansions in today’s Toronto Star.
“Gillanders said there are many farmers and organizations who are anxiously waiting for the bill to be passed.
“We feel the legislation was strong and thoroughly consulted,” she said. “If it doesn’t get passed because wealthy land owners influence this government ... it will allow a flood of more mansions to be built.” ...
In reviewing the ALR/ALC Revitalization Survey it was inspiring to see that 91% of respondents were concerned about food security and 79% thought the government should be stricter in regulating residential use such as mega homes.
It is very clear; the people of BC spoke and the NDP are responding with critical legislation. Let's continue our ongoing support of Bill 52. ...