There are big changes happening in the City of Richmond where the eight Council incumbents all ran again for office. With 200,000 residents, the Vancouver Sun reported that two new council candidates supportive of farmland for farmers won election, while “incumbents Derek Dang and Ken Johnston went down to defeat”.
New city councillors Kelly Green who campaigned to reduce the mansioning of the best farmland in Canada, and Michael Wolfe who is on the board of the Garden City Conservation Society joined returning councillors Carol Day, farmer and environmentalist Harold Steves and re-elected Mayor Malcolm Brodie. Finally Richmond Council has a majority of people concerned about future food security and ensuring that these top arable lands that are close to a large market are maintained for locals.
They will garner enough Council clout to revisit the unfortunate decision made by re-elected Councillors Chak Au, Bill McNulty, Linda McPhail and Alexa Loo to open the barn door for agricultural land to go through supernormal landlifts as a quick get rich real estate property flip.
Price Tags Vancouver has been writing about the extraordinary support the previous Richmond City Council gave to developers. Making use of loopholes, land that was protected in the Agricultural Land Reserve morphed into gated offshore owned mansioned estates. Instead of staying with the provincially mandated house size of 5,382 square feet on farmland, the previous Richmond Council doubled that to 10,762 square feet, with an additional dwelling of 3,200 square feet on bigger properties for the “help”. There is no foreign buyer’s tax on agricultural land, and landowners could grow some apples or sell a horse and get taxed at agricultural rates. Of course this land bought for hundreds of thousands of dollars as agricultural is now revalued in the millions as prized gated residential estate flips, never to return to a price a farmer can afford.
Here’s a YouTube video by Councillor Carol Day outlining why maintaining farmland in Richmond is so important. Price Tags will be waiting for the City of Richmond to call it a day for McMansion Bigfoot houses on the most arable farmland in Canada, and reduce the allowed square footage of farmhouses to 5,382 square feet, the standard set by the Province. This needs to happen now.