As the newspaper astutely observed this past weekend:
Last year, in a provincial election almost entirely about housing costs, citizens voted out the center-right B.C. Liberal Party, which had run British Columbia for 16 years, and brought in a government led by the left-of-center B.C. New Democratic Party. Since then, the New Democrats have not only tried to increase the housing supply, but have also proposed a slew of measures that aim to curb housing demand and chase away overseas buyers.
Surprise — this October’s civic election in British Columbia will be no less gripping for those outside of the Vancouver echo chamber.
In the City of Richmond, and perhaps Delta too, citizens will directly decide on the city’s future as it relates to values around agricultural land protection, food security, and pushing back against deep-pocketed development.
The roots of the fight to come go way back; early European settlements used Lulu island (so named in 1862) for farming and fishing. It’s a big reason why Richmond got the name ‘the Garden City’. Farming is still important to Richmond today; Harold Steves, a longstanding Councillor for the City of Richmond, is also a farmer, and his family’s roots in Richmond date back to the early farming settlements of this place.
His family is why we have a village named Steveston, and Clr. Steves is one of the people for whom we have to thank for the Agricultural Land Reserve, established in 1973.
He’s also one of the few people in the halls of power fighting for its survival. Read on >>
One of the issues cities across North America are grappling with (at least those that are not yet moving on progressive housing legislation, such as California’s SB 828) is the fact that, with single family home zoning, the only thing a ‘teardown’ can be replaced with is another single family home.
Mathematician, data analyst and notorious census mapper Jens von Bergmann points this out, noting that which is dominating the political landscape in Metro Vancouver these days — that when we look at single family home (SFH) development from an affordability perspective, it doesn’t look good.
And from an emissions perspective too — things look mixed at best for entire swaths of SFH neighbourhoods, all across the region. Read on >>
Price Tags has been reporting on the devastating losses of arable Class 1 farmland in Metro Vancouver to gated private estates for the rich. Only 0.5 percent of all of Canada’s land is considered Class 1 farmland; all of the City of Richmond’s agricultural land are in this class. These soils can grow a multitude of vegetables and provide future food security to unborn generations of people in this region. Places like Abbotsford and their Abbotsfwd Plan aim to cleave off Class 1 farmland for industrial purposes. The City of Richmond doggedly continues to allow mansions of 11,000 square feet on agricultural land, allowing developers to turn these valuable soils into private gated multi-million dollar playgrounds.
Indeed there are 61 proposals that Richmond City Council will consider to further eat up this land. It’s all about profit, not about preserving a valuable resource. Read on>>
Last week, Simon Fraser University hosted a packed house for another City Conversation panel discussion, this on the topic of “Saving the Best Land in Canada: Crime, Policy and Food Security in the Agricultural Land Reserve”.
City of Richmond Councillor Harold Steves (who is also one of the founders of the Agricultural Land Reserve), community activist Jack Trovato and Anita Georgy of the Richmond Food Security Society described the situation — with only 1% of all farmlands in Canada deemed Class 1 agricultural for growing a wide range of local market vegetables, such land is inarguably valuable for future generations for food security.
All the agricultural lands in Richmond are Class 1, the best in the country.But therein lies the controversy. read on>>
Further to talking about twisty buildings, the design is in for a 36 storey highrise at 1133-1155 Melville Street between Thurlow and Bute Streets. Carlito Pablo in The Straight has written that “According to the design rationale prepared by the architectural company for the rezoning application, the concept for the skyscraper is a series of stacked boxes with different floor plate sizes and angles.” Read on >>
It is very hard to believe that we still need to be reminded about the importance of food security and ensuring that our agricultural land, which in Metro Vancouver is the finest arable land in Canada, is protected for future generations.
Price Tags Vancouver has been tracking the unbelievable story of the City of Richmond Mayor and Council allowing mansions of over 10,783 square feet in size to be built on agricultural land that is over one half-acre in size. These “farms” are being bought at an agricultural land price as they are in the Agricultural Land Reserve, then redeveloped with large mansions and then quickly turn into multi-million dollar gated estates, exempt from the foreign buyer’s tax (they are on agricultural land) with a large land lift as these countrified estates demand top dollar for offshore buyers. These lands will never return to agricultural use and are now economically out of the reach of farming buyers. Read on >>
Kirsten Dirksen is a television producer who has become an on-line video blogger. Her company Faircompanies.com has a media site that looks at the aspect of less complicated, simpler living styles. As a vlogger she came to Vancouver to interview Adrian Crook who lives in the Yaletown area of downtown with five children in a two bedroom condo. Adrian likes living downtown for the health and psychological aspects of walking everywhere and notes that while “Vancouverism” includes a taller housing form in the downtown peninsula, that has not been embraced in the largely single family areas away from the downtown.
Price Tags Vancouver has chronicled Adrian Crook’s quest to have his children using transit to school and Price Tags has also examined a program in Calgary with Bus Buddies where children are allowed to take transit to school. Adrian does have a blog about living in the downtown with his five children, and he is also running for City Council.
The twenty minute video on YouTube features Adrian’s kids and shows the simple adaptations that have been made in the condo to maximize usable space. There’s a home office that turns into a murphy bed at night, a bunk bed that can morph into a table and desk, and a triple stacked bunk bed. Parents everywhere will see in the video that children’s socks still disappear -even in smaller footprint spaces.