December 8, 2008 - Minutes

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

Special General Purposes Committee





Monday, December 8, 2008


Anderson Room

Richmond City Hall


Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie, Chair

Councillor Linda Barnes

Councillor Derek Dang

Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Greg Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Sue Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Ken Johnston

Councillor Bill McNulty

Councillor Harold Steves

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:09 p.m.








Supplemental Report to “The Garden City Lands “Block Application” for Exclusion from the Agricultural Land Reserve – Status Update” Report Presented at the November 17, 2008 General Purposes Committee Meeting

Supplementary Information: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3A, Volume 3B, Volume 4, Volume 5, Volume 6
December 5, 2008, File No.:  08-4105-20-AMANDA#08-416748, XR: 03-1000-14-117) (REDMS No. 2537374, 2527527, 2533013, 2528195)



Joe Erceg, General Manager, Planning and Development, accompanied by Cecilia Achiam, Senior Program Manager, Policy Development, and Phyllis Carlyle, General Manager, Law & Community Safety, provided a brief overview of the status and historical background of the Garden City Lands “Block Application” for exclusion from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). 



Mr. Erceg indicated that staff were recommending an extension to the Purchase and Sales Agreement (PSA) for a six month period, as the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) was expected to make a decision on the matter during that time.  He also advised that in response to feedback from the ALC and its staff, recommendations were made for additional enhanced agricultural benefits in addition to an endowment fund, as well as further exploration of the following:




improvement to the level of City enforcement within the ALR;




provisions for additional drainage and irrigation measures;




encouraging the consolidation of smaller agricultural lots;




placing restrictions on the size and placement of houses and buildings permitted on properties in the ALR; and




consideration of City implementation of various urban agricultural initiatives.



Mr. Erceg also indicated that City staff believed that (i) the supplementary measures related to agricultural enhancement would improve the approval chances of the “Block Application” by the ALC; and (ii) that execution of the PSA may be the only process which provided the City of Richmond with a portion of the Garden City Lands. 



Mr. Erceg highlighted new information in connection to the matter, including: (i) a letter from the Treasury Board, indicating that there was no current action or process underway to return the Garden City Lands to the Crown; and (ii) correspondence received from Bull, Housser & Tupper, providing details related to the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the CLC and the Musqueam.  The correspondence confirmed that (i) the JVA would remain in effect in the event that the PSA was not fully executed; (ii) the CLC would continue to hold an undivided 50% interest in the Lands for the Musqeuam; and (iii) that any transfer of the lands to another party would require the consent of the Musqueam.  A copy of the Bull, Housser & Tupper submission is attached as Schedule 1, and forms part of these minutes.



A discussion then took place about:




the Musqueam’s right to challenge municipal and provincial regulation, and their agreement to abide by City regulations for the purposes of seeing the PSA / MOU process through;




the possibility of the ALC granting approval of the “Block Application” with additional enhancements;




the feasibility of the City implementing its own agricultural initiatives similar to those proposed through the Garden City Lands process, and the required resources; and




the impact associated with the elimination of the Trade and Exhibition Centre (TEC) development;



Councillor Barnes left the meeting at 4:30 p.m..



Jim Wright, 8300 Osgoode Drive, spoke in opposition to extending the date for the PSA, stating that Richmond had fulfilled its obligations under the PSA.  Mr. Wright expressed that in his opinion the right thing for Richmond to do would be to re-negotiate with its partners and/or seek arbitration on the matter.  He concluded by remarking that members of Council had legislative discretion to vote as they felt was right, and that it was wrong to suggest that there was an obligation to vote in a certain manner.  A copy of Mr. Wright’s submission is attached as Schedule 2, and forms part of these minutes.



Councillor Barnes re-entered the meeting at 4:34 p.m..



A discussion ensued between the delegation and Committee members about the general interpretation of the terms “fettered”, and “breach of trust” in relation to the PSA, MOU and the “Block Application”.



Representing the Richmond Sports Council, Jim Lammond and Roger Barnes, spoke in support of City Council’s attempts to acquire the Garden City Lands.  They provided a brief history of the Sports Council’s aspirations to acquire the site for the purposes of fulfilling the community needs of the citizens of Richmond as well as the sports community. 



Jim Reynolds, General Legal Counsel for the Musqueam, clarified that a decision by City Council against the extension of the PSA would not result in a “breach of trust”.  He advised that the Musqueam had not been approached by Richmond Members of Parliament about the possibility of transferring the Garden City Lands, and that the Chief Campbell of the Musqueam Indian Band had stated that the Musqueam had no intention of transferring the Lands.  Mr. Reynolds concluded by providing comments on several points related to the MOU.  A copy of Mr. Reynolds’ submission is attached as Schedule 3 and forms part of these minutes. 



In answer to a question about whether the Musqueam could make decisions related to the Garden City Lands without the involvement of the CLC, Mr. Reynolds advised that there were provisions set out between the two parties in the JVA, however, the JVA was a private agreement between the CLC and Musqueam, and did not concern the municipality or the residents of Richmond. 



Carmela May Clair, 6651 Lynas Lane, spoke in opposition to extending the PSA, and provided a historical perspective on the similarities between Sea Island and the Garden City Lands.  She expressed concerns related to the increasing price of flour and food generally, and stated that the Musqueam, and the CLC had a global responsibility to use the Garden City Lands site in the best way, which in her opinion was for the purpose of growing food.



Olga Tkatcheva, 8-7680 Gilbert Road, spoke in opposition to extending the PSA, and made reference to the Urban Future Studies, which was based on statistical data from the 2001 Census.  She then spoke about the changes in housing requirements, and suggested that according to the predictions based on statistical data presented in the 2006 Census, the requirements for housing would decrease.  A copy of Ms. Tkatcheva’s submission is attached as Schedule 4 and forms part of these minutes. 



Lorraine Bell, 10431 Mortfield Road, expressed that in her opinion if the Garden City Lands were fully acquired by the Musqeuam, their planning and development concepts would not be any worse than the City’s.



Carol Day, 11631 Seahurst Road, spoke in opposition to extending the PSA. She made reference to the report dated November 12th, 2008, regarding the Garden City Lands “Block Application” for Exclusion from the ALR – Status Update, and expressed concerns relating to (i) to the term “pilot project”; (ii) lot consolidation; (iii) leases for unconstructed roads; (iv) registering a covenant on title; (v) new road construction; (vi) new salary costs; (vii) discouragement of uses other than bona fide agricultural uses; (viii) proposed maximum house sizes; (ix) ancillary uses; and (x) the impact on Richmond residents resulting from additional measures taken in order to enhance the approval of the “Block Application”.  A copy of Ms. Day’s submission is attached as Schedule 5 and forms part of these minutes.



Howard Jampolsky, 5531 Cantrell Road, remarked that the Garden City Lands was one of the major issues discussed during the 2008 municipal election campaign. He expressed that it was his understanding that the majority of Richmond residents were not in support of removing the lands from the ALR.  Mr. Jampolsky identified the risks associated with (i) securing half of the Garden City Lands site for the City; and (ii) trying to ascertain the entire site.  In conclusion, he encouraged City Council to take on the risks associated with ascertaining the entire Garden City Lands site. 



Roeland Hoegler, 6560 No. 4 Road, expressed concerns related to the report regarding the Garden City Lands “Block Application” for Exclusion from the ALR – Status Update, and in particular about an absence of an economic breakdown regarding property value differences between large and small ALR lot parcels showing that larger consolidated lots had a lower per acre value than smaller lots.  Mr. Hoegler also spoke about back land properties in the McLellan area; the necessity of additional Bylaw Enforcement staff; First Nations rights; and communications that he had himself had with ALC staff.



Susan Match, 6651 Minoru Blvd, asked City Council to be mindful of the needs of residents in the City Centre area who were older, and on a limited income, as well as women with families, and those who could not afford vehicles or single-family homes.  She remarked that making a decision about the Garden City Lands would be difficult due to the complexities associated with the matter.



Arzeena Hamir, 8480 Dayton Court, Food Security Coordinator for the Richmond Food Security Task Force, spoke about Richmond’s significant issues related to the future of food security.  She advised that the province had land shortages of approximately 100,000 hectares in terms of meeting food security needs.  Ms. Hamir also spoke about ongoing climate changes and the associated impact on current food exporters such as California and Mexico.  She concluded by advising that as an Agrologist, she had not identified issues related to soil conditions that would prevent the site from being used for the purposes of food production. 



Councillor Johnston left the meeting at 5:42 p.m..



Nancy Trant, 10100 No. 3 Road, provided her perspective on the Garden City Lands matter, stating that due to global issues including global warming, major food wars were predicted to take place in the future, therefore the right use for the Garden City Lands would be for growing food. 



Councillor Johnston re-entered the meeting at 5:44 p.m..




It was moved and seconded



That Council:




approve a modification to the Agreement of Purchase and Sale to extend the date limited for satisfaction of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) Release Condition from December 31, 2008 to June 30, 2009;




authorize staff to provide additional information to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) on measures the City and the participants in the “Block Application” are prepared to undertake in Richmond to further benefit agriculture in the remainder of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in support of the “Block Application” submitted in April 2008 to exclude the “Garden City Lands” from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) on behalf of the Musqueam Indian Band (Musqueam), the City of Richmond and the Canada Lands Company (CLC); and




advise the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) that the City, subject to detailed review and discussion with the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), is prepared to negotiate and enter into a Memorandum of Understanding, or equivalent documentation with similar legal standing, with the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to commit the City to carry out the proposed initiatives outlined in the November 12th, 2008 report as part of the “Block Application”.



The question on the motion was not called, as Committee members shared their views in support of and in opposition to approving an extension to the PSA.  As a result of the Committee’s discussion, the following referral motion was introduced: 



It was moved and seconded



That the matter be referred back to staff with directions to facilitate further negotiations of the Memorandum of Understanding with the CLC, ALC, and the Musqueam in order to attempt to negotiate a better deal.



The question on the motion was not called as discussion took place about the implications associated with the referral motion.  It was noted that the referral motion would send the City’s partners a positive message indicating the City’s interest and intentions in continuing negotiations.



The question on the referral motion was then called, and it was DEFEATED with Cllrs. Barnes, Dang, E. Halsey-Brandt, S. Halsey-Brandt, Johnston, McNulty, and Steves opposed.



Prior to the question on the main motion being called, the request was made that Part (1) of the motion be dealt with separately.



The question on Part (1) of the main motion was then called, and it was DEFEATED with Cllrs. Barnes, Dang, S. Halsey-Brandt, Johnston, McNulty, and Steves opposed.



The question on Parts (2) and (3) of the main motion was then called, and it was DEFEATED with Mayor Brodie, and Cllrs. Barnes, Dang, E. Halsey Brandt, G. Halsey-Brandt, S. Halsey-Brandt, Johnston, McNulty, and Steves opposed.



Discussion continued, during which staff advised that the Musqueam were under no obligation to reach a new agreement with the City.  Comments were made about the importance of continued discussions with the Musqueam and CLC, and the following motion was introduced:



It was moved and seconded



That Council enter into discussions with its partners – the CLC and the Musqueam - after City Council formulates its position, in order to discuss the future of the Garden City Lands.



The question on the motion was not called, as a request was made of staff to review Mr. Reynolds’ submission and provide comments. 



The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED.








It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (6:45 p.m.).






Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Monday, December 8th, 2008.



Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie


Shanan Dhaliwal

Executive Assistant, City Clerk’s Office