The future of the Garden City Lands in Richmond goes into the public consultation phase as the large 55 hectare land gets set for redevelopment.
The area is bound by No. 4 Rd to the East, Garden City Road to the west, Westminster Highway to the south and Alderbridge Way to the south.
The land is part of the Metro Vancouver Agricultural Land Reserve, meaning development is strictly not permitted on these lands and can only be used for agricultural purposes. However, Richmond is considering other natural options as the land sits in a central location. All three options present a large natural park in the centre of Richmond.
Three Options for the Garden City Lands
Option A – In Nature
Long Term Vision – A Nature Conservation Framework
This option reflects the existing landscape with a focus on ecology and creating a natural ‘sanctuary’ or experience within the City Centre. The concept layout is also inspired by the historic Richmond grid for both urban and agricultural land uses while responding to the existing eco-systems.
A large naturalized woodlot is created on the north edge along Alderbridge Way to reflect the environmentally sensitive areas in West Cambie and to add biodiversity to the Lands. The existing seasonal wetlands (remnants of a slough system) will be expanded with the intent of creating a year round feature and potential storm water retention area.
The raised peat bog area will be retained in each concept and will require further research to determine the ultimate management strategy. The bog watercourse will be protected with a buffer area between it and other uses. Unique features such as the fern ‘forest’ and the large expanses of natural grass and sedge fields will be conserved.
This plan locates the Community Farm and Sustainability Hub and the multi-purpose community fields on the north edge with access from Alderbridge Way. Proposed roads and new cross-walks from the West Cambie area will make this location accessible and the existing disturbed land fill area could be considered suitable for non-farm uses.
The urban agricultural component of the site in this Nature Conservation option would be limited to approximately 35 acres.
Option B -‘On the Grid’
Long Term Vision – An Urban Agriculture Framework
This option draws inspiration from the historical Richmond grid which is reflective of the City’s unique blend of urban and agricultural land patterning. The focus in this option is in creating a larger urban agriculture area though the middle of the site.
As in Option A, the plan locates the Community Farm and Sustainability Hub and the multi-purpose community fields on the north edge with access from Alderbridge Way.
The proposed new transportation and traffic patterns in the West Cambie area will improve access into the site from Alderbridge Way.
The plan breaks the site into one acre square parcels that logically work for agriculture, community, ecological conservation and woodlot succession. The grid patterns are flexible and can be combined into larger grid areas or broken down into even smaller units providing a variety of scales of agricultural plots, demonstration and garden areas, and community activity spaces.
The terminus of the future Lansdowne Greenway, which will utilize water as a major theme and ecological feature, is acknowledged through the design of a more formal water garden that transitions into the natural expanded wetland to the north. On the eastern edge along No. 4 Road, a natural succession bog forest provides a transition to the Department of National Defence (DND) and Nature Park and adds biodiversity to the Lands.
In each option there are perimeter trails as well as an extensive trail system within the Lands. A double row of trees along Garden City Road will help strengthen this edge as part of the Garden City Road Greenway cycling and pedestrian network.
Option C – ‘Off the Grid’
Long Term Vision – An Urban Agricultural Framework
This option works with and reflects the historical and natural water flows of the Garden City Lands bog and the river slough tributaries. The agricultural plots and landscape patterns are at 45 degrees from the typical urban grid creating a unique and dynamic space within the City. As with Option B the flexible parcels work for agriculture, community, ecological conservation and woodlot succession.
This plan locates the Community Farm and Sustainability Hub and the community fields closest to the most urban edge along Garden City Road and provides easy access to the Canada Line station on No. 3 Road. The location of the Community Hub acts as a terminus to the future Lansdowne Greenway, which will ultimately connect to the Oval and the Middle Arm waterfront, and also acts as a major gateway into the Lands themselves. As with all concepts the land transitions from the more urban edge along Garden City Road to the natural edge along No. 4 Road.
A terraced landscape form provides a more structured gateway into the Lands on the northwest corner while a bog succession woodlot reflects a natural character in the southeast corner and connects to the DND lands and the Nature Park.
An open house this Thursday officially kicks off Phase 2 of public consultation.
Source: City of Richmond