Garden City Lands Transforming Into Urban Oasis

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This 55 hectare peat bog in Richmond known as the Garden City lands sat vacant for years. Now a new vision for the area will provide green space for residents and offer a welcome transition from the urban core and a link to Richmond’s rural past.

In Richmond, the Garden City Lands site is a significant 55 hectare swath of grasses and bog which contributes to the regional green infrastructure network. A new vision is laying the groundwork for the bog’s role in agriculture, community, and ecosystems.

The City of Richmond recently purchased a site from the federal government and is making plans to enhance its ecology and create a unique greenspace for residents.

“Garden City Lands is a 136.5 acre site within the city centre. It’s also located as a transition site between our very urban environment in Richmond and our natural rural landscape,” says City of Richmond park planner Yvonne Stich. “The site itself is made up of a peat bog, so there are a lot of low growing, acid-loving bog plants that are here. We have identified about 220 different species to date, within the first year.”

“The uses on the land from 1903 to 1920 were actually a rifle range,” adds Stich. ” So that was kind of a fun (piece of) history to uncover.  In the 1930s and 40s not a lot happened out here and then in the late 1940s communications towers were put up. They were here until 1984 and then the land was basically vacant after that. In 2010 the city purchased the land from the federal government.”

“Most of the people in Richmond, they may have seen the Garden City Lands a thousand times,” says Richmond mayor Malcolm Brodie. “But they haven’t been on it, so the first thing to do was have a day where they could come and render their opinions on where they see the future (of the land).”

In 2013/14 hundreds of residents shared their ideas for the site. The result is the Legacy Landscape Plan, approved by City Council in summer 2014.

“We have an agricultural heritage for the city and that land and we also want to foster recreation and open space,” adds Brodie.

 

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