Garden City Lands
Welcome to Create Garden City Lands
The Garden City Lands are an extraordinary 55.2 hectares (136.5 acres) of open space located within the Agricultural Land Reserve, in the heart of Richmond, between Westminster Highway, Alderbridge Way, Garden City Way and No. 4 Road. The Garden City Lands will become a major new community park with diverse uses, including urban agriculture, environmental preservation and interpretation, recreational and cultural uses.
Park Development News!
The Garden City Lands Park Development Plan represents the synthesis of the original Garden City Lands Legacy Landscape Plan, endorsed by Richmond City Council in 2014, with new science-based recommendations as well as the feedback the City received from hundreds of Richmond residents and the contribution of Kwantlen Polytechnic University regarding agricultural production. As part of the 2015 and 2016 Council approved capital budgets, funding has been approved for the phased implementation of the Garden City Lands Park Development Plan.
GCL Park Development Plan - PDF
The Park Development Plan includes:
- The Agricultural Lands: A total of 16 ha (40 acres) are dedicated to farming and it is proposed that Kwantlen Polytechnic University will farm in the northern section while City will manage the southern 8 ha (20 acres). The rainwater storage ponds that are illustrated at the northwest and southwest of the site are sized to retain sufficient rainwater to provide supplemental water for irrigation purposes, thereby reducing reliance on potable water.The majority of the farming zone will be open to the public via accessible trails that can also serve as farm service roads.
- The Bog: This ecologically important area remains the dominant feature of the Lands. The health of the bog will be enhanced by the construction of a seepage barrier that will hold rain water within the bog while allowing the development of agricultural uses on the west side of the park. In addition, a long term management plan to monitor water levels and control invasive plant species will further aid in protecting the bog ecosystem. The Fen noted on the plan is an ecologically important associate of a bog ecosystem and is therefore important to maintain.
- The Rise: This area will be developed for recreational purposes and will include a demonstration orchard as well as a native forest. The orchard plantings will demonstrate different orchard planting and management techniques as part of a community education and outreach program.
- The Nodes: At each of the park entry points there will be arrival areas with interpretive and wayfinding features so that visitors can orient themselves to the trail system and to the park features.
- The Dyke: The primary function of the dyke is to act as a seepage barrier to separate the ground water requirements of the bog and the agricultural lands. It will also be constructed to provide access for farm and maintenance vehicles as well as pedestrians and cyclists.
- Perimeter Trails: There will be separate pedestrian and bicycle trails with native plantings used to buffer the park from the busy streets. The decision to provide separated trails was based on public feedback and that the surrounding neighbourhoods are growing rapidly. Even though separated trails occupy more land, the footprint of these trails will largely remain in areas previously disturbed by the adjacent road construction and therefore have minimal impact on the bog ecosystem.
Phase 1 of the park development will begin in September 2016 and is anticipated to continue through 2017. The work will include construction of the dyke and associated drainage control structures, followed by the perimeter trails and the native planting. As work proceeds on the site, ongoing monitoring of the site vegetation and hydrology will continue as part of an adaptive management approach to park development. This approach will ensure that best practises for ecological and agricultural management are followed. The completion of the perimeter trail around the Garden City Lands will present to the community an accessible 3.0 km trail that will welcome and introduce residents and visitors of Richmond to the Garden City Lands.
For more information or if you have questions, please contact:
Manager, Parks Planning, Design and Construction: Jamie Esko
The Legacy Landscape Plan
The Legacy Landscape Plan was approved by Richmond City Council in June 2014.
Key components and highlights of the plan include:
- Dedicating up to 50 acres of the site for urban agriculture and farming uses.
- Preserving about 70 acres of the site in its ecologically-significant and natural bog state with boardwalks and lookouts sensitively integrated throughout to support environmental interpretation and public enjoyment of this area.
- An extensive trails system featuring a 2.5-kilometre perimeter trail.
- A community hub acting as a focal point for public activities and principal gateway into the park. It will be comprised of gathering and festival spaces, play elements, community and demonstration gardens, and a small cluster of service buildings.
- An eight-acre “mound” on existing raised area at the north end of the site, which will be used for various neighbourhood and community uses with seating and picnicking, pathways, open grass meadow areas, and fruit and woodlot trees.
- A sanctuary area in the centre of park providing quiet space for reflection and other passive activities.
- A designated wetland, which will act as a natural collector of surface water draining through the site, and a water feature for public enjoyment.
- Public art and other cultural landscape features will be integrated throughout the park.
To view the entire Legacy Landscape Plan document, please see the following:
2014 Legacy Landscape Plan - May 2014
The document has also be broken down into individual sections for easier viewing online.
2014 GCL Legacy Landscape Plan - Intro Section 1
2014 GCL Legacy Landscape Plan - Section 2
2014 GCL Legacy Landscape Plan - Section 3
2014 GCL Legacy Landscape Plan - Section 4
2014 GCL Legacy Landscape Plan - Section 4B
2014 GCL Legacy Landscape Plan - Section 5
2014 GCL Legacy Landscape Plan - Appendices
Implementation of the plan will be a multi-year process. Immediate steps include development of a detailed water and ecological resource management strategy to guide the development and maintenance of the site.
Design and construction of the initial phases of the plan will follow with the objective of constructing perimeter trails to provide public access to the site in Spring of 2016. Work will also commence on some of the major pieces of infrastructure that will support the bog ecosystem and, at the same time, enable the development of agricultural and recreational activities.
Create Garden City Lands Ideas Fair
The Legacy Landscape Plan was developed through an intensive18-month public process in which thousands of Richmond residents had input on developing the vision for the future of the Garden City Lands.
The Create Garden City Lands ideas Fair on June 1, 2013 was a huge success with more than 650 participants. The following is a sampling of some of the public input received at the event.
Press the play button and then the square button in the bottom, right-hand corner to watch the video in full screen HD.
Biophysical Inventory and Analysis
To fully understand the diversity of the Garden City Lands and make informed decisions about the site’s future, the City commissioned a Biophysical Inventory and Analysis. The work was undertaken by a professional consulting team with expertise in ecology, wildlife, habitat assessment, hydrology and agrology. Inventory and assessment information contained in this report will provide a foundation of knowledge for the City of Richmond, other consultants and the general public as this planning process moves forward.
The Biophysical Inventory and Analysis provides a snapshot of the Garden City Lands during the period in which it was completed. Truly understanding the site will require observation over many years. Balancing healthy ecological functions and creating interesting and enjoyable human experiences in Garden City Lands will be an important consideration when creating a legacy open space for future generations. The City will continue to conduct ongoing analysis and inventory of the lands to further inform the planning process.
GCL Biophysical Inventory - July 2013