This website is primarily devoted to current major political issues in Richmond BC, my community, that interest me. Discussion of the issues and ideas about how to deal with them are entirely from my own point of view. Others see the issues differently and should be encouraged to express their own ideas.

Richmond offers a remarkable combination of natural beauty, climate, country farmland and small city living close to Vancouver. It's also convenient for travel up and down the west coast.

While the City of Richmond offers a wealth of excellent services at reasonable cost to the taxpayer, it can stumble when confronted with major political issues that require rapid intervention. If you're retired and bored, try wandering into a City Council meeting. You're likely to find that there is something that needs doing.

Important Issues Requiring Council Action

The Richmond housing crisis is the result of housing being used as an investment rather than shelter. Investment demand has driven up prices and reduced the stock of multi-bedroom rental housing. The City could demand that 80% of the units be multi-bedroom in the large developments now being planned instead of the 40% in its current policy.

There is a severe shortage of rental housing that has driven up rental rates and made it very difficult for those who work in Richmond at minimum wage to live here. There is already a shortage of workers in the hospitality industry. The City could require that 60% of the units in the large developments now being planned be for rental only. However City Council has recently set a rate of 10% which does little to solve the housing crisis. More

Non-farmers were buying up Richmond farmland in order to build mega mansions that make it difficult to farm the land. Richmond City Council has lowered the maximum farmland house size to 4,300 sq.ft. to stop the mega mansions, but many were approved under previous bylaws and will continue to be built during 2019. The problem is how to recover the idle farmland behind these mega mansions.

The City should lobby the BC Government to require a permit from the Agricultural Land Commission for the transfer of beneficial ownership of farmland. Permit approval would require the new owner to provide either an approved business plan for a productive farming activity or an assignment to the ALC of leasing rights for the farmland. The ALC could then lease the farmland to new farmers at standard rates and conditions. More

Both immigration and housing prices have increased dramatically creating a perceived link between the two. Foreign language signage has also been an issue. These have resulted in intercultural isolation and mistrust.

While there are a number of agencies in Richmond working effectively to integrate new immigrants, it is difficult to learn a new language and customs, especially for adults. Programs to increase intercultural understanding tend to attract those least in need of sensitization. Fun activities have to be developed that require working as a multicultural team on a common goal using facilitators with language translation skills. More

Business persons and retirees who travel for extended periods as well as new immigrants are frequently the target of residential crime and fraud. It is difficult for police to prevent these crimes.

The most effective deterrents are neighbours who know one another and provide advice or raise the alarm when there is suspicious activity. The existing BlockWatch program and new Know Your Neighbour programs require expanded funding to be more effective. More

When councillors don’t know what to do about major problems, they ask city staff to prepare report after report and have a half dozen highly paid senior staff attend endless meetings. It’s a huge waste of taxpayers’ money because Councillors then do too little or nothing and the problems get worse.

One example is the Onni Imperial Landing rezoning of 6 waterfront buildings that dragged on for 11 years. Councillors couldn't decide what uses should be permitted and how much of an amenity contribution Onni should pay. More

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February 4, 2019.

We are importing around 25% of our workforce, almost 30,000 workers, every weekday, from places that require us to make huge investments in transportation infrastructure to get them here. They would love to live in Richmond. More

November 13, 2018.

The CMHC 2011 survey showed that for Richmond, 5,320 households were spending at least 50% of household income on housing and were “considered to have dire housing circumstances” and were “at risk of homelessness.” More

Objectives for Richmond

Although city councillors support most of the objectives below, the pace of change is too slow to prevent the problems from getting worse. Bold action is required.

  • Ensure that developers create multi-bedroom housing for families and millenials rather than one bedroom condos for investors.
  • Collaborate with Richmond employers to create affordable housing for people who work in Richmond.
  • Ensure that building permits for homes that change the character of neighbourhoods are referred to City Council.
  • Preserve farmland by restricting mansion construction and non-farm use by non-farmers and speculators.
  • Encourage mutual respect among cultural communities through working together on common projects.
  • Dramatically improve neighbourhood safety by increasing funding to expand BlockWatch and introduce Know Your Neighbour programs.
  • Save taxpayer dollars by reducing the number of staff reports and staff attendance at endless meetings on the same issue.
  • Collaborate with local business property owners on a program to reduce rents for small shops and services until they become well established.
  • Extend existing incentives for businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to groups assisting consumers in reducing their emissions.

Plug-in Richmond

Plug-in Richmond

I am the founder and coordinator of Plug-in Richmond which provides information for drivers interested in switching to an electric vehicle as a primary or secondary vehicle. Detailed information is available here.