Port Metro Vancouver eyes Richmond land to develop for industrial use

Vancouver's port wants to convert a piece of farmland it bought in Richmond to use for industrial purposes. The Mayor of Richmond says the port doesn't have the right to 'set itself up as a kingdom' within his city.

Mayor of Richmond says port doesn't have right to 'set itself up as a kingdom' in his city

The Vancouver port is running out of industrial space, its CEO says. It's eyeing land that it bought in Richmond, B.C. to develop for industrial use. That land is currently used for farming. (Barry Duncan/Twitter)

A feud is brewing between Port Metro Vancouver and the Mayor of Richmond over a large parcel of land in the city, which has been used for farming in recent years.

The port has expressed interest in developing the land for industrial uses.

In 2009, the port bought a 100-hectare parcel of land known as Gilmore Farms, on No. 8 Road in Richmond, just south of Vancouver.

Since then, the land has been leased to farmers, but its future is now uncertain. It is surrounded by other port-owned land and the federal body has expressed interest in developing it into industrial space.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie is against the idea.

'Kingdom within the city'

"I don't concede that the federal government, through the Port Metro Vancouver, governed by a board that is made up of up of people in the industry, has the right to set itself up as a kingdom within the city of Richmond, and do what it wants," Brodie said.

But the port's CEO, Robin Silvester, said there's a dire shortage of industrial land in Metro Vancouver and more discussion is needed about how to balance the two.

"We've run out of industrial land," Silvester said.

"We've lost for the ability to serve our mandate for the nation and we have to start thinking about things we don't want to think about, like converting agricultural land."

The port authority is responsible for the stewardship of federal port lands in and around Vancouver.

Its current lease on the Richmond land expires in 2018.

with files from Farrah Merali

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