Richmond farmers say road building contaminating farmland
Advocate Ray Galawan blockades Finn Road property over concerns
A group of farmers and supporters blocked the entrance to a Richmond, B.C., property Wednesday, saying they’re concerned about the potential contamination of farmland by a construction project.
Farming advocate Ray Galawan said he’s complained for weeks to city and provincial officials about an access road being built through the farm on Finn Road.
Galawan says the builders are using oversize pieces of concrete and piles of asphalt that will contaminate prime farmland and leave it barren.
"I've been going and phoning and phoning and phoning and basically I've come to the end of every avenue that I know to go."
The property was used as a business called Farmer Bob's Pumpkin Patch and is now being converted into a tree farm.
Galawan and others say the situation at the Finn Road property is a symptom of a much bigger problem — the slow death of farming in the area.
"This is all we've got left in Richmond," said blockade supporter Jane Milina-Dunn.
Some have vowed to keep the entrance blocked until the rubble is removed.
The property owners say the criticism may be well-meaning, but is misguided, because they have all the necessary permits, are improving the property and will be using the access road to bring in topsoil.
"We have done absolutely nothing wrong and frankly, this blockade, by well intentioned people I guess, is totally absurd," said Jones.
Inspectors say they have found no significant problems.
Jones said he has asked Galawant to move and he's refused, so his next step might involve using the courts to end the protest and blockade.
With files from the CBC's Tim Weekes