Photo courtesy City of Richmond
One Community Together
Published 12:13 PDT, Fri September 17, 2021
Last Updated: 12:46 PDT, Fri September 17, 2021
We have come a long way together, weathering the shock of what a pandemic can bring. From lockdowns of some of our favourite local shops, to vaccination clinics taking over our entertainment venues, to Community Ambassadors helping us remain 2 metres apart; what comes next is sure to be different than the norm, and challenging for many.
Respecting the fact that we all come with unique lived experiences and seen or unseen physical and mental struggles, we are required to regularly take a step back in order to let someone else get ahead, or to step forward and get the door to aid in accessibility.
Recently our community facilities and schools have opened up again. Each of our neighbourhoods have them, from Hamilton to Steveston to Terra Nova to Bridgeport and everywhere in between. Some folks from outside Richmond have asked me, “What is common amongst all the areas?”
To get to the uniqueness that stands out to me, it is our maritime heritage. Geographically we all live on a flat island, surrounded by dikes. Biologically we are humans, living with urban wildlife and species native to the Fraser River estuary. Unique to our municipality, our taxes partially go to maintaining the balance of water in our city, with the added problem of not just sending water downhill, but forcing it through box culverts and out pump stations into a tidally influenced river.
This past year, I’ve surveyed our many islands aboard my 9-foot water craft, Silty Pleasure, including a few circumnavigations that took nearly 80km or 8 hours to complete. I see many of you walking the perimeter dike trails or gazing out from our shores and I encountered many people fishing, hoping to bring a catch to sell or feed the family, and others practicing catch and release with what remains of our historic salmon runs.
This summer, the Maritime Festival brought out crowds to the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, with people flocking to see the wooden boats or interact with the great storytellers we had on hand. River cruises are available aboard some of these historic vessels. When you are on a boat, the phrase “One Community Together” rings true, as we must abide by the safety protocols, support each other and the environment, and act united as a team.
We have much to gain from continuing to learn from those who lived here before us, especially since our local geography, biology, and municipality will continue to evolve as we experience what climate change and COVID-19 will bring, and what City operations can do for us.