The Richmond Review, Wednesday, June 24, 1981


by Graeme Elliott


New Westminster Mayor Muni Evers' comment, chronicled on these pages last week, implying someone in Richmond Municipal hall is smoking marijauna, is unsettling.
It is the kind of pot-calling-the-kettle black slur that casts a shadow on the good name and office of a municipal councillor.
The reputation of that office should not be so lightly treated by the likes of Mayor Evers.
Evers was commenting on the suggestion Richmond council look into the possibility of annexing Queensborough, New Westminster's industrial and residential backwash located on the eastern frontier of Lulu's Island.
"Anybody who is talking about annexing Queensborough has got holes in his head or is smoking marijuana," Evers told our intrepid reporter.
There is nothing unusual about the number of holes in the heads of Richmond's council. They have the same number as anyone else, including Mayor Evers, though it often seems that elected officials have larger holes in their
heads than anyone else. But this talk of smoking marijuana leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It is the kind of comment we usually hear from the uninformed. Had Mayor Evers taken the time to call municipal hall, he would have learned council's chamber is a non-smoking area, a rule that is strictly enforced.
What goes on in-camera I have not the foggiest idea. Those meetings do drag on, but when the doors finally open, there is no great pall of smoke greeting the uninvited as they quickly pocket the stethoscopes, long-stemmed glasses and other listening devices.
It is safe to assume when council turns its collective thoughts and ponderous deliberations to potholes, they speak of holes in the road.
Council's recent concern over the crop of weeds in Richmond's world-famous ditches was directed at getting rid of them, either chemically or mechanically. There was no mention of rolling or burning.
It may well be a pipe-dream even to consider annexing Queensborough, but there is no need to inspect the pipe to see what induced the dream. Council has merely listened to the suggestion, put forward by Allan Hall of East Richmond, and decided to look further at the idea and hash it over.
Mayor Evers obviously considers it a dopey idea, as can be seen by his first blow against it. He and his hardy band of councillors will put more than toke resistance if Richmonds decides to pursue the idea. They will not cough up the area easily, as it is heavily industrialized, and as such is a contributor to the coffers of the Royal City.
Evers may fear that Richmond is entering an empire-building phase. That charge is more aptly levelled against the annexation suggestion than this spurious talk of holes and smoke. If Richmond gained control of one end of Queensborough bridge, what is to stop it from
attempting to annex New Westminster itself?
Evers is scoffing at the idea, but that may be a smokescreen to hide the fear he feels.
To allay such fears, Richmond council should scrap the idea right now, and to show it is acting in good f aith, could cede a portion of Richmond to the Royal City. Westminster Highway would be a natural adjunct to Evers domain, and the locals could toss in a certain 310 acres bounded by No. 4 and No. 5 roads and Westminster Highway and Francis Road.
This magnanimous gesture would also sidestep dealing with the Central Richmond Smallholders Association, a group of owners of that parcel.
This group is anxious to have the land removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve, claiming it is unsuited for growing even blueberries, and that it is going to weed.
The only cash crop the association feels can be counted on is sale of the land to developers, and they will blow a lot of smoke in their efforts to free the land for development. Given Richmond council chamber is a non-smoking area, that smoke might best be blown in the Royal City.

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