Saturday, May 31, 2014


Livability is a bit of a catch phrase bandied about by any number of groups in an effort to try and increase or enhance how "livable" people perceive their village, town, city.

A myriad of factors play into how any one citizen defines what make their place livable.

A recent development in my City, the City of Richmond BC, has increased the livability of our city for many citizens.

For me personally it has increased my sense of wellness and connection and enjoyment of this place I call home even though I am not yet a frequent user of it.

I have changed the route I drive when coming home because it gives me joy to see this  new "thing".

I now drive home from the City centre down Railway Avenue so named because...well....once.....long ago (or before I moved here 16 years ago anyway) it was the route of the railway / tram.  Happily evidence of this still exists.

For many years once roads overtook rains and trams it was just an overgrown corridor running alongside the road almost the entire north/south of this Island City.  Huge brambly bushes, big open grassy areas ...... nothing to really see or use.  Some said it was an eyesore, messy.

A while ago big machinery moved in and started clearing this corridor.  And the chatter began.

What was happening?

Soon rough pathways seemed to be being laid down......block after block.

More chatter.

When asphalt was laid over the gravel paths there was a bit of an uprising........why pave in this natural area?

I waited.

Soon enough the whole plan emerged.

A bike / walk / run pathway from one end of Richmond to the other along the path of the old railway.

It was used immediately by all ages and stages of people on foot or on bikes, running, walking or walking the dog.  Serious exercisers and slow strollers.  Groups, families, individuals.

It has been delightful to see, no matter the time the of day, no matter the weather, our community is out there enjoying this new pathway.

Just a few weeks ago as Spring finally settled in, this pathway delighted once again as a field of wildflowers blossomed alongside the path.......oh what a sight!

Poppies bobbing in the breeze......I went over there one evening last week and added to the usual users were a handful of photographers reveling in the spectacle.

Beyond the incredible attention to detail of bridges and bus stops connecting to the path and lighting and preserving trees that were already there.....this touch of  "intentional"wild flower fields says something.

It says something about the people who planned and designed this space.

It signals a level of care and attention to what will draw folks out into the outdoors, what will delight the senses, what will grow and be delightful and not take thousands of dollars to keep up.

It was a splendid choice.

These things don't "just happen".

From the vision to buy the land, to the work to design and transform it, to the workers who built it, to those designating funds for it....... this citizen thanks you.

Thanks you for making this City more livable, more usable and more beautiful.

Here's to more parks, paths and poppies!

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