On behalf of the Fraser Valley Conservation Coalition, I write about the future of Paterson Park and to urge Delta council to take whatever steps are necessary to preserve this important piece of green space.
There is an incredible amount of sound science and economics that demonstrate the value of green space in a community most often significantly exceeds the value of development.
It is not as readily apparent, especially to politicians that are unlikely to recognize changes in community well-being during terms of political office, which are comparatively short in relation to environmental degradation, but the evidence is abundant.
Green space makes healthier, happier, more productive, better learning, better earning communities.
In a community such as South Delta, which has had imposed upon it the most aggressive and socially and ecologically degrading changes, these seeming "fragments of green space" assume far greater significance.
Like virtually every inch of South Delta, Paterson Park stands atop what was once (and likely could easily be again) extremely rich agricultural soil. As it occasionally feels that South Delta farmland is evaporating before our very eyes, and as continually rising food prices undermine the food security of many Delta seniors and young families, we urge Delta council to keep an eye on spaces like this for future community gardens.
As Delta's signature biodiversity experiences escalating threats from habitat loss, Paterson Park also has potential for habitat reclamation and conservation education.
If we were to sit down to dinner together and I were to hurriedly wolf down all of my food, how would you feel if I were to reach across with my knife and fork to start in on your plate? Such behaviour would be unacceptable, yet that is precisely what a number of developers do.
If we continue to let developers have at our green space and farmland, what happens when that runs out? If lack of access to such lands means economic devastation, as much of the development community claims, are we simply postponing the inevitable?
Of course not.
Having chaired the Metro Vancouver board for several terms, Mayor Lois Jackson knows that across this region there remains several years' worth of residential, commercial and industrial land.
Moreover, this region has far too many areas desperately in need of redevelopment. These areas foster crime and undermine the overall commercial, economic and social viability of our communities.
There are boatloads of money to be made - for developers and communities at large - by cleaning and greening these areas.
There is a lesson to be learned from the little sandpipers that fill the farm fields. When what you treasure is threatened, entice the predators in another direction. We can do more - both with campaigns targeting areas we want redeveloped - and by consistently saying no to proposals to pave our green space.