Terra Nova Rural Park nets award

Mayor Malcolm Brodie tries his hand at baking at Terra Nova Rural Park’s cob oven Tuesday.  - Matthew Hoekstra photo
Mayor Malcolm Brodie tries his hand at baking at Terra Nova Rural Park’s cob oven Tuesday.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra photo

Sliding a shovel-like tool inside the fire, Mayor Malcolm Brodie deftly dislodged a small armful of warm bread from a one-of-a-kind oven at Terra Nova Rural Park Tuesday.

The bread—baked in a cob oven handmade by community volunteers—was then broken to celebrate Richmond winning a sixth major award for the development of the 26-hectare (63-acre) park.

After announcing the city had won an Innovation Award from the World Leisure Organization, Brodie honoured six community groups that have brought the park to life.

“Terra Nova is more than just a park,” said Brodie.

“It’s a community gathering place where history and nature come together with modern-day programs that ensure our city continues to be a great place to live now and in the future.”

Richmond Sharing Farm Society, Terra Nova Schoolyard Society, Richmond Food Security Society, Richmond Nature Park Society, Richmond Community Foundation and Kwantlen Farm School have all assisted in the park’s development.

Richmond Centre MLA Rob Howard paid tribute to the community groups.

“In a wired world where we spend so much time looking at screens, we should be looking at nature. Your work raises environmental awareness and keeps us in touch with the land,” said Howard.

The World Leisure Organization, the latest group to recognize the city for the park, is a 60-year-old association dedicated to promoting leisure as a force for human growth, development and wellbeing.

Located on the river at the northwest corner of Richmond, the park was once threatened by development after a council decision in the late 1980s to allow development in Terra Nova. Local voters, however, saved it in a referendum, opting to spend $28.5 million and buy the site from private hands.

Brodie said that debt will be fully repaid in one year.

Said Brodie: “The community envisioned a park, preserved for the enjoyment of all.”

Today, the Richmond Sharing Farm produces more than 33,000 kilograms of food on a 1.2-hectare (three-acre) farm in the park, which is also home to a well-established community garden program. The Terra Nova Schoolyard Society has used the park to teach thousands of young students about growing and harvesting food.

The city continues to roll out its plan for the park, with the ongoing restoration of heritage buildings and construction of a $1 million children’s play area and picnic site.

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