Joy Richardson is unforgettable
Joy Richardson is one of Langley’s unforgettable people.
She has been a tireless campaigner for the horse industry, going back to the days when she operated the Heritage Stables boarding facility in Aldergrove. She started that operation in 1969.
At the time, it was one of the largest horse facilities in Langley, which was not quite the “horse capital” that it is today. She has had a lot to do with helping it become the pre-eminent horse community in B.C.
She has become known as a person who gets things done by using her power of persuasion. The Spirit of the Horse Memorial Garden in Campbell Valley Regional Park is an example of that.
Langley City Councillor Gayle Martin, the longtime chair of the Metro Vancouver parks committee, related just how Joy uses that power of persuasion. At a tribute tea on Sunday, Martin recalled how she came home one day to find Richardson in her driveway.
Martin hadn’t met her before, but she soon found out about the horse garden and why it should be located at Campbell Valley park.
Many other politicians have also heard from her over the years. She has been a tireless campaigner for horse trails, better horse facilities and more recognition of the value of the equine industry to Langley’s overall economy.
One of Richardson’s pet projects was the Vicwood project, an equestrian-themed development in South Langley on the former Border Sand and Gravel property. This was highly controversial in the late 1990s, and was the subject of an all-night public hearing in 1998.
While council approved the project, which would have extended sewers down 200 Street to service it, it didn’t proceed because of the state of the real estate market. It has now been built as High Point, a stunning development of luxury homes, trails, a large equestrian facility and other amenities. In its own way, High Point is another one of her legacies, as she and others foresaw years ago that such a development would fit well in South Langley, adjacent to Campbell Valley.
Former mayor John Scholtens and councillors Karen Kersey and May Barnard, who were avid supporters of the Vicwood project, were on hand at Sunday’s event to pay tribute to her.
Richardson has now sold her South Langley property and is living in White Rock. At the age of 86, she remains sharp as a tack and very interested in equine activities.
It was very fitting that Langley Township council honoured her with a certificate of appreciation for all she has done for the Township. Mayor Rick Green presented her with the certificate on Sunday — and in turn, she gave him a laundry list of things she wants the Township to work on.
She was also honoured by Metro Vancouver Parks and the Pacific Parklands Foundation, which will now maintain the Spirit of the Horse Memorial Garden. A plaque in her honour will be placed there later this year.
One of my favourite Richardson stories is about her work with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the days of the Second World War. I believe she learned something about bulldog determination, and doing things with class, from him.