Updated: The first night saw 35 of over 220 registered speakers. The Public Hearing continues Thursday, May 25, 2017. Recent news articles here, followed by our original post from before the first night of the hearing.
Heated battle over Chinatown’s future pours into council chambers (by John Mackie, Vancouver Sun, May 24, 2017): http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/heated-battle-over-chinatowns-future-pours-into-council-chambers. Excerpt: Shirley Chan gave an eloquent speech that related how her parents had led the fight to save Chinatown and Strathcona from a freeway in the 1960s and 70s. “Tragically it appears we’re back to square one, after two massive developments at the corner of Keefer and Main,” said Chan, arguing the new housing and businesses in the developments “lacked any meaningful link to Chinatown.” This was not what the Chinatown activists had envisioned when they worked with the city to revitalize the neighbourhood. “Our eyes were opened,” said Chan. “We realized that (the) zoning approved by city council was not designed to save Chinatown as we had foolishly thought, it was effectively designed to replace Chinatown as we knew it. “There were no incentives to keep the (heritage) buildings; in fact the incentive was to tear (them) down. (And) The preservation of character was not successful. We had lost the small storefronts, the mom and pop businesses, the pedestrian friendly streets — now they were shrouded in shadows.”
Andy Yan: Where goes Chinatown, so goes the City of Vancouver (op ed by Andy Yan, Vancouver Sun, May 25, 2017): http://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/opinion-where-goes-chinatown-goes-the-city-of-vancouver. Excerpt: Historic zones like Chinatown and Gastown only constitute 0.4 per cent of the entire land mass of the city of Vancouver. This city is starving for a living common memory and a new development model to relieve this civic famine. … Additional profits from the increased height and density are privatized to the developer…. The developer still has a right to build, but the project’s insensitivity to architectural context and social crisis should not be supported by city council. … Rezoning with little regard to social, cultural and economic context and consequences should be rejected. Vancouver needs a new type of city building that celebrates and supports the diverse histories and communities that made this city great. This begins in Chinatown.
The hearing for the rezoning of 105 Keefer is restarting at Vancouver City Council Chambers and open for speakers at http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/105keefer/index.htm. Alternatively, the public may submit written comments of 1,500 words or less by email to firstname.lastname@example.org”
Sparks are set to fly at a controversial public hearing scheduled for tonight, Tuesday, May 23 (with reserve night set for May 25 if time runs out). The proposal by Beedie Group and designed by Merrick Architecture is strongly opposed by the community.
Rezoning info (official City site): http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/105keefer/index.htm
Public hearing info: http://council.vancouver.ca/20170523/phea20170523ag.htm
#SaveChinatownYVR is a campaign that aims to inform and activate citizens to take action for Vancouver’s Chinatown. https://savechinatownyvr.herokuapp.com/campaigns/oppose-105-keefer-rezoning
This is a complex case with many angles, but here are their top seven points:
- Taxpayers should not be funding a developer’s profits
- Unaffordable for locals
- Economic displacement
- Lack of design merit
- Inappropriate use of culturally sensitive site
- Height and mass unfit for area
- Rejected by community