A new petition seeks to protect the heritage and character of Vancouver’s Chinatown. It calls on City Council to “immediately place a moratorium on all market development projects” until there is “comprehensive community consultation and clear policies to protect the future of Vancouver’s Chinatown.” The introduction for the #unite4chinatown petition reads as follows:
“Welcome to Vancouver Chinatown.” But when the colourful mural on E. Pender St. is covered by the 8-storey condo being built, will it be “Bye Bye Chinatown” instead?
A wave of development is flooding into Chinatown, threatening the future of the historic neighbourhood, which is recognized as the largest Chinatown in Canada and the second largest in North America next to San Francisco. As 789 new housing units come into the neighbourhood, Chinatown is losing its distinct character and its cultural assets. Its low-income housing is also at risk as land values and property taxes continue to rise as a result of the development fever.
Without clear binding policies to protect Chinatown, the neighbourhood will just become another Gastown and its history, heritage, and importance to the local community will be lost forever.