City Council rejects rezoning application for 12-storey Beedie tower at 105 Keefer in Vancouver’s Chinatown

CoV 105 Keefer vote chart 13-June-2017

Final vote of 11 members of Vancouver City Council for 105 Keefer in Chinatown

Keep the following Tweet for the history books.

Hundreds of thousands of words have been written and spoken on this rezoning application. The opposition movement for this 12-storey tower proposal probably volunteered tens of thousands of hours of personal time, while the organized effort to lobby council for approval was probably tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the end, on the 11-person City Council, eight (8) council members voted in opposition, and three (3) in support. Despite the rejection of the 12-storey proposal, the Beedie Group still has the potential to go ahead and seek development approval for a nine-story building here.  So a whole new process needs to begin now with discussions about the best and most respectful use of that site.

History was made today in a number of ways. People have put this battle in the context of Chinatown’s fight against highways in the 1970s, which ended up defining Vancouver we see today. Another historic happening was the split vote within the ruling party. In the ten years (2008 to 2017) since Vision Vancouver has held absolute power at City Hall, it has been extremely rare to see even one of the Vision members on City Council NOT vote with the party. (It seems quite possible that coordinated vote decisions are typically being made secretly, and possibly illegally, in caucus.) Another historic happening was an actual rejection of a major development application. We will have to dig far and deep to find any record of Vancouver City Council under the current regime ever rejecting a rezoning application, large or small. 105 Keefer rezoning sign

Surely there will be a major amount of follow-up reporting in local, national and international media and even textbooks about this historic decision today. We will post some links here in the coming days. 

To understand the systems and dynamics at play, this entire process merits further analysis — from the Council’s adoption of higher buildings policies in Chinatown several years ago, to this application coming forward, to the efforts of the opposition and support movements, and the final voting. All of this is in a highly political environment, with the region suffering from a housing crisis and politics at all three levels being fueled by donations from special interests — at the municipal level, largely coming from developers and unions. The next civic elections are on October 20, 2018, and the official “election period” starts on January 1. Fasten your seat belts.

Vote, by party

Robertson Vision OPPOSED
Louie Vision SUPPORT
Stevenson Vision OPPOSED
Deal Vision OPPOSED
Jang Vision OPPOSED
Reimer Vision OPPOSED
Meggs Vision OPPOSED
Carr Green OPPOSED
3 8


Media coverage, post-decision

Political Fear Drives 105 Keefer Decision: Unprecedented Rezoning Fail (by Joseph Jones, Vancouver Media Co-op, 14-June-2017). Excerpt: One thing at Vancouver City Hall can exert more force than big developer dollars. That thing is political fear. The next Vancouver municipal election lies only one summer plus one year into the future…. On the afternoon of 13 June 2017, political fear factored into the decisions of almost all of the eleven councillors who voted on the proposal to rezone the Beedie-owned parcel at 105 Keefer Street. Only Adriane Carr (Green) stands unbeholden to developer “donations.” …

Chinatown decision: Vancouver council rejects controversial 105 Keefer St. proposal (by Dan Fumano, Vancouver Sun, June 13, 2017)
Excerpt: Vancouver council’s rejection of a controversial condo development in historic Chinatown — and the community opposition that galvanized against it — will have implications beyond the neighbourhood. “It’s bigger than Chinatown,” said Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, minutes after the mayor and council voted. “It’s a signal to the development community that you must consider the surrounding neighbourhood that you’re working in.”

Vancouver City Council votes down controversial Chinatown condo project at 105 KeeferVancouver City Council votes down controversial Chinatown condo project at 105 Keefer, By Simon Little and Emily Lazatin, CKNW:

Vancouver city council votes down 12-storey Chinatown tower
105 Keefer St. development rejected in 8-3 vote; councillors note how proposal divided the community, by Justin McElroy, CBC News, Jun 13, 2017

Contentious Chinatown development application rejected (News 1130, by Lasia Kretzel and Ellen Coulter, June 13, 2017):

Vancouver city council rejects Beedie Group rezoning bid for 105 Keefer Street
by Charlie Smith on June 13th, 2017, Georgia Straight:

City council rejects 12-storey condo for Chinatown: Beedie Development Group could still build a shorter building without public hearing (Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier, June 13, 2017):


Some recent coverage by CityHallWatch

Renderings, standards and human perception. A look at the 105 Keefer Street rezoning (May 28, 2017). Analyzes deceptive or misleading images that make the proposed development look smaller than it would really be if built.

Silencing the citizens: Did Mayor Robertson go “nuclear” on 105 Keefer with 9:30am Monday Public Hearing? (May 27, 2017).

Controversial 105 Keefer (Chinatown) rezoning goes to public hearing (May 23, 25, 26, 29+): Beedie Group, 12-storeys (May 23, 2017).

How Vancouver city hall exacerbates affordability crisis: “Look no further than … rezoning of 105 Keefer” (Nathalie Baker, opinion – Vancouver Sun)  (May 14, 2017)



Official statement by the Mayor, minutes after end of meeting.

Full link:

Statement from Vancouver Green Party regarding Councillor Adriane Carr’s questions/comments on this rezoning: Councillor Carr Motion for 100% Social Housing @ 105 Keefer Site (June 13, 2017):


Selected previous media

MEDIA (original list from #SaveChinatownYVR group, with our additions at top)




One thought on “City Council rejects rezoning application for 12-storey Beedie tower at 105 Keefer in Vancouver’s Chinatown

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s