Expand the Square! Chinatown Memorial Square Redesign: Survey Guide

Photo: Rally against Developer Beedie’s luxury condos at 105 Keefer; credits: Nat Lowe (2017)

The City of Vancouver recognizes the Chinatown Memorial Square is at the heart of Chinatown and is an important location.  Hence, the City is planning to redesign the Memorial Square.  At this time, the City is collecting public input and suggestions for the project. One of the ways is through an online survey.

After discussion on the project and survey, Chinatown Concern Group members have prepared a Guide to fill out the survey. We hope you will support our demands and this Guide will help you fill out the City’s survey.  Fill out the survey now! UPDATE: The last day to complete it is now Wednesday June 16th!  (Link: https://shapeyourcity.ca/memorial-square-redesign)

Summary of our Demands:

  • The Memorial Square right now is too small, the City needs to Expand the Square. Expanding the Square will affirm the cultural identity of Chinese Canadians and help combat anti-Chinese racism
  • We ask that the City acquire the nearby properties, including 105 Keefer and 129 Keefer. These two sites need to be acquired into the hands of the government.
  • After expanding the square, the City should seek partnerships with senior levels of government to:
    • Further beautify the Square, including a small park and more space for gatherings
    • Develop the space for the working-class community including:
      • Chinese Canadian Museum
      • 100% low-income housing (at welfare and pension rates; including for Chinese seniors)
      • An intergenerational multi-use community centre (including a tourist centre)
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擴展廣場!唐人街紀念廣場重新設計:填寫問卷指引

照片:反對Beedie發展商在奇化街105號建高價樓的集會由劉成皿拍攝(2017年)

溫哥華市府認同紀念碑廣場是唐人街的核心地點,而是一個重要的地點。所以市府計劃重新設計唐人街紀念碑廣場。現階段,市府正在收集大眾對這個計劃的意見和建議。其中一個方式是透過一個網上的問卷。

唐人街關注組組員討論了這個計劃和問卷之後,就準備了這份 “填寫問卷指引。” 我們希望您會支持我們的訴求,而這份指引會協助您填寫市府的問卷。但要快! 更新:最後一天填好問卷現在是周三6月16號! (網頁:https://shapeyourcity.ca/memorial-square-redesign1)。

首先,這是我們對計劃的總結訴求:

  • 現在紀念碑廣場太小,政府需要擴展廣場。擴展廣場可以增加對華裔加拿大人以及其文化的認同,也起到對抗反華裔的種族歧視的作用。
  • 我們懇請政府收購附近土地,包括奇化街105號和129號。這兩幅地要收購到政府手裏。
  • 擴展廣場之後,市府應該要求高級政府一起合作:
    • 將廣場設計的更美觀,包括小​​公園和更多聚集空間
    • 建立用於發展平民的社區的區域,包括
      • 華裔加拿大人博物館興建
      • 100%廉價房屋(按照福利金和養老金額,包括給華裔長者的)
      • 一間跨代多用社區中心(包括旅遊中心)
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Position on 728-796 Main St. Rezoning Application 关于缅街728-796号更改土地使用计划

(請在下面看中文版)

A year ago, when the developer was receiving comments from the Chinatown community on their project, we clearly indicated that the 19 social housing units in the project were not enough and the ratio to market housing was not reasonable. We oppose gentrification and such market housing projects will only continue to gentrify Chinatown.

A year later, we are disappointed that the developer ignored these concerns. The number of social housing units has not increased; they are still not enough to replace the 24 low-income housing units currently at the site. Also, as this building continues to be predominantly a market housing project, it will contribute to the gentrification of Chinatown. These are our main criticisms of this project.

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市中心東端喜士定東街100號街區的社區願景支持信 |Letter of Support for Downtown Eastside Community Vision for the 100 Block of East Hastings

Cover Page Graphic

English translation of letter below.  Read the full report here (Only available in English)

2019年7月27日

敬啟者,

我們寫這封信是為了表達唐人街關注組支持東端單人房合作社和加麗基社區行動計劃的“市中心東端喜士定東街100號街區的社區願景。”我們的組織支持報告的內容和方向,並相信喜士定東街100號街區的任何開發都必須考慮到社區的聲音。 我們相信社區發展的重要性,其重點是「沒有我們的參與,就不要替我們做決定 」的概念。 因此,我們支持該報告的中心思想及其十二個核心主題,具體如下:

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Chinatown Concern Group‘s Initial Position and Statement on Chinese Canadian Museum 唐人街關注組初步立場和意見:關於華裔加拿大人博物館之計劃

(Photo Source: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/chinesecanadianmuseum/)

“The Province of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver are working together to have Vancouver’s Chinatown designated a United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site. As part of this, the Province and the City have also committed to establishing a Chinese Canadian Museum.” (See the government’s website here)

Based on our current understanding of this project, this is our present initial position (as of Nov. 29, 2018):

”First, we acknowledge that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations.

Currently Chinatown faces continuing gentrification that displaces people from their homes, creating more and more homelessness, and pushes out retail stores selling affordable goods. Remembering the history of anti-Chinese racism and celebrating the resiliency and lives of Chinese immigrants are very important and so we thank the Government of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver for valuing the history of Chinese people living in Canada. At the same time, we also need to acknowledge that these issues continues today and are affecting people who live and depend on Chinatown for their survival. With that being said, Chinatown Concern Group holds the following views on the plan to build a Chinese Canadian Museum in Chinatown:

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – MORE – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

Residents launch bold new vision for Chinatown

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Chinatown residents speak on issues they face in the neighbourhood at People’s Vision launch on July 16, 2017 at nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Library. Photo credit: Sid Chow Tan.

Angered by the City’s failed gentrification policies and 105 Keefer, residents take action

(Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, July 17, 2017) – Yesterday, July 16, 2017, Chinatown Concern Group (CCG) and Chinatown Action Group (CAG) launched an better vision for Chinatown called the ‘People’s Vision.’ The vision document is a response to failed City policies, such as the Chinatown Economic Revitalization Action Plan (CRAP), that continue to gentrify the neighbourhood and displace low-income residents.

In September, Vancouver City Council will consider the CRAP, a new zoning plan for Chinatown that will let developers build more expensive condos up to 90 feet tall in Chinatown without including any social housing. If it passes, more gentrifying projects like 105 Keefer will take over Chinatown and inevitably raise rents and the cost of living for low-income residents.

Instead, the community is proposing the People’s Vision for Chinatown, a strategy for the social and economic development of the community. From 2015 to 2017, 500 Chinatown residents, businesses, and community members shared their vision of the community through surveys, interviews, and facilitated “tea time” discussions. The top issues community members are concerned with are: increased cost of living, unaffordable housing, social isolation, safety, political marginalization, and racism.

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VICTORY: Chinatown’s low-income residents and community groups celebrate historic victory as Vancouver City Council rejects condo project at 105 Keefer

105 Keefer Victory

Low-income Chinatown residents celebrate the defeat of Beedie’s 105 Keefer rezoning application. Photo credit: Lenee Son.

Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories – The Chinatown Concern Group (CCG) and Chinatown Action Group (CAG) applaud the Vancouver City Council’s 8-3 decision to reject Beedie Living’s rezoning application at the 105 Keefer site in Chinatown.  This decision is an important victory for the Chinatown community, but CAG and CCG vow to continue the fight until 100% welfare-pension rate social housing and a public intergenerational community space are secured for this site.  Council echoes the needs of the community to look for deeper solutions to the housing crisis in Chinatown instead of another condo project that would provide a measly 25 units of social housing.

“We commend Vancouver City Council for choosing the side of Chinatown’s low-income residents over corporate profit, but the fight is not over. There is a housing crisis for Chinese seniors and other low-income people in the neighbourhood, and we are unwavering in our demand that this site can only be used to meet the pressing needs of our community,” Beverly Ho, CCG Organizer, says.

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Low-income residents and community groups turned out in force to oppose 105 Keefer condo project, pressure Vancouver City Council to defer decision

(Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, May 29, 2017) – In the face of major opposition and community mobilization, Vancouver City Council deferred the decision on the rezoning application to June 13th, 2017. This follows a week-long public hearing at City Hall, where Chinatown residents, organizations, and community members packed City Hall to voice their opposition to the proposed condo development. Chinatown Concern Group (CCG) and Chinatown Action Group (CAG) continue to call on Vancouver City Council to reject Beedie Living’s rezoning application at the 105 Keefer site in Chinatown.

“If Vancouver City Council approves the rezoning, they will have chosen corporate profit over the needs of Chinatown’s low-income residents. Our fight is not over,” Beverly Ho, CCG Organizer, says.

The battle against 105 Keefer symbolizes the broader ongoing struggle against gentrification which was accelerated by the upzoning of Chinatown in 2011 by City Council. The rezoning process also reveals a deeply flawed process of democratic engagement.

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Media Release: Unpopular Chinatown Tower Draws Ire of Thousands

2430 Petition Signers Demand Social Housing and Community Space Instead

(Unceded Coast Salish Territories – May 23, 2017) On Tuesday, May 23rd, Chinatown Concern Group and Chinatown residents will deliver a petition with 2430 signers directly to Mayor Gregor at Vancouver City Hall demanding protection of low-income residents, not corporate developer profits. Just in the past week over a thousand people have signed the petition in anticipation of the Public Hearing on May 23rd.

The petition, which is hosted on Leadnow.ca’s advocacy website, reads:

“Protect the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown by:

  1. Rejecting Beedie’s 105 Keefer Rezoning Application and
  2. Acquiring the 105 Keefer St. site and
  3. Developing the site to meet community’s needs, including low-income seniors housing and an intergenerational community space!”

One petition signer noted: “Protecting communities is important. Communities make us human in a way that sterile, impersonal towers don’t. People must come before profits.”

Another petition signer is concerned about the housing crisis in Vancouver and B.C.: “At a time when this province and city desperately need an increase in affordable housing, we need to stop this luxury development!”

To visit the petition page online, click here.

WHAT: Chinatown residents will deliver a petition with 2430 signatures demanding Mayor Gregor reject of 105 Keefer St. Rezoning Application at the Public Hearing and protect low-income residents, not developer profits.
WHEN: Tuesday, May 23rd, 5 PM Press Conference (City Hall – South Entrance),
6 PM Public Hearing (Council Chambers)
WHERE: Vancouver City Hall – 453 W. 12th Ave, Vancouver, BC
WHO: Chinatown Concern Group is a group of Chinese residents organizing to ensure Chinatown is thriving, livable and affordable.
VISUALS: A box of petitions and 100 residents, seniors, and community members with colourful signs, noisemakers, and a large banner, chanting and speaking on the steps of Vancouver City Hall.
CONTACT: 何盈欣 Beverly Ho, Chinatown Concern Group organizer, cell: 778-321-7027, email: info@chinatownconcerngroup.ca

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Media Advisory: Low-Income Residents: Mayor Gregor, Protect the Heart of Chinatown!

LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS: MAYOR GREGOR, PROTECT THE HEART OF CHINATOWN!
Hundreds Demand Rejection of 105 Keefer St. Luxury Condos at Public Hearing

(Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories – May 16, 2017) On Tuesday, May 23rd, residents, organizations, and community members will descend on Vancouver City Hall to demand that Mayor Gregor protect low-income residents and the heart of Chinatown, not corporate developer profits.

After four revisions and over two years of consultations and mobilizations, Chinatown Concern Group, Chinatown Action Group, and other youth organizations won small concessions from the 105 Keefer St. project: 25 senior units, temporary space for a private seniors’ organization, and a 23% reduction in market units (137 to 106 units).

Still, the project threatens to displace Chinatown’s predominantly low-income community. 106 market units will dramatically increase rents in the neighbourhood and the token 25 senior units are likely to be still out of reach for low-income tenants. Instead, Chinatown Concern Group is calling for 100% welfare-pension rate social housing and public and permanent cultural community space.

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