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.

Beverly Ho, Chinatown Concern Group Organizer: “New luxury condos are going up at breakneck speeds in Chinatown while residents living on a knife’s edge of affordability are being pushed out. Mayor Gregor has the responsibility to protect the heart of Chinatown and ensure Chinatown is thriving and affordable. Our ask is simple: reject Beedie’s 105 Keefer Rezoning Application.”

WHAT: Community members will speak at the 105 Keefer St. Rezoning Public Hearing to demand Mayor Gregor protect the heart of Chinatown, 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 of organizing to ensure Chinatown is thriving, livable and affordable. Chinatown residents will also be available to speak to media at a rally and festival the day before on May 22 at 1 pm at Chinatown Memorial Square (at Keefer St. and Columbia St.).
VISUALS: 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, Cell: 778-321-7027

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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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Cut the CRAP! Stop the mass rezoning of Chinatown! 停止摧毀華埠!制止市府將華埠變成高價區!

wp-1486351773576.jpgThe City of Vancouver is proposing to gentrify Chinatown through a mass rezoning plan called the CRAP (Chinatown Economic Revitalization Action Plan).

The CRAP will open the floodgates for condo development in Chinatown, raising rents, increasing evictions, and accelerating the displacement of the neighbourhood’s most vulnerable residents and small businesses.

The CRAP proposes drastically increasing building heights (up to 150 feet tall, or 14 stories) and building frontages (up to 200 feet wide), while gutting the existing public consultation process of open houses and public hearings. If the CRAP passes City Council, projects like the 12-story 105 Keefer condo development would not be required to undergo zoning review or public consultation at all.

Instead of approving the CRAP, the City should implement policies to honour the history of Chinatown by ensuring that the neighbourhood remains permanently affordable and welcoming to seniors, workers, and low-income people of all backgrounds.

Sign this letter to tell Mayor Gregor Robertson, City Council, and City staff to:

  • Reject the mass rezoning plan (“CRAP)” for Chinatown;
  • Commit to engaging the existing community, especially low-income residents and small businesses, in preparing a new area plan for Chinatown that will stop further gentrification and displacement; and
  • Implement policies put forward by Chinatown residents, including the demands of Chinatown Concern Group.

Chinatown Concern Group’s demands:

  1. Do not permit any more market-rate developments in Chinatown until the number of new social housing units being developed in the neighbourhood matches the number of new market-rate housing units
  2. Zone Chinatown as a single, unified district
  3. Designate Chinatown as a Heritage Conservation Area
  4. Require that at least 50% of the gross floor area of new developments in Chinatown be for social housing
  5. Define social housing in Chinatown as units rented at no more than the maximum welfare or pension shelter allowance or 30% of OAS/GIS income
  6. Limit building heights to a maximum of 50 feet tall (with 100% social housing projects considered separately)
  7. Limit building frontages to a maximum of 50 feet wide (with not-for-profit developments considered separately)
  8. Meet the community demands for 105 Keefer Street:
    • Reject the rezoning application by Beedie Living
    • Direct the City to acquire the 105 Keefer Street site in partnership with the Provincial and Federal governments
    • Provide 100% social housing on the site, with rents not to exceed the maximum welfare or pension shelter allowance or 30% of OAS/GIS income
    • Provide an intergenerational, multi-use community space, with an emphasis on serving seniors
    • Support culturally appropriate Chinatown retail through business-friendly policies such as property tax deductions or other subsidies
    • Prohibit chain stores (such as has been done in San Francisco Chinatown)

1 Day Left – Protect the heart of Chinatown!

ma-tai-bevTake action before it’s too late!

You have 1 day left before Vancouver city staff’s comment deadline on 105 Keefer. Send in your comments by clicking on the link below by Monday, February 27th:

Click here to submit your comments to city staff on the rezoning application of 105 Keefer Street

You may use the following letter (below) to cut and paste into your comment form. Feel free to personalize and make the letter your own.

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介紹新關注組社區組織者:何盈欣! Introducing CCG’s new staff community organizer: 何盈欣 Beverly Ho!

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(English below)

大家好!我叫何盈欣,我跟唐人街關注組工作非常感謝!我當義工參加了關注組一年左右,而跟別的社區小組組織 (華埠行動小組及青年長者合作組)。我今年跟關注組成員過得很快樂,結識了新朋友,爲了保護唐人街的低收入生意及居民。我知道這一份工作不容易,但是我很興奮跟關注住一起奮鬥,壯大力量!

Hi everyone! My name is 何盈欣 Beverly Ho, and I’m so honored and happy to be on staff with the 唐人街關注組 Chinatown Concern Group! I’ve been involved with the group for around a year now, as well as with 青年長者合作組 Youth for Chinese Seniors and 華埠行動小組Chinatown Action Group. Getting to know CCG has been amazing; their superstar personalities, struggles, values, and victories! I know it’ll be challenging and hard work, but I’m excited to be learning and growing and fighting with Concern Group and CCAP!

“Prospective buyer wants to help save Chinatown’s historic May Wah Hotel”

November 21, 2016 – CBC News

The May Wah Hotel is a City of Vancouver-designated heritage building that houses more than 100 low-income tenants.

The May Wah Hotel is a City of Vancouver-designated heritage building that houses more than 100 low-income tenants.

Chinatown’s historic May Wah Hotel may be saved after all.

A prospective buyer has stepped up to try and purchase the heritage building with the intention of preserving its low-income housing units.

The Vancouver Chinatown Foundation says it is in serious talks with the Shon Yee Benevolent Association, the hotel’s owner, to purchase the building on East Pender Street. Continue reading

“The Atkin Solution for Chinatown: A Cultural Landscape”

November 21, 2016 – Price Tags

Price Tags asked historian and heritage advocate John Atkin how he would rezone Chinatown.  Here’s his solution:

A Cultural Landscape Not a Development Area

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Chinatown is both a nationally recognized historic district spanning Pender to Gore with its distinctive and unique Society buildings, and it is the surrounding business district which maintains the area’s traditional retail of bbq meats, fruits, vegetables, and live fish. Together they form a cultural landscape that ‘provides the vitality and living colour that gives Chinatown its distinctive character.’
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“Plan for giant buildings in Chinatown comes under fire”

November 18, 2016 – Vancouver Sun

Nov. 10, 2016. For sale sign in the 700 block of  Vancouver's Chinatown.

For sale sign in the 700-block of Vancouver’s Chinatown

Chinatown has traditionally been a low-rise neighbourhood of small stores on 25-foot lots.

But heritage activists fear much of the historic neighbourhood will be demolished if a new city proposal to allow buildings up to 200 feet wide goes through.

“When you’re talking 200-foot frontages, that’s eight lots, that blows out half the block,” said civic historian John Atkin.

“That’s actually greater frontages than what’s allowed in the Downtown South area. Pender Street seems to be respected, but everything outside of Pender seems to be bulldozer bait.” Continue reading

“‘De Blasio must go!’ Group demands mayor resign for rezoning snub”

November 3, 2016 – The Villager

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BY KARI LINDBERG | With passionate chants of “Racism No More,” “New York City Not For Sale” and “De Blasio, Step Down,” members the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and Lower East Side kicked off their protest outside City Hall last Wednesday.

Around 100 protestors, mainly older Chinese and Latinos, came out alongside activists, wearing signs in English, Spanish and Chinese saying “De Blasio, Step Down” and “Stop Ethnic Racism.” They called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to leave office for failing to protect Asian, African-American and Latino communities from being displaced.

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“Awaiting a City Plan, LIC Groups Sketch Out Red Lines Around Rezoning”

Oct 19, 2016 – Citylimits

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Coalition member Dr. Sharon Cadiz said residents can see recent examples of how community action can reshape development decisions in Maspeth and at LIC’s own Phipps Houses site.

Nearly 300 people packed the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House in Long Island City on Monday night to discuss the de Blasio administration’s plan to rezone the area.

Hosted by the Justice for All Coalition, an alliance supported by Faith in New York and consisting of local labor, church, and public housing tenant groups, the forum sought to inform local residents about the stakes of a potential rezoning and share the coalition’s platform of demands for future equitable development.

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