Feb. 4, 2016 – Calgary Sun
Citizens in Chinatown are rallying against an architectural firm’s proposal to increase area density through taller buildings, something they say will impact the neighbourhood’s unique charm.
The firm, Manu Chungh Architects Ltd., has requested amendments to the Chinatown Area Redevelopment Plan and land-use designation, which would double allowable building heights and increase permitted uses in the area, according to Terry Wong.
Those changes would affect the character of the neighbourhood, said Wong, a spokesman for Chinatown Community Stakeholders’ Committee and executive with the newly-formed Chinatown Business Revitalization Zone.
The Chinatown Community Stakeholders’ Committee wants a public consultation on the proposed amendments and is urging Calgarians who enjoy Chinatown to attend a public hearing on Monday morning at city hall to voice their commitment to protecting and preserving the area.
While the applicant hasn’t yet put forward plans for any proposed development, Wong believes if the changes are approved, major developments could come next.
“The greatest concern is the unknown,” he said.
“Obviously, if a large, behemoth building went in, that would take away from the culture and the community.”
Wong said his group is supportive of growth and development but if approved, the proposed amendments to the land-use designation could see Chinatown welcome the sorts of buildings, crowds and mixed use that currently exist in the Beltline.
“We don’t want 17th Avenue, as an example, in Chinatown,” he said.
“We want something calmer, more peaceful, more harmonious in the Chinatown core.”