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.

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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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)