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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“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

“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

“Jenny Kwan and Chinatown groups appeal to three levels of government to purchase site next to Chinese Workers Memorial to Build Affordable Housing” (Translated)

Sept. 1, 2016 – Translated from 明報 Ming Pao (thanks to Youth Collaborative for Chinatown volunteers!!)

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Chinese Member of Parliament Jenny Kwan and several new and old Chinatown organizations have gathered together to vocalize an appeal for three levels of government to work together to purchase a site directly adjacent to a Chinese Workers Memorial statue that commemorates early Chinese immigrants, workers, and veterans in Chinatown. They suggest that the site be used to develop social housing and community facilities.

Continue reading

“Chinatown site planned for high-rise development, Chinatown groups appeal to government to purchase the land” (Translated)

Sept. 1, 2016 – Translated from 星島日報 Sing Tao Daily (thanks to Youth Collaborative for Chinatown volunteers!!)

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There have been many heated discussions over the possible redevelopment that is planned for the site of 105 Keefer Street, adjacent to the Chinatown Workers Memorial. This has led Vancouver East MP, Jenny Kwan from NDP, to hold a press conference on Wednesday at the Memorial statue in Chinatown along with representatives of many other Chinese organizations such as the Chinese Benevolent Association, Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations, Chinatown Concern Group, and the Chinese Canadian Military veterans. They oppose the purely commercial redevelopment plans that have been proposed in the heart of Chinatown. The purpose of this press conference was also to ask all three levels of government to purchase this site in order to build more housing for seniors, as well as create more community facilities.

Continue reading

“Another Chinatown building sold at high price” (Translated)

Aug. 21, 2016 – Translated from 明報 Ming Pao

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Another Chinatown building sold at high price

 Concern group worries gentrification could lead to loss of traditional storefronts

 Ming Pao A8 August 21, 2016

 The worry about gentrification and the loss of more Chinese storefronts is being raised once again following the sale of a street corner building in Chinatown that could be demolished and rebuilt as a nine or even 12-storey tower.

 Despite repeated fights and ongoing calls for more affordable housing and saving more low-rent storefronts in Chinatown, the situation has been getting worse  and Chinatown is becoming less and less affordable particularly for those low-income Chinese seniors, according to Wai-on [Leung] of the Chinatown Concern Group.

Continue reading

“Challenges for Chinatown”

June, 10, 2016 – CBC On the Coast (Audio: 53:04 – 1:05:33)