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.
By the Chinese Progressive Association and the Asian Community Development Corporation
Yesterday evening starting at 6pm, MassDOT, along with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, held its fifth and final public meeting at the State Transportation building, where it unveiled the final guidelines and Invitation to Bid on Parcels 25 and 26. The Chinatown community has dedicated countless hours attending all five meetings and submitting oral and written comments during and after each meeting. The Chinatown community has patiently followed along with MassDOT’s public process, repeating the community’s needs time and time again. MassDOT has failed to respond in good faith and as a result the Chinatown community felt it had exhausted its options and was compelled to walk out en masse.
105 Keefer Street is in the heart of Chinatown, an area facing the same intense development pressures as Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Plans for a 13-storey tower don’t sit well with local residents. King-mong Chan is an organizer with the Chinatown Concern Group. He says the development will displace local businesses and the Chinese seniors who depend on them. King-mong Chan speaks with Redeye host Jane Williams.
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The lot near the corner of Keefer and Quebec streets is no historic gem. Once the site of a garage, it is now covered with gravel and a smattering of parked cars.
But it has turned into a Waterloo for Vancouver’s Chinatown, with a wide range of groups viewing whatever is built there as the indicator species for the future of this small historic neighbourhood.
At the heart of the debate are these questions: Are some buildings just too big for Chinatown? And what will do more to improve this beleaguered area, which has been losing businesses and vitality since the 1970s – more social housing for the poor or more market condos to attract the middle class?