“The Province of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver are working together to have Vancouver’s Chinatown designated a United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site. As part of this, the Province and the City have also committed to establishing a Chinese Canadian Museum.” (See the government’s website here)
Based on our current understanding of this project, this is our present initial position (as of Nov. 29, 2018):
”First, we acknowledge that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations.
Currently Chinatown faces continuing gentrification that displaces people from their homes, creating more and more homelessness, and pushes out retail stores selling affordable goods. Remembering the history of anti-Chinese racism and celebrating the resiliency and lives of Chinese immigrants are very important and so we thank the Government of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver for valuing the history of Chinese people living in Canada. At the same time, we also need to acknowledge that these issues continues today and are affecting people who live and depend on Chinatown for their survival. With that being said, Chinatown Concern Group holds the following views on the plan to build a Chinese Canadian Museum in Chinatown:
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.
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.
The historic May Wah Hotel was listed as for sale yesterday (June 15).
One of the larger and older buildings in Chinatown, the property at 262 East Pender Street includes four ground-level retail outlets that maintain a Chinese character plus three storeys containing some 120 rooms of low-income housing.
The building was originally a lodging house, constructed in 1913, that catered to single men working in positions of transitory labour, according to Historic Places, a government-funded website.
Downtown Eastside community members reject the city’s plan for housing at 58 W Hastings, paints their own vision for 100% social housing (May 21st,
In their annual Housing and Homelessness Report Card, the City of Vancouver reports that 1,683 units of new social housing are in development or have been built since 2012. Yet based on research by the author, under 6% of the new social housing is guaranteed for people on welfare. The vast majority of Vancouver’s “social housing”, therefore, will be unavailable for the 1,847 people reported as homeless in Vancouver this year, the highest number since counts began.
A large proportion of the City’s new social housing is also out of reach for the51,000 renter households who make below $30,000 per year and who are experiencing the brunt of the housing crisis. If “affordable housing is something that somebody can afford,” to quote Vision Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang, who is that somebody?