Narrow 10-storey residential building proposed for Vancouver’s Chinatown

Kenneth Chan, Daily Hive, May 30, 2018

A narrow site in Vancouver’s Chinatown wedged between the Keefer Bar and the site of the controversial proposed project by Beedie Development could become a 10-storey mixed-use building.

James Schouw and Associates have applied for a development application for the vacant site at 129 Keefer Street, which has a street frontage of just 49 ft. in width.

The 88-ft-tall proposal calls for 5,713 sq. ft. of commercial space split into three units on the ground floor, with two units fronting Keefer Street and a third unit fronting the laneway. Read more…

Site of the redevelopment for 129 Keefer Street, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture / James Schouw and Associates)

YOUR KEY TO Vancouver’s Trendy Chinatown

Shelley Hayashi

Vancouver’s Chinatown is undergoing a transition – a crossroad where the past meets the present and tradition intersects modernity. As many old businesses retire or move out to the suburbs, new businesses bring refreshing and exciting opportunities to this area. It’s a favourite neighbourhood of mine to explore, as I always come across new shops and discover new experiences.
A Settlement of Chinese Labourers
Vancouver’s Chinatown, with its rich and colourful history, grew out of a settlement of Chinese labourers brought over by the CP Rail Company in the late 1800’s to complete the final treacherous part of building the railroad across western Canada. Chinatown was the only place in those days where these sojourners could find housing and community support. As the years passed, this rough and tumble neighbourhood expanded and evolved into a prosperous, vibrant gathering place for Vancouver’s ever growing Chinese population. Chinatown was jammed with shops, restaurants and nightclubs from the 1940’s to the 1970’s, and the neighbourhood continued to be a community hub until well into the late 1980’s. Read more…

Heritage Vancouver releases 2018 top 10 watch list

Naoibh O’Connor, Vancouver Courier, MAY 17, 2018

The discussion around heritage is becoming increasingly complicated and perhaps nowhere is that better reflected than among some of the top finishers on Heritage Vancouver Society’s annual watch list that was released this week.

Heather Street Lands and the Fairmont Academy, a historic building that sits on the 21-acre property, earned the No. 1 spot, followed by Chinatown in second place. Neighbourhood businesses, meanwhile, landed in fifth position.

All three represent heritage values beyond just buildings.

Bill Yuen, the society’s executive director, says the organization wants to encourage the wider public to think beyond the traditional definition of heritage, which at one point focused largely on architecturally significant buildings, and to consider a fuller vision of heritage that includes aspects such as social and cultural history – areas that may have been under-represented in the past. Read more…

As Heritage Vancouver Society releases its annual Top 10 endangered sites list, executive director Bill Yuen says the organization encourages a wider view of heritage that includes social and cultural history like that found in Chinatown. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Disappearing Act: How Chinatowns in the US are being erased

Ty Lawson, China Global Television Network ,2018-06-04

A hunger strike is underway in New York City where people who were forced out of their crumbling Chinatown apartment building are protesting.

About 100 tenants were evacuated from their homes in January after a court-ordered inspection deemed the building uninhabitable. Other community members have joined them in their effort to return to their homes.

The tenants claim their landlord has let the building fall apart – so he could make repairs and then charge higher rent, in turn attracting more affluent residents. Read more…

Food is a powerful community builder

United Way

Food is a powerful community-builder. It brings people together, bridging cultural and generational divides. It shapes our understanding of the world.

“Food is about dignity,” says Kevin Huang, co-founder of the Hua Foundation, a youth-driven non-profit organization based in Vancouver’s Chinatown. “Food keeps us alive. It connects us socially and culturally to our families and the places we call home.” Read more…

Photo credit: Christina Lee

No more tall buildings in Chinatown suggested by Vancouver city planners

Carlito Pablo, The Georgia Straight, May 30th, 2018

Vancouver city staff are recommending in a report that tall buildings should no longer be allowed in Chinatown.

Staff have proposed a height limit of 90 feet on new developments in order to preserve the character of the historic neighbourhood.

This could mean that council has to revoke its 2011 decision that permitted developers to seek approval of rezoning applications for towers in areas south of Pender Street. Read more…

The City of Vancouver is taking action to calm speculation in Chinatown.

Vancouver should slow down and talk to community about zoning changes, says Chinatown group

KEVIN GRIFFIN, Vancouver Sun, June 4, 2018

A group representing Chinatown property and business owners as well as residents wants the city to put the brakes on proposed zoning and design changes.

Vancouver city council plans to vote Tuesday on changes that would, the group believes, amount to downzoning the neighbourhood when that’s exactly what they don’t want. Downzoning results in less density.

“We’re happy with the zoning we have right now,” said Steve Lee, spokesperson for Chinatown Voices, referring to the Chinatown Neighbourhood Plan of 2012. “The zoning that we have reflects a well thought-out plan.” Read more…

Steve Lee, spokesperson for Chinatown Voices, at a news conference Monday, June 4 at Dollar Meat Store, Chinatown. Photo: Kevin Griffin [PNG Merlin Archive] PNG

Commercial Real Estate: Lobbying to save Chinatown’s heritage

EVAN DUGGAN, The Province, December 19, 2017

Melody Ma retraces the steps she initially took about two years ago through Vancouver’s Chinatown.

The twenty-something freelance web developer and Chinatown activist remembers seeing a construction pit at Gore and East Hastings on that walk.

“There used to be all of these interesting mom-and-pop Chinese retailers occupying that building,” she told Postmedia on a similar stroll through Chinatown in mid-December. “I was thinking to myself that my childhood has literally become a construction pit,” she said, noting the new building lies just outside the Chinatown plan area boundaries, but nonetheless represents changes elsewhere in the neighbourhood. Read more…

Meloday Ma has been a major opponent of the 105 Keefer project in Chinatown. / VANCOUVER SUN

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Honolulu Like You’re Really Chinese

DIANE LEE, 2018.02.05

Most people celebrate the new year on Jan. 1. My traditional Chinese family doesn’t officially celebrate the new year until February, when Chinese New Year rolls around (this year it falls on Feb. 16). As a second-generation Chinese-American, Chinese New Year is a huge deal for my family. It’s right up there with celebrating a birthday, wedding or anniversary. This monthlong celebration takes a lot of planning and preparation. Expect to go grocery shopping, cook Chinese dishes and clean house to usher in a healthy, prosperous new year. Read more…

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Andy Yan, the analyst who exposed Vancouver’s real estate disaster

Terry Glavin, Feb 14, 2018

Andy Yan is a 42-year-old East Vancouverite who came up out of the proud working class ranks of Van Tech high school, toiling on weekends in the kill tank at the old Hallmark Poultry Factory on Clark Drive. He set out on a career in urban regeneration and applied demographics that took him to projects in New Orleans, New York City and San Francisco.

Nowadays he’s the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, and while he’s too modest to boast about it, along the way he’s picked up a couple of exceedingly rare civic distinctions. Read more…