Yesterday Premier Christy Clark enjoyed a lunch in Chinatown with various community representatives. She finds the development of Chinatown to be very important, and believes that it is “the Jewel of Vancouver”. While the provincial government works to establish more trade partnerships with China, it will also push Vancouver’s Chinatown as Asia’s cultural hub in our province. She expressed support for a Chinese Canadian historical museum in Chinatown.
Premier Christy Clark had lunch with members of various Chinatown organizations, such as the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, Mah’s Association, Ing Association, Lee Association of Canada, the Chinese Canadian Military Museum, and the VCRC. Gavin Dew, the BC Liberal party candidate for the upcoming Vancouver-Mount Pleasant by-election, was also present.
Clark stated that the heart of discussions about Mount Pleasant should be Chinatown and not solely the Downtown Eastside and its issues of poverty. She understands that Chinatown has struggled in the past, with Chinese residents moving out to suburbs such as Richmond, and issues of poverty from surrounding areas, but she believes that Chinatown’s revitalization has already begun. The provincial government will make efforts to encourage and support this activity. She described Chinatown as the “Jewel of Vancouver”, it is one of Vancouver’s most diverse and historically significant neighbourhoods.
Premier Clark also stated that the provincial government has been working to establish more trade partnerships with China to promote economic activity and job creation in the province. She will ensure that within these efforts, Vancouver’s Chinatown is promoted as a cultural hub in B.C. for Asia. She supports the creation of a Chinese Canadian historical museum in Chinatown.
Gavin Dew noted that Chinatown is not only symbolic for early Chinese immigrants to B.C., but represents the “the Canadian dream”. If Chinatown disappears, so will the Canadian dream, a story shared by immigrants of many ethnicities. Therefore, the preservation of Chinatown’s unique qualities and character is critical.
Some individuals brought up the fact that there have been rampant developments occurring in Chinatown, and the architecture is not very compatible with what exists currently in Chinatown. The situation has become worrisome for many. Premier Clark stated that the approval of development applications and setting guidelines for architectural style and character are the municipal government’s responsibility. She understands the concern of Chinatown’s stakeholders, though. Gavin Dew agrees and notes that architecture is an important part of a neighbourhood’s identity, and it can affect future development too.