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

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.

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…

‘Last second’ email on planning shocks, dismays Chinatown advocates

JOHN MACKIE, Vancouver Sun, April 26, 2018

On Sunday, Mayor Gregor Robertson delivered a formal apology to Vancouver’s Chinese residents for the city’s historical discrimination.

But even as Robertson spoke, a new controversy was erupting in Chinatown over the redevelopment of the historic neighbourhood.

Late Friday afternoon, the city sent out an email that recommended several changes to a Chinatown Planning Update that the city had released in March. Read more…

Historic buildings in the 100 block East Pender in Vancouver’s Chinatown. GERRY KAHRMANN / PNG

Reconciling the damage done by ‘urban renewal’

Allen Garr / Vancouver Courier, FEBRUARY 6, 2018 12:41 PM

In the mid-1950s, Vancouver city bureaucrats steered a malleable and willing council down the road to “urban renewal.” It was a course pretty well every major city in the western world was taking as they tried to shake off the economic lethargy following the Second World War.

Here and pretty well everywhere else it was a strategy that had two major pieces: slum clearance and freeway construction. It was the time when the car was king and the middle class was moving to the suburbs.

Inevitably in most cities in North America that meant bulldozing homes and businesses populated predominantly by either blacks or Chinese. In Vancouver it meant both. Read more…

A view of Hogan’s Alley in 1958. Photo City of Vancouver Archives P508.53

Vancouver: Chinatown condo opponents take their fight to developer’s front door

MATT ROBINSON, February 25, 2018

Opponents of a controversial condo project at 105 Keefer St. in Vancouver’s Chinatown are vowing not to let up the fight even after the city’s board of variance refused to hear an appeal from the developer.

Nat Lowe and other members of the Chinatown Action Group plan to hold a rally outside the Beedie Group’s downtown office Monday. Last week the same group delivered a stern message to the builder in an open letter: “Your name may be on the deed, but 105 Keefer belongs to us.”

The city’s development permit board rejected Beedie Living’s proposal for a nine-storey condo building at 105 Keefer in November.

The developer was scheduled to appeal the decision at the board of variance on March 2, but a lawyer for the board told Beedie Holdings in a letter dated Feb. 23 that it would not hear the appeal because it lacked jurisdiction in the matter. Read more…

Nat Lowe of Chinatown Action Group stands outside the Beedie Group’s office at 1111 West Georgia in Vancouver on Sunday. Lowe and other opponents of Beedie’s 105 Keefer St. condo project plan to rally there Monday to push for social housing on the Chinatown site. ARLEN REDEKOP / PNG

Strathcona Saved!

The Vancouver Historical Society had a full house of more than 120 when Shirley Chan spoke to the audience about her late mother, Mary Lee Chan, who was in the forefront of one of the most important movements in Vancouver’s history, the fight to save the Strathcona neighborhood.

That struggle would change forever the way Vancouver city hall dealt with its citizens.

It began in 1959 with the announcement that great swaths of Strathcona houses (described as a “blight” on the cityscape) would be demolished to make way for new apartment buildings and a freeway connector. The residents of those houses—the majority of them Chinese—would be able to move to a new development near Boundary Road and the Lougheed Highway. Read more…

City scraps hearing for Chinatown condo proposal

Mike Howell / Vancouver Courier, February 23, 2018

Beedie Development Group’s ongoing battle to build a condo building in Chinatown took another blow Friday after the board of variance scrapped its March 2 date for a hearing.

The move comes after both city council and the city’s development permit board last year rejected Beedie’s proposal for 105 Keefer St. Beedie has revised its project at least five times in four years.

On Friday, lawyers acting on behalf of the city’s board of variance contacted Beedie (Keefer Street) Holdings Ltd. in a letter and said the company’s appeal does not qualify to be heard by the board. Read more…

On Friday, the city’s board of variance cancelled Beedie Development Group’s March 2 hearing regarding a condo building proposal for 105 Keefer St. Photo Dan Toulgoet

City of Vancouver to pursue UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for Chinatown

Kenneth Chan, on November 1st, 2017

Vancouver City Council has unanimously approved a plan that will direct staff to initiate a process to pursue a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for Vancouver’s Chinatown district.

The desire for the prestigious designation is one of the approved steps outlined in a reconciliation report that addresses the discrimination experienced by early Chinese Canadians in Vancouver.

In its World Heritage Site program, UNESCO – short for the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization – selects landmarks or areas that have a cultural or historical significance, and such sites are legally protected by international treaties once formally designated. Read more…

Photos: Vancouver releases concept plans for post-viaduct False Creek

SCOTT BROWN, Vancouver Sun, June 6, 2017

The City of Vancouver and Vancouver Park Board have revealed conceptual plans for the future of Northeast False Creek, including a new park and the removal of viaducts.
In 2015, Vancouver City Council approved a $200-million plan to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, which connect False Creek with downtown Vancouver. Read more…