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…

Chinatown seniors protest city plan

JOHN MACKIE, November 21, 2016

The City of Vancouver said about 80 people attended two open houses about an “economic revitalization update” on Chinatown on Oct. 22 and 25. But a group of Chinatown seniors say the open houses were so poorly advertised, many Chinatown residents didn’t know about them, and didn’t go. Moreover, those who did go said there were weren’t enough Cantonese or Mandarin signs or translators for non-English speakers. As a result, they couldn’t figure out what the architectural drawings the city posted on boards meant. Read more …

Mrs. Kong, Mrs. Luu, and Ms. Chan protest Vancouver’s policies toward Chinatown at a press conference Monday outside a new high-end grocery store at Main and Georgia. JOHN MACKIE / PNG

Vancouver’s Chinatown grapples with growing pains

by Linda Givetash, The Canadian Press, August 20, 2016

The transformation of Vancouver’s Chinatown, fuelled by a changing population, crisis of affordability and ripe potential for new development, has left some locals calling it either a dying neighbourhood or one under threat of gentrification. As the city begins to review the impact of its economic revitalization strategy for the neighbourhood, which ended last year, community members are at odds whether Chinatown’s direction is what they want. Read more …

SkyTrain light rapid transit cars on a section of elevated track between the Stadium-Chinatown and Main Street-Science World stations, Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley
SkyTrain light rapid transit cars on a section of elevated track between the Stadium-Chinatown and Main Street-Science World stations, Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley

Vancouver’s vandalized Chinatown gate still awaiting repairs

by Carlito Pablo on June 3rd, 2015

Most of the plaques decorating the pillars of the majestic arches linking historic Chinatown to downtown Vancouver have been missing for about a year.

Kelly Ip points to a section of the Chinatown gate where some of the plaques were removed. Photo by CARLITO PABLO

Read more