Vancouver Chinatown: Council approves revisions reducing building size in historic area

DAN FUMANO, Vancouver Sun, July 10, 2018

Vancouver city council voted Tuesday afternoon to reduce the maximum size of buildings in the city’s Chinatown, changing course on policies adopted seven years ago.

While the zoning revisions had been supported by community advocates, some local property owners and development industry representatives had opposed the move.

The changes to Chinatown’s development policies were made in response to community concerns about the changing character and the pace of development, especially after 2011 development policies allowing taller, wider buildings, intended to revitalize the area. Read more…

Street scene in Vancouver’s Chinatown district. GERRY KAHRMANN / PNG

Fresh-food wholesalers and community groups argue about how to keep Produce Row in Strathcona

JOANNE LEE-YOUNG, September 27, 2018 | Vancouver Sun

Fresh-food wholesalers along Malkin Drive in Strathcona, unofficially known as Produce Row, are worried about their future.

Some are running businesses with roots tied to the early days of Chinatown and farms across the Lower Mainland and in the Fraser Valley. There are also owners and workers who trace family migration routes to southern China’s Sze Yup and Zhongshan counties.

Now, it’s also an area of sharply rising property values with the city planning to take down the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts and Providence Health Care to build a new St. Paul’s Hospital.

All of this has made for an ongoing and heated debate in this East Vancouver community about who gets to decide where new roadways will go. Read more…

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)

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

‘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

Facing displacement by condos, should Vancouver artists ‘bite the hand that feeds?’

Tessa Vikander, Metro, Mar 11 2018

In an increasingly unaffordable city, where low-wage earners are struggling to find housing and artists are struggling to find affordable studio space, some members of Vancouver’s artistic community are calling on artists to get involved in anti-gentrification and housing rights advocacy.

The call to action came last Wednesday, during a community forum at the 221A arts space in Chinatown, where artists with varying political views debated the ethics of accepting developer money. After the event, Vincent Tao, a librarian at 221A who helped organize the event, told Metro that artists, who have to pay rent for their homes and studio or practice space, are in a tricky situation. Read more…

Vincent Tao wants artists to join groups fighting for rent freezes, a living wage and an end to “renovictions.”

Beedie decision reveals times have changed in Vancouver

Allen Garr, NOVEMBER 16 2017

“I was wrong.” That uncommon confession slipped from the lips of Vancouver developer and Courier columnist Michael Geller. At that exact moment, he and I were sitting cheek by jowl at last week’s development permit board hearing on Beedie Development’s fifth revision in the past four years of a proposal for 105 Keefer St. in Chinatown.

Moments after the city’s real estate guy Bill Aujla explained that, after months of negotiations, Beedie was unwilling to either sell or swap this piece of property, Geller picked up his phone and sent out a tweet: “This will pass.” Although, he added, there may be some minor modifications. Read more…

rotesters gathered at city hall to voice their concerns over a nine-storey condo proposal for Chinatown that, in the end, was rejected by the city’s development permit board in a 2-1 vote. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Opinion: Vancouver’s Chinatown and redrawing the lines in the ‘City of Optimists’

Andy Yang, Vancouver Sun,June 26, 2017

In the reverberations following the 105 Keefer St. rezoning rejection, the hearings lay bare the painful realities of city life in Vancouver. Amongst the gleaming towers and $6 lattes, life for many Vancouverites is increasingly vicious, indifferent and cruel. The public hearing became a sign of the growing frustrations and shortcomings of civic governance.
However, 105 Keefer offers lessons from which a person could even develop a sense of optimism.
What can be learned? Read more…

Opponents of the Keefer Street rezoning celebrate City Hall’s decision not to let a tower be built in Chinatown. ARLEN REDEKOP / PNG

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…