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

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

Chinese New Year parade gets new leader of dancing group

JOANNE LEE-YOUNG, February 15, 2018

There is a mini-brouhaha about who gets the coveted honour of leading the dancing group in the Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown.

In recent years, the Hon Hsing Athletic Club, which was started on Pender Street in 1939, has been at the helm. This weekend, it’ll be a team from the Teo Chew Society of Vancouver, that was established in 1987 on Hastings Street.

There are definitely many gossipy views circulating. One is the diplomatic version with different teams taking turns. Others include a heated meeting, a secret ballot and the influence of backers. Read more…

Lion Dancers Michael Tan (right) and his master Peter Wong in Vancouver, BC, February 15, 2018. ARLEN REDEKOP / PNG

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…

Opinion: How Vancouver city hall exacerbates the affordability crisis

NATHALIE BAKER, May 13, 2017

If you’d like to understand why the housing-affordability crisis continues in Vancouver, look no further than the recently posted City of Vancouver staff report in support of the rezoning of 105 Keefer/544 Columbia streets.Read more…

A 2016 architectural rendering of the Beedie Group’s proposed new development at 105 Keefer at Columbia streets in Vancouver’s Chinatown. This was the third version of the development that was submitted. SCD / PNG

Andy Yan: Where goes Chinatown, so goes the City of Vancouver

ANDY YAN, May 25, 2017

With the proposed rezoning of 105 Keefer and the prospective mass rezoning of the entire neighbourhood, Vancouver’s Chinatown faces a critical crossroads in its 130-plus-year existence — which paths will be chosen by Vancouver City Council over the next series of months. Planning and development in Chinatown is not the exception, but it has historically set the rule for the entire city.
The fight against the freeways in Chinatown in 1960s and ’70s is a founding myth of modern Vancouver. While seen by some civic and industry leaders of the day as a necessary means of economic revitalization and keeping the city “competitive,” an inner-city freeway proposal was defeated by a broad bottom-up coalition of citizens. These activists fought from the streets of Chinatown and Strathcona to the chambers of city hall and established a different urban vision for the city beyond freeways. Vancouver has been drawing livability dividends from that citizen-driven decision ever since. Read more…

A group of protesters gather outside of Vancouver City Hall on Tuesday to show their concern over a large development at 105 Keefer Street in Chinatown. MARK VAN MANEN / PNG

New plaque commemorates Vancouver Chinatown’s significance in immigrant history

POSTMEDIA NEWS, May 13, 2017

A new plaque unveiled in Vancouver’s Chinatown Saturday commemorates the national historic significance of the Chinese neighbourhood and the role it played in welcoming immigrants who arrived in Canada. Nellie Yip Quong and Wong Foon Sien were also both recognized as key figures in Vancouver’s Chinese history. Saturday’s event featured a lion dance and other cultural performances, and a presentation by North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson. Read more…

Imogene Lim and Mayor Gregor Robertson help unveil a plaque honouring Nellie Yip Quong as a person of the national historic significance in Vancouver’s Chinatown, on May 13. GERRY KAHRMANN / PNG

Chinatown legend Bill Wong of Modernize Tailors dies at 95

John Mackie, April 19, 2017

Bill Wong obtained an engineering degree from the University of B.C. in 1948. But the institutional racism of the time meant no engineering firm would hire him. So he returned to his father’s tailor shop in Chinatown. Together with his brother Jack — another engineering grad denied the chance to practise — he kept Modernize Tailors going decades after other Chinatown tailors closed. Read more…

Bill Wong of Modernize Tailors in 2014. Wong died April 8 at age 95. MARK YUEN / VANCOUVER SUN