LRT construction in downtown Edmonton may prompt the city to move the Chinatown or Harbin Gate from the east side of 97 Street and 102 Avenue. 

Many people in the community want the gate moved so it would span 97 Street just north of Jasper Avenue.

Mei Hung from the Chinese Benevolent Society says that location is historically significant since it is where the first Chinese business in Edmonton was located 124 years ago.

“It's very important that we must have the right location, the right plan at this point in time,” she said. “Otherwise we miss our opportunity.”

LRT construction is also sparking calls to unite the older Chinatown near Jasper Avenue with the newer one on 97th Street, north of 104th Avenue.

Atan Lawrence with the Chinatown Business Association wants a plan to revitalize and guide future development in the area.

“You look at Chinatown in the last 25 or 30 years what changed? Chinatown has been neglected,” she said.

“How can the business association recruit business members to the Chinatown area? Any young entrepreneur, they say ‘What did you do Chinatown? Nothing. Why do I want to invest money in Chinatown?’ So the change is very important.”

City administration have been asked to come up with a plan for the area and get a cost of the proposals.

According to a city report, the Chinatown Gate would have to be widened to fit across 97 Street.

The new LRT would be able to run under the gate in its present location.