British Columbia

Not good enough: Chinatown coalition opposed to new development proposal

The Chinatown Action Group is still opposed to the development application for 105 Keefer Street in Vancouver's Chinatown, even though the developer has scaled back its proposal.

The Beedie Group scaled back its proposed development to 119 units plus 25 units of social housing

The Beedie Group's proposed new development at 105 Keefer at Columbia in Vancouver's Chinatown. (City of Vancouver)

The Chinatown Action Group says a scaled-back proposal for a development application at 105 Keefer Street still isn't good enough.

The Beedie Group's most recent submission is a 13-storey building with 119 units down from 134 when it was initially submitted — plus 25 units dedicated to social housing for seniors. This is the third application for the development. 

But the coalition of neighbourhood activists says there aren't enough social housing units on the table. 

"We're asking for 100 per cent social housing. That's what meets the needs of the community," said Sophie Fung, spokesperson for the Chinatown Action Group. 

Fung said the Chinese elderly population will require 3,000 units of housing somewhere in the city and Chinatown is the best place to put that. 

"A lot of the seniors can only speak a little bit of English or are monolingual Chinese, so to access culturally appropriate food in a language that makes sense to them is really important," she said. 

The Chinatown Action Group is calling for a neighbourhood-wide halt to all new developments.

'One Chinatown'

A public open house will be held tonight at the Chinese Cultural Centre starting at 5:00 p.m. PT.

The group is also asking for a cultural space for seniors so they can participate in dancing and singing. 

"What they've put in is for it [the cultural space] to be available for 10 years," she said. "We see that as something that should be in the community forever." 

Fung said the area is of great cultural importance to Chinese Canadians and to Vancouverites in general and that's why she and others are calling for a neighbourhood-wide halt to all new developments. 

"If we don't think about how these changes impact the neighbourhood we might lose it forever and we only have one Chinatown," she said. 

With files from the CBC's The Early Edition and Matt Meuse.

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: The Chinatown Action Group is still opposed to development at 105 Keefer St.