British Columbia

Activists plan to oppose retooled Chinatown development at hearing

The developer has made changes to the proposed building but activists say the new design does not reflect neighbourhood values or provide needed affordability.

12-storey 105 Keefer contains 106 market units and 25 'low-to-moderate income' seniors units

An artist's rendering of the proposed 105 Keefer development. Beedie Development Group scaled back the design and that new design will be the subject of a public hearing. (105keefer.com)

Community groups in Chinatown say despite changes, a proposed residential building does not fit in with their Vancouver neighbourhood.

Beedie Development Group's 105 Keefer project will be the subject of a public hearing on Tuesday after the developer made further revisions to the design.

After the changes, the building is planned to be 12 storeys with 106 market-price units and 25 "low-to-moderate income" seniors units, along with some communal spaces.

"The biggest concern for us is how the building relates to the overall context of Chinatown," Bill Yuen with Heritage Vancouver said. "I think the fundamental matter is how the development is going to respect the values of the place.

"Things like intergenerational interaction, affordability. How does the building enable those values to come out?"

Yuen questions whether people in the neighbourhood would be able to afford to live in the building, and how traditional, culturally specific businesses would afford to rent the commercial space at street-level.

Activists want 100% social housing

Beverly Ho, an organizer with the Chinatown Concern Group, says she will be at Tuesday's meeting to highlight the need for more affordable housing in the neighbourhood — something she says this project does not deliver on.

"It's a huge project that will gentrify the neighbourhood even more, drive up rents and displace the low-income community, many of whom are elderly Chinese seniors," she said.

"No one from the neighbourhood will be able to live there. It would push up the land value and rent of the neighbouring SROs."

Ho and her group wants any development on the site to be entirely social housing and will deliver that message at Tuesday's public hearing.

Local MP opposed

Jenny Kwan the MP for the area, Vancouver East, says she is also opposed to the project for the same reasons as both Yuen and Ho.

She plans to attend Tuesday's hearing and has written a letter to Mayor Gregor Robertson and council outlining her concerns.

Beedie Development Group and the City of Vancouver did not respond to requests for comment.

105 Keefer is proposed to be built across a parking lot and an unused lot. (Google Streetview)

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