British Columbia

Merchants say Punjabi Market needs 'India Gate'

The Punjabi Market Association in South Vancouver is lobbying politicians to help fund a giant million-dollar gateway that would mark the entrance to the Punjabi Market neighbourhood near 49th and Main Street.

The Punjabi Market Association in South Vancouver is lobbying politicians to help fund a giant million-dollar gateway that would mark the entrance to the Punjabi Market neighbourhood near 49th and Main Street.

The so-called India Gate would be similar to the Millennium Gate that marks the entrance to Chinatown in East Vancouver.

The Punjabi Market neighbourhood is made up of restaurants and stores selling everything Indian from saris to CDs, and forms the cultural centre of Vancouver's thriving Indo-Canadian community.

Vancouver city council passed a motion this week endorsing the plan and the group is now looking for the one million dollars needed to fund the gate.

Daljit Sidhu, president of the neighbourhood association, is lobbying both the provincial and federal governments for cash.

Sidhu wants the gate dedicated to Indo-Canadian pioneers who worked in the lumber industry and hopes it can be built from B.C. wood damaged by the mountain pine beetle, similar to the wood used to build the roof of the Olympic skating oval.

Supporters would like the gate to be in place for the 2010 Olympics, serving as a reminder of contributions made by Indo-Canadian pioneers, Sidhu told CBC News on Wednesday.

B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor said the government is looking for ways to fund the project.

"I know there are lots of little details, but today is the day for us to take the approval of the city and start moving quickly," Taylor said Wednesday.

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