Council delays vote on 27-storey Chinatown tower as opponents rally outside city hall

A rally is planned for outside Calgary City Hall Monday morning to oppose plans for a 27-storey tower in the heart of Chinatown.

Tall building would alter character of the community, says group opposing development proposed for downtown

Opponents of a 27-storey development proposed for Calgary's downtown Chinatown area march to a rally outside city hall. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Some Chinatown residents are applauding city council's decision to delay a vote on a 27-storey tower proposed for the area.

Council voted nearly unanimously on Monday in favour of Coun. Druh Farrell's call to put the decision off until December, pending more consultation and a new report from city staff.

A group opposed to the development rallied outside city hall prior to the vote and packed city council chambers during the discussion.

The proposed development includes a building almost twice the height of existing ones in the area to be built on the site of a parking lot that sits between Second Avenue and Third Avenue S.W.

About 2,000 people have signed a petition against the proposal.

Terry Wong with the Chinatown BRZ said many people want more input.

"We want a process where we respect not only the needs of the businesses but also the community and culture," he said.

"If you take a look at Chinatowns around Canada here, a lot of them are suffering the same sort of problem we have right now, where people will call it gentrification both in terms of a residential and commercial sense."

Opponents of a 27-storey development proposed for Calgary's downtown Chinatown area rally outside city hall. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Dale Lee Kwong, a volunteer with the group "I Love YYC Chinatown," said approving such a building would destroy the character of the community.

"This is not a fairy tale," she said. "Chinatowns across North America are under threat of disappearing."

The architect behind the proposal, Manu Chugh, said the building will look like a three-storey building to pedestrians because the rest of the building would set back from the sidewalk.

"It will not lose any character of the Chinatown."

The plan goes before city council Monday.


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