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Chinatown Seniors Cultural Space & Social Housing

Issue Overview

City councillors have put forward two motions for consideration on Tuesday June 27, 2017 that is related to Chinatown and 105 Keefer:

  1. Support for Chinese Cultural Seniors Space (moved by Councillor Louie);
  2. Pursuing 100% Social Housing for 105 Keefer site (moved by Councillor Carr)

Both motions were passed by City Council.

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Background Documents

Quick Summaries of Motions

1. Support for Chinese Cultural Seniors Space (moved by Councillor Louie)

  • What is it about?
    • Chinese seniors associations with thousands of seniors want dedicated seniors cultural space
    • Motion proposes to direct City staff to explore options to secure sufficient and affordable space for these groups of Chinese senior associations, including the use of financial subsidy or the securing of space through another development proposal
    • Due date for staff report back is October
  • The Good
    • More dedicated cultural space for seniors
  • The Issues
    • Who are these seniors associations mentioned? Which seniors association will be included and which will be excluded? Will only the pro-105 Keefer seniors be consulted as they were the ones who advocated for Beedie's cultural space?
    • Will the cultural space be in Chinatown?
    • Motion indicates "securing of space through another development proposal". Based on the wording of this motion, there is a risk that seniors space be used as a token gesture for justifying another development rezoning.
    • The City of Vancouver should review their cultural spaces infrastructure grant program to ensure that Chinese seniors cultural groups have equal access to funding from the City, so that thousands of seniors do not have to show up at City Hall to advocate for a discounted 1200 sqft space in a private development in the future. 


2. Pursuing 100% Social Housing for 105 Keefer site (moved by Councillor Carr)

  • What is it about?
    • Motion proposes to direct City staff to explore purchase options for 105 Keefer site including the City advocating the new Provincial Government for funding
    • Motion proposes to develop the site as 100% social housing, especially for seniors
  • The Good
    • Government acquisition of the 105 Keefer site 
    • More seniors social housing in Chinatown
    • City advocating higher levels of government for social housing funding
  • The Issues
    • City should also advocate for Federal investment, not just Provincial investment
    • City should work with the community in a joint advocacy effort to advocate higher levels of government for social housing in Chinatown
    • Value of taxpayers' dollars towards quantity of social housing stock in Chinatown should be maximized. Instead of a single site-specific ask, there should be a holistic ask to higher-levels of government for investment into a seniors social housing programme for Chinatown that would include the potential of providing social housing on 105 Keefer site. A UBC study in 2015 found that 3300 units of social housing needed for Chinese seniors in the next 15 years (feasibility study report for the Province here) A comprehensive social housing programme is also necessary for Chinatown, because the incoming new zoning policy changes for the area does not currently have a public benefits funding strategy to achieve necessary public housing.
    • Government acquisition of the site and 100% social housing use could be separated into two different initiatives. It is necessary to consult the community-at-large for the use of the 105 Keefer site, providing that it could be acquired by the government.