Reject 105 Keefer Development Permit Application

Issue Overview

UPDATE: Beedie's 105 Keefer Development Application was rejected by the Development Permit Board on Nov 6, 2017. Thank you for your support!

Beedie Development has come back and submitted a Development Permit (DP) application for 105 Keefer. This is a 9-storey mixed-use building with 111 residential units. 


Beedie won't stop. We shouldn't either. Beedie snuck in this DP application during the summer before the new Chinatown-wide zoning policies proposed by the City of Vancouver were finalized. A gentrifying condo development created by developer with no respect for the community has no place in Chinatown.

Further, 105 Keefer is a culturally sensitive gateway site to Chinatown that can be much more than what Beedie proposed. Vancouver's Chinatown is the only Chinatown in North America with a culturally-unique site like 105 Keefer that is surrounded by significant cultural assets (Veterans' Memorial Plaza and Monument, Chinese Cultural Centre, Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens, Historic Pender). We need to demand better.

Unlike a rezoning, the DP application will be reviewed by the Development Permit Board and the Director of Planning instead of City Council. For more information about the DP process, click here.

Background Documents

105 Keefer Development Permit Application and City Committees review comments

Zoning Policies for Chinatown (HA-1A area)

Development Permit Board process

News Coverage

Why you should reject the 105 Keefer development application:

  1. Buidling violates "contextual development" requirements and intent in zoning bylaws and guidelines - The development does not fit the Chinatown HA-1A zoning policies’ requirements and design guidelines that wants to “achieve ‘contextual’ new development” that “is responsive to the Chinatown community’s established cultural and historic identity.” 105 Keefer does not fit the physical, economical, social, cultural or historical context of Chinatown and the site's immediate surroundings. The following points below illustrate the lack of context fit.
  2. Building violates current zoning policies for retail frontage size – According to HA-1A District Schedule 4.2.2 (pg 6), the max frontage for any use is 7.6m or 25ft. Beedie's application proposes a corner retail space with a shopfront of 44ft along Columbia St (Ground Floor Plan).
  3. Building violates new Chinatown zoning policies proposed by the City of Vancouver with input from the community-at-large
    1. Site frontage size exceeds maximum size proposed – Beedie's proposed site frontage size of 121ft and 149ft based on a lot consolidation of two lots, but the City is recommending a new maximum of 75ft or of existing lots. This violates the key City of Vancouver recommendation that "New buildings should be smaller, built on narrow lots with smaller storefronts".
    2. Density exceeds maximum density proposed – Beedie's proposed Floor Space Ratio (FSR) is 6.5, while the City is recommending a new maximum of 5.35.
    3. Number of storeys exceeds maximum number proposed - Beedie proposed a 9-storey building, while the City is recommending a new maximum of 8 storeys for new buildings.
    4. Second floor use doesn't meet City's recommendation - Beedie proposed market condos for the second floor, while the City is recommends commercial or social housing instead.
  4. Architecturally unfit
    1. The red boxes on top of the building stick out like a sore thumb. Painting something red does not make it "culturally sensitive" or acceptable. (Comment from Urban Design Panel)
    2. The glass condo units to do not fit the character of the rest of the building or Chinatown. (Comment from Urban Design Panel)
    3. The bland colours do not fit the vibrancy of Chinatown's architectural character. (Comment from Urban Design Panel)
    4. Lack of fine-grain architecture that is the character of Chinatown (Comment from the Chinatown Historic Area Planning Advisory Committee)
  5. Unaffordable for locals – Its proposed market housing will perpetuate affordability crisis in Vancouver in one of the lowest income areas in Vancouver. No rental-specific units or seniors housing was proposed.
  6. Economic displacement – It will economically displace Vancouver’s most vulnerable citizens and the affordable, culturally appropriate businesses they depend on.
  7. Inappropriate use of culturally sensitive site – It is located on the Keefer Triangle, the most culturally sensitive area in a neighborhood named #2 on National Trust for Canada Top 10 Most Endangered Sites in 2016. There are better opportunities for this Chinatown gateway site than 111 condos.
  8. Chinese Veterans' and Railway Workers' Memorial Plaza should not be used as a private front yard for condos
  9. Insufficient cultural space – The 1200ft cultural space is insufficient for the 3000 seniors from the cultural groups that want to use it. The square footage will be further reduced if the space is properly outfitted for cultural uses.
  10. Gentrifying commercial retail and restaurants that will be culturally inappropriate – New buildings in Chinatown have all leased to gentrifying retail and restaurants that are culturally inappropriate to the area leading to alienation of low-income families, seniors and tourists. 105 Keefer as a gateway site to Chinatown is an opportunity for culturally-appropriate uses for Chinatown revitalization. Beedie's proposal for 105 Keefer doesn't protect against gentrifying commercial uses. We don't need more hipster bars and cafes there.
  11. Public art proprosed needs to go through the public art process – Beedie is planning to install public art in one area of the site on their building. The City of Vancouver has a public art process that they should go through. Beedie should not get an exception.