Save Chinatown from demolition!

Issue Overview

The City of Vancouver wants to rezone all of Chinatown to clear the historic area for a “freeway of condos”. If this proposal passes, it could mean the end of Chinatown.

Background Documents

What does the City want to do?

The Good
  1. Limits to density, height and number of floors
  2. New use limits for new developments
  3. Consideration of Heritage Conservation Area designation (a district with special heritage value or character identified for conservation purposes in an official community plan)
The Bad
  1. Gut public hearings to allow for a “freeway of condos”: Developments proposed in Inclusionary Zoning Areas (IZA) in Chinatown will no longer be required to go through City Council public hearings as long as they meet minimum requirements. Unlike other neighbourhoods in Vancouver, future developments in IZAs will not be given due process by City Council. This policy will silence citizens from their democratic right to help shape the livability of their neighbourhood – essentially paving a “freeway of condos” in Chinatown.
  2. Allow lot consolidation for future 200ft “Walmart” stores: Few companies can fill in 200ft sites and Walmart is one of them. Walmart swooped into LA’s Chinatown killing off affordable green grocers, then left the community dry when they closed it. In our Chinatown, the last affordable and culturally appropriate green grocers and food services are concentrated in the areas where the City wants to allow for lot consolidation for 200ft site frontages. This policy will wipe out food security for the most vulnerable low income residents in Vancouver and destroy the face of Chinatown. We need to stop lot consolidation and demand the City incentivize developers to build affordable small-lot developments that fit the character of Chinatown.
  3. Automatic maximum building height allowance to 150 ft on Main St for more luxury penthouses: What use is a few units of seniors housing in a low-income neighbourhood when $1M luxury condos brings in $5 lattes and grocery stores more expensive than Whole Foods? The City of Vancouver proposes to grant developers automatic height increases to 150ft in the Main St Inclusionary Zoning Area. Instead of actually solving the housing affordability crisis for one of the lowest income neighbourhood, the City wants to accelerate the building of million dollar condos. Social housing should be a requirement minimum for all new developments, not just voluntary when developers want to build more luxury condos.
The Needed
  1. No lot assemblies, but incentives for affordable small-lot developments
  2. Simplified zoning, but with strong design guidelines and public due process
  3. Mandatory social housing development, not voluntary through rezoning
  4. Rental housing protection policies, not transient uses like executive rentals and hotels
  5. Small business and heritage business protection
  6. Alternative economic revitalization tools that are not just development, and City-led community task forces to lead the charge
  7. Support for a Community Land Trust for Chinatown to let community steward real estate

and many more suggestions on the letter generator.

We can stop the City of Vancouver from destroying Chinatown if we all speak up. In the 60’s, the community stopped the freeway from ramming through Chinatown. Now it’s our turn to stop the “freeway of condos” from doing the same.

Speak up. We’re counting on you.