Chinatown economic-revitalization action plan draws Sid Tan's criticism
Sid Tan is suspicious. The community organizer says he smelled “something really rotten going on” when he learned about a public workshop that is being organized by City of Vancouver planners for June 29 at the Floata Seafood Restaurant at 180 Keefer Street.
The event will see staff make presentations about a Chinatown economic-revitalization action plan that is still on the drawing board. For Tan, it’s another step in what he considers an unrelenting assault against poor people in the Downtown Eastside.
“They’re using Chinatown as a hammer to gentrify [the Downtown Eastside], to raise real-estate prices and force low-income people out,” Tan told the Straight in a phone interview.
Last April 19, the Vision Vancouver–controlled council voted to allow higher buildings in Chinatown despite concern by residents and anti-poverty advocates about the impacts of high-rise developments in the historic neighbourhood.
As a result, developers are now allowed to put up nine-storey buildings south of Pender Street, 12-storey structures in Chinatown South, and 15-storey towers along Main Street.
Online information put out by the city regarding its Chinatown revitalization program identifies “residential intensification” as a “key goal” in Vancouver’s vision for the neighbourhood. According to the city, one of the plan’s objectives is to come up with actions that can be implemented in one to two years to achieve “business retention, expansion and attraction”.
The Straight made a request with the city’s communications department to interview a staff member involved in this particular program but no one called before deadline.