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Contentious Chinatown development application rejected

Last Updated Jun 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm PDT

Opponents of the Keefer 105 development. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130, Photo)
Summary

The proposal for 105 Keefer Street was voted down 8 to 3

Mayor Gregor Robertson voted against the application, says it was a passionate, emotional issue for community

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Vancouver City Council has rejected an application for rezoning that would have seen a contentious 12-storey condo built in Chinatown.

The proposal for 105 Keefer Street and 544 Columbia Street was voted down 8 to 3.

There had been multiple revisions to plans for the apartment building, which was planned to go up next to the Chinese-Canadian memorial.

Opponents had been worried the new building would affect the identity of Chinatown. They had circulated petitions to have the proposal shot down and held protests to share their concerns.

Cheering and applauding, the Chinatown Concern Group is claiming victory for low-income residents and community groups.

“We commend Vancouver City Council for choosing the side of Chinatown’s low-income residents over corporate profit, but the fight is not over. There is a housing crisis for Chinese seniors and other low-income people in the neighbourhood, and we are unwavering in our demand that this site can only be used to meet the pressing needs of our community,” Beverly Ho, CCG Organizer, says.

Chinatown Action Group’s Sophie Fung says the no vote is a big win.

“We look forward to working with all three levels of government to get the demands that they’ve requested for 100 per cent social housing and community space that is public, available and free to all of the community members.”

Mayor Gregor Robertson said he was voting against the development because of opposition from community members.

“In my almost nine years as Mayor, no issue or project has yielded such a passionate, emotional response as this rezoning application for 105 Keefer,” he says in a statement.

“The debate over what kind of development will take place at 105 Keefer has gone far beyond that specific site, at times becoming a debate over the future of Chinatown, how we build and strengthen neighbourhoods, and how we embrace and integrate our heritage and history with modern development. This has been a very difficult decision”

“The Beedie group put significant effort into this project over the years with the City and community to address concerns about the proposal, and went to extraordinary lengths to adjust and revise the project based on public and community feedback. Yet, Council heard overwhelming opposition from several generations of Vancouver residents on the rezoning for 105 Keefer, and concern about how to manage Chinatown’s pace of change.  For that reason, I voted “no” to this rezoning proposal.”

 

 

Beedie Development Group representative Houtan Rafii says they’re disappointed.

“We respect Council’s decision, there was misinformation, but that’s OK.”

He says they don’t yet know what they plan to do next.

Beedie had previously claimed there were incidents of bullying, intimidation and misinformation by opponents of the project.