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DNC Chinatown Heights Fight at City Hall

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For Immediate Release
April 5, 2011


VANCOUVER: Chinatown and Downtown Eastside residents took over city
council chambers for a concert to kick off the second session of
public hearings about raising condo heights in Chinatown.

Founder and director of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council
and also national Chairman of the Chinese Canadian National Council
Sid Tan said, “Dropping expensive condos on Chinatown will have a
devastating impact on the low-income Chinese culture of our home, we
don’t think the mayor understands that. Chinatown and the Downtown
Eastside is the most diverse neighbourhood in the city, and it is rich
with music.”

The community concert at city hall highlighted this diversity with
local singers Dalannah Gail Bowen, Roseanne Gervais, Sean Gunn, and
Rick Lavaille. Musicians and organizers called for the cultural unity
practiced everyday within DTES arts to be taken up by city council and
make Chinatown part of the DTES local area planning process.

Sid Tan was also at the March 17th public hearing. He said he was
worried about some councilors’ attitudes about the hearing, “At the
hearing on March 17th I felt like the city councilors were not really
listening to our speakers. Councilors are legally required to come to
public hearings with an open mind, but from the beginning of the
hearing it felt to many of us like their minds were made up. In
council chambers it feels like the fix is in.”

Harold Lavender, DNC board member and Chinatown resident, said, “We
have to come out and rally in council chambers because if City
Councilors can’t hear us as individuals, they have to see that a
community of people stand behind the words of each speaker. We need
social housing not condo towers.”

Sid Tan appealed again to the advocates of the heights increases,
“Today we are extending our hand to invite the Chinatown clan,
cultural, and family associations to join with to preserve the living
community of Chinatown. Together, and only together, can we protect
the low-income Chinatown community from the negative effects of

To end the concert Tan read the Chinatown and DTES community letter
that has been endorsed by 37 organizations and 9 Chinatown and DTES
businesses and signed by over 1,000 Chinatown residents and shoppers.
The letter calls for city council to:

·      Replace all Chinatown SROs with social housing for all current
residents, especially Chinese seniors, singles and families; and

·      Make Chinatown part of the Local Area Plan (LAP) and actively
involve low-income residents of Chinatown in the LAP committee; and

·      Vote against adding any new density for condos within the
Downtown Eastside, including Chinatown until the assets and tenure of
low-income residents are secured and until the Social Impact Study and
DTES Strategy are complete.

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