Gateway to Edmonton’s Chinatown being moved to make room for Valley Line LRT
Situated at the intersection of 102 Avenue and 97 Street, the Harbin Gate has been a part of downtown Edmonton for the past three decades.
Work is slated to begin this week on moving the ornate structure to a city storage facility, to make room for construction on the Valley Line LRT. As for what happens to it after that, the matter remains shrouded in uncertainty.
“If we can determine a future site, then we have to determine the engineering aspect of it,” said Michael Lee, board chairman for the Chinese Benevolent Association of Edmonton (CBAE).
Lee was there when the gate was unveiled years ago and again today. He is part of a group that will decide its fate. The CBAE has been working closely with the city on the matter.
“There’s still a long ways to go before we can say for sure what kind of new gate we can have, but we are sure that a new gate will come up again,” he said Sunday.
The materials for the gate were a gift from Edmonton’s sister city Harbin, China.
Crews are expected to begin the process by removing the lions and decorative elements. Then the main structure will be dismantled into three parts. The sheer size of the gate makes it impossible for crews to transport it whole.
TransEd will be tackling the move. They are looking to have it completed by April.
“We have been in touch with the Chinese community, particularly on 102 Avenue and so I hope that they feel confident that we are able to move the structure carefully,” said Sue Heuman, communications manager with TransEd.
Ward 6 councillor Scott McKeen believes it is incumbent upon the city to act.
“We’re duty-bound to put the Harbin Gate back up. I think our responsibility is not just to our sister city, but to history and to our Chinese community,” he said.
Michael Lee has a couple of potential relocation sites in mind. One would be at the intersection of Jasper Avenue and 97 Street. The other would be at 104 Avenue and 97 Street.
“It may not even be this particular gate at the time, depending on how structurally sound it would be when it’s taken down,” Lee acknowledged.
Drivers who typically frequent the area will need to find alternate routes. 102 Avenue will be down to one lane eastbound between 95 Street and 97 Street.
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