Renewed hope for Chinatown

Six months ago Albert Leung was forced to leave after the Bow on Tong building in Chinatown he was living in was deemed unsafe. He now lives in the Chinese Free Mason’s building three doors down. But Leung is one step closer to moving back to his home. Lethbridge City Council met on Monday and gave first reading to bylaws that would designate the Manie Opera house and the Bow On Tong building’s in Chinatown as municipal historic resource.

“The importance of the designation is it opens the channels to some provincial planning so that on a matching basis can be raised to pay for some of the more expensive repairs,” said George Kuhl, Downtown Revitalization Manager for the city of Lethbridge.

This would allow provincial grants towards the restoration that would help Albert financially.

“This is going to be a long process because of the situation of Albert who owns these buildings so we have to do some creative things because every cent that we can get provincially is matched. It will have to be matched at local level. Albert does not have a lot of funds at his disposal,” said Ted Stilson, the executive director of the downtown BRZ.

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While Albert may be the last man in Chinatown he doesn’t plan on leaving without the legacy of his family restored.

Save Chinatown Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Historical society are also presenting an evening benefit to raise funds for the restoration of the Bow on Tong and Manie Opera society buildings on February 8th. Tickets for the event can be purchased through the city of Lethbridge’s box office.

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