Protestors gathered together on Friday to rally against proposed bylaw changes which they believe will erode Chinatown’s heritage and history.
City council will be debating the controversial issue at City Hall on Monday.
If approved, the bylaw changes would alter the density and land-use designation in Chinatown’s Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), effectively paving the way for the construction of a 27-storey building which would be almost double current height restrictions.
The building would be constructed on a parcel of land which is now a parking lot on 3 Avenue S.W. and 1 Street S.W.
Opponents argue the project is too tall for the area just north of Calgary’s downtown core.
“We have height that is four to six stories,” said Terry Wong of the Chinatown BRZ. “This will impose a 30-storey tower, which is five times more than any Chinatown has.”
However, the project’s design architect claims the mixed-use project would revitalize the community and include residential, commercial and retail space.
“It will bring a lot of development into Chinatown, which has not seen any development in the last 30 years,” Manu Chugh said. “It will bring more people into Chinatown.”
The project was originally up for discussion by city councillors in April, but council decided to delay a decision until they had heard from community members and area stakeholders. The City of Calgary then began seeking public input on Chinatown’s future in July.
“The bylaw amendments are a concern because they are developer-driven and are potentially not in the best interests of Chinatown,” a statement on the I Love YYC Chinatown website reads. “In addition, these bylaws have been proposed without adequate community engagement or due process.”
A news release said the rally was being held to “ensure that Chinatown’s unique place as a cultural jewel in Calgary is preserved.”