July 11, 2018 5:04 am

New height limits in Vancouver’s Chinatown approved by city council

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A clearer picture of Chinatown’s future is being painted after Vancouver city council voted to limit the height and width of new buildings on Pender Street.

Chinatown Society Heritage Building Association President Fred Mah is applauding the approved changes.

READ MORE: Proposal for new height limits in Chinatown goes to vote Tuesday

He said it means that the community can now apply for heritage status.

“[It will] protect the architectural base and also the shopping as well,” he said.

“Chinatown used to be all 25 feet maximum, 50 feet frontage… but now with the new developments, none of them [are] actually appropriate for Chinatown.”

READ MORE: City of Vancouver proposes new height limits for Chinatown developments

Council has also approved more flexibility around residential use in buildings under 70 feet tall.

But NPA Councillor Melissa De Genova voted against the proposal, saying she’s concerned that businesses will be run out by high property taxes.

She believes that more community consultation is needed.

“We need to listen to them, we need to consult with them… in a down-zoning of an entire neighbourhood, we’re going to see less social housing for Chinese seniors,” she said.

READ MORE: Developers urge Vancouver to press ‘pause’ on Chinatown zoning changes

She said the UNESCO heritage status would be great, but she’s not sure that Chinatown will get it.

“If we don’t look at what the incentives are to keep these businesses there, to allow all types of people to live in Chinatown, those from low income to market, then what we’re going to see is Chinatown will become a ghost town before we’re able to secure UNESCO world heritage status.”

De Genova said she’s also concerned that rental prices are going to skyrocket.

“As we’d heard from our planners, the rents will be comparative to those in Kerrisdale… I simply couldn’t support that.”

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