Chinatown groups support viaduct removal 0
BC Place parkade and Georgia Viaduct. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
Prominent groups within the Chinese community have thrown their support behind the proposed removal of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, as long as they’re consulted about the progress on a regular basis.
About 50 representatives from Chinese societies, businesses and residents of Chinatown, as well as City of Vancouver officials and councillors, packed the meeting hall at Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden to discuss the viaduct issue.
The meeting, organized by the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver, marked the first time the community had come together to talk about the plan.
“The Chinatown community should attach more importance to this proposal,” the association’s Jun Ing said.
Vancouver Chinatown Foundation representative Wally Chung expressed his hope for the demise of “Vancouver’s Great Wall of China,” noting it has had a negative impact “both commercially and socially” on the neighborhood.
Other organizations agreed the removal would improve business in Chinatown with many looking forward to having more residential and office facilities, more park space on vacant land and better access to False Creek.
“It would bring new life and investment to Chinatown,” Shirley Chan of Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Society said.
A few speakers cited increased traffic as a potential issue and called for more analysis. The general feeling of the meeting, however, was positive for city planners, as long as they engaged the community and consulted them throughout the planning process.
Brian Jackson, the city’s general manager of planning and development, made a brief presentation on how the viaducts removal would benefit Chinatown.
He evoked laughter when he told the audience, “You only need to support this project by saying four simple words,” before speaking in Cantonese and Mandarin: “Take down this wall.”