“In my almost nine years as Mayor, no issue or project has yielded such a passionate, emotional response as this rezoning application for 105 Keefer. The debate over what kind of development will take place at 105 Keefer has gone far beyond that specific site, at times becoming a debate over the future of Chinatown, how we build and strengthen neighbourhoods, and how we embrace and integrate our heritage and history with modern development. This has been a very difficult decision.
The Beedie group put significant effort into this project over the years with the City and community to address concerns about the proposal, and went to extraordinary lengths to adjust and revise the project based on public and community feedback. Yet, Council heard overwhelming opposition from several generations of Vancouver residents on the rezoning for 105 Keefer, and concern about how to manage Chinatown’s pace of change. For that reason, I voted “no” to this rezoning proposal.
During this public hearing process, I clearly heard anxiety but also excitement for new opportunities for Chinatown’s future – a neighbourhood in transition today. Like all neighbourhoods, Chinatown will continue to change and evolve, and the public debate and dialogue will continue.
Moving forward, I urge us all to focus on what unites us on Chinatown: the need for local-serving retail, the imperative for upgrading heritage buildings, the necessity for accessible spaces for seniors. We have an extraordinary opportunity with a both a new BC government and a federal government that have expressed interest in investing and supporting culture and affordable housing, and an energized community excited about shaping Chinatown’s future. Let’s use that momentum for the greater good of an extraordinary neighbourhood."