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Old Posted Nov 12, 2015, 9:07 PM
Spring2008 Spring2008 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lower Mount Royal, Calgary
Posts: 5,150
Chinatown BRZ

Good call:

Calgary's Chinatown becomes Business Revitalization Zone
Area still recovering from 2013 flood; needs fixing up to become destination for Calgarians and tourists
CBC News Posted: Nov 12, 2015 7:02 AM MT Last Updated: Nov 12, 2015 8:48 AM MT

Calgary Chinatown rebounds post-flood with street festival
More Calgarians eating, shopping downtown, poll finds
Calgary's Chinatown hopes for better fortunes in 2014
Chinatown is the latest Calgary neighbourhood to become a business revitalization zone (BRZ), to the delight of business owners in the area who say it's been a struggle since the 2013 flood.

Calgary Chinatown rebounds post-flood with street festival
The BRZ is a self-help program that lets commercial operators in a specific area jointly raise and administer funds to improve and promote their businesses, according to the city's website.

"Our business is going up right now, so pretty much it's OK, but it takes time to recover like all of our loss and stuff," said Mickie Chiu, owner of a shop, O'Cup, on Second Avenue S.E. That stretch of Chinatown was one of the hardest hit by the flood.

Chiu says running her business in Chinatown has also been challenging because parking is expensive during the week, and there are limited spaces available. She'd also like to see changes that would make the area safer for pedestrians.

Those who brought the BRZ application forward to city council say they want to make Chinatown a cultural hub for the local community and for visitors to the city.

Tourists wanted

"Any major city in Canada, whether it's Toronto or Montreal, has a Chinatown and you don't go to those cities without visiting Chinatown: Calgary needs to have that same destination point," said Terry Wong, one of the directors on the interim board for the BRZ.

While the parking and pedestrian access are key issues, Wong says the group will primarily aim to bolster the sense of community.-

"We have at least three if not four generations of culture here and we need to preserve that, not only for our kids but for people who are coming over from Hong Kong and China today."

Chiu said there's no other place she'd rather do business.

"For me, I'll create a business here because I speak the same language, [it's] more positive for me."

The official board will be selected by the end of December and will create a three year business plan and outline infrastructure target projects for Chinatown.
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Old Posted Nov 12, 2015, 9:24 PM
Chinook Arch's Avatar
Chinook Arch Chinook Arch is offline
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I saw that new building going up in Chinatown this past weekend, and I don't understand all the hate. The little dome on top is tacky, but the building is kinda cool.
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Old Posted May 20, 2016, 10:08 PM
Spring2008 Spring2008 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lower Mount Royal, Calgary
Posts: 5,150
Good points:


Parker: Chinatown's survival requires new development

The Music Man sang “there’s trouble in River City,” and in this city there’s trouble by the Bow River in the area we call Chinatown.

Hon Development wants to build a mixed-use complex on 3rd Avenue S.W. behind the three 28-storey Sun Life office towers and some fear the effect it would have on the historic area.

I have been somewhat involved with Chinatown since the 1960s, when it was a thriving cultural community.

In recent years I have become worried about its future, but not because of new development that I believe can be its saviour.

My concerns include the spread of Chinatown up Centre Street and further away from downtown. Parking problems have driven regular shoppers north to Lamda Oriental Foods and 100 Tops Supermarket north of the river, or even as far as the huge T&T Supermarket in Harvest Hills.

In Chinatown, I’ve noticed shuttered storefronts and the closing of restaurants. The Dragon City mall cannot today be classed as a purely Chinese retail complex.

And then there are its residents. Many are elderly and living in small apartments. Who will follow them? Certainly not their children who have become used to modern, spacious homes around the city.

Vacant lots have remained undeveloped for decades and their sale would be difficult given the challenges of selling new construction to the community.

Part of the problem is due to fear of change and how it will be handled.

City Hall has a checkered past in addressing Chinatown, including its forced relocation, encroachment of non-Chinese buildings like the Harry and Hays and Livingston Place, the 1970s battle to kill the idea of a freeway along the Bow River and a perceived lack of law enforcement and social services in the area.

Building in downtown Calgary is expensive and economically it is impossible to build low-rise structures. The burned-out buildings just before the Centre Street bridge still await redevelopment.

I have looked over plans for the proposed Hon development — run by a Chinese family whose record includes the building of the Guardian towers in Victoria Park — and I see space for new Asian-related shops that would bring more people into the district, along with services, restaurants and underground parking that would benefit existing retailers.

Towers of modern condominiums might entice some suburb-living Chinese couples back to Chinatown when they become empty nesters, helping to maintain the community’s ethnic pulse.

Ask a person in Vancouver where Chinatown is and they will probably answer Richmond. I’d like to see ours remain where it is, but needs new development to help preserve its character.

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