The B.C. government and the City of Vancouver are working together to identify ways to help seniors while sustaining Chinatown’s heritage for future generations.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed by both parties, the Province of British Columbia is contributing $45,000 towards the development of a Vancouver Chinatown Seniors Housing Feasibility Study, an important component of the Vancouver Chinatown Society Legacy Project.
The study will explore the business case for seniors housing and inter-generational programming as part of the City of Vancouver’s Chinatown Revitalization Strategy.
It will also assess any barriers to using buildings owned by benevolent associations and clan societies for seniors’ housing and services. Under consideration are factors such as physical mobility and culturally appropriate quality of life services like accessibility to affordable shopping, dining, and social space.
The final report is expected to recommend strategies that outline costs, benefits, risks, strategic opportunities and potential partners for providing seniors housing in Chinatown.
Meanwhile, HeritageBC is launching a project that complements this MOU by identifying Vancouver Chinatown’s intangible heritage and cultural values that are more difficult to define, such as folklore, traditions, language and knowledge. Identifying its intangible heritage values is an important step in ensuring that all the aspects of what makes Vancouver Chinatown special, unique, and culturally significant to the City of Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia, and Canada as a whole, are promoted and celebrated.
This work is part of eight legacy initiative projects stemming from the Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report and Recommendations.
The B.C. government is also providing funding to the University of Victoria’s department of History to develop a provincewide inventory of existing historic buildings owned by Chinese Canadian clan associations and societies which historically played a vital role in addressing the social, political and financial needs of early Chinese Canadians.
Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism Teresa Wat –
“The community has identified a need for all generations to have opportunities to live, work and play in Vancouver’s Chinatown. As people age they can feel socially isolated, so this study will explore potential roles benevolent associations and clan societies in easing that isolation, helping seniors lead fulfilling lives, and improving access to affordable housing.”
Darryl Plecas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Seniors –
“I am very pleased that the needs of seniors are at the forefront of the planning process in this revitalization. Seniors are integral to building intergenerational connections that strengthen the cultural bonds in a community.”
Mayor Gregor Robertson, City of Vancouver –
“Building on Vancouver’s Chinatown Economic Revitalization Strategy, the Chinatown Seniors’ Housing Feasibility Study is an important part of our work together to preserve heritage Chinese society buildings and the social and cultural benefits they provide. Along with providing much-needed affordable housing to seniors in the community, the buildings also play a crucial role in supporting Chinatown’s unique heritage and contributing to the revitalization of Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside.”
- The Vancouver Chinatown Society Legacy Project involves evaluating appropriate uses for heritage buildings in Vancouver’s Chinatown in context of the community’s aspirations and real business constraints.
- The Legacy Initiative Advisory Council has advised that the best way to do this is to work closely with the City of Vancouver in its Chinatown revitalization project.
- Chinese benevolent associations and clan societies are found in almost every overseas Chinese society and were traditionally formed on the basis of home town, kinship, dialect or occupation.
- Their roles in B.C. include addressing the social and cultural needs of Chinese immigrants, acting as advocates and providing opportunities to network and socialize.
For more information about the legacy projects: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/our-history/chinese-legacy-bc
View the Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report and Recommendations: www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/downloads/Chinese_Consultation.pdf
Learn more about Vancouver’s Chinatown revitalization project: http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/chinatown-revitalization.aspx
For more information on the HeritageBC Project: http://www.heritagebc.ca/blog?articleid=176