Ken Sim’s plan for Chinatown includes improving safety, increasing tourism, and tackling graffiti

By Cole Schisler and Emily Marsten

Vancouver’s mayor-elect Ken Sim says big changes are coming to Vancouver’s Chinatown.

Sim says he plans to revitalize and improve the safety of the neighbourhood.

During the election, the Chinatown Business Improvement Association (BIA) called for changes to City Hall, including a greater focus on addressing crime and revitalizing the community.

“We’ve been ringing the alarm bells for the last three years, talking about social disorder, graffiti, anti-Asian racism attacks…in Chinatown, and really with very little response,” BIA President Jordan Eng told OMNI News.

One part of Sim’s plan includes tackling the amount of graffiti in the area by bringing in a trained police officer.

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Sim says he plans on, “hiring back a graffiti police officer, one that specializes in understanding how graffiti works, who the taggers are and so we can start addressing the graffiti issue in Chinatown.”

Additionally, Sim says he also has plans to encourage people to spend time in Chinatown by bringing in free parking and creating a rebate for business owners to design their own signs.

“We are 100 per cent committed to promoting the area and making it easier for the community to promote the area as well,” Sim said.

This comes after business owners in Chinatown expressed their worries that tourists wouldn’t feel comfortable visiting the area due to crime reports.

“So if we provide free parking for, let’s say the first hour, people will come in, they’ll go there, they’ll support our local Chinese businesses,” Sim explained.

“And then they’ll leave, because on the second hour, now you have to pay. And so it’s a great way of coming in and out,” Sim added.

The mayor-elect says that in addition to these steps, he also plans on personally spending time in the area by putting a City of Vancouver office in Chinatown where residents can be heard.

“The third thing we’re going to do, which is actually very important as well, is we’re going to put a city of Vancouver office in Chinatown, where not only myself, but counselors will be going down there on a regular basis to show support to Chinatown,” he said.

-With files from Dean Recksiedler and Hana Mae Nassar

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