Controversial Chinatown condo project to be reconsidered

By Astrid Agbayani and Cole Schisler

The B.C. Supreme Court has ordered the City of Vancouver to reconsider a controversial condo project in Chinatown.

In 2017, a nine-story building proposal by Beedie Holdings, at the intersection of Keefer and Columbia Streets, was denied.

The denial came after residents of the neighbourhood spoke out against the project in public hearings and open houses, saying the project didn’t keep with the form and character of Chinatown.

Locals also feared the development would raise housing prices and push out residents.

Ultimately, the city rejected the developer’s proposal after concluding that the design failed to meet the historic neighbourhood’s needs.

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The developer took the city to court in 2019, alleging that the city’s development permit board acted in bad faith and bowed to political pressure.

According to Beedie Holdings, the city had approved similar development projects in Chinatown.

Five years later, the B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jan Brongers rejected Beedie’s allegations, but found that the board didn’t provide adequate reasons to reject the proposal.

“I do find that the Board’s reasons for decision are inadequate, particularly given its highly unusual conclusion that Beedie’s application warrants being wholly rejected.”

The board has been ordered to reconsider the project as soon as it reasonably can.

Heritage Vancouver previously placed Chinatown third on its list of ten most endangered sites in the city.

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