Calgary’s Chinatown and The City creating first cultural plan and new planning policy together
Take our online survey, your voice matters
One of Calgary’s most culturally distinct and unique neighbourhoods, Chinatown, is getting its first-ever cultural plan that will influence planning policy and a new Local Area Plan (LAP). Calgarians are being asked to take part in an online survey and tell us how they feel about this important community.
Alice Lam is a member of the Tomorrow’s Chinatown Advisory Group and an avid community volunteer who has been giving walking tours of Chinatown for more than four years. “Chinatown is a very inclusive place for new Canadians, it’s been that place for the past 110 years.” She says this project is one of a kind for the city. “I hope it brings a greater number of Calgarians to Chinatown and helps people understand their voice is important and matters.”
A video has been created with citizens sharing their memories and hopes for Chinatown and encourages citizens take an online survey and share what they think about Chinatown. The survey closes Sept. 13, 2020 and the results will be used to help create a cultural plan and LAP that will be shared in 2021.
“Tomorrow’s Chinatown is a ground-breaking and important project to help ensure that Chinatown is as a vibrant, culturally-rich place to live, visit, work, and do business for generations to come,” says Fazeel Elahi, Co-Lead for Tomorrow’s Chinatown. “We hope a lot of citizens will take our online survey – citizens who are connected to Chinatown and those who don’t feel connected, we want to hear from everyone.”
The Chinatown Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) is now more than 30 years old. When the ARP was approved in 1986, the role of community character and culture were not well-represented. And in recent years, discussion over high-rise development in Chinatown led Calgary City Council in 2018 to direct the development of the first cultural plan for Chinatown and integration of cultural considerations into a new LAP.
An advisory group made up of 25 community leaders, including Alice, are volunteering their time to collaborate and advise The City’s project team. They have been meeting since the end of June.
“I am passionate about Chinatown,” says Terry Wong, a member of the Advisory Group and the Executive Director of the Chinatown Business Improvement Area. After growing up in Vancouver’s Chinatown and then living in Calgary for more than 25 years, Terry wants to make sure Calgary’s Chinatown does not face the same demise that occurred there. “I want to see Chinatown as a vibrant place for everyone; for residents, property owners, investors, businesses and visitors. One Chinatown for everyone.”
Terry is in the video and shares that Chinatown really means community to him. Other people describe Chinatown as the heart of the local Asian community, a place for family, for arts, entertainment and food, and a place where citizens can feel connected and that they belong.