Working to promote economic development
and community safety in Chinatown.
Below are 8 proposals that the federal government can play a key role in:
1) Expand the federal government's Commercial Heritage Properties Incentive Fund (CHPIF). This program has great potential to help preserve heritage properties in the downtown core but is not adequately funded. The yearly budget for this important initiative is just $10 million - for all of Canada. The maximum allowable grant is $1 million, which means just 10 maximum grants would wipe out the yearly budget. The CHPIF budget should be increased.
2) Preserving "family rooms": Many privately owned buildings in Chinatown are owned by family associations and have family rooms as part of the family's commitment to preserving their heritage. The federal government should contribute by assisting family associations to meet fire code bylaws. The inability to conform to fire codes has created great difficulties for many family rooms.
3) Facade grants: Many owners of heritage buildings may not be able to undertake complete renovation of their buildings but would be interested in preserving and repairing their facades in the interim. The preservation of heritage building facades would not only protect buildings, but would also help to maintain the distinct appearance of Chinatown. The City of Vancouver has a new program for facade grants but its budget, at $350,000, is extremely limited. The federal government should make the program more successful by contributing to this fund.
4) Reinstate the federal government's affordable housing program. A 10-year national housing program to build 200,000 affordable and co-op housing units and renovate 100,000 units across the country. This would include homes for seniors, people with disabilities, and students. This program would help to ensure there is more affordable housing for seniors and families in the Chinatown area.
5) Work to establish a Centre for Chinese Canadian Studies in Chinatown. The federal government should work with the community, different levels of government and local universities to create a Centre for Chinese Canadian Studies in Chinatown. The centre would prove to be a magnet to bring in students, boost economic development and become a showcase for heritage materials.
6) More federal support for cultural events: These positive events - parades, festivals, concerts- are family-oriented events. They have the potential to bring new visitors into Chinatown and help establish its reputation as a safe and exciting venue for other Vancouverites and tourists.
7) Sharing half the federal gas tax with municipalities: Canadian communities are facing challenges in meeting their needs. Sharing revenues from the gas tax would allow municipalities to properly fund infrastructure needs like public transit. Residents and visitors to Chinatown would benefit from an improved and expanded public transit system.
8) Working to ensure our community is safe for everyone: Chinatown needs more community police resources and expanded treatment programs to reduce the number of drug-users. Chinatown needs to be a safe place to live work and visit