Commercial Heritage Properties Incentive Fund Program

Hon. John Baird
Environment Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Baird,

Re: Commercial Heritage Properties Incentive Fund Program

I am writing to urge you to re-establish the successful Commercial Heritage Properties Incentive Fund Program (CHPIF) to assist owners of heritage buildings with grants for rehabilitation and upgrading.

The program is critical to assisting owners in the historic Chinatown and Gastown communities in the heart of Vancouver, where much of Vancouver's early history lies.

I have long lobbied for and supported the use of CHPI funds, for example in the Chinatown Re-vitalization Program undertaken by the Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee and the City of Vancouver.

I understand new applications were closed last September, and although six applications are in process, no funds have been committed. There are a number of historic clan societies in Chinatown that have made a strong commitment to preserve and re-establish their historic buildings, with the support of the City of Vancouver. But they cannot do it alone, and need assurance that the CHPIF program will remain as a viable, flexible and supportive funding opportunity.

Giving new life to these important and unique buildings is critical environmentally, culturally, and economically.

I am most concerned that this important fund is being eliminated or severely limited, and ask you to review your priorities to ensure there is sustained and adequate funding for these important buildings.

Sincerely,
Libby Davies
Libby Davies, MP
Vancouver East

cc. Mayor and Council, City of Vancouver

This Open Letter to Ministers & Public Officials was posted on July 5, 2007