The Gordie Award for the 2017 most puzzling planning work and process goes to the work occurring around Chinatown and the public process to have people heard. There is no doubt that this neighbourhood is not only one of the oldest in the city, it also has great historical and cultural context and is of national importance. This community has also suffered from great cultural bias and abject racism in Vancouver’s history. Price Tags Vancouver and noted journalist Daphne Bramham have been writing about the “deboning” of Chinatown. Retired Vancouver city planners have come back to speak out on how the City and its development wing has got this wrong from the original context agreed to by the community and by those city planners, and need to get back to the hard-earned principles about this place. This is not about spot condos~this is about how to maintain and strengthen a community that created Canada, and do the work right.
The most puzzling planning work and process also goes to how citizens of this community were treated at City Council’s public hearings, where people with a second language were required to have their translation time counted within the time alloted for an individual to speak. When the City sent out information that it was reviewing its public process after this embarrassing incident, it was noted that the information was only sent out in English, not in the other major languages used in this city. Every voice is important, and adds to the conversation. As reporter Ms. Daphne Bramham notes:
“Vancouver’s history is so recent that some of its retelling still hurts. But that is all the more reason this unique neighbourhood and community should be given the help it needs to survive and thrive.”