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Vancouver Chinatown shops want pandemic relief, look to neighbours for help

Last Updated May 19, 2021 at 10:26 pm PDT

(Photo by Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

Tourist hot spots will be getting some financial relief, but smaller scale attractions are still asking for help

Chinatown Business Improvement Association says the community doesn't see enough visitors to qualify for the new funding

BIA wants to team up with Gastown, Downtown business associations to push all governments to do more

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — With the $50 million B.C. has earmarked for the most popular tourist attractions, the Chinatown Business Improvement Association hopes some of the money will come its way.

Syrrus Lee with the CBIA says they likely won’t get enough visitors to qualify for funding announced Tuesday, so he’d like to team up with Gastown and Downtown businesses to push for more help.

“We have to stick together, because it’s a lot more powerful to deal with the three levels of the government, especially Downtown, because Downtown is a big area,” he says.

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Lee says the Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Garden might qualify for grant money — but that’s not enough to bring people back to Chinatown.

“I hope they open it up, because a lot of the merchants are suffering on this too long. It’s over one and a half years. And we probably look at another six months to nine months before we can pick up the business again. And then we need a lot of funding for marketing, hopefully, to attract more people to come back to Chinatown.”

Since business in the area is suffering, Lee says funding needs to come through sooner rather than later to attract locals and eventually tourists.

“I think three levels of governments should help, especially Chinatown, because right now, there’s a lot of vacancy, and we hope to bring back more people to open businesses later when COVID-19 is over,” he says.

“We need a lot of work to do because it’s catch-up time.”