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Community members react to City allocating new funding to Chinatown’s recovery

The City of Edmonton announces $480K for Chinatown recovery. Hiba Kamal-Choufi spoke to a nearby restaurant and other community members about what this new fund means.

By Hiba Kamal-Choufi

Edmonton’s Chinatown community holds out hope for a safer and more vibrant neighborhood as the City of Edmonton announced a new fund. But community members say there’s a lot more to be done.

“I’d say it would help a lot and bring more people to Chinatown,” said Austion Lao, the assistant manager at China Marble restaurant.

Lau has been working at the Chinatown restaurant for three years. He says bringing more funds to Chinatown helps the community become a safer place.

“These events will bring more exposure to Chinatown. More foot traffic, more different kinds of people, not just Chinese people.”

Across from Austin’s restaurant, the City held a meeting with community members Tuesday afternoon announcing $480,000 to help Chinatown become safer and more vibrant.

“This grant is to help activate even the smallest projects- from events to festivities to allow people to have that creativity and empower them to do the things that often the larger grant application cannot,” explained Sandra Pon, the co-chair of the Chinatown Transformation Collaborative Society.

The historic neighbourhood has been affected by social disorder and crime in recent years. In May 2022, two men were attacked and killed in Chinatown. The shock of the crime spurred calls for change and began the process of the Chinatown recovery plan, which this fund is a part of.

“It’ll start to display that Chinatown welcomes you it’s and it’s safer,” said Jackson Ho, Chinatown Business Improvement Association.

Earlier this year, police tore down a number of encampments in Chinatown, a step community members say drove more business.

“This is a first step to improving Chinatown,” said Lao. “I’m hopeful for more change.”

Pon adding, “To make the area viable, you have to provide safety. The Chinatown Transformation Collaborative Society. People need to be engaged and be informed. We need more community involvement. Don’t be afraid to get together and get action.”

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