Our Impact on the Local Economy
In the 1990s, the Chinatown business community, through the Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association (VCMA), began to search for an effective vehicle to fund and implement projects to revitalize the area. Other areas, such as Gastown and Downtown Vancouver had formed Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) to revitalize, with visible success. With the consent and support of the merchants and the property owners in the area, Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association planned to establish the BIA in the Chinatown sub area.
After several attempts in the 1990s, the VCMA succeeded in obtaining the business and property-owner support required to establish the Vancouver Chinatown BIA Society which incorporated in 2000. The VCBIA is modeled after successful BIAs in other sub areas of Vancouver and mandated to benefit Chinatown’s business prosperity.
VCBIA’s focus is on improving the safety & cleanliness, promotions & events, and working with partners to continuously improve Chinatown. We welcome any and all efforts to improve our public realm and engagement in our community.
What is a BIA?
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a non-profit association of commercial property owners and business tenants who join together to promote and improve the economic vitality of their business district. The City assists by helping the merchants and landlords to form BIAs. Once a BIA is formed, it is managed by a volunteer board comprised of property owners and business tenants. BIA funds are used for staff wages and implement BIA activities. The City has a continuing role assisting with contacts between the BIA and City departments, facilitating the annual funding process, and monitoring BIA budgets. BIAs obtain funding through property tax, much like a Local Improvement Levy. Each property owner’s share of the annual BIA budget is proportionate to their share of the total taxable value within the BIA boundaries.
Board of Directors
The Vancouver Chinatown BIA volunteer Board of Directors is comprised of duly elected members from our local business and property owners’ community. Board members donate a considerable amount of time and effort working on your behalf, at the board and committee level, as well as direct BIA funds to hire staff and implement BIA activities.
Working with the City of Vancouver’s BIA Program Coordinator, and adhering to BIA best practices, the Vancouver Chinatown BIA Board of Directors, have implemented a Code of Conduct Policy in 2019 which all board members have signed.
The Board of Directors for 2020-2021:
Jordan Eng – President
David Walker – Vice-President
Syrus Lee – Vice-President
Edmund Ma – Treasurer
John Bal – Operations Officer
Chris Chan – Director
Henry Tom – Director
Michael Ng – Director
Raymond Tam – Director
Charmaine Yip – Executive Director
Trevor Mah – Programs Coordinator
Mandate & Mission
encourage and promote business in the Chinatown Business Improvement Area;
TO RESEARCH & REPORT
studies of, and advance any project, plan, or improvement designed to benefit the Chinatown Business Improvement Area;
matters of common concern and interest to businesses and property owners in the Chinatown Business Improvement Area, and to bring together businesses and property owners in the Chinatown Business Improvement Area for fulfilling the purposes of the Society.
PROMOTION OF CHINATOWN
The VCBIA actively promotes Chinatown in various media outlets and actively seeks new channels. We distribute approximately 100,000 Chinatown maps to tourism information centres every year, update our Street Banners, and updating a new look for our website with information on the latest events in Chinatown. We have a weekly radio segment on AM1320 to promote Chinatown.
GRAFFITI & ALLEY CLEANING
Vancouver Chinatown BIA Society has been contracting with United We Can in cleaning up the alleys to keep Chinatown tidy and clean. The result has been very encouraging. Vancouver Chinatown BIA Society started the graffiti removal program in wiping out the graffiti in Vancouver Chinatown area. They have contracted a graffiti removal company to clean and paint over graffiti in the area since 2004.
In 2010, we introduced a mascot that would provide a recognizable identity for Chinatown. This mascot will complement the existing Chinatown culture with Vancouver’s uniqueness and diverse multiculturalism.This one mascot needs to achieve a great deal by itself: appeal to children and tourists from all over the world, represent the local community, and personify the values and essence of Vancouver Chinatown. Van Van has been the face of Chinatown and participates in community events across the city.
The VCBIA makes sure that hundreds of banners are installed on street lighting fixtures throughout Chinatown. They have become one of Chinatown’s unique trademarks and helps identify and beautify the community.
The Chinatown Map is distributed to hotels and tourist areas in Greater Vancouver. The Map contains a walking route of historical and scenic attractions for tourists to embark on. There is also a selection of recommendations for food, shopping, public service areas, and festivals and events.