In 1968, Bessie Lee, along with women and mothers of the community, co-founded the Strathcona Property Owner’s and Tenants Association (SPOTA) to stop “urban renewal” plans from the City of Vancouver, including the construction of a freeway that would demolish the neighbourhood. Through these efforts, they stopped the freeway from being built and spared neighbourhood residents from further displacement. In 2017 the community faced renewed threats of displacement due to the proposed development of a luxury condominium building. Anticipating that this project would worsen unaffordable housing and loss of cultural heritage, organizers mobilized again. On November 6, after the city’s development permit board listened to nearly a hundred speakers, people throughout the Chinatown community celebrated when the official building proposal was rejected.

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