New Westminster continues to work on Chinese reconciliation process

The Chinese Benevolent Association site on Agnes Street is currently being used as an off-leash area for dogs but more respectful use for the site will be considered.

At today's committee of the whole meeting, council will consider a progress report about the Chinese reconciliation process that resulted in a September 2010 apology for the city's discriminatory treatment of the Chinese community in the early days. The apology came after staff reviewed city records from 1860 to 1926.

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"The city is actively working towards the other steps in support of reconciliation with the Chinese community, including creating a memorial on the New Westminster Secondary School site and exploring appropriate uses for the former Chinese Benevolent Association site at 824 Agnes St.," said the report. "It is also augmenting the research and developing ways of demarcating the boundaries of the former Chinatowns and documenting and possibly protecting Chinese artifacts that have been unearthed during excavation work."

A dog park was created on the downtown site in 2009 as part of a nuisance abatement strategy meant to deter criminal activity and loitering.

City staff will seek council's approval to retain the services of a landscape architect to explore appropriate uses for the site, which could include a Chinese garden and historic artifacts and interpretive signage to tell the story of Chinese settlement in New Westminster. This work will be included in the city's 2012 capital plan.

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© New West Record

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