A recent CTV News segment may bring more attention to the issue of gates keeping the public out of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park.
The Park was planned alongside the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden as a free, publicly accessible alternative, owned by the city and maintained by the Parks Board. While in years past, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park served as one of the few truly public open spaces in Chinatown, with the water and foliage providing shade in one of the most heat-vulnerable neighbourhoods of the city, since 2020, access to the Park has been heavily restricted. Since then, the entrances facing much of Chinatown on Pender and Columbia Streets have rarely opened, with the only entrance on Carrall Street at times requiring that would-be visitors buzz the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden for access. This has also limited access to the Courtyard, which served as the venue for the Chinatown Summer Events in 2018, including a screening of Meditation Park hosted by Chinatown Today in partnership with the Vancouver Asian Film Festival.
From the CTV News article:
Galina Lee, an activist and the grandchild of a founding board member at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, said she often hears from people who assume the park is closed because of the locked gates.
“A lot of what I feel the garden was meant for and built for, the purpose isn’t really there anymore which is something that deeply upsets me,” Lee said. “I still want to be able to represent the will of my grandmother.”
CTV News reached out to the executive director of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden for comment, but was deferred to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, which oversees the park.
In a statement to CTV News, the park board said it closes the park in alignment with the hours of operations of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, which are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. due to safety and security concerns after dark.
As highlighted by members of the public when speaking out against Beedie’s proposed 105 Keefer development, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park would be most affected by the 9-storey tower, although the renderings shared by proponents generally focussed on how the paid-entry Garden would be affected.