‘We are resilient’: Vancouver Chinatown determined to bounce back after triple-stabbing – BC



With a suspect in custody in Sunday’s horrific triple-stabbing, Chinatown’s merchants and leaders are determined not to let the violent attack cast too large a shadow on the neighbourhood.

Just before 6 p.m., a suspect stabbed a man and two women near the Light Up Chinatown main stage at Columbia and Keefer streets, scattering festival-goers and ending what had been a weekend of music, performance, food and fun.

“My hearts are with the victims and I hope that they recover as soon as possible, but we won’t let this get us down,” Tracy To, director of the Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association, told Global News on Monday.

“We are resilient and we will continue to move forward.”

Click to play video: 'Suspect charged in Chinatown triple stabbing'

Suspect charged in Chinatown triple stabbing

In the past few years, Chinatown has been beset by challenges, including the financial blow of the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in crimes such as window smashing, graffiti, theft and arson.

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In February last year, the Vancouver Chinatown BIA reported half of its annual budget was being spent on security, with $240,000 spent on it in 2021 alone.

Jordan Eng, president of the BIA, called Sunday’s attack a “devastating” end to such a great festival, in which people had returned to Chinatown in big numbers to eat, shop and “create new memories.”

“Here we have this incident that really just puts a scar on the whole event, and it really it’s saddening,” he said.

“I don’t think we should let an incident like this frame Chinatown.”

Click to play video: 'Vancouver police release investigation details about triple stabbing in Chinatown'

Vancouver police release investigation details about triple stabbing in Chinatown

Dustin Grant, owner of Bootleg Barbers in Chinatown, agreed. He said the Light Up Chinatown festival was one of the best events the neighbourhood has seen prior to the pandemic.

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As a business owner, he said the steady stream of crime in the area has been frustrating, as has the number of repeat offenders involved — but efforts to make Chinatown more beautiful and vibrant will continue.

“It’s the only attitude you can have if you want to make things better. You can’t just lie down,” Grant said.

“This is not something that happens often. This neighbourhood is on the rebound and this is one of the most beautiful and also resilient communities in the city as well, so we’re going to forge ahead.”

Click to play video: 'Man charged in Chinatown festival attack has long history of violence'

Man charged in Chinatown festival attack has long history of violence

The public has a role in that, added To of the Merchants Association. She encouraged members of the public to continue visiting and spending money in Chinatown as its revitalization work continues.

“Throughout Chinatown’s history, we’ve gone through good times and bad. We always come back and we will continue to come back,” she explained.

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“Chinatown belongs to all of us and we all have a part in making sure it thrives.”

In May, the community received $2.2 million in provincial funds to to reshape and revitalize its shops, streets, décor and infrastructure. Ottawa has also pitched in $1.8 million to upgrade infrastructure, enhance landmarks and improve tourism opportunities.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver police chief says random stabbing at Chinatown festival is ‘shocking’'

Vancouver police chief says random stabbing at Chinatown festival is ‘shocking’

Blair Donnelly, 64, has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault in connection with Sunday’s attack and remains in custody. Donnelly had travelled to Vancouver on a day pass from a psychiatric facility in Port Coquitlam.

In 2008, he was found not criminally responsible for the stabbing death of his 16-year-old daughter in Kitimat, B.C.

As of Monday, not explanation as to why he was out on a day pass had been provided by police.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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