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Photo of Ming Sun Benevolent Society - Uchida Family Building at 439 Powell Street

Support the Ming Sun – Uchida Building at 439 Powell Street

The historic building at 439 Powell Street was almost demolished in December 2013 but the community has rallied to try to save it. Please read this article in The Bulletin for more information and at the Friends of 439 Powell website.

Petition to the Vancouver City Council to Restore and Repair 439 Powell Street

Please take the time to sign a petition to the Vancouver City Council to restore and repair 439 Powell Street.

To sign the petition, please click on this link

More about this petition:

Built in 1891, 439 Powell Street, is known as the Ming Sun Building and holds the addresses of 437, 439, and 441 Powell Street. It is a modest multi-use building in Vancouver’vs Nihonmachi (Japantown) that is currently facing a threat of a demolition order by the City of Vancouver.

Operated by the Ming Sun Benevolent Society, the building was in working and occupied until late July 2013. It houses 8 maintained and low-income, affordable Single Room Occupancy units, studio spaces for the Instant Coffee Collective, and is home to the Ming Sun Reading Room. The closure of the building resulted in the displacement of 10 low-income seniors.

The Ming Sun Benevolent Society was recognized by the current Mayor of Vancouver, who declared April 24, 2010, “Ming Sun Benevolent Association Day”. The proclamation stated, the Society has “provided shelter and community gathering space, library resources, news and information, translation services, liaison with government officials and vital family support services” for more than 85 years. The building is one of the earliest and one of the last “Boomtown” working class buildings in the Powell Street area and was home to the Uchida family whose daughter, Chitose was the first Japanese Canadian woman to attend UBC.

The rushed and careless demolition order conducted by the City of Vancouver to 451 Powell, a neighbouring building, on July 24, 2013 unleashed a series of events that has subsequently resulted in a demolition order for 439 Powell. The rushed decisions of the City, and subsequent failure to communicate clearly with the Ming Sun Benevolent Society has caused and exacerbated damage that has made the building uninhabitable, but still structurally sound.

We are requesting that Vancouver City Council direct its staff to restore and repair an important low-income affordable housing, affordable artist space, and historic space on Powell Street to the state of habitability and usability prior to the City’s actions on July 2013.

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