Posted on December 9, 2010

Chinatown LRT Opponents Say Proposed Route is Bad Feng Shui

Jana G. Pruden, Edmonton Journal, Dec. 8, 2010

Some members of Edmonton’s Chinese community oppose the proposed LRT route through Chinatown, saying it threatens the community’s cultural importance and is bad Feng Shui.

“It creates a sense of barrier, stopping energy from going to Chinatown,” said Stephen Chan, a Feng Shui practitioner.

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of achieving harmony and balance through environmental and esthetic design.

Chan said the proposed route, which sees the LRT running along 102nd Avenue through the China Gate, will put Edmonton’s “Dragon Vein” into turmoil, and could throw the entire city’s positive energy into a negative cycle. Chan said he knows some people do not believe in Feng Shui, but he asks people to be open-minded about the wisdom contained in the ancient practice.

He said the current plan is “really bad” Feng Shui.

Chan will be among several delegations from the Chinese community appearing Wednesday in city council chambers to present their concerns to the transportation and public works committee. Chan said the Chinese community has been “shaken” by the proposed downtown LRT connector route. Some fear it could threaten the Chinatown area.

In addition to having trains running above ground at the China Gate, the route has a tunnel entrance in front of the Chinese Multicultural Centre.

Chinese Benevolent Association spokesman Allan Kwan said he is worried about what the LRT would mean for those people living and working in the area.

He said he is also afraid of the repercussions of losing parts of 102nd Avenue in Chinatown, an important gathering place on occasions such as Chinese New Year and Canada Day, and both culturally and historically significant.

“I wonder what is the future viability of Chinatown with this proposed expansion.”

Stephen Tsang, who joined a task force objecting to the LRT plan, says there are ways to make the LRT work in the Chinatown area, but the current plan doesn’t fit. “I am for the LRT, I just don’t think the route is right,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Tsang said the proposed route would make it harder for seniors living in the area, and would seriously restrict vehicle and pedestrian traffic. He hopes council will consider moving the tunnel entrance away from the Chinese Multicultural Centre, or choose a different route.

Like Tsang, Kwan said he hopes council will give serious consideration to the community’s concerns.

“We want the city to slow down, to allow some time to work out some of these issues.”

Adam Laughlin, director of facility and capital planning, declined Tuesday to be interviewed about the issue because he was too busy preparing for Wednesday’s meeting.