Punjabi Market – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca News, entertainment and sports from Langara College journalism students Wed, 06 Nov 2019 21:54:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://www.langaravoice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/LOGO-100x100.png Punjabi Market – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca 32 32 Video: Punjabi Market hopes sparked by revitalization efforts https://www.langaravoice.ca/video-punjabi-market-hopes-sparked-by-revitalization-efforts/ Wed, 06 Nov 2019 21:54:37 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=43974 Reported by Agazy Mengesha The Punjabi Market area, located on Main Street between 48th and 51st Avenue, has experienced a decline as families and businesses have moved away from the community to areas like Surrey. Revitalization projects have been attempted over the years, to little or no results. In 2008, former premier Gordon Campbell proposed […]]]>

Reported by Agazy Mengesha

The Punjabi Market area, located on Main Street between 48th and 51st Avenue, has experienced a decline as families and businesses have moved away from the community to areas like Surrey.

Revitalization projects have been attempted over the years, to little or no results. In 2008, former premier Gordon Campbell proposed a $3 million dollar “India Gate” in the likeness of Chinatown’s Millennium Gate for the community ahead of the 2010 Olympics — but the gate never materialized.

In June, the Vancouver City Council  successfully passed a motion proposed by councillor Pete Fry that would require city staff to consult with the local community for public improvements, ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Punjabi Market in May. Three events were held last week, with members of the public pouring in to voice their opinions.

Community members, from local group Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective to shop owners in the area, are saying that they feel hopeful about what the future holds in store for the Punjabi Market.

 

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Punjabi Market Preserving its Heritage Through Stories https://www.langaravoice.ca/punjabi-market-preserving-its-heritage-through-stories/ Wed, 28 Feb 2018 18:10:16 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=32205 Punjabi Market came back to life last Sunday through anecdotes and cups of chai tea, as residents and business owners came together to share the importance of keeping its history alive.]]>

Reported by Myra Dionne

Punjabi Market came back to life last Sunday through anecdotes and cups of chai tea, as residents and business owners came together to share the importance of keeping it’s history alive.

Vancouver Heritage Foundation invited community members for breakfast at All India Sweets Restaurant to raise awareness of the market’s historical significance. In this video exclusive, Jessica Quan, special projects coordinator, explains why the market is a place that matters.  

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Future of Vancouver’s Punjabi Market still a concern for the community https://www.langaravoice.ca/business-owners-want-more-walk-the-walk-than-talk-the-talk/ Thu, 09 Nov 2017 14:00:05 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=30335 Reported by Myra Dionne Business owners want less conversation about future changes to the Punjabi Market and more action. The City of Vancouver, in partnership with LOCO BC, invited community members to meet and discuss the state of the historic market last week. One meeting took place Wednesday at Sunset Community Centre and another Thursday […]]]>

Reported by Myra Dionne

Business owners want less conversation about future changes to the Punjabi Market and more action.

Punjabi Market Fold Fabrics is one of the few shops left in the historic area of Vancouver, B.C. Photo by Myra Dionne

The City of Vancouver, in partnership with LOCO BC, invited community members to meet and discuss the state of the historic market last week. One meeting took place Wednesday at Sunset Community Centre and another Thursday at Langara College.

Satwant K. Bunwait, owner of Amrit Fashions, remembers when the market was vibrant and busy. Since 2010, her business has drastically declined, making her work a second job.

“Almost seven years this market is struggling. Rather than doing something here, they come and give a lecture or whatever, but what are they really doing for the small businesses?” said Bunwait, who attended the meeting facilitated by the city about developing a vision for the future of the Punjabi Market.

Conversations still needed
According to Jessie Singer, a planner for the city, the meetings came in response to comments made in 2015 about zoning development on the corner of 49th Avenue and Main Street.

“People wanted to say great, change is happening to the area…but we also have some other concerns about the general state of the Punjabi Market as a kind of cultural and community hub,” Singer said.

For several business owners, the old Punjabi Market died a long time ago. They said necessary changes are taking too long and they hoped the meetings would bring about immediate results.

All talk
Punjab food centre is owned by Harinder S. Toor who has been working in the historic community since 1982. Photo by Myra Dionne

Harinder S. Toor, owner of Punjab Food Center, said concerns about Langara students parking in front of his shop, beautification of the Punjabi Market, funding for Punjabi festivals and housing are among the problems community members have complained about for years.

“We were told this meeting is a three-hour meeting. We came here to spend our time and make sure we get something out of it,” Toor said. “The meeting was done and no results came up.”

Singer said the meetings were meant to engage conversation and not results. She said there is no clear date for resolving concerns but is anticipating consultation reports.

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Businesses continue to vacate Main Street’s Little India https://www.langaravoice.ca/businesses-continue-to-vacate-little-india/ Wed, 16 Oct 2013 00:29:39 +0000 http://www.voicedev.xyz/?p=6667 AroraDoor
Arora Cloth House moved to Surrey in April 2013.
Photo by: Gavin Fisher

Throughout the historic Punjabi Market businesses continue to close while others remain empty due to high rent, increased property taxes and a customer base that is now largely in Surrey.

Wescana Fashions and Mohan Cloth House are both currently having closing-out sales after being in business for over 25 years. They are the latest businesses to close in the market on Main Street between 48th and 53rd Avenue.

“It’s very difficult to survive,” said Ali Rajani, who owns Wescana Fashions on the corner of Main Street and 49th Avenue.

Rent costs and property taxes hinder new businesses

Rajani said he pays between $55,000 and $65,000 a year in property tax.

He said the high rent and high taxes are preventing new businesses from coming into the area. His building has been up for lease the past seven months but no one is interested.

“It’s a prime corner connecting to downtown. But [there’s been] no response from anybody,” said Rajani.

Mohan Rakhra, owner of Mohan Cloth House, said the number of customers continues to decrease while rent goes up.

MohanandGurmitRakhra
Mohan Rakhra (left) and Gurmit Rakhra (right) own Mohan Cloth House and are experiencing the market decrease in Little India as their store goes out of business.
Photo by: Gavin Fisher

Wescana Fashions and Mohan Cloth House follow on the heel of several other closures in the area over the past year. Arora Cloth House closed its doors in April this year, Guru Bazaar closed in January, and Frontier Cloth House closed in September 2012. All three businesses now have stores in Surrey.

“All of our clientele has moved into the Surrey area,” said Sunny Khuruna, owner of Guru Bazaar. “We have to be where the customers are.”

Business owners want a wider variety of shops

Many current business owners said that there needs to be a greater variety of stores to attract people to the area, and not just stores catering to the South Asian community.

“First we started in the Indian community so we survived,” said Haresh Shukla, who runs Mother India, an import store on Main Street. “Now the only way we can survive is [with a] mixed community.”

Rajani from Wescana Fashions agreed. “Look at Fraser [Street], it’s booming because it’s multicultural there. Banks are there, grocery stores are there, doctors are there,” said Rajani. “But Main Street, what is it? There’s nothing here, not even a single bank… It’s a dead spot after six o’clock.”

Vancouver, B.C --- One of several signs labeling the historical Punjabi Market.
One of several signs labeling the historical Punjabi Market.
Photo by: Gavin Fisher

Simran Virk, who runs Roots Café on the corner of Main and 49th Avenue, said the Punjabi Market is a thing of the past.

“It’s not dying, it’s dead. It’s time for a new, fresh facelift on this part of the street … We want some neat places, but if it’s not affordable for people to come here it’s going to take a much longer time.”

Reported by Gavin Fisher

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