Residents of a tent encampment in a park on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have been told they have until Wednesday evening to remove their tents and other structures.
The general manager of the Vancouver Park Board issued an eviction notice Monday to as many as 200 people tenting in Oppenheimer Park in violation of a park board bylaw.
A statement released by the City of Vancouver says more than 100 units of safe and stable accommodation are ready for tent encampment residents who have asked for help.
It says all the housing options are in publicly owned, non-profit buildings and include some recently renovated single-room occupancy units, as well as shelter spaces available as interim housing until other suitable units are found.
The encampment has been growing since last year and the statement says the city, park board and Vancouver’s fire department have been working to support the residents, but are concerned about limited compliance with safety orders.
Seventeen fires have occurred in the park since February and the city says police have responded to an increasing number of violent incidents.
“The general manager’s order was issued in response to ongoing concerns about the serious health and life safety risks present in the park, and in light of housing options being secured for those living there,” the city statement says.
A team from BC Housing is in the park to help residents pack and move their belongings while the park board says longer-term storage options are available for campers unable to immediately move all their possessions to their new space.
“The safety of the people sleeping in Oppenheimer Park continues to be our top priority and we are strongly encouraging everyone to work with Carnegie Outreach to move into safe and stable accommodation,” the city says.
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