Homeless campers at Vancouver’s CRAB Park face eviction

The encampment on the waterfront park began late Could with about two dozen individuals, however has since grown to about 50 tents.

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Dozens of homeless individuals residing at CRAB Park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have been being evicted on Friday, in keeping with a neighborhood advocate.

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Fiona York stated campers acquired notices from the Vancouver park board on Thursday ordering them to take down their tents and go away the park.

“There’s lots of uncertainty, trauma, insecurity, displacement — all of that psychological weaponizing of bylaws which have been used towards individuals who have been homeless for a very long time,” stated York.

The encampment on the waterfront park began in late Could with about two dozen individuals, however had grown to 50 tents. About 25 to 30 of the campers had been residing on the Strathcona Park encampment till it was shut down this spring, stated York.

A tent erected at CRAB park in Vancouver on Friday.
A tent erected at CRAB park in Vancouver on Friday. Photograph by Jason Payne /PNG

Jeannine Guérette, a spokesperson for the park board, confirmed the board’s basic supervisor issued an order Thursday advising individuals sheltering within the park that everybody would wish to pack up and take away all constructions within the space to permit for scheduled park upkeep work.

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“This work consists of eradicating of particles and performing common turf upkeep,” she stated. “Whereas some people have complied, there are nonetheless others who haven’t.”

Out of roughly 40 tents within the park, round 17 tents remained by Friday afternoon, stated Guérette.

Final 12 months, the board amended the parks management bylaw to permit for restricted short-term in a single day sheltering in parks to help individuals experiencing homelessness who haven’t any different shelter choices.

That is solely meant to be an choice of final resort, because the bylaw doesn’t permit for the set of constructions in perpetuity, she stated.

Since early Could, Guérette stated rangers have been visiting CRAB Park every morning to remind individuals who have arrange short-term shelters that they must be taken down by 8 a.m. on daily basis.

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Till lately, the vast majority of people have been complying with the bylaws, however currently the variety of short-term constructions have elevated and extra persons are refusing to conform, she stated.

York stated the directives from the rangers have been inconsistent, calling it a “sample of harassment” of campers: “In the future they’re being instructed to place tarps down, the subsequent day tarps are okay,” she stated. “In the future issues must be on wheels, the subsequent day they don’t must be on wheels.”

CRAB park’s tent metropolis is the newest homeless encampment to pop up in Vancouver, a visual reminder of town’s homelessness and affordability disaster.

Final Could, a homeless camp at Oppenheimer Park was cleared after two years resulting from issues over the unfold of COVID-19.

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Nearly instantly, an encampment sprung up at a parking zone on federal property close to CRAB Park. The lot’s operator, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, was granted an injunction to clear the property, which prompted some campers to maneuver additional east to Strathcona Park.

The homeless camp at a parking lot near CRAB Park. It was shut down by a federal injunction last year.
The homeless camp at a parking zone close to CRAB Park. It was shut down by a federal injunction final 12 months. Photograph by Arlen Redekop /PNG

That tent metropolis was shut down in April after efforts by housing officers to search out shelter for all of the camp’s residents.

The order issued by the park board Thursday additionally stated no short-term shelters are allowed wherever on the park at any time to make sure the park stays out there to all customers.

“Making certain equitable entry to public parks is a excessive precedence, particularly in communities such because the Downtown Eastside the place there’s a scarcity of parks and inexperienced house,” stated the discover.

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It additionally stated that in keeping with a memorandum of understanding with the Metropolis of Vancouver and the province, the park board is dedicated to stopping encampments and imposing bylaws when appropriate areas can be found for individuals to maneuver indoors.

Homelessness outreach workers from the Metropolis of Vancouver have been on the park Thursday and Friday to assist join individuals with help companies, stated the park board.

However York stated the spots provided, if any, are sometimes not appropriate or accessible to campers for varied causes.

She can also be nervous in regards to the park residents being dispersed with nowhere to go. Companies on the camp embody meals, a hurt discount program, and different helps.

“There’s methods for individuals to look out for one another once they’re in a neighborhood and in a single place,” stated York. “Tomorrow once they go away, that gained’t be the case.”

chchan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/cherylchan


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