Residents in Vancouver’s solely authorized tent encampment are cautious of a metropolis plan to pressure them to quickly transfer whereas it cleans up the positioning, an advocate stated.

Fiona York stated there’s a worry among the many dozens of residents of Crab Park within the Downtown Eastside that what the town says is simply a one-week displacement might flip into an entire eviction.

“Time and time once more, we see in different cities, and right here in Vancouver, that … (there have been) so many different tent cities evictions within the final 5 years,” she stated.

Vancouver’s deputy metropolis supervisor Sandra Singh stated the proposed plan is to close down the part of Crab Park designated for the tent metropolis for every week beginning March 25 so gear may be introduced in to scrub piles of particles and unsafe buildings.

Vancouver Park Board common supervisor Steve Jackson stated workers assessed the positioning in January and realized the realm couldn’t be cleaned by hand. He stated the risks embrace particles, propane tanks, needles, feces and a rat infestation.

However York stated residents ceaselessly clear their space and don’t wish to stay in an unsanitary setting. She stated they’ve prompt the encampment be cleaned in sections, quite than abruptly, or that the town present residents with assets to scrub it themselves.

“(I’m) annoyed concerning the lack of communication, given all the suggestions and all the affordable responses which have been supplied by residents and myself,” she stated.

York stated discussions round leaving ought to await a call over a human rights criticism that alleges the tent metropolis just isn’t being supplied with primary wants comparable to washrooms and electrical energy.

Singh stated the quantity of particles makes it unsafe for residents to scrub it themselves and too troublesome to do in phases. She stated she considers the human rights criticism a separate course of from the cleanup plans.

She stated on Tuesday that the proposed plan has been posted for residents to see and that workers from the park board will probably be at Crab Park for the remainder of the week to gather suggestions and make changes if wanted.

Efficient March 18, residents could have every week to maneuver to a special undisclosed location elsewhere within the park, earlier than fences go up and cleansing begins.

“We all know that is going to be tense. There’s no manner to do that work that isn’t tense for folks,” Singh stated,

“We acknowledge that one of many issues that we are able to do to assist with that’s to supply certainty as quickly as (is) possible.”

Singh stated the town’s actions are usually not a decampment, for the reason that estimated 30 to 50 folks staying on the web site will probably be allowed to return.

Guidelines that may should be adopted after the cleanup embrace having solely a single tent in a three-metre-by-three-metre house, and never having supplies comparable to turbines, propane tanks and constructing supplies.

Singh says if the folks staying on the Crab Park web site don’t comply, they’ll must rethink permitting the encampment to stay.

The encampment started in 2021 and remained in place a yr later when a B.C. Supreme Court docket decide put aside eviction notices, partially, as a result of the town didn’t have sufficient indoor shelter areas to accommodate these residing in tents.

York stated some folks spent months shoring up their tents with additional tarps or insulation for the winter and that the buildings on the positioning assist construct group, which brings its personal sort of security.

“So, to remove issues that create security, within the identify of security, it doesn’t make sense,” she stated.

The advocacy group Cease the Sweeps Vancouver posted an announcement on-line final week, saying the park board was citing vital well being and fireplace issues, however there aren’t any orders from Vancouver Coastal Well being or Vancouver Hearth.

“This can be a pressured elimination of individuals from their properties that may end result within the destruction of these properties & folks’s lives made much less secure.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed March 12, 2024.


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